Interview with Tanya Shirley: She Who Sleeps with Bones, the Kingston Poetry Scene, and Contemporary Caribbean Poetry

Stephanie May McKenzie


In this interview, poet Tanya Shirley, raised in and writing from Kingston, Jamaica, and well-received in both the Caribbean and elsewhere, talks about the city of Kingston and its poetry scene, her debut collection (named a 2009 Jamaican bestseller in the Jamaica Gleaner),She Who Sleeps with Bones, the art and craft of writing poetry, and her sensibility as a poet, woman and writer of both the Caribbean and the world. The interview is a fluid conversation between interviewer and poet and maintains its conversational nature. One learns by reading this interview, too, about the publishing industries devoted to producing Caribbean poetry as well as the lack of publishing options in the Caribbean. Shirley spends significant time discussing the technical aspects of writing as well as the sensibilities which shape her poems.


Caribbean Poetry; West Indian Poetry; Publishing in the Caribbean; Kingston, Jamaica; feminism; poetic techniques;

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