Poetic justice for Baugh

BY BASIL WALTERS Observer writer

Sunday, February 02, 2014

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PROFESSOR Emeritus at the University of the West Indies Edward Baugh was hailed as the people's voice during a ceremony in his honour last Tuesday.

The event took place at the Amphitheatre of the Edna Manley College of the Performing Arts in St Andrew, and was staged by the Poetry Society of Jamaica.

"Twenty-five years ago when we were looking around (for) the voices to kick off this process, Edward Baugh was one such," said Tommy Ricketts, a founding member and president of the Poetry Society of Jamaica.

Dr Michael Bucknor, senior lecturer and head of the department of literature and English at the UWI, also praised Baugh.

"On a night like this, how does one introduce a person such as Professor Edward Baugh, except to say, notwithstanding Tessanne Chin's enormous accomplishment in the music domain this past year, that in the world of Jamaican poetry, Edward Baugh is The Voice."

In her tribute, poet Ann-Margaret Lim recalled her experience with Baugh while she was a first-year UWI student.

"I saw the legend, the magic of Baugh. Saw how animated he got; how delighted he was to be in front of a class of students talking about what he loved," Lim said.

After tributes from Professor Carolyn Cooper, M Bala and Raymond Mair, the guest of honour took centre stage, quipping: "There is no need for any more poetry on a night like this."

Baugh then journeyed into his extensive archive, delivering pieces such as The Carpenter, Complain, The Ice Cream Man, Monumental Man, Choices, Out of Stock, True Love, Black Sand and the amusing The Obituary Page.

"People don't dead anymore. Them gone in transition, departed. You'll hear so and so passed. So, why him didn't stop. I was here," mused Baugh to much laughter.

Asked by the Observer what the occasion meant to him, Baugh replied: "In one word: Joy."

The open mic segment featured promising spoken word artistes including Peta Gaye Williams, Jell Watson and Kacy West.

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