Contemporary Caribbean Women's Poetry: Making Style

By Denise Decaires Narain | Go to book overview

5

Playing the field

Anthologizing, canonizing and problematizing Caribbean women's writing
God, what a trade to ply
distilling cris de coeur
with one sly eye
on metropolitan markets conditions. 1
Now in a space she claims
that feels sometimes
like home
a woman poet of the new tongue
at evening time
sings alone. 2
O Adam
make me a poet please
and not no wo-man poet
let me be free
and gender
less dear Ad …
At this point I stopped Eaves-dropping 3

In the previous chapters I discussed the work of individual Caribbean women poets in relation to a variety of issues, including the quest for literary models, and literary mothers, gendered debates about the aesthetics and politics of Creole poetry, and the connections between textuality and sexuality. This final chapter has a much broader remit in that it shifts away from a focus on the individual poet to interrogate the category 'Caribbean women's writing' itself. Using a range of anthologies of Caribbean women's prose and poetry, as well as collections of critical essays about this writing, I want to explore how 'the' Caribbean woman writer has come to be defined and read. What characterizes the archetypal Caribbean woman writer? Who qualifies? What gets left out? Beginning with a comparison of two anthologies of Caribbean women's poetry - Jamaica Woman, published in 1980, and Creation Fire, published in 1990 - the discussion which

-213-

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Contemporary Caribbean Women's Poetry: Making Style
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • 1 - Literary Mothers? 1
  • 2 - The Lure of the Folk 51
  • 3 - Speaking and Performing the Creole Word 89
  • 4 - More Body Talk: Righting or Writing the Body? 148
  • 5 - Playing the Field 213
  • Bibliography 249
  • Index 257
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