Let a hundred poems bloom
Stabroek News
February 12, 2002

Mr Asafa George, the proprietor of the Upscale restaurant, deserves our gratitude for starting a weekly night of poetry at that venue. What a wonderful gesture. Gratifyingly, the opening night [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] last Tuesday was well attended and one must hope that culture starved Guyanese will continue to patronise this imaginative innovation. Mr George said at the opening that his aim was to "promote culture, strive for excellence in poetry and provide entertainment'. We wish him every success.

There are not many opportunities now for a cultural evening out. Theatrical offerings are few and far between, months go by without a musical concert of any kind and quality films are a rarity. Mr Nigel Hughes had, of course, done pioneering work both with his art gallery in Hadfield street where several exhibitions of paintings and other items have been held over the years and with the Sidewalk Cafe where entertainers, including regional pan and jazz artistes are hosted. Ms Elfrieda Bissember, the curator of Castellani House, maintains a fairly regular stream of exhibitions of paintings, sculpture and photographs throughout the year. But on the whole, the opportunities for an intellectually stimulating afternoon or night out are not plentiful.

Mr George will no doubt develop the format as he proceeds and see how things turn out. Obviously, one of the main purposes of his exercise will be to encourage local talent and to give exposure to budding poets. The work of Guyanese poets like Martin Carter, A.J. Seymour and Ian Mc Donald will also no doubt be among the favourite selections of those attending and participating in the readings. The work of leading poets from all over the world ranging from our own Caribbean Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott to English, American, Latin American and Asian poets will presumably also be read and appreciated. Perhaps there will eventually be nights when the work of a particular poet can be featured, possibly introduced by a short introduction from someone like Dr Rupert Roopnaraine or Mrs Joyce Jonas. The readings can then be followed by questions and a discussion. Perhaps on other nights in future the meaning of one or two poems can be discussed and analysed, using some of the talent available at the University of Guyana.

Mr George must be congratulated on the hard work he has invested in this project. It can help to provide a little oasis of relief in the cultural desert that exists.