Wednesday 7 October 2009

Tezcatlipoca & Guest blog for Bernardine Evaristo

This week I'm delighted to be a guest on Bernardine Evaristo's blog. Bernardine's latest novel Blonde Roots made the Orange Prize Longlist, then was shortlisted for the Orange Youth Panel Award, which it won. My guest blog is titled A Suitcase-full of Hummingbirds and explores the relationship between images and my poems and how I draw on my training as an artist in my poetry. This image from my guest post of a suitcase-full of hummingbirds in pyjamas prompted me to write my poem 'The Strait-Jackets' in The Zoo Father.

One source of imagery for me has been Mexico, both Frida Kahlo and Aztec mythology. I love this animation of Tezcatlipoca the Aztec night jaguar/ trickster god, twin to the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl. I used Aztec mythology in my third collection
The Huntress, all about my mother who suffered from severe mental illness and seemed to me as a child and teenager to be a powerful trickster, always changing faces, some quite terrifying. However, the fire/ice jaguar in this animation is a beautiful creature, and I hold on to the idea that there was some beauty within her under the terror.