“This is an accomplished and pleasing first collection. Poem after poem make us sit up and think, sometimes smiling at the low-key irony, as we follow the variety of personae and topics. One of the striking areas of interest is the poet’s imaginative projection of the African heritage of Jamaicans, and, in this regard, her subtle use of folk beliefs and idiom.”
Edward Baugh, author of Black Sand: New and Selected Poems
“We say the best poems on the tongue contain the spiritual sounds of a culture, and here, the poetry in Monica Minott’s Kumina Queen carries forward personal and ancestral memories line by line, song after song; here are poems that define and celebrate the contours of a life and the force of a people joyously bound together between earth and sky.”
Major Jackson, author of Holding Company and Roll Deep.
“Cultural inheritance is a recurrent feature in this rich collection. The title poem presents a persona “schooled in containment” who wishes to skip over generations keeping her in, and “dance the dance” of an earlier ancestor. Celebrating the range of Jamaican language (English, patois and various combinations), the poems explore “an ache coded / in the bloodline”; they often refer to family and female figures in African Jamaican history or legend (such as Nanny and River Mumma) who have confronted challenges. In various shapes and voices, many of the pieces also reflect cosmopolitan experience, revising classical myth (“Penelope to Calypso”), touring foreign cities (including Venice) and viewing international art. This is an impressive book.”
Mervyn Morris, author of I been there, sort of: New and Selected Poems