Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Audrey Jean McLaren

Audrey often says that she was writing poetry long before she knew how dynamic and therapeutic poetry is. She reminisces about the times when a favourite playmate moved away, and from her heartbreak, she moulded a poem; or when she was punished and from her anger emerged poems that calmed her soul. Some of her best poems were written after a dear friend died and her only consolation came from the jubilation of the poems as they came to light.

It was while coping with the loss of this friend that Audrey decided to complete her M.A. degree and publish her first anthology of poems. She named the book, Bareface Pickney. The book, however, is not about death. Quite the opposite! It takes you through all the corridors of life and intoxicates you with giggles as you immerse yourself in the antics of the barefaced child.

Audrey was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica. She grew up in Duhaney Park, and lived most of her adult life in St. Catherine. She has been a high school teacher since 1986, and while living in Jamaica she taught History at Norman Manley High School and Immaculate Conception High School. She immigrated to Pickering, Ontario in 2000. By 2001 Audrey was back to the job of teaching. After working as a supply teacher for both the Durham District School Board and the Toronto District School Board, she accepted a permanent job with the latter.

In 2007 she published her second book, I am the Djembe. A book that celebrates desires, wants, love, family, life. I am the Djembe reveals the new Audrey. It reveals a poet who believes that the whole expanse of the world is there for her pen to seduce. It hails a poet who writes about two cultures in two languages and loves every verse of it; a poet who plays with adult material and advocates for children.

Audrey has done most of her poetry readings in schools, at Jamaican cultural events, and on Jamaican radio and television. She is excited about Random Acts of Poetry and hopes to put a smile on the lips and a poem in the hearts of the residents of Pickering and Toronto.

No comments: