Is English We Speaking and Other Essays

By Pollard, Velma | Caribbean Quarterly, June 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Is English We Speaking and Other Essays


Pollard, Velma, Caribbean Quarterly


Is English We peaking and Other Essays published by Ian Randle Publishers in 1999 is Mervyn Morris' prize winning (Una Marson Award 1997) collection with three additional essays.

The collection is a timely reminder that Morris the poet and professor (of Creative Writing and West Indian Literature) has also been a literary critic of long standing. Parts or versions of most of the essays have appeared elsewhere, in many instances in foreign academic journals. The collection brings these essays home.

Morris in the preface says the essays address a general audience but offers readings "which may be of interest to specialists". The collection will no doubt become a staple for students of Caribbean Literature all over the world and an easily accessible source book to people interested in the Caribbean. Morris is aware of the extent to which language and literature are intertwined and of the difficulties associated with Caribbean language particularly the written form. He introduces the reader at the very outset to some of the inner workings of the language the writers use. .In fact the title (and the longest) essay " Is English We Speaking" is a comprehensive lecture on the language of Caribbean literature, one which every student of Caribbean writing should be made to read. In addition to Morris' discourse there is the list of texts he makes use of and to which he introduces the reader. The beginning researcher will be particularly well served by this essay.

In the preface Morris hints at a loose organizational layout with the first nine pieces and three of the later ones more concerned with oral engagement than the others. The reader might wish to introduce sub-categories or to make his/her own quite different categories which cut across those Morris recognizes. Of particular interest and usefulness are the essays on Namba Roy and Mikey Smith both of whom sometimes get overlooked in the rush to write about artists still alive and writers more well known but who have earned the recognition they have been given here. In both cases Morris accounts for their treatment (or lack of it) in the annals of literary criticism and gives the reader the background against which he makes his claims for them.

Geoffrey Philp and Claudia Rankine, born in Jamaica but writing out of the USA are part of a growing community of Jamaicans and other Caribbean people writing in North America in this case the USA. In the Essay "The American Light" Morris discusses the work of Rankine and Philp, the latter a more recent migrant than the former. His commentary on their work is insightful and certainly complimentary enough to send the student of Caribbean Literature to them and to others writers of similar history.

One might wish to create a category which places Philp with Andrew Salkey and Claude McKay ( both of whom have been given two essays) as people writing of home from a location outside of home; or Pauline Melville, Namba Roy,Samuel Selvon as artists writing in England at different times;or perhaps Mutabaruka and Brathwaite as poets who have always written from within the region. In the final analysis however this collection is not about categories it is about engageing the student of literature in discussions of a variety of concerns of the Caribbean literary writer and his/her craft.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Is English We Speaking and Other Essays
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?