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2012:  Check here for a great review in the Jamaican Gleaner

The Jamaica Poetry Festival celebrated 50 years since Jamaica's Independence and 100 years of Jamaican poetry.

At the event held at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre, St Andrew, the organiser, Yasus Afari, led a special tribute will be made to the country, as well as celebrating poets like Harry Belafonte, Bob Marley and Claude McKay.


"We will be celebrating 100 years of Jamaican poetry that was marked by the publication in 1912 by Claude McKay," he told The Sunday Gleaner, noting that last year Louise Bennett-Coverley, Marcus Garvey and Mikey Smith were honoured.

"I don't see anybody talking about it but I just do my thing. It is a significant thing, so that's why I pay tribute and bring awareness."

In an earlier press release, Afari said he was inviting the public "to be a part of this very special Jamaica Poetry Festival experience in 2012 as we salute 100 years of Jamaica poetry. We are in the process of formalising the Jamaica Poetry Foundation and this will help to form the foundation of our sustained effort to enhance the impact of Jamaican poetry as we move beyond the Jamaica 50th anniversary."

Afari noted that an audio-visual tribute will be made to all three honourees before the start of the show, while different performers will honour the three during the show.

Coming days after Jamaica's Independence, he said the event will be used to "refocus our mindset on the next 50 years".

While tributes will be made, there will also be performances from several poets such as Professor Fred Hickling, Mutabaruka, Wayne Chen, Yasus Afari, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, Akinsanya 'Uprising' Palmer, Dr Michael Abraham, Osakwe, Kai Falconer, Ras JaJa, FuZion, Richie Innocent, Steppa, Viv Morris-Brown, K'Shema Francis and special guest performers.

2011: The Poets of Jamaica presented the inaugural staging of the annual JAMAICA POETRY FESTIVAL at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre on Sunday August 14th, 2011.

This historic initiative was spearheaded by Yasus Afari, supported by Mutabaruka and other Poets in association with JIIC, JCDC, Visual Vibe, Mona Graphic Printers & Fontana Pharmacy, as well as other friends and supporters of Poetry.

The Jamaica Poetry Festival consisted of family friendly Poetry and Story Telling Workshops between 10am and  2pm. There will be display booths, face painting, portrait creations and other interesting attractions.The night time session will begsn at 7pm and featured a very varied array of national and  international poets and a special invited guests. Check Whaa Gwaan?

Special Guest - Macka Diamond

DJ Macka Diamond was special guest selected to encourage and inspire social responsibility through the Cultural Arts, as well as to support her literary efforts and to build and extend an artistic bridge between Reggae-Dance Hall and Poetry.

Tribute to Miss Lou, Marcus Garvey & Mikey Smith

Thehistoric staging of the very first Jamaica Poetry Festival paid a very special tribute to three of Jamaica's outstanding Poets; Marcus Garvey, Miss Lou and Mikey Smith. This tribute is now set as an annual feature of the Jamaica Poetry Festival in which different poets will be celebrated annually. Interestingly and quite significantly, Marcus Garvey's birthday is on August 17th, the date on which Mikey Smith was fatally stoned in Stony Hill and Miss Lou's birth day is on September 7th.

The Jamaica Poetry Foundation

The inaugural staging of the JAMAICA POETRY FESTIVAL was instrumental in the development of the Jamaica Poetry Foundation and the Jamaica Poetry Fund which will assist in the growth and development of Poetry in Jamaica as well as the development of the Literary Arts in general. The Jamaica Poetry Foundation will be governed by a board of directors which will comprise of most of the poets who were instrumental in the inaugural staging of the festival.

International Guest

International guest poet was the Canadian based Melissa 'The Mad Poet' Dean who is a very dymanic and hard working poet with Jamaican roots.

The vibrant and renewed Cultural and Literary Arts in Jamaica as is evident in the growth and development of  the very exciting and timely JAMAICA POETRY FESTIVAL as we "Write and Chant Jamaican".

Bless it and set it

With Honour, Love and  Poetry


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