Subversive Sonnets

By Pamela Mordecai

Subversive Sonnets
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These "subversive sonnets" overhaul the traditional sonnet form to address a range of subjects, from the tenderness of love to the terror of rape, punishment, torture, and murder. Mordecai has an unfailing ear for voices, for the music that sings and laughs and laments the stories ... Read more


Overview

These "subversive sonnets" overhaul the traditional sonnet form to address a range of subjects, from the tenderness of love to the terror of rape, punishment, torture, and murder. Mordecai has an unfailing ear for voices, for the music that sings and laughs and laments the stories of family, clan, and tribe. This is Pamela Mordecai's fifth collection of poetry.

Pamela Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai is a vital link between the literary worlds of Canada and Jamaica as a poet, editor, publisher, teacher, actor, and former TV presenter. A veteran anthologist, she co-edited the ground-breaking collections Jamaica Woman and Her True-True Name, the first collection of fiction by women from English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. She has published five other books of poetry, including the performance poems de Man and de Book of Mary. Mordecai has also published a short story collection, Pink Icing, and a novel, Red Jacket, that was a finalist for the Rogers Prize for Fiction. Her poems have been selected for numerous anthologies, including The Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse, The Heinemann Anthology of Caribbean Poetry, Eyeing the North Star, Sisters of Caliban, and Wheel and Come Again. Born and raised in Jamaica, Mordecai now lives in Kitchener, Ontario.

Reviews

"This is a remarkable book of sonnets which are subversive in wonderful ways. " --The Caribbean Writer

"Like Pamela Mordecai's other work, Subversive Sonnets is clever, witty, insightful and linguistically acrobatic. Never one to shy away from difficult themes, Mordecai employs the sonnet form to sing more than 'little songs'. There is organ music here too as thematically she moves between the bottomless deeps and praise of heaven's wonders. A courageous, affirmative, and--yes--entertaining read. A wise, highly crafted and satisfying exploration of life deeply lived in all its infinite refractions and life as we'd like it to be. " --Olive Senior, author of Dancing Lessons

"Subversive Sonnets is an astonishing achievement. Beautifully gloved in the materiality of everyday things and not-always everyday places, these poems yet push the reader towards speculative realms of gold, where real places also become mind places and homes of deep feeling. Mordecai readily takes us from the finely personal to wider grief for North America's, the Caribbean's, and all our sins, from the saucily bawdy to political fury and horror at a New World turned bitterly, bitingly old, or from a joyous bounce to subsequent personal loss and collective agony that can become skin-crawlingly terrifying. These sonnets are the achievement of years of a poet's wisdom. " --Timothy J Reiss, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, New York University

"Subversive Sonnets is sweet, acerbic, scintillating, and sassy. If you want to be right, you can't go wrong in reading these verses that modernize the sonnet, putting it in service of mischief, not only meditation. Mordecai has assembled a collection that is arrogant in its dazzle and provocative in its sizzle. Here's the real poetry, folks: thought given discipline and then set free to sing and/or singe. " --George Elliott Clarke E. J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature, University of Toronto

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