Jamaica has a new poet laureate. There is none more deserving than this Munro College (a notable Jamaican secondary school) stalwart, Rhodes Scholar and UCWI graduate. You’ll never meet a more affable gentleman than our Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & West Indian Literature, Mervyn Morris O.M. He has taught at the UWI been on staff at The UWI since the 1960s. With his new appointment, Professor Morris is charged with promoting poetry as part of the Jamaican cultural heritage. The Jamaica Observer quotes Professor Morris, “My priority would be to find ways of putting poets in more frequent contact with the Jamaican audience. But there are elements of promoting Jamaica abroad, for instance. That is part of what the tourism people have in mind.”
Professor Morris has long been promoting the work of poets. In the Library of the Spoken Word (LSW) Collection–which forms part of the University Archives–are interviews by Morris, which documents the work of many notable Jamaican and regional poets, including Louise ‘Ms Lou’ Bennett-Coverley, Derek Walcott, James Berry, eminent dub poets Mutabaruka and Oku Onuora. These items, or if you may ‘audiovisual records’, break open insights and stories that unveil parts of the creative process that led to some well-known poems. Sometimes a little more about the poets themselves may also be uncovered.
Professor Morris, despite his selfless quest to promote creative writing and poetry in the region, also produced quite a collection of his own work. As part of the Caribbean Writer’s Series, Professor Morris performs some of his creative work and discusses poetry and its space in the region. One of Professor Morris’ noted poems “On Holy Week” was dramatized for radio broadcast by early Radio Education Unit staff and other UWI luminaries. The list includes Hugh Morrison, Leonie Forbes, Alma MockYen, Noel Vaz, Noel Dexter and Edward Baugh.
Here we present Professor Morris reciting four (4) of his Poems: “For Kamau, Give Thanks”; “Toasting A Muse”; “Ground Nations for Cedric Brooks”;”Valley Prince”, excerpts from the 2002 Conference on Caribbean Culture in Celebration of Kamau Brathwaite, “The Word”.
Some other related entries from the LSW Collection are listed below
|Morris, Mervyn||Department of Literatures in English Book Launch: I Been There, Sort of – New and Selected Poems||2006, Dec|
|Morris, Mervyn;||The Legacy and Legend of Miss Lou “Noh Lickle Twang” Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address,||2008,Jan||Disc 2|
|Morris, Mervyn et al||50th Anniversary Symposium- UWI Special Event||N.d.|
|Morris, Mervyn et al||UWI’s 50 Anniversary Symposium “A View From Within” ( tape 1 of 3)- UWI Special Event||1998, Jul 22||Tape 1|
|Morris, Mervyn||Poets of the West Indies (tape 1 of 4) – Language and Literature||N.d.||Tape 1|
|Morris, Mervyn||“On Holy Week”: Lenten Poem (produced. for radio)- Language and Literaturre||1988|
|Various||“Checking Out’ a Farewell” Tribute to Mervyn Morris,Professor of Creative Writing & W.I. Literature- Language and Literature tape 1 of 2|
|Various||“Checking Out’ a Farewell” Tribute to Mervyn Morris, Professor of Creative Writing & W.I. Literature Language and Literature tape 2 of 2|
|Morris, Mervyn ; White, Livingston; Warner-Lewis, Maureen||Reading V.S. Naipaul – Language and Literature||2001, Dec 2|
|Morris, Mervyn||“Making West Indian Literature” – Language and Literature|
|Baugh, Edward; Morris, Mervyn||Collage|
|Morris, Mervyn||“Walcott and the audience for Poetry” – Derek Walcott|
|Morris, Mervyn||“Walcott and the audience for Poetry” – Derek Walcott||N.d||N.d|
|Morris, Mervyn||Interviews Ms Lou|
|Morris, Mervyn||Interviews Mutabaruka|
|Morris, Mervyn||Interviews Oku Onuora|
|Morris, Mervyn||People on Campus Mervyn Morris Talks about poet James Berry||1986, Apr 17|
|Morris, Mervyn||Caribbean Writer’s Series Mervyn Morris||1986, Apr|
|Morris, Mervyn||Four Poets and their verses (live performances) Campus Comment Prog. 24||1975|
Persons wishing to access the records from the LSW Collection may contact the UWI Mona Campus Main Library or the University Archives directly.