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Shame Trees Don't Grow Here

Authors: Velma Pollard

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9780948833489

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A shame tree is a Jamaican symbol for the development of moral consciousness, and the poems in this collection explore the points at which moral values emerge - and the consequences of their absence. The poems suggest toughly that such consciousness does not grow without unremitting effort and scrupulous sensitivity to feeling, but there is nothing didactic or moralistic about them. They are imaginative recreations of the dramas of coming to consciousness and the inevitable ambiguities of truth. As in all Velma Pollard's work, there is a deeply imbued sense of Caribbean history.

"Tone and emotion range wider in Velma Pollard’s Shame Trees Don’t Grow Here... but poincianas bloom - from disgust, anger, and outrage to celebration, awe, and praise; from questioning and condemnation to understanding and reconciliation. The major thrust of the poet’s fire comes in the first part of the book where those who lacked or are lacking conscience and moral boundaries are drawn into Pollard’s unflinching scrutiny. Wildfire becomes hearth in part two where the beauty and life-enhancing qualities of land, sea, and people are celebrated. Throughout, the poet’s skillful use of language remains evident in, for example, her subtle, unobtrusive rhymes that lend musicality to her verse; her puns; double entendres; and other word play."
Marvin Williams, The Caribbean Writer

Velma Pollard writes poetry, fiction and studies of language. She was born in Jamaica and works at the University of the West Indies where she is Dean of the Faculty of Education.
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