Song of Thieves delves into issues of racial identity and politics, the immigrant experience, and the search for “home” and family histories. In this follow-up to her award-winning debut collection, The Water Between Us, Shara McCallum artfully draws from the language and imagery of her Caribbean background to play a haunting and soulful tune.
In these spare, sensuous, and lyrical poems, McCallum seeks to explore love and loss by navigating the bridge which joins the one to the other.
Opens a whole new world. . . . Reading this book is testament to the sustaining fire of poetry.
McCallum dances along the brink of experience with a taut and maturing lyricism that seizes the breath and lifts the word into flight. Writing of family and community in her native Jamaica, she gives the sense of the music of the place, a culture steeped in the singularity of a rich patois and spirituality, McCallum emerges with an evocation that is celebratory. . . . balances the hard sobriety of elegiac whisperings with the whimsy of myth and folk characters.
Rich with imagery, with longing, memory, and self-assertion.
From Jamaica, and born to a Jamaican father and Venezuelan mother, Shara McCallum is the author of six books published in the US & UK, including No Ruined Stone. McCallum’s poems and essays have appeared in journals, anthologies, and textbooks throughout the US, Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Israel. La historia es un cuarto/History is a Room, an anthology of poems selected from across her six books and translated into Spanish by Adalber Salas Hernández, was published in 2021 by Mantis Editores in Mexico. In addition to Spanish, her poems have been translated into Italian, French, Romanian, Turkish, and Dutch and have been set to music by composers Marta Gentilucci and Gity Razaz. Awards for her work include the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (for her previous book, Madwoman), a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, the Oran Robert Perry Burke Award for Nonfiction, and the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize (for her first book, The Water Between Us). McCallum delivers readings, lectures, and workshops at universities and literary festivals in the US and internationally and has taught creative writing and literature at various universities. She is presently on the faculty of the Pacific Low-Residency MFA and is a Professor of English at Penn State University. McCallum was appointed the 2021-22 Penn State Laureate.