Poet Laureate Says Miss Lou’s Talents and Gifts Were Purely Jamaican

Photo: Adrian Walker Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison, makes a point while making a presentation on Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) at a ‘Four Women’ cultural series held on Sunday (March 18) at the Institute of Jamaica Lecture Hall, East Street, downtown Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison, says the talents and gifts possessed by cultural icon, Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou), were “purely Jamaican”.
  • Ms. Goodson said Miss Lou was a brilliant performer, adding that her work drew from, and took its shape and character from everything Jamaican, “the best and worst of us, but mostly the humour and the heartbreak of us”.
  • For her part, Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, called for “more public and scholarly” recognition of Jamaican writer and activist, the late Una Marson.

Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Lorna Goodison, says the talents and gifts possessed by cultural icon, Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou), were “purely Jamaican”.

Speaking at the second presentation in the ‘Four Women’ series held yesterday (March 18) at the Institute of Jamaica, downtown Kingston, Ms. Goodison said Miss Lou “was the first of us who really did that. She was not looking anywhere else and she was not trying to be the Shakespeare of Jamaica; she was the Louise Bennett of Jamaica”.

Ms. Goodson said Miss Lou was a brilliant performer, adding that her work drew from, and took its shape and character from everything Jamaican, “the best and worst of us, but mostly the humour and the heartbreak of us”.

Miss Lou was among four influential Jamaican female pioneers whose lives and contributions to Jamaica were discussed over the past two weeks at the ‘Four Women’ cultural series held at the Institute.

For her part, Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, called for “more public and scholarly” recognition of Jamaican writer and activist, the late Una Marson.

Miss Marson, who died in 1965 at the age of 60, produced poems and programmes for the BBC as well as plays such as ‘London calling’ and ‘Pocomania’.

The DPP said that despite the great strides made by Una Marson in making Jamaica known worldwide, “she is still virtually a stranger to many in her homeland and the wider diaspora world”.

She said that Miss Marson was a force to be reckoned with, and despite the challenges she faced during her lifetime, she did not allow that to stop her from reaching her goal.

The DPP, who read extracts from Miss Marson’s published works, ‘Heights and Depths’, said she should be highlighted during Black History Month, Jamaica Day or Women’s History Month.

Other presenters at the series were writer and poet, Rachel Manley; and Associate Curate and Research Officer at the IOJ, Shari Williams, who spoke on sculptor, Hon. Edna Manley; and opera singer, Mercedes Kirkwood, respectively.

The event was organised by the Jamaica Music Museum, in association with the National library of Jamaica.

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