Paperback Price: $15.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-938584-28-2

Selected Poem


Oh my sweet one, night doesn't call me
to roost inside your head, to fill
these small hours with my cawings.
As with all things, I am possessed
of a will wholly my own. So
you endure me by enduring
so morning comes again, cruelly
shining its face. If these words chafe,
first hear me out, for I am in you
as the river is inside the stone.
The truth you turn from has been
your companion from the start. Oh
my sweet, you will remember me,
anytime now, despite yourself.


“. . . McCallum beautifully incorporates the patois of her native Jamaica and employs myth as a way to deal with the mistakes and hurts of the past. [Her] striking poems take the madwoman out of her attic so that she may walk and speak among the living.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“McCallum’s words linger so that we may pick them up again, examine them like thoughts or whispers.”
Rain Taxi

Madwoman may be semi-autobiographical (most poems are), but, certainly, it reflects those voices living on the margins of society, voices full of authenticity, truth and lived experience but which are often unheard. Shara McCallum reminds us they are worth hearing by bringing us into their complex world.”
Poetry Matters

“In a major way, McCallum peels off the layers of what it is to be a woman. She jettisons poetic forms and can exact poetic norms without waiting for a reaction.”
—Washington Independent Review of Books

“McCallum’s poems read like a woman with an embroidery needle, looking out at the horizon while very attuned to the pattern she is creating with her thread.”
—Opal Palmer Adisa

“Female identity and cultural heritage entwine in this fierce, skillfully composed collection of poems.”
—Shelf Awareness

“The persona of ‘Madwoman’s’ contradictory conscience and memory strikes a dialogue with the poet’s younger self, and a sense of loss shadows all. . . . [A] beautifully designed book.”
—San Antonio Express-News

“There is a hunger in these lines that is furious and electrifying.”
—Nervous Poodle Poetry


“Shara McCallum is like a great marathoner traversing myth, mind, and memory. Her work steers us through the heart of troubled landscapes, as well as the landscapes of the troubled heart. ‘In the country where she lives which is no country, the madwoman maps desire’s coordinates onto her body,’ she writes in this wise, fiery new collection. There are no other poets writing with McCallum’s beautiful intensities of form and feeling.”

—Terrance Hayes

“These wonderful poems open a world of sensation and memory. But it is a world revealed by language, never just controlled. The voice that guides the action here is openhearted and openminded—a lyric presence that never deserts the subject or the reader. Syntax, craft and cadence add to the gathering music from poem to poem with—to use a beautiful phrase from the book, ‘each note tethering sound to meaning.’”
—Eavan Boland



  1. Prophet Man by Shara McCallum – Poetry International's Weblog - June 17, 2016

    […] McCallum is the author of five book of poems, including her forthcoming collection, Madwoman (which will be published in 2017 by Alice James Books in the US and Peepal Tree Press in the UK). […]