Thu | May 23, 2019

Jean 'Binta' Breeze receives Lifetime Achievement award - Jamaica Poetry Festival partners with National Library of Jamaica to honour dub poet

Published:Sunday | August 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM
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.

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 Self-Defence' 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.