Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze receives Life­time Achieve­ment award

Ja­maica Po­etry Fes­ti­val part­ners with Na­tional Li­brary of Ja­maica to honour dub poet

Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS & EDUCATION -

IN­TER­NA­TION­ALLY RENOWNED dub poet Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze was hon­oured with the 2018 Life­time Achieve­ment Award by the Ja­maica Po­etry Fes­ti­val, in associatio­n with the Na­tional Li­brary of Ja­maica (NLJ).

The event took place at the Ja­maica Po­etry Fes­ti­val, at the Louise Ben­nett Gar­den Theatre on Sun­day, Au­gust 12, 2018.

The pre­sen­ta­tion to Breeze was made by Na­tional Li­brar­ian and CEO of the NLJ Bev­er­ley Lash­ley. Poet Lau­re­ate of Ja­maica 2017-2020, Lorna Good­i­son, ac­knowl­edged the out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions of Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze to the devel­op­ment of dub po­etry and ex­pressed the will­ing­ness of the NLJ, through its Poet Lau­re­ate of Ja­maica pro­gramme, to be in­volved in the event.

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze is largely recog­nised as the first fe­male dub poet. An ac­tress, lec­turer, ac­tivist, she has per­formed in­ter­na­tion­ally over the past three decades while based in Eng­land, though trav­el­ling fre­quently to Ja­maica.

Her name is often placed along­side those of Mikey Smith, Mutabaruka, Oku On­uora, and Lin­ton Kwesi John­son. She was awarded the MBE in 2012 for ser­vices to lit­er­a­ture and an hon­orary doc­tor­ate in 2017 from the Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter.

She has pub­lished seven vol­umes of po­etry, in­clud­ing Rid­dym Rav­ings and Other Po­ems in 1988, Third World Girl: Se­lected Po­ems, and The Ve­ran­dah Po­ems in 2016), and she has pro­duced five al­bums.

At the event, 12 par­tic­i­pants from the NLJ’s sig­na­ture sum­mer se­ries ‘All Flow­ers are Roses: Po­etry and Self­De­fence’ par­tic­i­pated in a work­shop led by Cana­dian Ja­maican writer, au­thor, and poet – Shauntay Grant.

Ka’BuMa’atKheru and her UK-based sis­ter teamed up for the sec­ond work­shop, which fo­cused on in­ter­pre­ta­tions and drama­ti­sa­tions of po­etry. One par­tic­i­pant re­marked, “The work­shop was fun and ex­cit­ing, us­ing Miss Lou’s Love Let­ter and chang­ing it up in a mod­ern way”.

Now in its eighth year, the Ja­maica Po­etry Fes­ti­val is a cel­e­bra­tion of the lit­er­ary arts, fea­tur­ing pop­u­lar Ja­maican per­form­ers. Lorna Good­i­son head­lined a group of po­ets, in­clud­ing Dr Velma Pol­lard, Mutabaruka, Ya­sus Afari, Spolly, and oth­ers.

The Ja­maica Po­etry Fes­ti­val is or­gan­ised by SenYAcum Edu­tain­ment, led by poet and au­thor Ya­sus Afari, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the NLJ, the Ja­maica Cul­tural Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, and Irie FM.

Bev­er­ley Lash­ley, na­tional li­brar­ian (left), pre­sent­ing Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze with Ci­ta­tion and 2018 Life­time Achieve­ment Award of the Ja­maica Po­etry Fes­ti­val.

Lorna Good­i­son, Poet Lau­re­ate of Ja­maica, presents a set at the 2018 Ja­maica Po­etry Fes­ti­val.

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