Between The Fence And The Forest
Comparing herself to a douen, a mythical being from the Trinidadian forests whose head and feet face in different directions, Jennifer Rahim's poems explore states of uncertainty both as sources of discomfort and of creative possibility.
Jennifer Rahim
ISBN number
Country setting
Trinidad and Tobago
Publication date
20 Aug 2007

The poems explore a Trinidad finely balanced between the forces of rapid urbanisation and the constantly encroaching green chaos of tropical bush, whose turbulence regularly threatens a fragile social order, and whose people, as the descendants of slaves and indentured labourers, are acutely resistant to any threat to clip their wings and fence them in.

In her own life, Rahim explores the contrary urges to a neat security and to an unfettered sense of freedom and her attraction to the forest 'where tallness is not the neighbour's fences/ and bigness is not the swollen houses/ that swallow us all'. It is, though, a place where the bushplanter 'seeing me grow branches/ draws out his cutting steel and slashes my feet/ since girls can never become trees'.

Jennifer Rahim is Trinidadian. She also writes short fiction and criticism. She is currently Senior Lecturer at The Liberal Arts Department, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad.


Jennifer Rahim

Jennifer Rahim (1963-2023) was an award winning Trinidadian writer of poetry, fiction and literary criticism. Her books of fiction include Curfew Chronicles: A Fiction (2017), which won the 2018 overall OCM Bocas prize for Caribbean Literature, and Songster and Other Stories (2007). She has written several poetry collections. Approaching Sabbaths (2009) was awarded a Casa de las Américas Prize in 2010. Redemption Rain: Poems was published in 2011 and Ground Level: Poems in 2014. Sanctuaries of Invention (2021) is her latest poetry collection.
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