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Saturday, 2 June 2007


A poem by Shara McCallum, which appears in the anthology New Caribbean Poetry, edited by Kei Miller and published in May 2007 by Carcanet Press.

Imagine if you could have either cherry or stove,
but not both; if the sound of rain
would not answer to its name: tap, tap, pitter pat.
If one morning you woke and had to say dove,
not love, and mean it. If this went on
all through the day and night and into early dawn--
this calling of the world and all its parts
a single word: your cat's meow,
the kumquat freshly washed at the sink,
the milk bottle in the fridge, swallows
outside listing on the wind, the grey slant
of falling rain, a lover's hand grazing your neck.

New Caribbean Poetry: An Anthology includes the work of eight poets: Christian Campbell, Loretta Collins, Delores Gauntlett, Shara McCallum, Marilene Phipps, Jennifer Rahim, Tanya Shirley, and Ian Strachan. In his introduction to the collection, editor Kei Miller writes:

At a recent "Gathering of Writers" held at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies, Derek Walcott declared that Caribbean poetry was only just beginning. The greatness was yet to come. The eight poets featured here are perhaps a small representation of "New Caribbean Poetry", but they are among the best. Their work is often featured in regional journals; they have been winning prizes; indeed, it is their names that are often called when one asks the question, what’s good and new in Caribbean poetry? For despite "the waters between us", poets in the region are often separated by no more than one or two degrees of separation. Along such small chains word quickly stumbles back about who is writing exciting things. These eight are; they are the beginning of Walcott’s prophecy.

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