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Mother Jackson Murders the Moon

A vivid cast of characters throng these poems. There is Mother Jackson, the ole hige who lays out her thoughts like a mortician, who is both creator and destroyer.

£7.99

Author(s)
Gloria Escoffery
ISBN
9781900715249
Pages
60
Price
£7.99
Classification
Poetry
Setting
Jamaica
Date published
19 Mar 1998

A vivid cast of characters throng these poems. There is Mother Jackson, the ole hige who lays out her thoughts like a mortician, who is both creator and destroyer. There are the players of the Rootsman Theatre of the Absurd, such as fallen politician Julian Lapith, who knows too well the power of incantation; Dub Deacon Lapith with his Sankey soul; poor Bedward Lapith with his millenarian dreams of flight; Busha Godhead self swoopsing down to intervene in human affairs and - the heroine of the cast - Aliveyah, to whom nature speaks direct by the nudge of a beak.

And there is, of course, their creator, Miss G.E., who shares with us the 'rockstone passion of a Jamaican country bumpkin born and nurtured in Arcadia'. Whether in her celebrations of domestic happiness in a house where even the chairs talk, or in her satires on Jamaican life, Gloria Escoffery writes with a visionary intensity and fantastical imagination which is all her own. And though she feels it is no joke to be three people - old woman, young girl and child - who don't quite understand one another, Miss G.E. cannot but write her love letter to the world.

Elaine Savory writes in The Caribbean Writer: 'This is both an entertaining, whimsical cycle of poems and an intriguing one. The series of poems which opens the collection is peopled by characters such as Mother Moon herself and Aliveyeh, who ""has been stepped over so often / she maintains the dignity of an upright posture"" (9). There is a strong voice here, refusing the rhythmic grace of lyricism and preferring a conversational tone which is often interesting and unsettling in a good way. Escoffery mostly has the core gift of successful poetry, which is to be surprising. There are many lines which unsettle the reader’s expectations and demand a revisioning of words in their relations to one another, ""... Spring happens for her / regardless of impertinent bystanders"" (10); ""In the general jubilation / every act of love is warmly tolerated"" (11). ""Miss G"" (30) celebrates being so much alive, creative and joyous in her seventies - and where we too celebrate a woman of so much generosity of spirit and sheer, admirable nerve.

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Gloria Escoffery

Gloria Escoffery was born in 1923 in Gayle, St Mary, Jamaica. Her father was a government medical officer and her mother was a professional violinist and Bridge champion. The family (who are white Jamaicans) can trace their arrival in Jamaica in the late 18th century, probably from Haiti after the revolution of 1790. She was educated at St Hilda’s School and was Jamaica Scholar in 1942. She studied at McGill University (Montreal), Slade School of Fine Art (London) and at the University of West Indies School of Education.

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