Toronto writer Pamela Mordecai is a well-known voice in poetry of the Caribbean diaspora. She has long been a popular anthologist, a mentor to other writers, a frequent contributor to literary journals, and a vital link between the literary worlds of Canada and Jamaica; Certifiable ... Read more
Toronto writer Pamela Mordecai is a well-known voice in poetry of the Caribbean diaspora. She has long been a popular anthologist, a mentor to other writers, a frequent contributor to literary journals, and a vital link between the literary worlds of Canada and Jamaica; Certifiable presents a maturing vision of women's lives in both of her homes. Certifiable celebrates experience shot through with affection, family attachment, and madness.
The poems in the first section, "Just a Likl Loving," explore the truths hidden beneath the ideal of love: love as comfort, love as currency, love as deathtrap. "Sister Sequence" embraces the fullness of sisterhood, from the conceptual "sister muse" as a power in the world to the ambivalent love among flesh-and-blood sisters. "Certifiable," the final section, springs from intimacy with little and big madnesses.
The rhythms and rhymes of the creole soundscape crackle through Certifiable. Mordecai's deft hand wordplay flows through and beyond standard English and the Creole continuum to reveal the characters in Certifiable and record their experiences.
Pamela Mordecai was born in Jamaica. She has published five collections of poetry and an anthology of short fiction. She has also written many textbooks and edited or co-edited groundbreaking anthologies of Caribbean writing. Her poetry for children is widely anthologized. Her poems have been shortlisted for the Canada Writes CBC Poetry Prize and the Bridport Prize (U.K.). She is the recipient of the Institute of Jamaica’s Centenary and Bronze Musgrave Medals, the Vic Reid Award for Children’s Writing, and the Burla Award. Pamela lives in Kitchener.
"Sharp-witted. .. [Mordecai] uses rhyme and metre comfortably, applying these old devices to archly contemporary language. .. verifiably fine. "
— George Elliott Clarke
"Certifiable invokes subversive, irreverent, but infinitely lyrical Jamaican women's voices and affirms their singing, not to deny suffering, but to give account of it, in a complex emotional landscape and without sumission or despair. "
— Elaine Savory
"Very rich linguistically, imaginatively, and thematically. "
— D.M. Thomas
"In Certifiable, language is both weapon and redeemer. Pamela Mordecai's facility with language, her striking rhythms and word play, and, above all, her wicked humour lift Certifiable from the pull of madness to the divine. "
— Olive Senior
"Rhythmic verve combined with linguistic vivacity both recreates experience — heady, sensuous, intoxicating, dangerous, painful — and contains it, wittily and wisely. "
— Edward Baugh