The Frank Collymore Literary Endowment should be seen as a stepping stone to bigger things.
This was the advice given to authors who entered the 15th edition of the Literary Endowment and some members of Barbados’ literary community by British Born Barbadian International award winning poet, Dorothea Smartt, who gave the feature address at the 15th annual awards ceremony on Saturday, at the Grand Salle of the Tom Adams Financial Centre,the City.
Speaking on the topic, Poetry is not a luxury, she said that she had the opportunity to work with poets in Barbados before and she believes that it was always about learning from each other.
“Writers need role models”, was how she put it.
She spoke about her friend Audrey, who encouraged her sense of possibility so that she too could share her stories.
In an evocative address punctuated with laughter, Smart took the audience on the journey with her through the years as she gave snippets into her life and the reason behind some of her works such as the Medusa poems and Uses of the Erotic, which she said was an “eye-opener”.
About the latter she said: “It put into words some of my thoughts and feelings, rescuing sexual pleasure from the pornographic, the hedonistic, the bourgeois and highlighting its necessary and spiritual dimensions. … Poetry is not a luxury,” she said.
Smartt added that being in Barbados and at the awards ceremony gave her a “sense of homecoming”.
“Poetry is not a luxury. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. It forms the quality of a light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change. The new voices of the writers and poet being celebrated here tonight are … necessary … I need those voices, the world needs these voices and I wish them well as they move out into the world,” she said.
She also told the writers she knew how much it meant to “feel heard”. (DS)