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Published:Sunday, April 30, 2017
Published:Sunday, April 30, 2017
LOPEZ: SELWYN of PankaStreet, St. James passedaway on 25th April, 2017.Son of the late Vernon and Beatrice Lopez. Husband of Rita. Father of Jason, Karenand Khristian. Father-in-law of Shelley. Grandfather ofEnrique, Lucia and Isabel.Brother of Sylvia, Eileen (dec), Yvonne (dec), Vera (dec), Bar-bara, Winston (dec), Selma,Lenon, Marcelle, Mercedesand Holly Betaudier (dec). Brother-in-law of Monica, Valand Sam. Uncle of many. Relative of the Chin Aleong, Hislop, Chun, Camacho, Dookharan and Ragoo families.
No flowers by request.Funeral at 10.00 a.m. on Tues-day 2nd May, 2017 at Churchof the Assumption, Maravalfollowed by cremation at theCrematorium, Long CircularRoad, St. James for 12.30p.m. For enquiries, call C&B625-1170 or visit clarkandbat-too.comDeath
T&T sees an explosion of talent and interest in versePublished:Sunday, April 30, 2017
Erline Andrews Poetry in T&T is at an exciting crossroads. Poetry slams are drawing sold-out crowds. T&T poets are winning awards and drawing international attention. And a steady stream of new and standout verse talent from T&T and other parts of the English-speaking Caribbean is being published.
This year, the winner of the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest National Poetry Slam will receive a cash prize of $50,000-up from $20,000 the previous year and $3,000 in 2013.
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is. We’re serious,” said Jason Julien, deputy CEO of First Citizen’s Bank, the slam’s main sponsor, during the festival’s launch last month. He called the money an investment and said of the slam: “The rich content that you see on that stage is priceless, invaluable.”
The slam will close off the festival today at Napa, Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain. Thirteen finalists are expected to compete. (See Page B40)
“The longstanding joke is that you don’t go into poetry expecting to make money,” said blogger and Sunday Arts Section books reviewer Shivanee Ramlochan, whose first collection of poems, Everyone Knows I Am a Haunting, will be launched in July.
“And there’s an old adage that says the only people who buy books of poetry are poets."
But, she added, “I think over the past five to eight years I’ve seen a lot of things that made me question how true that is.
“Yes, it is true that commercially the sales of poetry will always be below short fiction and novels,” she continued. “But the creative interest in making a community around poets is more encouraging that it’s ever been.”
The Bocas festival itself is one reason for the change. But Bocas is building on a foundation that was laid by different people over the years, said Ramlochan.
“I think it’s owed to pockets of grassroots movements of people who’ve been working in poems, making small spaces that have become bigger ones and getting buy-in from people who have the funding to make things happen—like residencies, like workshops, like publishing initiatives,” she said.
“Something magical must have happened along the way so that people with money stood up and took interest and realised that poetry was not only saleable but worth investing in,” she said.
Ramlochan is social media manager for the festival and for Paper Based Bookshop, which specialises in Caribbean literature and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Paper Based offers titles you wouldn’t find anywhere else and gives readers and writers an opportunity to meet. Ramlochan organises the regular Paper Based author/reader event called An Evening of Tea and Readings.
Paper Based founder Joan Dayal won this year’s Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters.
Andre Bagoo, like Ramlochan, writes about the literary scene and does reviews on his blog and in a daily newspaper, all part of generating and sustaining interest in local literature. His third book of poems, Pitch Lake, was recently published.
He and Ramlochan attended a local initiative, the Cropper Foundation Residential Workshop for Caribbean Writers, in 2010 along with another rising Trinidadian poetry talent, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné.
Boodoo-Fortuné won the Bocas Emerging Caribbean Writers Prize in 2015. Ramlochan had been shortlisted for the award.
“It was really from that workshop that the germs of my first book came together,” said Bagoo, whose second book of poetry, Burn, was longlisted last year for the prestigious OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Bagoo is the PRO of the Circle of Poets, which meets every month and gives members an opportunity to read their work and receive critique.
“There’s definitely a deep interest in poetry and the Circle of Poets is just one organisation. You have all these other organisations,” he said.
He gave a short list that included the Writers Union, the monthly open mic event called True Talk No Lie and the Poetic Vibes Arts Foundation.
“Those are just a few,” he said.
LGBTQ activist Colin Robinson’s book, You Have You Father Hard Head, his first, was published last year. He also attended the 2010 Cropper Foundation workshop and participated in other Caribbean writing development programmes, including one called the St James Writers’ Room in 2014 with UK-based Trinidad-born author Monique Roffey, who won the OCM Bocas Prize the previous year with her book Archipelago.
Robinson read his work at an open mic event at the first Bocas in 2011 and was approached afterward by Jeremy Poynting of the Leeds-based Peepal Tree Press, who invited him to submit a manuscript. Peepal Tree, the world’s foremost publisher of Caribbean literature, also published Bagoo’s and Ramlochan’s recent books.
“What’s happening is that Caribbean people are good poets,” Robinson said, laughing, of recent attention being paid to poets from the region. Robinson and other poets were interviewed on a half-hour feature in March about contemporary Caribbean literature broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
“I think we live in a postcolonial world. Caribbean poets in particular can write from a local space, can write using local language in a way that can achieve value,” he said of the differences between the contemporary literary environment and the past. “We’re not having to imitate metropolitan ideas of what literature should look like.”
