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Zion Roses

A powerful second collection of poems in a constant dialogue between four quadrants of engagement: with history, with landscape, with personal and family experience and with the worlds of literature, music and art.

£9.99

Author(s)
Monica Minott
ISBN
9781845235178
Pages
72
Price
£9.99
Classification
Poetry
Setting
Jamaica, United States of America
Date published
4 Mar 2021

In Zion Roses, her second collection, Monica Minott’s poems grasp the reader’s attention with a voice that is distinctively personal, both taut and musical – and tender and muscular when the occasion demands. Her language moves seamlessly and always appropriately between standard and Jamaican patwa, a reflection of a vision that encompasses a Black modernity still very much in touch with its aphoristic folk roots, where the ancestral meets Skype or a Jonkonnu band is stuck in a Kingston traffic jam. It is possible to see Minott’s poems as being in a constant dialogue between four quadrants of engagement: with history, with landscape, with personal and family experience and with the worlds of literature, music and art. Minott’s sense of history is deeply informed by a knowledge of the brutalities of commercial empire and of slavery and Black people’s struggles against injustice and for selfhood. There is scarcely a poem that does not have some precisely described sense of the materiality of its circumstance and the interactions between the physical world and human feelings. You sense that what sustains a certain bravery of self-exposure and of risk is a sense of belonging to family histories that have taught endurance, of knowing that loss can be gain (and this is certainly a world into which tragedy intrudes) and the experience of “running from extremity to extremity, to glory”.  In literature and the arts, books are “bright lamps to light away dark hours”, and the examples of musicians like Don Drummond and Rico Rodriquez, artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and dancer Barry Moncrieffe point to the possibilities of the transcendent arising out of the everyday. Literature is a way of seeing that connects “Telemachus,/ original rasta and broomseller” of the Kingston streets to the Ulyssean world of voyaging and of seeking a home.

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Monica Minott

Monica Minott is a chartered accountant and poet. She has received two awards in the Jamaican National Book Development Council’s annual literary competitions for book-length collections of her poetry

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