Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Mervyn Morris, of the University of the West Indies has been appointed as Jamaica’s first Poet Laureate, over the next three years. The Tourism and Entertainment Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenneth McNeill made the announcement earlier today during a ceremony at the National Library of Jamaica.
According to the Jamaica Information Service, “Professor Morris’ role will entail playing a proactive and integral part in promoting Jamaican poetry as an art form that portrays the country’s cultural heritage, as also a medium for entertainment, by stimulating a greater appreciation of poetry, writing poems for national occasions, and preserving and disseminating the country’s cultural heritage, through prose.”
Morris is the author of several volumes of poetry, edited various anthologies and essays. His latest book is about Louise Bennett-Coverley, famous Jamaican poet folklorist.
The Poet Laureate Program has been re-established with a $3.4 million budget spread over a three-year period by the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
Governor-General, Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, will present Morris with the official Badge of Office on May 21, 2014 during an investiture ceremony, scheduled for King’s House.
The Poet Laureate is a national honor that recognizes a distinguished Jamaican poet for his or her significant contribution to the literary community.