For much of the last twenty years, Lorna Goodison's poetry has been concerned with finding or performing ceremonies that will both commemorate the past and engender new possibilities for the future. Drawing on the language and symbolism of Pocomania, Revivalism, Pentecostalism, and Rastafarianism, as well as Jamaican folk songs and stories, these poems explore Goodison's belief in the power of language to actually do things, to cleanse, heal, and strengthen. In I Am Becoming My Mother, Heartease, and To Us All Flowers Are Roses, Goodison takes on the roles of priestess and prophet to explore the public function of poetry as healing rite. They are roles that often entail personal suffering. In her more recent collections, Turn Thanks and Travelling Mercies, she turns her attention to more private rituals—those daily rites and ceremonies that perform "local miracles" and give one the strength to endure and start over. In the process Goodison seems to have found her way to "Heartease."


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pp. 19-32
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