Malliouhana Poetry Competition 2018 ‘Neighbours Beyond Storm’

Winners with their certificates.

ANGUILLA–Anguilla’s Public Library was filled with poets, both young and not-so-young, family, friends and lovers of the written word on the evening of Thursday, May 3, there to enjoy the 2018 Malliouhana Poetry Competition whose theme was “Neighbours beyond Storms.” The poetry subject matter dealt with experiences arising from natural or manmade hazards, personal or social friction, and the impact and opportunities for healing and recovery.

The competition, open to everyone, consisted of two events: Poetry on the Page and Performance Poetry. Twenty-two junior and adult entries for Poetry on the Page were submitted prior to the May 3 competition. The top winners announced during the evening were Rhonica Connor in the junior category and Claushaun Richardson in the adult category. The Performance Poetry event drew 10 competitors who delivered personally-themed poems describing facing and overcoming adversity. Alexis Ryan took first place with his poem entitled “After the Storm.”

During the evening, three Anguillian cultural stalwarts, Playwright/Director/Actor Felix Fleming, Educator/Artiste Bernice Fahie-Richardson and Poet/Cultural Activist Lena Gumbs were recognised and presented with the Malliouhana Poetry 2018 Culture Bearer Awards. Omari Banks, Anguilla’s own internationally recognised singer, serenaded the audience with one of his songs entitled Sunlight.

A special award to salute an organisation/person who demonstrated that intrinsic “good neighbour” spirit of support and camaraderie on a national level was given to, and accepted by David Gumbs, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Anguilla Electricity Company Anglec on behalf of the entire Anglec staff. Chief Minister Victor Banks, before presenting the “Good Neighbour” award, congratulated all the poetry participants and especially the junior poets, commending them for their delivery. The Chief Minister said, “A number of the poems were about Hurricane Irma and the recovery, which made Anglec a hero. The community continues to pay tribute to the entire Anglec organisation whose contributions were key for restoring electricity to the island as quickly as they did.”

Also new on the programme was a segment called Pastors’ Praise Poetry. The organising committee introduced this segment to encourage the local Pastors/Preachers to expound on the theme and share the word in poetic form.

This annual literary event, launched in 2007 to encourage literacy and artistic expression is part of the national Anguilla Day celebrations and seeks to encourage literacy and artistic expression, as well as to promote an ethos of social, cultural, and political awareness. Organised by Anguilla’s University of the West Indies Open Campus, in collaboration with the Anguilla library service, the Department of Youth and Culture and the Anguilla Community College, the competition has attracted to date over 250 submissions from poets of all ages.

Source: The Daily Herald