Essays Grace Nichols Poems

Grace Nichols's Poetry

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Grace Nichols - 'Praise Song for My Mother' - Annotation

Annotation prompts for Grace Nichols' 'Praise Song for My Mother'.

'Praise Song for My Mother' is an autobiographical poem about Nichols' mother. Grace Nichols -- poet, teacher, journalist -- was born in Guyana 1950 and spent her first eight years living in a small coastal village, before her family moved to the capital (Georgetown), where she experienced Guyana's struggle for independence from the UK. Emigrated to England in 1977 with partner, John Agard. Nichols' mother died when she was 21 -- before she had left Guyana. Nichols said in an interview it is a "very personal poem and does capture for me something of her spirit". For her, she was "reconnecting with her memory".

Praise songs are a type of poem of African origin -- to celebrate the lives of the people being described. In African Literature, praise songs would have been part of the oral tradition, handed down from generation to generation. They are an important part of African culture and often reflect the modern world as well as the traditional. 

The annotation prompts are a supportive tool, intended to encourage further analysis and interpretation. 
Grace Nichols - ‘Hurricane Hits England’ - Annotation

Annotation prompts for Grace Nichols’ ‘Hurricane Hits England’.

‘Hurricane Hits England’ is about the clash of cultures between Guyana and England. Grace Nichols stated that the poem was sparked by a large storm that hit England in 1987. “Hurricane” = severe, often destructive storm, especially a tropical cyclone. 

Nichols – poet, teacher, journalist – born in Guyana 1950 and spent her first eight years living in a small coastal village, before her family moved to the capital (Georgetown), where she experienced Guyana’s struggle for independence from the UK. Nichols emigrated to England in 1977 with partner, and poet, John Agard.

Nichols stated in a BBC interview that she feels “at home” in Guyana and England and “tend to want to embrace both worlds”. The storm made a big “psychic impression and connection”. “The sound of the wind…seemed as though the voices of the old Gods were in the winds”. “For the first time I felt very close to the English landscape…it seemed like the earth was one”.

The annotation prompts are a supportive tool, intended to encourage further analysis and interpretation. ​

Grace Nichols' Island Man

1830 Words8 Pages

The mood of this poem is very soothing and is a sense of relaxation and security. Grace Nichols is showing that the island mans first home is the Caribbean. “the steady breaking and wombing.” The word “wombing” is a made up word by the writer. It has many associations but it makes us the readers imagine a place of comfort and security but more importantly a sense of home and belonging. The reason why this image is put in to the readers mind is because babies grow in the mothers’ womb, so we could say that the womb is everyone’s “first home”. The word ‘wombing’ can also mean his mother land.

The first line in this poem is only taken up by one word, ‘morning’ this may represent a peaceful approach to the day. I came to this conclusion…show more content…

This signals to the reader that he is not actually in this place. This makes me imagine that he carries his homeland in his head. This also gives you an idea that island man is both in London and Caribbean.

The writer makes us envision a scene of beauty and only something we can dream of. The scene is also revealed as precious to the island man. “small emerald island” portrays that the island is an emerald. An emerald is very hard to get and in many cases people could only dream of getting one. The writer uses a technique called a metaphor. The reason why the writer uses this technique is because it allows the reader to imagine the scene better. For example the writer compares an ‘emerald’ with the ‘island’. Emeralds can be green this then represents green tress and most islands usually have a lot of trees.

Grace Nichols describes the sun as a positive image. ‘the sun surfacing defiantly’ makes the reader picture an image of the sun climbing in to the sky. The word ‘defiantly’ allows the sun to stand out. ‘sun surfacing defiantly’ could also represent that he doesn’t want the sun to rise, he just wants to lye here in his small island and just relax but know matter what he does the sun still rises.

Another technique the poet uses is something called sibilance which is a repetitive s sound. The sound of the s is actually trying to recreate the sounds of the island as well as having the mellow imagery of the blue surf. One of the examples the letter s creates

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