Tue | Mar 21, 2023

Professor Mervyn Morris pens new book on Miss Lou, Jamaican culture

Published:Sunday | February 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Poet laureate Professor Emeritus Mervyn Morris will launch his latest book, Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture, on February 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Lecture Theatre 3 (Faculty of Medical Sciences) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. The launch is hosted by the Department of Literatures in English and will form part of the Research Days 2015 activities at the UWI, Mona.

The publication of Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture in March 2014 by Ian Randall Publishers coincided with Morris' appointment as poet laureate of Jamaica, the first since the country's Independence.

Miss Lou: Louise Bennett and Jamaican Culture is both a biography and a critical assessment of the work of a woman often referred to as the face of Jamaican culture: Louise Bennett-Coverley - poet, performer, storyteller, singer, actress, writer, broadcaster, folklorist, and TV show host - whose work underscores the importance of Creole in Jamaica.

Morris could be characterised as the quintessential Louise Bennett scholar. In 1963, he published On Reading Louise Bennett, Seriously, and edited/published her Selected Poems in 1982, as well as her radio monologues, Aunty Roachy Sey (1993). This new book on Miss Lou promises to be delightful as it sheds light on this cultural icon. Professor Morris' scholarship is wide and far-reaching. In addition to works on Louise Bennett, he counts among his numerous publications Is English We Speaking and Other Essays (1999), Making West Indian Literature (2005), and six books of poetry, including I Been There, Sort Of (2006).


Appointed professor emeritus of creative writing and West Indian literature at the UWI, Mona, in 2003, Morris has taught in the Department of Literatures in English since 1970, and became head of the department (1979-82; 1988-91) and deputy dean of the Faculty of Arts and General Studies (1987-89). He has also been a visiting lecturer/professor and writer-in-residence at various universities in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Morris' other accomplishments and awards include MCOBA Hall of Fame (2013), CPTC Cultural Medal of Honour (2012), Order of Merit, Jamaica (2009), Silver Musgrave Medal for Poetry (Institute of Jamaica, 1976), and the 1958 Rhodes Scholarship (1957).

UWI Research Days 2015 provides the perfect platform to showcase Morris' scholarship and talent. Storyteller Amina Blackwood-Meeks, as well as dub poets Oku Onuora, Jean 'Binta' Breeze and Mutaburaka, will perform in tribute to the poet laureate on the occasion of this launch event.

Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh will be the launch speaker. The event is open to the public.