St. Lucian writer John Robert Lee to launch book at Folk Research Centre

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The Folk Research Centre and the Harold Simmons Folk Academy will host the launch of the latest collection of poems by St. Lucian writer, John Robert Lee on Thursday February 4th at 7 pm, St Lucia News Online reports.

The book is entitled “City Remembrances: poems”. It is illustrated with photographs by the author and art by book designer and artist Raphael ‘Rinvelle’ Philip. It is published by Mahanaim Publishing, an imprint created by the author. Production and printing is by The Document Centre.

Many of the poems, through the verses and art work, describe the city of Castries, its streets, people, activities and recent past.

A dedication page remembers a number of deceased St. Lucians: the late literature scholar Pat Ismond (1944-2006), the late Frank Norville (1944-2015) composer and singer and the late Sir Dunstan St. Omer (1927-2015), artist.

The launch at the FRC is titled “Time, baby, circling: the poetry of John Robert Lee” and will consist of dramatized readings of his poems by several readers, directed by poet and playwright Kendel Hippolyte.

Of the work of Lee, Nobel laureate Derek Walcott has said: “Robert Lee has been a scrupulous poet, that’s the biggest virtue that he has, and it’s not a common virtue in poets, to be scrupulous and modest in the best sense, not to over-extend the range of the truth of his emotions, not to go for the grandiose. He is a Christian poet obviously. You don’t get in the poetry anything that is, in a sense, preachy or self-advertising in terms of its morality. He is a fine poet.”

And writer and editor Nahdjla Bailey has written: “In this big little collection of City Remembrances, John Robert Lee’s poetic voice is as engrossing as ever. The beauty of his lines – keen, crystal clear, often touching – is but one element of the appeal of his voice; the other, the profound/penetrating statements, the messages, the questions of those lines, reaching the reader with consonant and equal ease. The fine, well-chosen photographs and paintings are a fitting accompaniment to this work of vivid reminiscences. Poet John Robert Lee: always illuminating.”

The new publication is made possible with the generous support of LUCELEC (St. Lucia Electricity Services) and BOSL (Bank of St. Lucia.) These partners had also supported the publication of the anthology “Sent Lisi: poems and art of Saint Lucia” of which Lee was a co-editor with Kendel Hippolyte, Jane King and Vladimir Lucien. The book was published by the CDF in 2014 and dedicated to Macdonald Dixon in commemoration of his 70th birthday.

This book launch is another of the events organised by the FRC in celebration of Nobel laureate Week 2016 and the upcoming Independence celebrations.

“City Remembrances: poems” will be available for purchase at the book launch. The public is invited.

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