Creating an impressionistic portrait of the poet’s boyhood in rural Jamaica, these narrative poems explore the West Indian distrust of European literature and mythology. Written in both traditional and formless verse, as well as in English and Jamaican patois, the book is structured as the spiritual journey of a poet-speaker caught between two worlds: one a benign culture of bush folk and the other a luminous but dangerous sea of myth. The speaker fears the land of myth because he is loyal to the bush people, but he also desires to transcend his physical and intellectual poverty. Little by little, the two cultures come together as the speaker begins grafting childhood memory to the world of imagination, shaped by books, art, music, and travel. At the core of the collection are several elegies to the poet’s grandmother, May, who encouraged his young creativity.
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