In celebration of poetry month, I would like to share 5 things I find interesting about Caribbean poetry:
- Its is multilingual. Caribbean poets write in English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Papiamento, as well as the creole of some of these languages. Did I miss any?
- We have Derek Walcott of Saint Lucia, Nobel Prize winner.
- Lorna Goodison's poem, Bedspread, for me, is perhaps one of the sexiest, while at the same time defiant poems I have ever read. The poem was written by Lorna as a tribute to the struggles of Nelson and Winnie Mandela under Apartheid. I remember hearing Lorna read this poem to the Mandelas during their visit to Jamaica, shortly after Nelson Mandela's release from prison.
- On the note of defiance, Claude McKay's If We Must Die, not only rallied African Americans in their struggles for civil rights, but Winston Churchill also recited it to encourage Britons in the face of Nazi aggression. Talk about Caribbean reach! We can probably forgive the world when they forget that McKay is a Caribbean son.
- Finally, there is Dub Poetry. There's nothing like dub-poetry to get you swaying, while absorbing conscious lyrics. Talented Dub poets include Cherry Natural, Mutabaruka, Michael Smith and many others.