Guyana has a tremendous heritage of poets – John Agard – Caribbean Poetry Project facilitators meet President

Georgetown, GINA, May 29, 2013


The 2012 Queen’s Gold Medal in Poetry awardee John Agard has described the country of his birth as one with a tremendous heritage of poets after accompanying a team of poets to a courtesy call on President Donald Ramotar.

He made reference to poets A.J Seymour and the most prominent, Martin Carter whose names resonate with poetry “not only in the sense of uplifting the human soul, but in the sense of motivating consciousness.”

The Queen’s Gold Medal in Poetry award made Agard the second writer of African descent to be conferred with such honours after Trinidad’s Derek Walcott who won in 1988.

Agard met the President in the company of a team that included Cambridge Professor of Children’s Poetry Morag Styles, Guyana’s Mark McWatt, Professor at the University of the West Indies, Barbados Cave Hill campus whose collection of poems won the last Guyana Prize for Literature and Philip Nanton, a well-known Caribbean poet and short story writer.

President Donald Ramotar with acclaimed Caribbean poets who facilitated a three- day course on Teaching of Caribbean Poetry. Among them are Guyanese poets John Agard, Mark McWatt and Cambridge Professor of Children’s Poetry Morag Styles

The team is in Guyana to facilitate training of about 55 teachers from secondary schools, the Cyril Potter College of Education and the University in the Teaching of Caribbean Poetry three-day course as part of the Caribbean Poetry Project that was officially launched on May 27.

The initiative, according to Agard, has been ongoing in St Kitts, Barbados and Trinidad and now in Guyana.

“Though joining finally, they (Guyanese) have been enthusiastic and supportive, and out of the motivation of the teachers, poetry was seen as crucial, not something in isolation, but something which can motivate young people, even in approaching maths and science,” Agard said in an invited comment to the Government Information Agency (GINA).


He described the courtesy call on President Ramotar as “very artistic,” and “poetic” with talks of a possible film industry. Joining were Minister of Culture Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony and Minister of Education Priya Manickchand.


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