chapter  51
10 Pages

Anthologizing the Caribbean


In terms of ‘freezing a culture at a particular moment in time’, several early anthologies were excellent examples; as Leo Oakley reminds us, ‘To be a good patriot in those days, one had to be an Anglophil [sic] and an empire man!’ (1970: 16). Voices from Summerland, a collection from the members of the Jamaican Poetry League, was published in 1921. The poetry followed Romantic and Victorian poetic models with an emphasis on landscape, often written by expatriate English men and women. Theirs was an outsider’s perspective, as the title suggests. Norman E. Cameron published Guyanese Poetry: 1831 to 1931 which similarly privileged colonial models and Eurocentric ideologies. In 1932, Songs of Empire, edited by Constance Hollar, was published to commemorate a visit from the Prince of Wales and Prince George to Jamaica. Poets sang the Empire’s praises in page after page of sentimental, affected poetry. ‘England, How I love Thee’ was the offering of J.E. Clare MacFarlane, the founder of the Jamaican Poetry League.