The poems in this collection display a remarkable energy from a writer now in his eighties: effortlessly exploring the grand themes of ambition, rebellion, innocence lost, memory, love and death. The selected poems, some significantly revised, retain their original lustre and now enter into rewarding dialogue with a range of new works - tough in their honesty, witty in their insights, and universal in their appeal.
Hailed as a “superb craftsman” by the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English, Thompson is at home in many forms: free verse, rhymed quatrains, haiku and villanelles – in patois or standard English. The centrepiece of the new work is a long poem, ‘The Colour of Conscience’, which explores the dynamics, personal and social, of being a white poet in a black country.
Ralph Thompson is a leading Jamaican poet. His most recent collection, View from Mount Diablo (Peepal Tree Press, 2009, 2nd ed.), won the 2001 Jamaican National Literary Competition and was hailed as “a remarkable achievement” by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louis Simpson. His work has been published in many international journals, including The London Magazine, as well as The Heinemann Book of Caribbean Poetry (1992) and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse (2009).