Chinese Lanterns from the Blue Child
Anthony McNeill was without doubt amongst the finest contemporary Caribbean poets, whose previous collections, Reel from 'The Life Movie' and Credences at the Altar of Cloud, were hailed as works of immense originality. Chinese Lanterns from the Blue Child won the 1995 Jamaican National Literary Award. Completed shortly before his death, it is a farewell to the world which moves like a bird in flight between moments of painful regret, wry humour and a sense of closure. Anthony McNeill's word-lanterns will continue to flame in the darkness long beyond his death.
Anthony McNeill
ISBN number
Country setting
Publication date
01 Mar 1998

"Somebody is hanging:
a logwood tree
laden with blossoms
in a deep wood.
The body stirs left
in the wind;
if the wind could send
its miracle breath
back to that person,
I tell you it would.
Love is Earth's mission
despite the massed dead.
On the night of the hanging
the Autumn moon bled."

Elaine Savory writes: 'McNeill's lightness of touch is deceptive, for his language is often like a coiled steel spring, beautiful, tensile and complicated, even when he is writing of familiar elements of the natural world in the Caribbean, ""At sunrise / at moonset / The sky on the sea / submits a faint lantern / Underneath more coral declines"" (13) or of commonplace but central emotional abstractions, ""Love is Earth’s mission / despite the massed dead"" (17).
'This is a volume to own and to read and reread, a collection of poems by a poet who fought against silence and won, leaving us an exquisite commentary of his own mortality and its necessary experience through words, for him as poet, and for us, who are left with his work.'

Anthony McNeill was born in Jamaica in 1941 and died in 1996. His previous collections include Reel from 'The Life Movie' (1972) and Credences at the Altar of Cloud (1979).


Anthony McNeill

Anthony (Tony) McNeill was born in Kingston, Jamaica, the son of an elected member of the Legislative Council. He attended Excelsior School and St George's College in Jamaica; took his first degree at Nassau Community College, an MA at Johns Hopkins University in Writing Seminars in 1971, an MA/PhD at the University of Massachusetts in 1976.
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