Poetry News

Jamaica's Next Poet Laureate: Lorna Goodison

By Harriet Staff

Lorna Goodison

Lorna Goodison is the second official poet laureate of Jamaica and the first woman to hold the title. A native of Jamaica, Goodison studied at the Jamaica School of Art and the School of the Art Students League in New York. (She painted, before writing poetry.) Caribbean arts and culture journal, Susumba writes: "Goodison picks up the mantle from Professor Mervyn Morris, who was the first Poet Laureate of Jamaica appointed by the government." More:

Goodison, who has authored 12 books of poetry as well as short story collections and a memoire will be invested as Poet Laureate of Jamaica on May 17, 2017, at a ceremony held at King’s House in Kingston. She will serve in the post from May 2017 through to May 2020.

Currently one of Jamaica’s most celebrated writers, Goodison has received a Gold Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica, and a Jamaica National Order of Distinction (Commander Rank). Her collection I Am Becoming My Mother won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Americas region (1986) while Oracabessa earned the OCM Bocas Prize for poetry in 2014.

The National Library of Jamaica administers this most recent iteration of Jamaica's Poet Laureate program; a previous version of the program was led by the Poetry League of Jamaica.

Originally Published: March 24th, 2017