Paperback Price: $19.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1882295869

Selected Poem


Somewhere a woman with my face
sits alone in a kitchen,

leading my other life, the one
I exchanged when I entered a room

never meant for me.
Copper light saturates the window.

I sit drinking tea and you enter,
carrying spring in your arms:

bouquet of fire lilies, purple bells, white stars.
Your skin browned from sun.

A thief, I snatched this world
from my other’s gaze—

round, expectant as the empty cup
in which she still swirls her spoon.

This Strange Land

(Paperback w/ Audio CD)

“[In This Strange Land] McCallum crafts a world filled with marvelous ideas about the everyday reality of urban Jamaica, a world of contrasts in which romance and protest make strange bedfellows, where ‘‘beauty and violence lie down together.’”
Review: Literature of Arts of the Americas, Issue 86, Vol. 46, No. 1, 2013, 160-161

“McCallum’s new poems mark a terrific quantum leap in maturity, complexity, and depth. [This Strange Land] appears to be a determined fusion of past and present, of general and personal history, towards a collective memory that would encompass us all.”
—Michela A. Calderaro

This Strange Land poignantly and appropriately begins with ‘Psalm for Kingston,’ a poem that calls out to a violent city and its resilient inhabitants. The voices of Kingston…are brought up and left to fade into the fabric of the verse… It is a fitting way to introduce a book that is in search of what feels almost lost and yet ever-present.”
—Thom Dawkins, Weave Magazine

“These are poems of ruin and rebirth, of the joys and damage a mother knows…This is a marvelous collection filled with a lovely and evocative music. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Jean Rhys could be the presiding spirit of this moving collection, which mines deep veins of loss and displacement. The personal and the political converge in new ways in these finely crafted poems, and readers should be prepared for unexpected turns and genuine surprises.”
—Lorna Goodison

This Strange Land is a remarkably accomplished book, ranging from childhood to parenthood, Jamaica to America, in a way that feels integrated and organic. With mature hindsight, Shara McCallum revisits early experience with a piercing clarity (even in dialect, as in the wonderful ‘Miss Sally’ poems), exposing its undercurrents in the present. Intimate, serious, and beautifully crafted, these poems scrutinize the griefs and beauties of familial life and memorialize them with meticulous care.”
—Chase Twichell

“Chinua Achebe spoke of a literature of the future in which the ‘horizon extends to include all the world.’ Shara McCallum’s dazzling new work brings that oceanic sky-line close. Exploring the specifics of a marginalized culture, she challenges and deepens the idea of the universal. She has the poet’s gift to complicate your stance towards your own language and times. This Strange Land might turn out to be home after all—McCallum’s creation is not just an overwhelmingly real place, but a confrontation with history, an exploration of the maelstrom of the family, and a poetics of extraordinary lyricism and urgency.”
—D. Nurkse

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