New Book: “Give the Ball to the Poet”

CET cover

SWAN (Southern World Art News) featured a new anthology of poetry titled Give the Ball to the Poet, edited by Georgie Horrell, Aisha Spencer, and Morag Styles. Illustrated by Jane Ray, the collection includes an introduction by Grace Nichols, and work by seasoned writers such as Louise Bennett, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Velma Pollard, Olive Senior, Derek Walcott, and Benjamin Zephaniah, as well as emerging figures. Here is an excerpt of the review:

Timed to coincide with the 2014 World Cup and the Commonwealth Games (23 July to 3 August in Glasgow, Scotland), the book has its own exciting tempo, with memorable word-play by writers from across the Caribbean region.

The poems are also set against the dynamic backdrop of illustrations by artist Jane Ray, giving the whole collection a colourful, sensuous flair.

“We tried to represent the past, the present and the future of Caribbean poetry,” says Morag Styles, Professor of Children’s Poetry at Cambridge University and one of the editors of the anthology along with Georgie Horrell and Aisha Spencer.

“Readers will find the uniqueness and music of the Caribbean here, and there are some delightful new voices alongside the more established poets,” Styles adds.

Poetry lovers will recognize the works of well-known writers such as Benjamin Zephaniah, Louise Bennett, Derek Walcott, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Olive Senior and Velma Pollard, among others, while the emerging generation of poets includes Kei Miller and Shara McCallum of Jamaica.

Aimed primarily at students aged 11 to 16, the anthology will appeal equally to grown-ups as the poems range from humourous and cheery to serious and provocative.

The main emphasis is on Caribbean poetry as it is spoken, according to the editors, thus many of the poems seem to call out to be read aloud.

[. . .] Published by the Commonwealth Education Trust, Give the Ball to the poet is an outcome of the Caribbean Poetry Project, which is a collaboration between The University of the West Indies and the Centre for Commonwealth Education at the University of Cambridge.

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