Jane King is very much present in these poems, though never in obvious autobiographical ways. She is the observant eye taking in the beauties and droughts, climatic and human, she sees in St Lucia and in the semi-public lives of her neighbours. Hers is also the inward eye that plumbs dream states, the unconscious and the alarming darkness that the free-floating imagination sometimes reaches. If the poems selected from her previous collections, In to the Centre and Fellow Traveller have a greater focus on the absurdities of race, the traps of history and the dread context of Caribbean postcolonial politics in the 1980s and early 90s, and witty acidic poems on gender and male betrayal, Performance Anxiety takes further those signs in the earlier collections that Jane King is a distinctively original explorer of the inner person, and of the world on the margins of perception.
King’s vision is honest and wide-ranging: encompassing the personal and the social in economically crafted poems that are black, disarming, and effective… If these poems are just the best Jane King can get on a bad day, we are frightened at the thought of what she might produce otherwise. Andre Bagoo