The National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) today held the inaugural celebration of World Poetry Day, Jamaica. Through the efforts of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica programme, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen has officially declared a national poetry day celebration under the broader umbrella of World Poetry Day coordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The day’s activities began with an International Poetry Reading segment, with members from the diplomatic corps and international community regaling the audience with poetry readings in Urdu, Russian, Polish, Nigerian and Spanish (Mexico, Chile, Venezuela). There were also Jamaican song and poetry selections from different performers, including a tribute to Poet Laureate Lorna Goodison by Tribe Sankofa’s Yashika Graham.
A citation of the official declaration of March 21 as Jamaica Poetry Day was also unveiled. Then it was time for the morning’s master of ceremonies, Dahlia Harris, to announce the winner of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica and Helen Zell: Young Writers Prize for Poetry. The winning prize was US $1,000. Of the four shortlisted candidates for the Young Writer’s Prize, Jovanté Anderson and Lauren Delapenha tied for first place. Khadijah Chin and Britney Gabbidon were announced as runners up.