Jamaican-born Una Marson was a poet, journalist and broadcaster. An important figure in both the inter-war feminist and anti-colonial movements, her poetry reflected these themes. In 1930 Marson self-published Tropic Reveries, her first book of poetry. Initially dismissed by some as trite, Marson’s poems – such as ‘In Vain’ and ‘Love Songs’ – challenged patriarchal views of womanhood.

Remarkably, Marson was the first Black female newspaper editor in Jamaica and first Black female BBC producer. Under her direction, the BBC Caribbean service ‘Calling the West Indies’ (1939–42) programme evolved into Caribbean Voices (1943–58), ‘one of the most important catalysts for Anglophone Caribbean writing’.

Poems shown here include:

  • ‘In Love’ (p. 1)
  • ‘If You Were Mine’ (p. 16)
  • ‘Renunciation’ (p. 20)
  • ‘In Vain’ (p. 27)
  • ‘A Prayer’ (p. 40)
  • ‘Weariness’ (pp. 76–77)
  • ‘To Wed or Not To Wed’ (pp. 81–82)