Cayman to join international poetry celebrations

| 26/03/2015
Cayman News Service

Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette reading a poem at Poetry Parnassus

(CNS): As the local talent pool of poets, storytellers and songwriters grows, the government has begun taking steps to join in UNESCO’s World Poetry Day next year. This year the day was marked earlier this month and Cayman took part in a limited way but the chief officer in the ministry responsible for culture, Jennifer Ahearn, said Cayman will actively observe the day in future.

Thanks in large part to the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s (CNCF) many programmes and events, such as Gimistory and various poetry workshops, over the years local talent has developed and officials are hoping more people will begin to appreciate the literature which is being created.

“Literature and poetry, especially oral, is entrenched in the Cayman Islands, from storytelling to songs and poems,” said the Deputy Chief Officer Nancy Barnard from the ministry. “We encourage members of the public to seek out the poetry and publications of resident poets.”

She suggested people track down local poetry work, such as “Grown from this Ground” by Leonard Dilbert, or find out more about local poets and storytellers such as Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, who represented Cayman at Poetry Parnassus, held in conjunction with the Olympics in London in 2012.

Roy Bodden, Quincy Brown, Alta Solomon, Damian Thaxter, Jamal Nugent, Kevin Creary, Michael McLaughlin, Melissa McField, Umberto Scano, Pal De Cruz-Jones, Krisha Arch, Gordon Solomon, Arikka Ebanks, Randy Chollette, Tish Scott, Priscilla Pouchie, Chelsea Walton, Michel Powery, Nicolas Ramos Lopez, Karolyn Smith, Mathew Hylton, Fiona Pimentel, Peter Westin, Barbara Garcia Anselmo, Lady Rabia, Sophia Mc Kenzie and Eugene Christian or just a few of the people leading Cayman’s literary arts.

There are a number of groups and clubs encouraging this creative growth too, such as Culture Jam, Floetry, Nosotros, Better Read than Dead, and various personal book and poetry clubs.

For many years the Ministry of Education’s annual National Children’s Festival of the Arts celebration has also encouraged and facilitated creative expression, with an annual book of youth poetry, and other creative writing, printed at the end of the arts celebration.

In 1999 UNESCO designated March 21st as “an invitation to reflect on the power of language and the full development of each person’s creative abilities.”   The agency also “supports linguistic diversity through poetic expression and offers endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities”.

For more information visit UNESCO’s website.


Category: Language, Poetry

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