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View from Mount Diablo

Written by N. Cunningham for Pure Class on no date provided

It was a turn out of who’s who in Jamaican literary circles last Sunday at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, as Ralph Thompson launched his collection of poems, ‘The View From Mount Diablo’.
A novel written in verse, ‘The View From Mount Diablo’ explores the transformation of Jamaica from a sleepy colonial society to a post colonial nation where political corruption, armed gangs and drug wars have become the norm.

Guest speaker and long time friend Wayne Brown, noted that Jamaica has always been blessed with an abundance of literary talent, of which Ralph is among the brightest. 

'This island is truly blessed with persons like Edward Baugh, Lorna Goodison, Louise Bennett, Claude McKay, Clyde Walcott and a really talented 18 year old named Safiya Sinclair, who reads dictionaries for pleasure. With the book, ‘A View from Mount Diablo’, you can read it time and again and each time you will find some new joy and all the time, you will feel the essence of Jamaica past and present coming at you.'

Describing Thompson as a man of uncommon character, Mr Brown added that his depiction of socio-political matters was insightful. He said the seriousness with which Thompson tackled the issues in his work is even more uncanny, when we consider that he is Caucasian and his ethnicity may, to some, have meant that he could not relate to the harsh realities of some of the social issues on which he touched.

Winner of the 2001 Jamaica National Literary Awards, Thompson’s previous publications include ‘The Denting of a Wave’ and ‘Moving On’, both published by Peepal Tree Press.

In his response, Thompson shared glimpses of his past reflected in his poetry, some of which he read to the gathering. 'Some of you may know that I came from a poor family that lived off South Camp Road in a house which is now the Gun Court and obviously there has been some influence that manifest itself in my poetry. Life is very similar to poetry and when we realise that then we can add the rhyme and rhythm to our life.'

This is a review of View from Mount Diablo

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