Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, has lauded the exceptional work of Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 2017-2020, Lorna Goodison, for her contribution to culture and education.
“Throughout her tenure she has elevated brand Jamaica, globally and right here at home. The focus work of Lorna in the field of education and culture at varying levels through the deep examination and careful production of Jamaican poetry helped propelled Jamaica forward and we are extremely proud of you,” she said.
Speaking at a Poet Laureate of Jamaica appreciation ceremony, held on Friday, October 10, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, Miss Grange said that Ms. Goodison’s extensive list of achievements is indicative of her international and local acclaim.
The Minister noted that the Jamaican poet is the 2019 recipient of the Gold Medal for Poetry from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11 of the United Kingdom and has been elected as an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Science.
“These awards have come to Lorna within her final months of service as Poet Laureate of Jamaica. These accolades follow three years of selfless service to the youth of Jamaica through the envisioning and implementation of meaningful programmes,” Miss Grange added.
The Minister said that Ms. Goodison’s contribution included “poetry training, self-defence, women empowerment and forging of international partnerships with Jamaican social causes and institutions.”
“Your work as Poet Laureate has come to a close, having edited ‘New Voices: Selected by Lorna Goodison, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, 2017-2020’, which will be the most recent publication of the National Library of Jamaica,” she noted.
Miss Grange also congratulated this year’s recipients of the Helen Zell: Young Writers Prize for Poetry Competition, who were present at the function.
“You have taken up the mantle of excellence passed on from our cultural masters to now leave your own indelible mark on society through your musings and your creations,” she said.
Four winners of the Poetry Competition received awards and cash prizes of US$1,000.00 each, courtesy of the Helen Zell Writers’ Programme at the University of Michigan and the sponsorship of Ms. Goodison.
The awardees are Romardo Lyson, who received the Edward Baugh Prize for Poetry; Demoy Lindo, who copped the Poet Laureate of Jamaica & Helen Zell Young Writers Prize; Delano Frankson, who got the Michael Cooke Prize; and Gail Hoad, who was awarded the Louise Bennett Coverley Prize for Poetry.
The event, which featured musical presentations, poetry reading and tributes, was organised by the National Library of Jamaica, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.