There is a refreshing astringency of vision, a cathartic toughness in the way Gray's poetry confronts the remembered humiliations of childhood poverty, adult disappointments and mature regret. But though there is a shunning of all false consolations, there is room for wry and stoic humour which prevents any tendency to bleakness in these poems. There is also celebration of moments of joy and those persons such as the Misses Norman and Miss Maingot who offered the liberating gift of education and access to books.
Above all, Gray's poetry consistently delights both mind and the senses with its inventiveness and rigour in the working out of metaphor, the taut energy of its rhythmic patterns and sometimes rhyme.
Cecil Gray was born in Trinidad in 1923 and has had a distinguished career as a Caribbean educator. He now lives in Canada.