In celebration of World Poetry Day
Yasus Afari literally means ‘The Creator’s Gift of Vision’. Through his Dub Poetry, Reggae Music, Story Telling, Comedy and other creative talents YASUS has been inspiring, touching lives, edutaining and uplifting people through the Caribbean, Africa, USA, Brazil, Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Japan.
In celebration of World Poetry Day (Sun 21st March) let us remember the leading role that Jamaica has today in active promotion of poetry as an important and essential way of communicating: the great works of Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Orlando Patterson, Mother Miss Lou, Hon Bob Marley, Harry Belafonte, Oku Onoura, Mikey Smith, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Mutabaruka, Yasus Afari, DycR, Cherry Natural, Joan Andrea Hutchinson and countless others who have inspired and uplifted Jamaica and the world through their rich poetic expressions.
Recently there have been relentless efforts by many to energize the Jamaican poetry scene and to inspire, develop and expose the young poets of Jamaica. Yasus Afari’s recent success with a 7th rendition of his highly acclaimed “Poetry in Motion” held in Mandeville, just shows the dynamism of poetry on the island. As well as exceptional performances there was also the successful launch of the annual “Golden Tongue Award” which has created so much interest and inspiration that the “Golden Tongue Anthology” complied by Yasus Afari will be published soon, courtesy of JIIC Your Insurance Place, Grace Kennedy and Learning Links International.
As a poet Yasus Afari has not only brought inspiration and upliftment to the unique people of Jamaica, but the succeeding years have seen him tirelessly travelling the world, from the Caribbean, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand to Japan, Gambia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil, Colombia to England and Wales. Audiences are consistently enthralled by his presentations. School children and older people also benefit from a “Taste of Jamaica” as Yasus shares his love of Jamaica, Caribbean, Africa and Humanity through his inspirational poetry.
With Miss Lou’s heritage, Jamaican poets are proudly at the forefront of many of these national, regional and international poetry movements – often using our own language Jamaican Patwa, as these excepts from Yasus Afari’s ‘Patwa Taakin’ and ‘Komplex’ and ‘Nuff Respect Due’ show so well:
Now a Miss Lou baaye fi get de Govenor General
Just fi pop some lingua pon wi i-land
Soh that de whole wide wol could a must understand
The gut and de gall of wi situation
Fi know sey, Patwah is de language of wi fore father
That was taken away from the land of Africa
Soh noh big up the bwoy named backra massa
Fah is yu dis yu kultcha, yu curry favour ina de…..
Patwa taakin ……”
Taken from ‘Eye Pen’ and ‘Kiss Mi Neck’
“Yu si when I a come?
I naah come plain
‘Cause I a come, red,
Green, gold and black
Da wonya a kulcha shak
Politicians get hart attack!
Weh mi seh da wonya name again?
‘Cause I don’t complain/come plain
Who waan please: please!
Who waan vex; vex!”
From ‘Kiss Mi Neck’
NUFF RISPEK DUE
“Now back inna de days
When things were ruff
Times were hard and the dutty tuff
The mouth dem get plenty and the money neva nuff
Yet the vibe was irie, with love in the community
And England was supposed to be our beloved “mother country”
So we rushed to her shores, like ‘nuggets for the needy’
Fresh blood to spill, braves for her army.
But where are the streets that were paved with gold?
And where’s the respect for our ancestors’ souls?
Not even beds for our heads, so we were left in the cold
No blacks! No Irish! No dogs! That’s what we were told!
Still no retreat, no surrender as the drama unfold”.
Commissioned by African Caribbean Parents & Friends ( UK)
And let us not forget that just over a year ago Elizabeth Alexander presented her poem “Praise Song for the Day” at Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration – which surely must have been the greatest poetry gig on earth!
“Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.
Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?
Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.
In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,
Praise song for walking forward in that light”
Let’s give thanks for poetry and celebrate today! Poetry makes us think – poetry gives us hope!