WASHINGTON, DC – Jamaica’s Poet Laureate, Professor Mervyn Morris, and his literary creations were in the spotlight Monday night at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, DC, which was joined by the University of the West Indies Alumni Association of Washington D.C. in hosting an overflow crowd of more than 100 members of the Diaspora and friends of Jamaica at a special independence celebration.
Professor Morris, referring to aspects of his latest book, “Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture,” presented an outstanding assessment of Miss Lou’s contribution to Jamaican literary pursuits. Among other things, the Poet Laureate noted Miss Lou’s use of the Jamaican language, her skillful interweaving of Jamaican life into her poetry, the presentation of her views through “Aunty Roachy”, her contribution to the development of the Jamaican Pantomime, and her talent-promotion through “Ring Ding” and other efforts.
After a lively question and answer session about Miss Lou, the audience received an additional treat when Professor Morris offered some of his own poetry. Among the poems presented to the appreciative audience were “The Pond,” “The Day My Father Died,” poems from “I Been There, Sort Of,” and “Case History, Jamaica.”
Professor Morris was introduced to the gathering by Professor Curdella Forbes of Howard University, a former student of Professor Morris’ at the University of the West Indies. Professor Morris, Mrs. Helen Morris and the members of the audience were welcomed by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the USA, Stephen Vasciannie. Ms. Malene Alleyne offered remarks on behalf of the UWI Alumni Association.