Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Poetry books by Jamaican authors

Published:Friday | August 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMKwame Dawes

After my survey of Jamaican poetry appeared last week, I received many calls from people about how to get hold of some of the key titles by Jamaican poets. Of course, many of the works of these poets are long out of print, but there is a rich range and body of poetry that is still in print and that would reward the time and resources spent to acquire them. Needless to say, this list is an edited list - meaning it is selective and somewhat, though guardedly, subjective. It is, in other words, hardly comprehensive in the same way that the survey was not. It will reflect embarrassing omissions, and for those I apologise in advance.

There are a number of anthologies that feature Jamaican poetry that will offer an even broader range of work to supplement what I have listed here. And for those who are interested in watching some of the poets in action, I strongly encourage you to search out names on YouTube, where most of these poets do appear performing their work. Of special interest in that regard would be anything by Mikey Smith, Jean Binta Breeze, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Owen Blakka Ellis, Lillian Allen, Michael St George, and Staceyann Chin, to name just a few. Finally, a great resource would be The Poetry Archive in the UK, where some of our major poets are featured (



- Olive Senior Gardening in the Tropics (Idiomatic, Canada, 2009)

- Tony McNeill Chinese Lanterns from the Blue Child (Peepal Tree, UK, 1998)

- Lorna Goodison Controlling the Silver (University of Michigan Press, 2006)

- George Campbell First Poems (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2011)

- LKJ - Selected Poems (Penguin, UK, 2006)

- Geoffrey Philp Florida Bound (Peepal Tree UK, 1998)

-  Tanya Shirley She Who Sleeps with Bones (Peepal Tree, UK, 2009)

- Mervyn Morris - I Been There Sort Of: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet, UK, 2006)

-  Dennis Scott - Uncle Time (University of Pittsburg Press, US, 1973)

- Ishion Hutchison - Far District (Peepal Tree, UK, 2010)

-   Ann Margaret Lim - Festival of Wild Orchid (Peepal Tree UK, 2013)

-  Edward Baugh - It Was the Singing (Sandberry Press, JA, 2000)

- Velma Pollard - Shame Trees Don't Grow Here (Peepal Tree UK, 1992)

- SharaMacallum - The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems (Peepal Tree, UK, 2011)

-  Jean Binta Breeze - Spring Cleaning (Virago, UK, 1992)

-  Donna Aza Weir Soley - First Rain (Peepal Tree, 2006)

-  Millicent Graham - The Damp in Things (Peepal Tree, 2009)

-  Colin Channer - Providential (Akashic Books, US/ Peepal Tree, UK, 2015)

- Kei Miller - Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet, UK 2014)

- Mutabaruka - The Next Poems/The First Poems (Paul Issa Publications, 2005)

-  Neville Dawes - Fugue and Other Writings (Peepal Tree, 2012)

-  Louise Bennet - Aunty Roachy Seh: Selected Poems (Sangster, 1993

-  Claude McKay - Complete Poems (University of Illinois, US, 2014)

- Mark McMorris - Entrepot (Coffee House Press, US, 2010)

- Benjamin Zephaniah Too Black, Too Strong (Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2001)

- Pamela Mordecai - Subversive Sonnets (TSAR Publications, Canada, 2012)

- Louis Simpson - Struggling Times (BOA US, 2009)

- Marcia Douglas - Electricity Cone to Cocoa Bottom (Peepal Tree, UK, 1999)

- Opal Palmer Adisa - 4-Headed Woman (Tia Chucha Press, US, 2013)

- Ralph Thompson - View from Mount Diablo (Peepal Tree, UK, 2003)

- Claudia Rankine - Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, US, 2014)