KINGSTON, Jamaica - Persons are being invited to support and explore the Jamaica Poetry Archive for their favourite poet or poem.
The electronic Archive, which is the first in the country, was established by the National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) through its Poet Laureate of Jamaica Programme, and serves as an online repository of Jamaican poets and their work.
It now features 20 esteemed local poets, with more to be added over time.
Among those in the Archive are Poet Laureate of Jamaica 2021 to 2024, Olive Senior; Poet Laureate of Jamaica 2014 to 2017, Professor Mervyn Morris; Professor Edward Baugh; Lorna Goodison; Opal Palmer Adisa; Kwame Dawes; Linton Kwesi Johnson; Oku Onuora and Ann-Margaret Lim.
Members of the public can visit the Archive’s website https://japoetryarchive.nlj.gov.jm/ to hear poets read their work, see the texts, and learn about the poets through photographs and biographical information.
Speaking at a special ceremony at 10A West King’s House Road in St Andrew on Thursday, to promote the Archive, Poet Laureate, Olive Senior, thanked the NLJ for offering a home to the collection and the Poet Laureate of Jamaica Programme.
She said that several other prominent poets will be donating their recordings and other information to the Archive.
“Those poets now missing will be added as their information becomes available along with other poets to be selected each year,” she added.
Senior said that the Archive will also include outstanding poets of the past as well as a section to recognise promising new poetic talents.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, in a speech read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, DeanRoy Bernard, commended the NLJ and the Poet Laureate of Jamaica Programme for the creation of the Archive.
The Minister said that over the years, Jamaica’s Poet Laureates have engaged in consistent work to uplift the country’s literary tradition and have “contributed to the overall organic creative powerhouse that we are today.”
“Jamaica’s creative culture can be understood as a multiplying machinery that the Ministry takes pride in stewarding well,” Minister Grange said.
The special event to promote the Archive was hosted by the NLJ and attended by poets, academics, educators, and representatives of the public and private sectors.
It was aimed at connecting corporate Jamaica, government and non-government bodies to the community of poets and the work of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica Programme, aiding in the preservation and promotion of Jamaica’s cultural heritage.