De Man: A Performance Poem


81 pages
ISBN 0-920813-23-2
DDC C811'.54




Photos by Martin Mordecai
Reviewed by Roger Nash

Roger Nash is a professor of philosophy at Laurentian University, and
the editor of Spring-Feaver: An Anthology of Poems from the Ontario
Division of the League of Canadian Poets.


This book was written in response to a request to provide “something
for Good Friday” for a Jamaican Catholic congregation. Though
subtitled “a performance poem,” it could also be described as a
religious drama that takes the form of eyewitness accounts of Christ’s
crucifixion. The work features two observers not mentioned in the
Gospels, both of whom speak in Jamaican English: Naomi, a maid in the
service of Pilate’s wife; and Samuel, old and disabled, who was once
taught carpentry by Joseph. It also challenges tra-ditional beliefs
about the Second Coming. Why shouldn’t the Messiah return as a
Jamaican (or in a wheelchair, as a woman, etc.)? Mordecai uses a form of
phonetic spelling to suggest the sound of Jamaican English; this
approach tends to reduce the accessibility of the text.


Mordecai, Pamela., “De Man: A Performance Poem,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024,