Friday, September 9, 2016

Poetry Friday: A Marriage of Poets

Head over to The Poem Farm for this week's round-up of poetic goodness!
Amy shares her poem "First Practice" which is featured in
Janet Wong's and Sylvia Vardell's new book, You Just Wait
Thanks, Amy, for hosting this week.

I loved the poem "Book-Heart" by Grace Nichols that I discovered in Book by John Agard.  Since I was not familiar with this poet, I requested Under the Moon and Over the Sea, a collection of Caribbean poems that I discovered when I searched for books by her.  It turns out that this collection was edited by John Agard and Grace Nichols.  It didn't take me long to discover that these two poets are married.  This anthology is a colorful collection of poems by more than fifty poets.  The poems beg to be read aloud with pages filled with wordplay, repetition, and  the musical Caribbean dialect.  The poems are divided into five sections, each illustrated by a different artist.  

I immediately recognized the work of a favorite illustrator, Jane Ray, in the section See Full Moon, Hear Jumbie Story.  That section included one of my favorite poems "I Like to Stay Up" by Grace Nichols.  The young girl in the poem loves staying up and listening "when big people talking jumbie (Guyanese word for 'ghost') stories..."  The stories leave her feeling tingly and excited.  But when it's time to go to bed and she feels a dread, 
"...Then is when I does wish I did read 
me book instead."  

"The Fringe of the Sea" by A. L. Hendriks speaks of those who 
"...hear it's calls and murmurs wherever we may be..."  Alan Smith's "Emily Hurricane" invites a child to join the hurricane with this song of invitation:
"...Wouldn't you like to swim in the sky, 
sail with the trees as they go whizzing by, 
dance with the rooftops as they go bubbling?
Wouldn't you like to swim in the sky?..."

John Agard's poem "Windrush Child" speaks of a child leaving his grandmother behind as he emigrates from the Caribbean to England with 
"...Grandmother's words your shining beacon 
learning how to fly 
the kite of your dreams 
in an English sky..."  
I think of grandmothers of so many nationalities who have kissed grandchildren goodbye and sent them off with one last hug to a new future with promises to write.  "Goodbye Granny" by Pauline Stewart also addresses this same theme.

The section Come Taste and Buy is filled with foods and fruits we know and many to discover.  Agnes Maxwell-Hall's "Jamaica Market" begs to be read aloud, "Dumplins" is a delightful traditional poem, and "Pineapple" by Vyanne Samuels nails this delectable fruit.
"...Yellow rings 
On my finger,
Chunks of yellow,
Drips of sun..."

I hope I've convinced you to take a look at Under the Moon and Over the Sea:  A Collection of Caribbean Poems.  You won't be disappointed, and you're sure to discover a poem or two that belongs in your pile of favorites.  And I simply must add a link to John Agard's performance of "Put the Kettle On" that I discovered on YouTube.  You'll love his invite to the audience to join him line by line. 


  1. Oh my, that YouTube of "Put The Kettle On" is fun. I guess if I was British, it may even be insulting! And Yes, I've bookmarked the book, another one that you've shared that sounds terrific. Thanks, Ramona, and have a lovely weekend.

  2. How beautiful! I had a Guyanese classmate years ago who shared a traditional legend her grandmother had shared with her. She read it with the same cadence and accent as her grandmother, and it was absolutely magical.

  3. This sounds wonderful! Since I live in the Caribbean, I am always looking for writing to share with my students that describes their reality. This one is going on my wish list. I especially love that image of the kite in the English sky. Kids in Haiti love to fly kites!

  4. Convinced! Sounds delightful. Thanks for this wonderful post and the great tips.

  5. Thank you tons...I love learninng about new books here on Poetry Fridays...and I am intrigued by married couple poets. Thank you for this beauty of a post! xx