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What makes Lorna Goodison uniquely Caribbean?

What makes Lorna Goodison uniquely Caribbean?

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Published by Saneka Setram

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Published by: Saneka Setram on Oct 08, 2009
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06/26/2013

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Lorna Goodison entered the world of poetry in the 1970’s. Goodison’spublication of her book of poems entitled ” Tamarind Season ” in 1980 ,guaranteed her a place in history as one of the greatest female poet to haveemerged out of the Caribbean. In addition, Goodison has managed the feat ofstaying current and relevant in her issues with regards to the Caribbeansociety. Lorna Goodison is uniquely Caribbean, because she explores through theexperiences embedded in her poems the different avenues which have contributedto the Caribbean’s experiences.The critic Ayme Almendarez states that Goodison is a Caribbean poet who“allows for the reader to enjoy the use of the Jamaican language and images…”Goodison lives up to Almendarez’s statement by using a dialect found in Jamaica insome of her works. In the poems ” Fool- Fool Rose is Leaving Labour -in –VainSavannah” and “We are the Women” she makes use of the Jamaican dialect inorder for the Carribbean people to have a personal connection with her work.Caribbean people can identify closely with the creole words;
fool- fool fodder,Jackass , sankey and massa
in the above works mentioned respectively. Inaddition, Goodison makes use of the Caribbean saying, labor in vain, whenconstructing the title of “Fool-Fool Rose Leaving Labor- in -Vain Savannah.” Theverse; “sinkhole in river with rock salt and rose quartz”in theabove poem, brings to mind the imagery of the Caribbean landscape. ThusGoodison demonstrates she is uniquely Caribbean because she is using a type of
 
Caribbean dialect and gives vivid descriptions of Caribbean landscape in some ofher works.Ayme Almendaraz goes on further to state, many of Goodison’spoems express a deep connection to Jamaica with all its open wounds and beautyscars . They relate the realities of colonization and the struggles of a people.”Goodison has demonstrated constantly that concept over and over again. In herwork “ Name Change: Morant Bay Uprising” Goodison does what Caribbean poetsdo when they speak back to their former colonizers, offer a re- representation ofa misrepresentation she does this with the Morant Bay Rebellion which resultedin the death of Paul Bogle. She is showing why :“ for it was going to be hard to surviveif identified with the hung figurerevolving in the wind…”Several of Goodison’s work reflect issues of social and historical matters withregards to the Caribbean society. Through her work, she sets out to explore an erain slavery which has damaged the psyche of the Caribbean people, thusdemonstrating that the issues she addresses are Caribbean related.Goodison writes of selected situations, which are a part of the Caribbean’sexperiences. Through her works, such as , ‘’I am Becoming My Mother” sheexplores the relationships that exist between Caribbean mothers and daughters.
 
Goodison demonstrates she is uniquely Caribbean by showing that daughters in theCaribbean may follow in their mothers’ footsteps:“ I am becoming my motheryellow\ brown womanfingers always smelling of onions.”The poet incorporates Caribbean people’s ideology into some of her works. In Iam Becoming My Mother” she demonstrates this: ” My mother raises rare bloomsand waters them with tea…”Goodison is bringing to the forefront, old timeCaribbean people’s idea, that tea was the cure for all ills. Additionally, in “We arethe Women” she makes mention:‘’ with threadbags anchored deep in our bossomscontaining blood agreementssilver coins and cloves of garlicand an apocryphaof Nanny’s secrets.”These were Caribbean women’s ideologies when it related to the issue of protectionfor themselves and their husbands. In essence, she uses some of her poems torelate to the Caribbean people’s cultural practices and therefore, she is showingthat she is Caribbean minded. This poet often writes of the Caribbean experiencein which she speaks of the Caribbean women’s resilience in the face of adversity.Through her works such as “ The Lace Seller” she reflects on the life of a femalevendor who can be found regularly plying her ware on a typical Caribbean street

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