Without a doubt, poetry is the first literary light that illuminates the dialectics around modern Virgin Islands literature, but it’s the narrative — the story — that shifts the discourse leading us directly into that light where straight talk occurs in the frank and engaging fiction of many of our writers. For me, this type of shift from the approving gaze of canon enforcers is profoundly exemplified in the literary works of Toni Morrison, who passed into the Forever Light of Literature on Aug. 5, 2019.

While having been married to a Caribbean man does not necessarily make Morrison a Caribbean author, the credit she receives for “transforming World Literature” as the first African American woman awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, reaches across region, space and race. In fact, one of the commentaries made about her is that she “resented any attempt to marginalize her work as that of a woman’s writer or an African American Writer. She was writing for all people at all times.”