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Jaffo the Calypsonian

Ian McDonald's poetry embraces Caribbean possibility with a romantic fervour which still acknowledges what is harsh and painful in the region. He has both the gift to see 'the ibis-bird in pigeons' and an ironical consciousness of the poet's gilding eye.


Ian McDonald
Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana
Date published
1 May 1994

There are love poems of lyric grace and stunning simplicity; exuberant paeans to nature in all its beauty, fierceness and cruelty; narratives which grip and characters who are powerfully memorable. Here is a celebration of life which is made all the more intense by the consciousness of mortality which lurks behind every vivid occasion.

Readers who have enjoyed Ian McDonald's recent work in the much praised collections Mercy Ward and Essequibo will be delighted by these earlier poems, only a few of which have been available to date in anthologies and Caribbean literary journals.

'[McDonald's] poems invariably 'leap with colours' - literally and figuratively - making his readers, like the small boys in 'The Seine Pullers', 'smile brilliantly with excitement'.' - Patricia Harkins, The Caribbean Writer.

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Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald was born in Trinidad in 1933. After attending school in Port of Spain he went to university in Cambridge to read History. He was a gifted tennis player and captained both the Cambridge and the West Indies Davis cup team. He first went to Guyana in 1955 and has lived there ever since.

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