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Guinea Woman: Selected Poems
ISBN: 978 1 857544 86 2
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2000
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
When the green goes, beloved, the secret is opened.
The breath falls still, the life covenant is broken.
Dress my mother's cold body in a deep green gown.
Catch a fire and let fall and flame time come
after the green gown of my mother gone down.
from 'After the Green Gown of My Mother Gone Down'
The poetry of Lorna Goodison, Derek Walcott says,
'is a rooted, organic delight, true in its intonations to the Jamaican language she loves, fresh in its wit and pain and in the high, spiritual gossip of its
The poet is endowed with all the resources of her two traditions: the African-Caribbean and the European. Her poems are politically illuminating because of the ways in which she celebrates this dual inheritance. Each subject and theme can choose an appropriate idiom. Rooted though the poems may be in certain elected landscapes, the poet is a free agent and finds her inflections in the interplay between languages and occasions.
Goodison is a black Jamaican woman, but none of those sobriquets adequately defines the rare freedoms that her verse earns from speech and from literature. There is an urgency about her subjects and themes - whether landscape, history or personal experience - which is responsible for the music of her verse.
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