Writing the Caribbean in Verse
“Who is that woman,
the one in us all fleeing from us all,
fleeing her enigma and her long origin
with an incredulous prayer on her lips,
or singing a hymn
after a battle always being refought?
-Nancy Morejón, Persona (2000), Translated by David Frye
In the selection of works listed below, you will find women whose poetry addresses the multiple edges and dimensions of their experiences and the worlds around them. They have written about how they live as women from the Caribbean, and have provided the lyrics for revolutionary action and social change. These poets have also produced portraits of dispossession in the Caribbean, placing violence against women, political corruption and the after-effects of natural disasters within a larger context of colonialism and its continuing tremors. Many of their poems are concerned with devotion to loved ones and with grief, as they are with the creation and recreation of self in the African diaspora. Their writing lays out the need to “make possibility out of dispossession,”* as author Saidiya Hartman describes the process by which the African diaspora fractures and rebuilds over and over.
*Hartman, Saidiya. Lose Your Mother. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.
- Brand, Dionne. A Kind of Perfect Speech: Ralph Gustafson Lecture. Institute for Coastal Research Publishing, 2008.
- Dize, Nathan.“The Poetry of Una Marson and Dionne Brand: An Interview with Belinda Deneen Wallace.” Black Perspectives. 6 Apr. 2017.
- Donnell, Alison, editor. Una Marson: Selected Poems. Peepal Tree Press, 2011.
- Georges, Danielle Legros. The Dear Remote Nearness of You. Barrow Street Press, 2016.
- Morejón, Nancy. Interview by Sapphire. Bomb Magazine, no. 78, Winter 2002.
- Morejón, Nancy. Looking within/Mirar adentro. Wayne State University Press, 2002.
- Phillips, Esther. Leaving Atlantis. Peepal Tree Press, 2015.
Zoë Gadegbeku is the Communications Manager for the Elma Lewis Center. She blogs at shewhowritesreality.com.