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Health care workers among 'Ties That Bind'

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
The cover of Jean 'Binta' Breeze's poetry collection The Verandah Poems.
Jean Breeze

Dr Jean 'Binta' Breeze stayed in England longer than accustomed this time around to accept an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Leicester last week. Normally, she would have wrapped up a book tour and returned to Jamaica in the latter part of the previous year.

Breeze is now working on a collection with the working title The Ties That Bind. Exploring relationships, it starts with her mother, sister and children. Based on her experiences in England, Breeze will include a section named Love Poems to the NHS. The NHS is England's National Health Service, with which Breeze is very familiar.

Breeze told The Gleaner that "the last three times I have been to England I have been very ill and ended up in hospital. I have had a lot of treatment by the NHS and I was treated so well," she said. The Gleaner reported in January 2014 that on one occasion, she had two clots on her lungs.

So, Breeze said "I found there was a larger family when I was in hospital, so Love Poems to the NHS is the last part of the book." She is now abut a third of the way to completing the collection.

The trip which Breeze extended to accept the honorary doctorate was a book tour, reading from her latest poetry collection, The Verandah Poems. She told The Gleaner she had read in about 16 cities to a "fantastic response" that included standing ovations and sold-out houses.

With the tour over and the doctorate accepted, Breeze said, "I am looking forward to getting back to my verandah. That is the home of my writing."