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  • Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Professor Mervyn Morris will be hosting a series of poetry readings across the island in the month of November as part of his thrust to promote Jamaican poetry.
  • The first of three readings will be held on Sunday, November 16 at the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland featuring well known Jamaican author and poet, Tanya Shirley, and Port Antonio’s own internationally acclaimed Edward Baugh.
  • All the readings are free of cost and open to the public.

Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Professor Mervyn Morris will be hosting a series of poetry readings across the island in the month of November as part of his thrust to promote Jamaican poetry.

The first of three readings will be held on Sunday, November 16 at the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio, Portland featuring well known Jamaican author and poet, Tanya Shirley, and Port Antonio’s own internationally acclaimed Edward Baugh. The reading will be conducted from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Ann-Margaret Lim and Millicent Graham will be the featured poets at Bookophilia in Kingston on Thursday, November 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. while Earl Mckenzie and Jean Goulbourne will host readings at the Cecil Charlton Auditorium in Mandeville, Manchester on Thursday, November 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

All the readings are free of cost and open to the public.

“One of the things I will be doing as Poet Laureate is to put some poets in touch with an audience that they haven’t seen much of recently…I would want to make sure that poets and poetry do not seem so strange or foreign, so it is about putting more people in contact with more poets,” Professor Morris expressed.

Professor Morris was officially appointed the Poet Laureate in May this year and will serve in this capacity for three years.

The Poet Laureate is a national honour that recognises and distinguishes a poet for his or her significant contribution to the literary community.

Professor Morris’ role entails playing a proactive and integral part in promoting Jamaican poetry as an art form that portrays the country’s cultural heritage, writing poems for national occasions, and preserving and disseminating the country’s cultural heritage, through prose.

His appointment and scheduled engagements during his tenure form part of the Poet Laureate Programme, which has been re-established by the Government, and is being funded over the three years by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) at a cost of $3.4 million.

Since his appointment, Professor Morris has been involved in several United Kingdom (UK) engagements including Bristol Poetry Institute’s Annual Reading; speaking at the George Padmore Institute/British Library ‘Is English We Speak’ event; a presentation on ‘Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture’,  at the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick ; and Reading at the Kingston Writing School, Kingston University, London.

In September, Professor Morris shared the stage with South Africa’s Poet Laureate, Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile at a poetry reading held at the National Library in Pretoria, South Africa. This was held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy as well as the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and South Africa.

            Throughout his tenure, Professor Morris intends to host poetry readings in other parts of the island as well as workshops and school tours with top Jamaican poets.

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