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Nominations for Poet Laureate of Jamaica Opens

Poet Laureate of Jamaica

Nominations for the post of Poet Laureate of Jamaica are now open, with a view to naming the first honouree on January 26, 2014. Once introduced, the poet is not expected to merely sit on their newly minted laurels, but rather is expected to celebrate and propel Jamaican poetry to new heights.

The introduction of the honourary post is an initiative of the National Library of Jamaica and the Entertainment Advisory Board and will result in the return of the title to the island after 50 years. Tom Redcam and J.E. Clare McFarlane had previously been dubbed laureates by the Poetry League of Jamaica.

The Laureate will be selected by a committee based on nominations from the public of outstanding Jamaican poets. Nominations open today, Sunday, November 10, 2013 and  Nomination forms can be snagged from the NLJ’s website.

The NLJ has noted that all accomplished Jamaican (born, naturalized or of Jamaican parentage) poets, are eligible whether or not they currently reside in Jamaica. However, their poetic prowess must have manifested in at least three poetry publications, anthologies not included. Additionally, regardless of their residents, the Laureate must be available for at least four public events annually. The Poet Laureate will serve for three years.

Over the period, the Poet Laureate will engage in public poetry events to stimulate a greater appreciation of Jamaican poetry as well as promote poetry as a means for entertainment and cultural dissemination.

The selection committee will include representatives of The National Library of Jamaica, The Department of Literatures in English at the University of the West Indies (Mona), the Poetry Society of Jamaica and the Book Industry Association of Jamaica.

Nominations close on Friday, December 13, 2013.