In 2014 the Jamaican government conferred the title Poet Laureate to Mervyn Morris, poet and professor emeritus. This was the first time since the country’s independence in 1962. Prior to that time three people were conferred this title by the colonial government. In May this year Lorna Goodison will succeed Morris as the island’s poet laureate. Here is an excerpt from the Poetry Foundation on Lorna Goodison.
Goodison (1947) was a painter before turning her focus to poetry. She was educated at the Jamaica School of Art and School of Art Students League in New York.
Her numerous poetry collections include Tamarind Season (1980),Heart ease (1988), Traveling Mercies (2001), Controlling the Silver (2005),Golden grove: New and Selected Poems (2006) and Supplying Salt and Light (2013). She is also the author of the short story collections Baby Mother and the King of Swords (1990), Fool-fool Rose is Leaving Labour-in-Vain Savannah (2005) and By Love Possessed (2011), as well as the memoir From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People (2007), which won the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and was a finalist for both the Trillium Book Award and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.
Her work is also featured in numerous anthologies, including the Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry (third edition, 2003), the Longman Anthology of British Literature (third edition, 2006) and the Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry (1996).
This position does not exist in most of Western Europe, except the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. I wonder why?
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Updated June 2020