Jamaica Baldwin


Jamaica (she/her) is a poet and educator originally from Santa Cruz, CA. Her first book, Bone Language, will be published by YesYes Books in June 2023. Her work has appeared in Guernica, World Literature Today, The Adroit Journal, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and The Missouri Review, among others. Her accolades include a 2023 Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a RHINO Poetry editor's prize, a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, as well as the San Miguel de Allende Writer's Conference Contest Poetry Award. Jamaica has also served as a community based teaching artist with Writers in the Schools - Seattle, Louder Than a Bomb - Great Plains (an affiliate of Nebraska Writers Collective), and taught a generative writing workshop for women in Guatemala. Her writing has been supported by Aspen Words, Storyknife, Hedgebrook, Furious Flower, and the Jack Straw Writers program. Jamaica has a PhD from the University of Nebraska -Lincoln in English with a focus on poetry and Women's and Gender Studies and she is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College in New York. Source

excerpt from “Windfall”

Sometimes, I am reminded that so many of the references I carry
in my body are occupied by white women and   I am lost


in an ocean of memories, worlds beneath worlds
of ocean that should be kept hidden, as all sacred things
we want to keep from being policed must be kept hidden. Like


language. Once, I learned Morse code. Spent a weekend
at Pidgeon Point Lighthouse with a ham radio, tapping greetings
to kids in Russia then waiting for their response in return.


When I think about lighthouses, I think of us eager to reach across
borders, or that Sinéad O’Connor song about the woman forever


waiting for her man to return from sea, but when I think of men
who disappear, never to return, there’s always the image of my father


who made a practice of it until leaving was the one thing he perfected.

In death he’s become a soft-spoken man, not silent, but quiet.

Not a whisper, but a windfall. When he speaks, I’m only a kid reaching.


I’m a woman alone in a lighthouse with underwater memories, always

waiting. Some nights, I search my body with a flashlight for signs of a future.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


a break between words within a metrical foot

Conditional Statement

statements of an “if-then” or “unless-then” situation (although “then” is not used), or a probability

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”