Mervyn Morris

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Mervyn Eustace Morris OM (Jamaica) (born 1937) is a poet and professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. According to educator Ralph Thompson, "In addition to his poetry, which has ranked him among the top West Indian poets, he was one of the first academics to espouse the importance of nation language in helping to define in verse important aspects of Jamaican culture."[1]


Mervyn Morris was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and studied at the University College of the West Indies (UWI) and as a Rhodes Scholar at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In 1970, he began lecturing at UWI, where he went on to be appointed a Reader in West Indian Literature.[2] In 1992 he was a UK Arts Council Visiting Writer-in-Residence at the South Bank Centre. He lives in Kingston, Jamaica, where he is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & West Indian Literature. Morris has taught at the University of the West Indies since the 1960s.[3]

In 2009, Morris was awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit. In 2014, Morris was appointed the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, the first to be accorded the title since the country Independence (the previous holders being Tom Redcam, who was appointed posthumously in 1933, and John Ebenezer Clare McFarlane, appointed in 1953).[4][5] The investiture ceremony took place at King’s House on 22 May.[6][7]


Morris has published several volumes of poetry, and has edited the works of other Caribbean writers. His collections include The Pond (revised edition, New Beacon Books, 1997), Shadowboxing (New Beacon Books, 1979), Examination Centre (New Beacon Books, 1992) and On Holy Week (a sequence of poems for radio, Dangaroo Press, 1993). He also edited The Faber Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories and published "Is English We Speaking", and other essays. In 2006 Carcanet Press published his I been there, sort of: New and Selected Poems.[8]

The best known poems by Morris include: "Little Boy Crying", "Family Pictures", "Love Is", "One, Two", "Home", "The Roaches", "The Pond" and "Critic".

Selected bibliography[edit]



As editor[edit]

  • Seven Jamaican Poets - 1971
  • The Faber Book of Contemporary Caribbean Short Stories - Faber & Faber, 1990. ISBN 978-0571152995 (pb)
  • (with Jimmy Carnegie) Lunch Time Medley: Writings on West Indies Cricket – Ian Randle Publishers, 2008. ISBN 978-9766372828 (pb)
  • (with Carolyn Allen) Writing Life: Reflections by West Indian Writers – Ian Randle Publishers, 2008. ISBN 978-9766373290 (pb)


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]