Pamela Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai has published eight collections of poetry, five children’s books, and a collection of short fiction, Pink Icing, first published by Insomniac Press and recently released as an audiobook read by herself in ECW Press’s Bespeak Audio Editions. Her debut novel, Red Jacket, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award, one of Canada’s top prizes for literary fiction. Mordecai is well known internationally for her children’s poems, which have been widely anthologized as well as used in language-arts curricula in the Caribbean, India, Malaysia, UK, USA, and West Africa. A veteran anthologist with several collections to her credit, she has a special interest in the writing of Caribbean women. She has published numerous language-arts textbooks for the Caribbean, most of them with the late Grace Walker-Gordon. A play for children, El Numero Uno or the Pig from Lopinot, had its world premiere at the Young People’s Theatre in Toronto in 2010 and its Caribbean premiere at the Edna Manley School for the Performing Arts in Kingston in 2016. With her late husband, Martin, Mordecai wrote Culture and Customs of Jamaica in a series edited by Peter Standish, originally for Greenwood Press. A trained language arts teacher with a PhD in English, she was for many years publications officer in the Faculty of Education, UWI and publications editor of the Caribbean Journal of Education. She has also worked in media, especially television. In 2015, Mordecai was filmed reading her first five poetry collections, as well as some poems and stories for children. The video recordings can be accessed at https://mordecai.citl.mun.ca. She lives in Toronto and has three children and a granddaughter.

A Fierce Green Place

Poetry by Pamela Mordecai

Edited by Carol Bailey Stephanie Mckenzie

With a contribution by Tanya Shirley

A Fierce Green Place: New and Selected Poems brings together, across the span of thirty-plus years, the rebellious, innovative work of the Jamaican-born Canadian writer Pamela Mordecai. From her acclaimed first collection Journey Poem, to the moving elegy for her murdered brother in The True Blue of Islands, to the stories of freed slaves told in Subversive Sonnets, and on to her dazzling reimaginings of biblical stories, this collection—Mordecai’s first book published in the US—highlights the astounding range and depths of a poet whose poetry has been described by Kamau Brathwaite as “brilliant,” by Kwame Dawes as “deeply felt and immaculately crafted,” and by Edward Baugh as “heady, sensuous, intoxicating, dangerous, and painful.…
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Mordecai illuminates the challenges of life at the crossroads of race, class and gender. Her subjects are diverse, her storytelling immediate – especially in her use of a vibrant, dynamic language that superbly articulates an irrepressible Jamaican spirit.
—The Star
Mordecai’s work gives us courage and reminds us to live fully, both in language and in the world. It is also specifically a witness to Caribbean history, Jamaican realities, and personal love and grief. It is, in short, brilliantly gifted, blessed, and true.
—Elaine Savory, author of Jean Rhys
Pamela Mordecai’s facility with language, her striking rhythms and wordplay, and above all her wicked humor, lift her poetry from the pull of madness to the divine.
—Olive Senior, poet laureate of Jamaica
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