PHYSICAL education teacher at the Norman Manley High School, Miguel Coley is Poet of the Year. Coley came out on top in the Redbones Blues Café’s 12th Annual Writers’ Awards for Poetry on Wednesday night.
The popular dinner theatre pub at 1 Argyle Road, St Andrew celebrated its 15th anniversary with the launch of the book Redbones 15, another milestone marked with the staging of the event in which seven poets vied for the first prize of $7,000.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow judges, author of the 2009 best selling poetry collection, She Who Sleeps With Bones, Tanya Shirley, declared before announcing the winner: “We just want to thank the poets for participating. We were impressed by their ability to remember their poems. And we were entertained.”
Second place went to Abebe Payne with the Poem of the Year titled Return In The Worldwind in tribute to Marcus Garvey.
Coley performed three poems —Summer Love, Black Woman and Matchies Stick. “It’s my first competition and to win, it’s a great feeling. Give thanks to Mr Williams for providing such an opportunity for me to come here and perform in such an atmosphere. And I am also looking forward to doing some recording.
“We’ve always been involved with the arts, particularly theatre, music and literature,” the newly crowned Poet of The Year told the Jamaica Observer.
A pleased Evan Williams, conceptuliser and head honcho of Redbones, shared the thoughts behind another of his successful projects for which his establishment is well known.
“Jamaica is so blessed with poets, any number of the people who performed here (at Redbones) have published books of poems. It’s something that I’ve been interested in and we try to promote it. It’s difficult because it’s not something you would find in a venue such as this. But we like to think that Redbones is the cultural oasis of Kingston.
“What we do is, the last Wednesday of each month, we have our literary evening with three scheduled poets and then an open mike session. And in November, we shortlist from about 40 poets down to around seven or eight. And then we have a panel of judges and the results are based on content and presentation.”
The other competiting poets were the 2001 Miss Jamaica World, Regina Beavers, the former TV presenter/producer now acting in the popular TV series The Blackburns of Royal Palm Estate; poet/actor Jevoni Dennis, whose stage name is Tarchh; actor, singer, and motivational speaker, Derron Wallace; Duane Francis, a graduate of Edna Manley College and member of the Poetry Society of Jamaica; and Mervin “MiBless” Spence, the 2007 JCDC Speech Festival gold medallist.
The other member of the judges panel comprised Mervyn Morris, poet/professor emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Mona; and journalist/poet, Meville Cooke.