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
ISBN number
Country setting
Trinidad and Tobago
Publication date
01 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.

Image of Ian McDonald smiling in suit

Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald was born in Trinidad in 1933. He read History at Cambridge and was a gifted tennis player and captained the Cambridge, Guyana and West Indies Davis Cup teams. He first went to Guyana in 1955 and was Director of Bookers and then of the Guyana Sugar Industry and then CEO of the Sugar Association of the Caribbean. A long-time columnist for the Stabroek News, he is the author of ten books of poetry, a novel, The Hummingbird Tree (a BBC Drama), and has edited two major anthologies of West Indian writing. He lives in Guyana.
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