Peepal Tree, founded in 1985, has published some of the best Caribbean writers, including celebrated poets Vahni Capildeo, Kei Miller, Kamau Brathwaite, Jennifer Rahim and Ishion Hutchinson.
Capildeo, a Trinidadian, won the British Forward Prize for Poetry last year. Miller, a Jamaican, won it in 2014. Another Jamaican, Claudia Rankine, won the prize in 2015.
Peepal Tree has had a book on the longlist for the OCM Bocas Prize every year since the competition began. Most years it has multiple books.
In 2015 the Peepal Tree-published book by St Lucian poet Vladimir Lucien, Sounding Ground, won the prize. All of this has contributed to Peepal Tree seeing an increase in sales over the past few years.
“We always get far more poetry submissions than we can actually do anything with,” said Poynting, when asked if he’s seen increased interest in writing poetry. But, he added, “the quality is probably a lot higher than when I started.
“We certainly get more submissions that you have to take seriously”, he said.
Bocas programme director Nicholas Laughlin, who’s also had a book of poetry published by Peepal Tree, agreed there’s been an improvement in the poetry environment within recent years.
“I think the last five or ten years has been a really fertile time, certainly here in T&T. I feel like there are more really good published poets working here at home than ever before,” he said.
He said this was the reason he wants to see more done to get these writers more international exposure and opportunities to develop their craft. This would require increased financial commitment from State and private entities.
Bocas arranged for Ramlochan—whose book Laughlin calls “a total game changer” and “one of the most exciting books of poetry I’ve come across in years”—and Capildeo to read their work at the prestigious PEN World Voices Festival in New York next month. It’s the kind of exposure you expect for poets of their calibre, but it comes with a cost.
The Bocas Emerging Writers Prize is not being offered this year for lack of a sponsor.
“Writers need certain kinds of support and certain kinds of infrastructure,” said Laughlin. “So it’s wonderful that we’ve got all this talent and people are writing and they’re publishing. But there’s a lot that comes beyond that.”
Laughlin said there still persists stubborn attitudes about poetry that he hopes will continue to change.
“We still have this perception poetry is difficult, it’s hard, and it’s not for everybody, it’s only for really educated people, it’s only for other poets, it’s only for an elite,” he said.
“But,” he added, “what’s really interesting is to put people who feel that way into a room with some really good poets and have them experience the work and see how it changes their minds”.
More info: bocaslitfest.com
...an autism awareness initiative by Prestige HoldingsPublished:Sunday, April 30, 2017
For more than 40 years, Prestige Holdings Limited has been “helping people taste happiness every day”. The devotion to autism awareness is just another way that the company has continued to deliver on their promise.
On April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, the brands under Prestige Holdings Limited participated in the worldwide initiative to ‘Light It Up Blue’. ‘Light It Up Blue’ in support of autism awareness included KFC, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, Subway and Starbucks brands, with 21 of their flagship restaurants joining buildings from all continents for one night to serve as beaming beacons of blue light in our country. 2017 marked the second year the brands have joined forces to Light It Up Blue.
What is autism? Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first three years of life and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. It is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. Why is a puzzle piece used as the symbol for autism? The puzzle piece symbol reflects the mystery and complexity of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since every puzzle piece is different in some way, a puzzle piece accurately represents the diversity of the individuals affected.
It is estimated that approximately 13,000 families are affected by autism (according to WHO statistics crediting one per cent of the country’s current population). When a child is diagnosed on the autism spectrum, he/she requires 20 to 40 hours of therapy per week, but the Autistic Society can offer up to two hours per week. Therefore, the majority of families cannot access appropriate and affordable education for their children in their communities.
Prestige Holdings Limited has embarked on a journey to promote autism awareness by partnering with the Right Start For Autism group, a partnership journey which began in 2014. On World Autism Awareness Day, a media launch which synergised this partnership with Right Start For Autism was held at Price Plaza compound where all five of the Prestige Holdings Limited’s brands exist.
It was used as a platform to sensitise the public at large through an official ‘Light It Up Blue’ plug-in ceremony by CEO Charles Pashley and local celebrities Ian Alvarez aka Bunji Garlin and his wife, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez. A cheque was also presented to the Right Start For Autism group, as an integral part of honouring the corporate social responsibility initiative.
During the month of April, Autism Awareness month, the company held steadfast on pillars of support for this cause. They assisted with the education of the public with pamphlet distribution at all five restaurants. On display at flagship restaurants was the vibrant murals/portraits canvassed on a spectrum of blue hues to support the company’s 2017 Autism Awareness theme ‘Different Is Beautiful’. These were painted live by artists Tracy Chan and Lee Anthony Aleong during the launch. The brands’ social media pages and digital billboards were infused with a corporate message highlighting ‘Early Detection, Early Treatment, Best Results’. KFC meal boxes were also branded with puzzle pieces and autism ribbons and the Kid’s Pack contains a puzzle devoted to autism awareness. Employees of all five brands were also seen wearing autism awareness broaches on their uniforms and the company will also be hosting its first-ever fashion show—the culmination of an internal T-shirt competition for autism awareness—on Wednesday.
—Brand Leader Pizza Hut Krista-Lee Lookit