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Jun 24, 2005

Young poets release book and CD

Story PictureAs an event, it’s a new kid on the cultural block, but Poets R Us at the Belize City House of Culture has breathed new life in an old art form: poetry. On Thursday night, a compilation of poetry written by Belizean high school students, in both book and recorded CD, was officially introduced to the Belizean public… A number of the poets introduced themselves as well, not just reading, but acting out their work. News Five’s Karla Heusner was there.

Carnelli Fritz, Performing ?Hot Chase?
?My heart must have skipped a few beats as I felt her presence near. The tension was so high that one could practically smell my fear. Now, one may assume that I am a thief, a crook, or someone with a criminal record, but madam inspector, guess? My mom and Sergeant Rock Steady, her trust worthy brother…?

(Carnelli runs off-stage and as mother tries with whip her)

Karla Heusner, Reporting
Anyone who came to the House of Culture expecting a relaxing evening of pretty poetry was quickly given a taste of the new reality. Even the Grandmaster of performance poetry himself is impressed by the emerging young talent.

Leroy ?Grandmaster? Young
?The way these students are presenting their poetry in the acting form, is just taking it to a higher level, to another level than most of the people are used to. Whenever people hear about poetry or poems, you think just standing up there, blam!?

Kandice Williams, Performing ?I da Aids?
?Feva, dry cough, loss ah appetite, night sweats da some a my monies. I da AIDS. But when I really look pan it, ah really no want see innocent people fall inna mi trap, so I di beg unu, use wah plastic wrap. Protect unu self and each other. No pass me on. Rememba, there?s no cure.?

Phyllis Lightburn-Butler, Activities Coord., H.O.C.
?The children come in, they write, and they recite. And from that we had more students coming from various high schools and the Poets R Us just got bigger and exciting. So the president decided that we should have a booklet and a CD and that is where Poets R Us is headed now. I feel that it had outgrown H.O.C. reception hall. It?s really catching on, and I think we?ll have competition with karaoke.?

One of the more introspective poets among us is Kalima Enriquez. Her father?s death has had a major impact on her life, and her work.

Kalima Enriquez, Reading ?Black and Blue Imprints?
?I close my eyes, I ponder thoughts, it?s useless. I am weary. I pray that you will show me your light, so that things may be just a little bit bright. But all that fills me is your imprint filled with shades of black and blue. Black and blue, that?s all I have of you. I wish you were colour, maybe specks of lovable red or precious pink, but I know that you are permanent blue and black, gone, no life, lifeless, dead, just black and blue, black and blue. Blue and black are the colours of you.?

Yasser Musa, President, NICH
?I saw a purity of spirit that they had, which sometimes because of the very hostile electronic environment we live in, with the kind of music children are exposed to today, the television they are exposed to, that overpowers us and we think that we don?t have our own things. I want to tell all these young poets, that I am fully committed to you all personally, that I will do work for you. It is my responsibility in my job, but also my responsibility as a Belizean interested in this kind of thing.?

Whether they find solace or enjoyment in writing, reciting, or acting out their poems, can anyone really make a living off poetry in Belize?

Leroy ?Grandmaster? Young
?I have to talk from my experience. The couple of books that I have published, three books already and they are almost sold out. The reason is that every minute I could be pon di street side, promote, promote, promote. The books noh have no foot fi walk off the shelf. And then, the other side is that some of the people that have published books, they are only doing it as a hobby, so they got a book published and that?s it. It?s a hobby for them, but for me, it?s my bread and butter.?

James Yearwood, Reading ?Tourn Roots?
?Things like rain gods, mountain gods, are a thing of the past. We can now only experience them in movies like Shaka Zulu, reminding us of our dark and bitter past. Fighting with each other is what we result in. As those white sophisticated a—watch us and laugh, taking us for clowns. Who the hell do they take us for? What the f— do they take us for? Excuse my language, but I am from the streets, the streets of Babylon.?

Karla Heusner, reporting for News 5.

Poets R Us started two years ago under former H.O.C. activities coordinator, Jason Guerrero. If you are a high school student and would like to attend the next Poets R Us, you’ll have to wait until September fifteenth. But look on the bright side, that gives you more time to polish your poems over the summer break.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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