A follow-up to her book Kumina Queen, Jamaican poet Winsome Monica Minott’s new work Zion Roses, takes us into the world of history, art, lived experiences, forgetting, and belonging with ferocious dignity. Her poems are biting, sharp around the edges, eliciting such emotion the reader becomes emotionally entangled in the words. ‘Under A Darker Sun’ takes you on such a journey:
…As he entered me, I shuddered. Stone upon stone.
Surely I would suffocate, would die. Cold upon coal,
a searching hand found my land, ripped a thin veil
before a disarticulated body surrendered. I fainted…
Rhythmic, powerful, defiant, Minott’s poems evoke memories of pain, of joy, of revelation.
It’s not often that you get a poet whose words strike at the heart of one’s own experiences so profoundly that it leaves you breathless. Minott is one of them. She not only touches on ancestral and African roots, her creativity, although at times opening old wounds, also takes one on a path to healing. She weaves in life’s everyday routines that we all can relate to — the marvels of childhood memories, watching ‘mama’ at her daily chores, interpretations of contemporary themes. Yes, multiple themes, but all woven together by a common thread — the shared history of familial voices that runs through all of us.
The tempo of Minott’s poetry gets into our heads and mimics our own heartbeats. That’s why we feel so connected when we read a poem like Set Sail. It speaks of a dislocated soul longing for the warmth of reconnection to one’s natural beginnings. It’s about the choices we make in life. Whether right or wrong, it is what it is, she intimates. So, we reminisce, we question, we bawl, but in the end ‘wih nash with teet and bear it!
However, all is not lost in Minott’s world. Zion Roses, the book’s closing poem, tells us so. She concludes with optimism, yet warns: Although life offers us roses, beware the thorns, it wih jook yuh! Nonetheless, with inherited connection, compassion, eloquence we can create a trail of “the sweet smell you carry” as we steadily climb this uphill battle called life.
Book Title: Zion Roses
Author: Winsome Monica Minott
Publisher: Peepal Tree Press
Publication Date: 2021