Cultural and literary royalty turned out in their numbers on Sunday for the start of the 2009 National Poetry Festival at the National Museum and Art Gallery. National icons such as Earl Lovelace, Bill Trotman and Brother Resistance showed their support for the young poets of our nation who launched the Festival in fine style. Also in the audience were local poet resident in the USA, Mervyn Taylor and soulful sister poet Paula Obe.
The chosen theme of the Poetry Festival this year is 'Defying the Disease through the Power of the Word: Resisting Stigma and Discrimination', as festival organisers work to bring the issues and realities of HIV and AIDS to wider audiences. In her remarks at the launch Ms. Kimlan Minott, Project Coordinator for one of the main sponsors of the Festival, the National Aids Coordinating Committee (NACC), drew attention to the need to disseminate powerful messages to young people through alternative vehicles such as poetry and the performance arts.
Poet Laureate of Port of Spain, Eintou Pearl Springer held the audience spellbound with her pieces on HIV and AIDS. She shared the stage with National Extempo champion Black Sage, as well as a number of up and coming artistes including the powerful female stalwart of Rapso Sister Ava, the sensitive Gamma Ghost and the eclectic and talented Kepha Yaseph. Kepha closed the show with with his supporting band which incorporated violin music and the talent of drummer and percussionist 'Baba', the son of drumming pioneer and inventor Jah Jah Oga Onilu.
The Festival continues at venues throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
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