This vision of contraries is rooted in an intensely sensuous apprehension of the physical world. She observes the Caribbean’s foods and flora with exactness; makes them emblematic metaphors that are often rewardingly oblique; and uses them as starting points for engagingly conversational meditations on aspects of remembered experience. There is a witty play between food and sexuality, but counterpointing her celebration of the erotic, there is a keen sense of the oppression of the female body. In her poem ‘Bumbu Clat’, for instance, she explores the deformation of a word that originally signified ‘sisterhood’ to become part of the most transgressive and misogynist curse in Jamaican society. In this doubleness of vision, the term ‘womanist’ was invented to describe Opal Palmer Adisa’s work.
Opal Palmer Adisa is a Jamaica-born, award-winning poet, educator and storyteller. Anthologised in over 100 publications, she is a regular performer of her work throughout the USA and presently lives in Oakland, California, when she is not traveling.