Olive Senior

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Personal Information Born Olive Marjorie Senior on December 23, 1941, in Jamaica; immigrated to Canada, 1991. Education: Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada), B.S., journalism, 1967. Career Daily Gleaner newspaper, Jamaica, reporter and sub-editor; Jamaica Information Service, information officer, 1967-69; Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, public relations officer, 1969-71; JCC Journal, editor, 1969-71; Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the West Indies, Jamaica, publications editor, 1972-77; Social and Economic Studies, editor, 1972-77; freelance writer and researcher, part-time teacher in communications, publishing consultant, and speech writer, Jamaica, 1977-82; Institute of Jamaica Publications, managing editor,…show more content…
Her first published work was titled The Message Is Change: A Perspective on the 1972 General Elections, and she also penned a series of educational booklets on Jamaican heritage for school children. Garnered Top Literary Prizes Senior was also writing poetry during this time, and her efforts began to appear in print. She gained an impressive measure of recognition with seven poems which were included in a seminal 1980 volume, Jamaica Woman: An Anthology of Poems, the first such survey of Caribbean women poets. While employed as managing editor for the Institute of Jamaica Publications, she published her first collection of verse, Talking of Trees. The 1986 work showed many of the hallmarks of Senior's later literary style, blending the personal and the political in a language that retained a strong Caribbean flavor. "Senior's poems are often elegant and spare, eschewing heavy rhythmic stresses or rhyme schemes," noted Denise deCaires Narain in an essay for the Dictionary of Literary Biography. "Her touch is always sure when the speakers in her poems, as is often the case, use the speech rhythms and idiom of Jamaican creole." In one of the poems in Talking of Trees, "Colonial Girls School," she describes a curriculum of Latin and Shakespeare, one that "told us nothing about ourselves ... / There was nothing of our landscape there / Nothing about us at all." Senior also wrote of the island and its natural riches in "Meditation
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