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Shelly-Ann Harris serves up 'The Goodies on Her Tray' for 'Emancipendence'

Tuesday, August 05, 2014    

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AUTHOR Shelly-Ann Harris has released a collection of poetry titled The Goodies on Her Tray in the midst of Jamaica's celebration of 'Emancipendence' — a coin termed to describe the observance of Emancipattion Day and Independence Day on August 1 and 6, respectively.

Launched online, the collection provides insight and perspective on a wide range of themes, including women's search for love and balance, relationship issues, Jamaican culture, history and faith.

According to the award-winning writer, "The collection walks the lanes and alleys of this journey with compassion and honesty; giving voice to the assortment of circumstances in which women find themselves while exploring key issues around happiness, relationships and beauty."

"This collection also captures the vexing undercurrents of Jamaican culture and the Jamaican heritage of church and faith," she added

Speaking of the importance of the arts in national development, Harris noted that "we need to strategically use the arts to help us - as women and as a people - to process and make sense of our realities and spur us on to make better decisions both on a personal and national level. The literary arts are so important in this regard."

The 56-page collection is available in digital format at Amazon.com and the print version will be released before month end.

A winner of several writing competitions, Shelly-Ann was the Red Bones Poet of the Year in 2008, third-place winner in the International Society of Poets Competition Las Vegas, 2007 and award recipient in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Creative Writing Competition for her recent play "Extradition Request." Her literary works have also appeared in the literary sections of the Jamaica Observer which at different times were coordinated and edited by the late Wayne Brown.

Here's Your Bill is a poem from the collection.

Here's Your Bill

The island sun bakes a pie

sweetened with cane fields

and calluses of the past.

It is served by oxen hands

offered with wines and spirits,

dating back hundreds of years.

Luxury ships slice through waters

Thick with secrets, with shadows.

In those unshackled vessels,

They come here: 'to the islands', safe.

Retribution still lurks in time's ocean.

And service now comes with a price:

all the smiles. 'Good Morning, Sirs,'

'You're Welcome, Mams,'

attract a fee;

'Here's Your Bill.'

(I wonder if Massa told his children

to settle those old debts?)

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