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Much of Lorna Goodison’s poetry is about the familiar. It is about her home and her culture, it is about food and tradition. Goodison immerses the reader in her world using several techniques. In “The Road of the Dread,” Goodison uses dialect. This is a clever tool that puts the reader in Jamaica without Goodison spelling it out for us. It also creates a kind of beautiful, lyrical language. The poem reads nicely and Goodison has very beautiful lines. For instance:

and yu catch a glimpse of the end

through the water in yu eye

I wont tell you what I spy

but is fi dat alone I tread this road

This stanza is an example of Goodison’s use of dialect as well as just pure beautiful language. There is something very ominous about this ending.  The image of an eye peering through a water droplet is eerie.  It ends with a road that seems to go on forever.

There is also a theme of journeys in Goodison’s poetry. In “The Road of the Dread” and “Always Homing Now Soul Toward Light,” Goodison talks about a journey.  In “The Road of the Dread” Goodison literally describes a road to talk about a journey.  Goodison seems to be talking about lonely journey, one that someone must take alone through life.  “Always Homing Now Soul Toward Light,” seems to be about a journey home.  There is something very ethereal about this poem.  Using words like “seduction” and “shining” gives this poem a very bright feeling.  It also seems to be talking about a personal journey, a finding of oneself.

Another example of Goodison’s use of the familiar is in her poem “Songs of the Fruits and Sweets of Childhood.” Goodison talks about food, relating it to the sweetness and simplicity of childhood.  Many of the foods she mentions are native to her culture, again highlighting Goodison’s tendency to craft gorgeous language through mundane images.  Sometimes, her language is not just beautiful but odd. For example:

Hot pink


like a fuchsia lipstick

This stanza is interesting and memorable. She compares the color to lipstick which is weird but strangely satisfying. It is a vivid image and that is exactly what Goodison wants, she wants you to remember the small and mundane and she does this successfully.


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