Duppy and Other Jamaican Poems Written in Patois

Ghost Ship "Duppy"

Ghost Ship “Duppy”

Welcome to my collection called Duppy and Other Jamaican Poems Written in Patois.  I have tried to write these because I find the Jamaican language, Patois or Patwa, to be very lyrical. Sadly, it is not something that I speak well, but still I enjoy trying! Perhaps the best known proponent of poetry written in the Jamaican language is the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley. My efforts here are nowhere in the class of Miss Lou’s story-telling virtuosity, but at least you now know that she exists, if you did not do so before, and you can try your hand at reading these in the phonetic style in which they are written before tackling her works of art.

So far, I have only two poems in this genre, (after all, it IS a second language for me – something that I learned informally from my peers in high school along with my French) but I promise you that I will try to add to them as time passes, and as I learn more about being Jamaican, and about the technicalities and textural subtleties of creating Jamaican poems written in patois.

I recognise that it may seem a bit ambitious to label these two… I was tempted to write “few” but I will save that for later… poems as being a separate “anthology”, but for me, the courageous thing was to have ANY Jamaican poems written in patois.  I have not yet found the courage to try with the French, but we will see in the coming months just how far I have evolved.

Of course, you won’t be surprised to read that the idea has just occurred to me that I should have written this entire introduction in Patois… (((SIGH)))

If you are interested in reading some more about Jamaican folklore please click here or there for an incredible collection of stories, songs and riddles!

Please visit Poetry.org is you want to try your hand at writing your own poems. It is a phenomenal resource for beginning, and even seasoned poets!

3 Responses to Duppy and Other Jamaican Poems Written in Patois

  1. mike l says:

    lyrically written and a pleasure to read aloud in my head. This seems like a difficult way to write and you’ve done it beautifully.

  2. Will & Lori says:

    Ms. Tennant, a funny, lyrical, hypnotic story, I found myself lost in the cadence and flow of the language; saying it in my head automatically put the accent in the right places and suddenly I was understanding patois in a way I never had before. Bravo!

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