cover image Caribbean Canvas

Caribbean Canvas

Frane Lessac. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, $14.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-397-32367-8

Lessac ( My Little Island ) has paired 19 West Indian poems and proverbs with her strong, lyrical paintings to evoke Caribbean island life. Framed by lush tropical plants, a policeman rides his bicycle, while in Mr. T's barbershop, a man gets a trim, and is admonished to ``live in de cement house, and no worry de hurricane.'' In St. Kitts, ``with swinging hips and steady stride,'' market women ``bring baskets down, / To feed the hungry town.'' Rendered in a flat, primitive style, Lessac's cheerfully folksy portraits--of teeming tropical fish, a vivid pink church--are the book's focus. And while aptly invoking native cadences, the poems are a sometimes uneasy balance of colloquial voices and others, more studied, from the American poetic establishment. All ages. (Oct.)