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A Fat Black Woman's Poems - SL IB English

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Amanda T

on 13 September 2013

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Transcript of A Fat Black Woman's Poems - SL IB English

The Poems
Deepest purple
or pale green white
the star-apple is a sweet fruit
with a sweet star brimming centre
and a turn back skin
that always left me sweetly
sticky mouth
hanging in abundant
bunches on the fat knuckled
guenip tree
melting like small moons
on my tongue
the succulent green gold
of the fruit kingdom
Having a mango
sweet rainwashed sunripe
that the birds themselves woulda pick
if only they had seen it
a rosy miracle

take it from mih hand
About Grace Nichols
A Fat Black Woman's Poems
By: Grace Nichols
Grace Nichols is from Georgetown, Guyana, a small town on the coast of Guyana, South America.
When she was eight years old, her family moved to the city.
She got a diplomma in communications from the University of Guyana
She worked as a teacher, as a journalist and in government information services
Nichols emigrated to the UK in 1977 with her partner
A lot of her poetry is characterised by Caribbean rhythms and culture
She was also largely influenced by Guyanese & Amerindian folklore
Her first collection of poetry, I is a Long-Memoried Woman, won the 1983 Commonwealth Poetry Prize.
She is Christian, after being influenced by the many religions in the UK and multi-cultural society.
She lives in Lewes, East Sussex, with her partner, Guyanese poet John Agard.
"Sweet" - connotations of being good. She could be trying to say that even though she is fat and black, it does not mean that she is bad
"rainwashed sunripe" - meaning she is natural, real, imperfect
"woulda" & "mih" - she is speaking to us as friends, in her accent.
She is showing that she is not from this part of the world
Why Nichols Wrote This Poem
Guenips is repeated in the poem stressing the importance of the fruit. This fruit is only grown in hot climates such as Guyana
Line 2: "hanging in abundant" Indicates that there are many. This could signify the many friends and family that she had all around her
Line 6 has a metaphor of the guenips melting like small moons. In Guyana it is very hot compared to the cold weather in the UK.
Line 7 describes the guenips as "succulent green gold".
This shows the imagery that Nichols wishes to share with us of her home
Line 8 describes the fruit as coming from the fruit kingdom. This fruit is only available to her in her kingdom/home but not in the UK
By describing the fruit colour, she could be talking about people looking different on the outside and being judged for being "different"
The fruit itself is not too appealing to look at which could be why she used this fruit as the centre of her poem
The brimming centre could be comparing it to how people with an unappealing exterior may be the nicest and sweetest people on the inside.
The poem is about mangoes
Sweet when they're ripe and sour when they aren't
Tropical fruit
On the surface, the poem is about her offering a mango to someone
Deeper Meaning...
Nichols may have written this poem after she moved to the UK. She did not have any friends and it is possible that this was her message to show that sometimes new is good and it may be a good idea to give a chance to
As this woman is new to moving to England, she doesn't have any friends. She is offering the "mango" as offering up some information about herself to others
She is trying to show that she is approachable
On the surface, this poem is about another fruit: star-apple
The fruit is described as a deep purple or a pale green white.
The centre of the fruit is in the shape of a star and is described as "brimming"
Fruit is described as refreshing and has a sweet-tart taste similar to sweet tea
Digging Deeper...
Overall, Grace Nichols uses these three poems to show the differences in consumption and habits.
She is paralysed by the contradictions between the UK and the Caribbean and uses the fruit to show contrast her home country and her new country.
pg 47
The poem is talking about the fruit (spelled guinep) grown in Central and South America
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