Female Poets Rise to the Occasion
FOUNDER of the Jamaica Poetry Festival (JPF), Yasus Afari, says the presence of female performers at the August 10 event was a positive.
The female contingent was led by Jean 'Binta' Breeze, a trailblazer in the form known as dub poetry. She was one of this year's eight honourees.
"We are very pleased with the increasing number of quality, aspiring poets and particularly the aspiring female poets. This is important as we seek to create a reasonable and realistic gender balance," Afari said. "With this idea of 'balance' in mind, Jamaica Poetry Festival 2015 will aspire to create a balance between veteran/roots poets and the young and upcoming in both the male and female."
In addition to Breeze, Kellie Magnus, Viv Morris-Brown, Annmarie Wilmot, Dr Karen Carpenter, Maia Chung and Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah performed on the JPF's fourth staging.
Mutabaruka, Linton 'Kwesi' Johnson, Oku Onuora, Benjamin Zephaniah, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou were also honoured.
African-American Dr Neal Hall, regarded as the 'Malcolm X of poetry', was among the guest performers along with roots singer Admiral Tibet. Alexis Ryan, Steppa and Yasus Afari completed the event's cast of performers.