Lorna Goodison awarded Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry

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The Jamaican poet Lorna Goodison has been awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry, Buckingham Palace has announced. Lorna Goodison is Jamaica’s poet laureate, and over her 34-year career has published 13 collections of poetry.

On receiving the award, she said: “I am honoured and deeply grateful. As one of a generation of Commonwealth writers whose engagement with poetry began with a need to write ourselves and our people into English literature, I feel blessed. And as a Jamaican poet who has always felt that my ancestors too are deserving of odes and praise songs, and who did not see them in what I was given to read, I am glad that I set out to write these poems.

“Love and justice, hope and possibility, healing and redemption are the themes I've always turned to, and that this enterprise has led to my being placed in the company of the memorable poets who have been awarded this medal before me is truly humbling.”

The Poetry Medal Committee is chaired by the poet laureate Simon Armitage, who received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2018. The medal will be presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2020.

Simon Armitage said: “As Jamaica’s current poet laureate, and through the many literary honours she has received, Lorna Goodison has come to be recognised as a hugely significant and influential contemporary author both at home and internationally. Through poems rooted in her Caribbean heritage and upbringing she has created a body of enchanting, intelligent and socially aware poetry in the authentic registers of her own tongue.”

Lorna Goodison was born in 1947 in Kingston, Jamaica. A painter before she turned her focus to poetry, she was educated at the Jamaica School of Art and the School of the Art Students League in New York. Her poetry collections include Tamarind Season (1980), Heartease (1988), Traveling Mercies (2001), Controlling the Silver (2005), Goldengrove: New and Selected Poems (2006) and Supplying Salt and Light (2013).

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