Prof Morris launches ‘Miss Lou’ book

Prof Morris launches ‘Miss Lou’ book

By Basil Walters Observer writer

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Print this page Email A Friend!

PROFESSOR Mervyn Morris, Jamaica's Poet Laureate, launched his latest book, Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture, at Lecture Theatre 3, University of the West Indies, on Tuesday.

It is a mini-biography on the legendary folklorist Louise 'Miss Lou' Bennett-Coverley who died in 2006.

Morris, who was a close friend of Bennett-Coverley, said while Miss Lou's performing skills are evident in the range of her work, he noted there was formidable opposition to her work.

"Although her work was mainly African heritage, Miss Lou always mingled in different streams...she was not excluding people," he explained. "Miss Lou was trying to redress cultural imbalance. She was not trying to reject standard English."

He pointed out that Miss Lou was religious and deeply spiritual. He closed by reading from his book.

Three of Jamaica's outstanding poets -- Mutabaruka, Oku Onuora and Jean 'Binta' Breeze -- performed at the event. Each testified to Morris' influence on their careers.

"I am a dub poet without apology because the process I deal wid is straight dubbing," said Onuora. "Mervyn is influential in that there is a upsurge in dub poetry in Jamaica. Mervyn, you helped to signal a new trend in poetry...dubbing is a process that can't be limited."

Onuora performed from Echo, his collection of poems which was written while he was incarcerated.

Breeze drew laughter with a humorous swipe at Onuora, whose 'set' went overtime.

"Mervyn taught me not to use two words (with the same meaning) in a sentence when one can do. Apparently he didn't tell Oku."

She performed some of her work including The Simple Things In Life, Repatriation and Third World Girl before saluting Morris, whom she said legitimised myself and others in the university".

Mutabaruka recited Call Me No Poet or Nothing Like That, Nursery Rhyme Lament, Haiti and Dis Poem.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon