Celebrating the Gifts of Young Poets — A Revolution of Words By Kay M Ferguson

anguillian
By anguillian June 7, 2013 10:07

Celebrating the Gifts of Young Poets — A Revolution of Words By Kay M Ferguson

 

Nikki Giovanni and Mikael Mussington

Nikki Giovanni and Mikael Mussington

Toure and Mikael Mussington

Toure and Mikael Mussington

As we got ready to celebrate another Anguilla Day on Thursday, May 30th in honour of the 1967 “quiet”Anguilla revolution, I reflected on the recently held second annual Anguilla Lit Fest. It was — as last year’s Fest proved to be — a very dynamic and inspiring festival with a theme centred on the heritage of literary jollification. Once again, I came to recognise the many multi-talented individuals within our community and the wider world at large. There are a number of persons who have tremendous skills in putting social messages, along with deep emotional sensitive feelings, into an art form that is expressed through their writing. They are also able to recount to us, in short prose, tales of significant historical events that we need to pass on to the next generation, so youths will remember from whence they came.

Yet there was something missing from the Lit Fest which I did not fully realise until I attended two outstanding performances of the spoken word. One was held at Darwin’s Place on Sunday evening, May 26th, and the other was scheduled on Tuesday night, May 28th, at La Vue. What the literary festival did not capturein entirety was the magnitude of words expressed by the poetry of our nation’s people. It might have been that, like myself, those who had planned this celebration of literature were unaware of the number of poets who reside within our village communities.

Amidst the island’s population of young, middle aged and older persons, we have several youths who are starting their own silent revolution with the written and spoken word. They exhibited their amazing oratorical talents during The Underground’s performance art showcasing an initiative to speak out, which was aptly namedWe refused to be silenced and held at Darwin’s Place; as well as The Spoken Wordperformed at La Vue’s Flavours Restaurant. It seems of significance that both of these venues are locally owned by Anguillians, Darwin Mussington and Kirk Hughes, and they are local entrepreneurs who support our nation’s business development.

Those of us who attended these poetry events were pleasantly surprised to find that we have so many gifted poets residing on island. The audience gave enthusiastic applauses for all of the artistic performers who included teachers/educators, a psychologist and librarians to name a few. Poetic talents were expressed by people whom we know, like Teacher Sarah Frances who teaches at the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School; Teacher George Hodge who is Editor of The Light newspaper and co-host of Talk di Talk show on Kool FM (103.3); Dr Oluwakemi Linda Banks who founded the Teacher Gloria Omolulu Institute; and Ms Anthea Roach and Ms Cassilda Thomas Carty who complement the library staff at the Teachers’ Resource Centre.As well, there was Jamaican Dub Poet, author and educational entertainer Yasus Afari, along with a number ofother local poets/rappers like Mr Tristan Christopher, Miss Taeydra Fahie, Mr Alexis Ryan (dubbed by Yasus as The Signature Poet of Anguilla), Rasta (aka JKidd) and Bongo Joe (otherwise known as Miller or Kevin Connor). For some, it was their first time on stage in front of the mike, but you wouldn’t have guessed that by the confidentmanner in which they presented their poetry.

Each of the poets’ performances was something to see.Everyone seemed to watch and listen enraptured by the deep messages that the spoken words conveyed. Some individuals may not have liked what was said, but these were personal expressions of the poets and revealed experiences that we all could relate to or had heard of from others.

During the poetic performances, we were engaged in singing along with Yasus as he performed his lyrical poetry teaching us lessons that we need to learnusing aphorisms like, “If you don’t write, you’re wrong” and “hy-giene” referring to the aspect of a person’s cleanliness of body. Cassilda (who uses the pen name Dark Angel) also got us to sing a few lines of some Negro spirituals when she recited her deeply meaningful poem Rhythm to F-R-E-D-U-M as told by a slave, which was published in the Friday, 24th May 2013 edition of The Anguillian. I think she was a bit surprised that so many people knew the words to these songs and sang along with her. Of course, I grew up hearing such spirituals sung in church.Oftentimes, members of Sand Point Community United Methodist Church congregation in Seattle, Washington, USA, had a special treat of listening to my mother, Mrs Phyllis Simons Ferguson, heartily sing a solo spiritual that moved the eyes to tears.

Our island’s talented poets were also exposed to distinguished guests who were featured at the Anguilla Lit Fest 2013. Both Haitian-American bestselling author Edwidge Danticat, and legendary poet Nikki Giovanni attended The Underground event along with their respective partners and young children.Even though I did not get a chance to speak with them after Sunday night’s poetry performance, I am certain that they enjoyed listening to the rhyme and rhythms of our island people speaking the written word.

There were so many amazing performances by men and women of varying age groups. My memory does not recall all of the names of those who performed and I may have inadvertently misspelled some of the names mentioned in this article. Nevertheless, we would like to acknowledge and thank each person who participated for her or hispoetry in motion renditions. Everyone of you was absolutely outstanding with your expressive performances! We also wish to thank our visiting poetic guest, Yasus Afari, for hosting The Spoken Word at La Vue. Big up to you, the artistes, audience and hosts! We are grateful to all who attended.
Like Mikael, Anthea, Cassilda, Tristan, Alexis and all the other gifted young poets who performed last Sunday at The Underground and on Tuesday at La Vue, we must support and encourage these young people to pursue their artistic and creative talents. We will have many more chances to hear them recite and rap their poetryin the tropical, starry night ambiance of Flavours poolside restaurantat La Vue on Back Street in South Hill. The Spoken Word will have performance poetsevery Tuesday evening, starting at 7:30 pm. I’m sure all of uswho plan to come next time are looking forward to another spectacular performance by a variety of multi-talented wordsmiths.

It is these young poets, along with the more experienced authors, who inspire us to continue to put down the written word on paper in poetry, prose and other forms. Writing is a gift, a creative process, which can also be very therapeutic. Try writing as therapy whenever you feel emotionally upset, angry or vexed, confused about something that is going on in your life. Keep a daily journal of thoughts and feelings. Then review your writings to see how your life has been transformed. Join us in writing to create positive changes for all of us on Anguilla.

Kay M. Ferguson was a delegate at the first Anguilla Lit Fest in 2012. For the second annual literary jollification, she volunteered to serve as a member of the organising committee and as a liaison for the authors to assist in welcoming them to Anguilla, whichensured they had a wonderful visit to our island. To contact Kay, please email her at anguillawriter@gmail.com.

anguillian
By anguillian June 7, 2013 10:07

Advertisement

Latest Poll

Do you like the new layout of the Anguillian ?