Poetry Friday: A Caribbean Dozen

A Caribbean Dozen: Poems from the Caribbean, edited by John Agard and Grace Nichols, illustrated by Cathie Felstead (Walker Books, 1994/2007)I only came across A Caribbean Dozen: Poems from Caribbean Poets recently and am making up for lost time! Editors John Agard and Grace Nichols have brought together a selection of verse from thirteen poets, including themselves, and the book is vibrantly illustrated by Cathie Felstead. One of the things I love about it is that each poet introduces him or herself, with reminiscences of their childhood and how they were introduced to poetry. Those extracts alone make wonderful, inspirational reading. So here are three energetic extracts to give you a feel for this wonderful anthology:

From “What the Teacher Said When Asked: What Er We Avin for Geography, Miss?” by John Agard:

This morning I’ve got too much energy
much too much for geography

I’m in a high mood
so class don’t think me crude
but you can stuff latitude and longitude

I’ve had enough of the earth’s crust
today I want to touch the clouds [...]

I’m not settling for river beds
I want the sky and nothing less…

All you teachers out there, don’t you feel like this sometimes! And here’s a bit of “Quao” by Pamela Mordecai:

is a
he is a
at catching

and finally, because it’s Friday: “I Love The” by Marc Matthews:

…friday night
smell of mammie
baking bread
putting me to
sleep, dreaming
of jumping from
the highest branch
of the jamoon tree
into the red water
beating calton
run & catching
the biggest fish
in the world

This whole book is full of zing. The poetry transports its readers to the sunny Caribbean islands but also speaks to them of deep, universal truths…

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Liz Scanlon at Liz in Ink – head on over!

4 Responses to “Poetry Friday: A Caribbean Dozen”

  1. Liz in Ink Says:

    Oh, these are wonderful! I especially love the first one. Thanks for chiming in today!!!

  2. tanita Says:

    The rhythm dances — this book looks awesome.
    And how I *wish* teachers told that kind of truth more often. I now want to read that poem and see what she decides on instead of Geography!

  3. Marjorie Says:

    :-) I’m glad you’ve enjoyed them.

    Tanita, As you’re based in Glasgow at the moment, you should be able to track this book down fairly easily. And Happy Burns’ Night tomorrow, by the way!

  4. Mohima!!! Says:

    amazing! review! owoow! ill read it ASAP wen i get it!!! looks amzing!!!!