Mervyn Morris

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Mervyn Morris
Mervyn Morris

(1937-02-21) 21 February 1937 (age 82)
Known forPoet Laureate of Jamaica

Mervyn Eustace Morris OM (Jamaica) (born 21 February 1937)[1] 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."[2]


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.[3] 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.[4]

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).[5][6] The investiture ceremony took place at King's House on 22 May.[7][8]


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.[9]

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]


  • The PondNew Beacon Books, 1973. ISBN 978-0901241160 (hb
  • On Holy Week – Dangaroo Press, 1976. ISBN 978-1871049671 (pb)
  • Shadow Boxing – New Beacon Books, 1979. ISBN 978-0901241344 (pb)
  • Examination Centre – New Beacon Books, 1992. ISBN 978-1873201091 (pb)
  • I Been There, Sort Of: New and Selected Poems – Carcanet Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1857548297 (pb)


  • "Is English We Speaking", and other essays – Ian Randle Publishers, 1999. ISBN 978-9768123633 (pb)
  • Making West Indian Literature – Ian Randle Publishers, 2005. ISBN 976-637-174-1 (pb)
  • Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture – Signal Books, 2014. ISBN 978-1908493972 (pb)

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)


  1. ^ "Professor The Hon. Mervyn Morris, OM", The Library - University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica.
  2. ^ Ralph Thompson quoted in "Professor Mervyn Morris Named First Poet Laureate In 60 Years", The Gleaner, 15 April 2014.
  3. ^ "Mervyn Morris Biography",
  4. ^ "Mervyn Morris", Carcanet Press.
  5. ^ Balford Henry, "Mervyn Morris first Jamaican Poet Laureate since Independence", Jamaica Observer, 16 April 2014.
  6. ^ "Prof Mervyn Morris officially invested as Poet Laureate of Jamaica" Archived 23 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Jamaica Observer, 22 May 2014.
  7. ^ Andrea Braham, "It's Official for Poet Laureate Professor Mervyn Morris", Jamaica Information Service, 23 May 2014.
  8. ^ Rowe, Marcia (2014), "Poet Laureate Morris Honoured At King's House", Jamaica Gleaner, 24 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  9. ^ Carcanet Press - I been there, sort of, Carcanet Press.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]