April 1, 2008

Lorna Goodison's "From Harvey River" in the New York Times

Lorna GoodisonLorna Goodison is a Jamaican poet, a leading West Indian writer of the generation born after World War II, currently dividing her time between Jamaica and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she teaches at the University of Michigan. Her most recent book, From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island (Amistad), was reviewed by Lisa Fugard in Sunday Book Review of the New York Times on March 30, 2008.

Here is an excerpt from the review:
In July 1954, 7-year-old Lorna Goodison left her home in Kingston, Jamaica, to spend the summer with her aunt in the village of Harvey River, a 14-hour drive away. Her maternal great-grandfather William Harvey, an Englishman, had given his name to both the swiftly flowing river beneath the Dolphin Head Mountains and the town that grew up along its banks. Young Lorna ran wild that summer — roaming the countryside, knocking fruit from the trees, eating picnic lunches with her cousins among the tombstones of her ancestors. This seemingly idyllic spot would, she writes, “shape my imagination for the rest of my life.

Give thanks to Rethabile and Marcia Mayne for alerting me to the review.


April is National Poetry Month and starting tomorrow, the work of poets from the Caribbean and South Florida will be featured. The series begins with "Summer, Florida Keys" by Ricardo Pau-Llosa.



Stephen A. Bess said...

Nice. I am reminded of my time growing up between Washington, DC and North Carolina. There is so much information and history. It all makes a great story.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I don't bother with memoirs/biographies as a rule but when a commentator on my site told me about the book, and then it was nominated for the Charles Taylor Prize I had to get it. Going to the bookstore to pick it up today. Thanks for linking to the review.

Anonymous said...

I am presently reading Lorna Goodison's book From Harvey River, and I can hardly put it down. I just remember so much of my childhood and adult days in Brown's Town, St. Ann, Jamaica. I also had such a wonderful memory of my late mother when I read where Lorna said she "dreamed her mother" who told her it wasn't such a good thing for people who were alive to mix too much with people who were dead. It just reminded me of something my own late Mama would say also. Brought a tear to my eye. I am absolutely enjoying this book, and laughing as I read!!

JYBailey-Rodgers said...

Just finished reading Goodison's "Frpm Harvey River".Could not stop laughing, will buy copies for my sisters. So many memories of my childhood in Jamaica. What a glowing tribute to her mother and her ancestors. Knew the author when we were both teenagers and am very proud of her. Kudos Goodison.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Dear Bernadette,


Glad you liked it. It's one of these books that I had intended to review, but I haven't gotten around to it.

It was an immensely pleasurable read.