Oral Tradition lovers were treated to an exciting evening of poetry at the Umana Yana where the Education Ministry’s National School of Theater Arts and Drama hosted an event in observance of World Poetry Day.
International, regional and Guyanese poems were presented under the theme “Transformation”.
In his remarks, Director of the NSTAD Al Creighton highlighted that World Poetry Day is entirely different from World Storytelling Day since the former was officially declared by the United Nations.
Like World Story Day, Creighton explained that more documentation is needed on the origin and development of World Poetry Day.
UNESCO first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.
World Poetry Day is the occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media as poetry continues to bring people together across the continents.
In her message, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Irina Bokova, stated that “poetry has a power that has no match. This is the power to shake us from everyday life and to remind us of the beauty that surrounds us and the resilience of the shared human spirit.”
She emphasized that poetry remains more vital than ever, in a time of turbulence, as a source of hope, as a way to share what it means to live in this world.
“By celebrating poetry today, we celebrate our ability to join together, in a spirit of solidarity, to scale and climb “the cloudy summits of our time.” We need this to take forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to implement the Paris Climate Agreement, to ensure no woman or man is left behind,” Bokova underscored.
It is against that backdrop that the poets featured in last evening’s activity presented pieces that dealt with the transformation of the self, of space, love, rebirth, society, women, poverty, race and gender. Some of the featured poets included Olga Addo, Clinton Duncan, Gabrielle Mohamed, Miriam Leitao, Sara Bharrat, Lloyda Nicholas, Mark Luke-Edwards, Charlene Wilkinson, Keiba Ife Murray, Jemima Stephenson, Dr. Seeta Roath, Salimah Husain, Joashaha Drakes, Ric Couchman, Petamber Persaud and Lloyd N De Arts.