Colonization in Reverse

This study guide will help you analyze the poem “Colonization in Reverse” (1966) by Louise Bennett-Coverley. You can also find a summary of the poem, as well as ideas for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Louise Bennett-Coverley (1919-2006) was a Jamaican poet, writer, and folklorist. She is known for writing in Jamaican Patois and for celebrating Jamaican culture and tradition in her work. She also established the validity of local languages for literary expression. She was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 26 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she had received a scholarship. She also hosted radio shows and appeared in television programs and movies. The poem “Colonization in Reverse” was published in the 1966 collection Jamaica Labrish.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

Style of language

The language in the poem “Colonization in Reverse” is informal and conversational. The most notable feature of the poem is that the language it is written in is Jamaican Patois. The use of Jamaican Patois fits with the theme and setting of the poem and enhances the poem’s message. 

The poem mainly uses verbs to show the way Jamaicans are moving to England and what they will do once they get there: 

An week by week dem shippin off
Dem countryman like fire,
Fe immigrate and populate
De seat a de Empire. (ll. 21-24)...

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Colonization in Reverse

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