10 Jamaican Poetry Writers You Should Know - Jamaicans.com
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10 Jamaican Poetry Writers You Should Know

Lorna Goodison

Jamaica has produced some of the most lyrical and dynamic poetry writers in the world. They’ve written of love, culture, and controversial topics that continue to resonate in today’s society. They share a legacy of brilliant prose that shines brightly as a spotlight on the human condition.

Lorna Goodison

Lorna Goodison

Lorna Goodison

The poet and university professor was appointed Poet Laureate of Jamaica, received Jamaica’s Order of Distinction – CD rank, and is the winner of the Musgrave Gold Medal, OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry, and the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize. Goodison wrote 13 books of poetry, three short stories, a memoir, and essays.

Claude McKay

Claude McKay

Claude McKay


A central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, his most notable work was “Home to Harlem” and he was the recipient of the Harmon Gold Award. McKay was known for works that utilized Jamaican patois and he was active in political and social issues. He received the Order of Jamaica and was on the Molefi Kete Asante list of “100 Greatest African Americans.” McKay’s poem “If We Must Die” was in the film “August 28: A Day in the Life of People.” He won the Jamaican Institute of Arts and Sciences Musgrave Medal, the James Weldon Johnson Literary Guild Award, and Harmon Foundation Award.

Louise Bennett-Coverley

Miss Lou Louise Bennett Coverly

Miss Lou Louise Bennett Coverly


A poet, writer, educator and folklorist, she preserves her poems and other works in Jamaican patois. Bennett-Coverley appeared in the films “Calypso” and “Club Paradise,” produced a series of radio monologues, and hosted the children’s TV program “Ring Ding.” She’s won numerous awards including the Order of Jamaica, the Jamaican Order of Merit, and member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Joan Andrea Hutchinson

Joan Andrea Hutchinson

Joan Andrea Hutchinson


She’s a writer, storyteller, teacher, actress, and motivational speaker. Hutchinson writes poems and stories in Jamaican patois, has produced several CDs and audiocassettes, and her works include “Dat Bumpy Head Gal,” “Wild About Jamaica,” and “Anancy and Aunty Joan.”

Olive Senior

Olive Senior - Photo credit Caroline Forbes

Olive Senior – Photo credit Caroline Forbes


A novelist, non-fiction, and short story writer, she earned 16 awards that include the Musgrave Gold Medal from the Institute of Jamaica and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. Senior’s best-known works include “Gardening in the Tropics,” “Over the Roofs of the World” “Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage,” and “Summer Lighting.”

Roger Mais

Roger Mais

Roger Mais


A poet, novelist, journalist, and playwright, he won 10 first prizes in literary competitions, and was awarded the Order of Jamaica. Mais published more than 100 short stories and 30 stage and radio plays.

Kei Miller

Kei Miller

Kei Miller


The award-winning poet, writer, essayist and blogger is also a creative writing teacher. He was an International Writing Fellow and a visiting writer in Canada and British Virgin Islands. The Poetry Book Society named him as one of the 20 “Next Generation Poets.” Miller’s works have won 13 prestigious awards and he’s best known for “Augustown” and “The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion.”

Mutabaruka

Mutabaruka

Mutabaruka – Jamaican Rastafarian dub poet, musician, actor, educator


A poet, educator, songwriter, musician, and radio talk show host, he was awarded the Jamaican Order of Distinction – Commander Class. He expounds on issues ranging from inequality, injustice, poverty, religion, sexism, and the plight of black people around the globe. Mutabaruka appeared in the movies “One Love” and “Sankofa.”

Mervyn Morris

Mervyn Morris

Mervyn Morris


Morris was named Jamaica’s first Poet Laureate in 60 years. His awards include MCOBA Hall of Fame, CPTC Cultural Medal of Honour, Jamaica Order of Merit, Silver Musgrave Medal for Poetry, and 1958 Rhodes Scholarship. He’s best known for his poems “Little Boy Crying,” “Love Is,” and “Family Picture.”

Una Maud Victoria Marson
The poet and writer was the first black woman employed by the BBC during World War II. She produced poems, plays, radio shows and was an activist and feminist. She received the Musgrave Award from the Institute of Jamaica, founded the Jamaica Save the Children Fund, and was an important influencer in Caribbean creative writing.

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About the author

Denise Lee