The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems


The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems



McCallum’s poems reflect her rooting in a Jamaican experience unique for her childhood in a Rastafarian home filled with reckless idealism, the potential for profound emotional pathology, and the grounding of old folks traditions. Her work has explored what it means to emerge from such a space and enter a new world of American landscapes and values. The Face of Water collects some of Shara Mccallum’s best poems, poems that establish her as a poet of deft craft (and craftiness), whose sense of music is caught in her mastery of syntax and her ear for the graceful line. She manages in these poems to enact the grand alchemy of the best poems—the art of transforming the most painful and sometimes mundane details of life into works of terrible and satisfying beauty. McCallum demonstrates eloquently her debt to the poetics of the Caribbean and of North America, even as she establishes herself as a vital voice in the later tradition of poetry written in mutable language, English. As poet she feels no hesitation about turning that language into a very personal music. The Face of Water is an excellent introduction to the poetry of Shara McCallum, a vital and exciting poet of pure elegance.

From Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of This Strange Land, Song of Thieves, and The Water Between Us. She teaches and directs the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University.



Publication Date



Peepal Tree Press


Leeds, UK