Synopses & Reviews
This stunning new book of poems from internationally renowned poet Lorna Goodison opens in Spain and Portugal, conjuring up a new history of the Caribbean and a new way of setting up its heritage.
The title sets the tone for poems about backgrounds and outlines and shadows and sources of light. This extraordinary book -- "a wide lotus on the dark waters of song" -- is filled with surprises at every turn, as a Moorish mosque becomes a cathedral in Seville, a country girl dresses in Sunday clothes to visit a Jamaican bookmobile, and a bear appears suddenly, only to slip away silently into the trees on a road in British Columbia. The heartache of Billy Holliday singing the blues, the burden of Charlie Chaplin tramping the banana walks of Jamaica's Golden Cloud, and the paintings of El Greco, the quintessential stranger, come together on the poet's pilgrimage to Heartease, guided by a limping angel and inspired by the passage-making of Dante; the book ends with a superb version of the first of his cantos, translated into the poet's Jamaican language and landscape with the gift of love.
Restlessness and dislocation, exile and homecoming, the tourists, explorers, pilgrams, and travellers who populate this collection are joined in the universal search for a place where they can settle into their "life's rhythm." Moving from Spain and Africa to a remembered past in the Jamaica of the poet's youth, these vibrant and dazzlingly musical poems are fuelled by the recognition that "there is in me a wild spore. I'd abandon life as I know it / plant me in concrete and puzzle the future."
About the Author
LORNA GOODISON is the author of two collections of short stories, eight books of poetry, and the highly acclaimed, award-winning memoir From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People. She has received much international recognition, including the Musgrave Gold Medal. Born in Jamaica, Goodison has taught at the University of Toronto and now teaches at the University of Michigan. She divides her time between Ann Arbor, Toronto, and Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia.