Brilliancy and artistic importance of Caribbean poetry celebrated in SKN


iX-UWI_SKN_EventEarlier this week, poetry in St. Kitts-Nevis was under the spotlight as part of a regional Caribbean Poetry Project and poets, singers, musicians and educators had contributed to the interactive and educational experience.

On Sunday, last, Island Xpressions (IX) was the host of a poetry show dubbed ‘An Evening of Caribbean Expressions’ at Ma Pau on Port Zante.
The event was funded by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus in St. Kitts and Nevis, the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), Cambridge University and the Commonwealth Education Trust.
Following the historic event was a two-day (Apr. 29-30) poetry workshop held at the Ocean Terrace Inn in Fortlands.

A SKNIS press release dated April 29 revealed that during a ceremony to mark the opening of the workshop, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Ionie Liburd Willett indicated that the activity is timely and relevant as the Ministry aims to increase performance in the poetry profile of CXC English. 
She also explained why the teaching of poetry is essential.

“The focus to the teaching of poetry in schools is important essentially because it engages student’s thinking and it keeps language alive. One will agree that the value of teaching poetry cannot be over emphasised since it has tremendous long term benefits and can positively impact the teaching learning process.”
The release stated that expert facilitators at the two-day workshop had exposed secondary school teachers from St Kitts and lecturers from the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College as well as their colleagues from Anguilla, Montserrat and Nevis to the fundamental principles and techniques of the teaching and learning of poetry. 
Additionally, the experts shared how Caribbean culture had shaped and is shaping the region’s poetry.

Speaking at the IX-hosted event on Sunday, Head of the UWI Open Campus Susan Owen told the attendees about her firsthand experience in witnessing the performances and hearing the recitals of some of the Federation’s dancers, singers and poets at official events.
“For some time the staff of UWI Open Campus in St. Kitts and Nevis has been looking for ways to turn that inspiration into meaningful support for the development of the Arts. We are therefore most grateful for the theme of the Caribbean Poetry project…and allowing us the opportunity for a first partnership event with Island Xpressions,” she said.
She expressed the hope that the event had signalled the beginning of many more to come in partnership with IX.
“We also hope that through this event we can demonstrate the UWI commitment to the humanities as areas of study and prove that the standards for which we are well known expand beyond the discipline for which we are best known in St. Kitts and Nevis,” she added.
Owen shared that UWI focuses on the Arts.
“So, yes, we do more than Accounting, Management, Law, Medicine (and) Engineering. We also do Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Literature…you name it,” she explained.

In her opening address, Sandra Robinson, Caribbean Poetry Project Coordinator of the UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, briefly explained what the performers had to offer to the attendees.
She told them that the event would feature artistic talents through poetry and spoken words performed by “some of your nation’s talented performers”.
She also informed that St. Kitts and Nevis was the eighth stop for the ongoing project.
Acts on that night saw the recital of poems by Clayton Huggins, Kimi-Lee Knight, Mario Williams, Elise Harry, Jonelle Irish, Loughlin Tatem, James Galloway, Jihan Williams and Stephen ‘LOV’ Smith, as well as two facilitators of the Caribbean Poetry Workshop – Phillip Nanton and Mark Mc Watt.

Popular drummers Royd Phipps and Company also performed at the event.
The audience was treated to an excellent performance by Kimi-Lee Knight and a drummer, as she read a piece from a book of poems called ‘Dancing in Bondage’ while her companion drummed up a complementing beat.
There were two video presentations by individuals who could not have been present at the event. One by Dameon Lawrence entitled ‘McKnight’, and the other by Patrick Walters in which he spoke about the good things IX is doing and also the recital of a poem. He is currently undergoing studies overseas.
Charles ‘Charlie’ Emanuel and Makeila ‘Mimi’ Armstrong performed the famous duo-written tune called ‘Speechless’ and ‘Stay’ by popular R&B artiste Rihanna.

Emanuel is scheduled to perform at the upcoming 17th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival.
The show was hosted by Judy ‘Purple’ Dupont.
A humorous highlight of the night saw an interaction between ‘Purple’ and Loughlin Tatem. 
While introducing Tatem as the next act, Purple commented that she did not want to make him seem old by referring to him as her “long time teacher”.
Humorously, when he got onstage, Tatem revealed that the name of his poem was entitled ‘Old Age’.

For the original report go to

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