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Olive Senior: Biography

Ms. Senior was born in rural Jamaica, deep rural, really in the bush, and went to school in Montego
Bay. She grew up the daugther of peasent farmers, she grew up with well-off relatives whose lifestyle
was different then what it was went she was younger. Ms. Senior is the author of both poetry and short
stories. Ms. Senior explores the tension of urban and rural setting in her poetry and fiction. Olive Senior
was trained as a journalist, obtaining her degree in Canada from Carleton University in Ottawa in
1967. Also, she spent much of her life working in the book publishing industry in Jamaica. In her
writing, she adopts the girls point of view on such things as religion, and race, and Jamaican speech by
alternating from English to the Creolized language. Ms. Senior divides her time up by Toronto and
Kingston, Jamcica where she is a writer in residence at the Unversity of Alberta, Canada. She won the
Commonwealth Writers Prize, for Arrival of the Snake Woman (1989) and Discerner of Hearts
(1995). Some of her works are Talking Of Trees, Summer Lightning & Other Stories. Arrival of the
Snake Woman. Gardening in the Tropics. One of her most recent works is a book called "The View from
the Terrance". Ms. Senior said that "she wanted to present her writing to the Caribbean people as real
people, with fears and couage, the same as anybody else in the world". As we can see is that Ms. Senior
is a very real person that has been though a lot to get where she is right now. This helps in her writings
to become real to the reader and for us to get a picture in our head. Ms. Senior is a great writer who
appreciates the works that she writes.













Colonial Girls School by Olive Senior

Borrowed Images
willed our skins pale
muffled our laughter
lowered our voices let out our hems
let out our hems
dekinked our hair
denied our sex in gym tunics
and bloomers
harnessed our voices to madrigals
and genteel airs
yoked our minds to declensions in Latin
and the language of Shakespeare
Told us nothing about our selves
There was nothing at all
How those pale northern eyes and
aristocratic whispers once erased us
how our loudness, our laughter
debased us.
There was nothing left of ourselves
Nothing about us at all
Studying:History Ancient and Modern
Kings and Queens of England
Steppes of Russia
Wheat fields of Canada
There was nothing of our landscape there
Nothing about us at all
Marcus Garvey turned twice in grave.
Thirty- eight was a beacon. A flame.
They were talking of a desegregration
In Little Rock, Arkansas, Lumumba
and the Congo. To us mumbo-jumbo.
We had read Vachel Lindsays
vision of the jungle.
Finding nothing about us there
There was nothing about us at all
Months, years, a childhood memorising
Latin declensions
(For our language bad talking detentions)
Finding nothing about us there
Nothing about us at all
So, friend of my childhood years
One day well talk about
How the mirror broke
Who kissed us awake
Who let Anansi from his bag
For isnt it strange how
northern eyes
in the brighter world before us now

Pale?