Local poet Linisa George, recently had one of her original pieces included in THE WORLD RECORD; an international anthology of work by poets from all the countries taking part in the 2012 London Olympics. The publication formed part of the recently held Poetry Parnassus festival in London. Poetry Parnassus, formed a major part of Festival of the World, and was an unprecedented gathering of poets invited in late June, to take part in a week-long festival of readings, workshops and a host of other events at the prestigious Southbank Centre.
The participating poets were selected following an open nominations process last year which attracted nearly 5,000 public entries. The final group of poets was then chosen by a panel led by Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre’s artistic director, and Simon Armitage, the festival’s curator. THE WORLD RECORD reveals the world through its keenest observers, political activist and most articulate wordsmiths. There‘s something for every taste: new voices as well as world greats, rappers and spoken word artists as well as poets and storytellers. The publication marks the first time so many living poets from so many countries have been gathered in one anthology.
Poetry Parnassus curator refers to the historic volume as, “A unique publication. An Olympic event no less in ancient time.” He continued, “The Southbank has sought to recreate a small piece of Greece along its riverside complex, namely Mount Parnassus, home to the muses and home to Orpheus, often described as “the first poet”. This ambitious anthology is not only a record of that extraordinary happening but an enduring and echoing experience, one that celebrates and honours a multitude of voices, languages and attitudes, all joined under the flag of poetry.”
Linisa George was chosen during the selection process as the representative for Antigua and Barbuda. The piece chosen for publication is her autobiographical well-known poem ‘Brown Girl In The Ring’; the story of a young dark-skinned girl’s emotional journey to self acceptance through self-inspection. George is a poet, freelance writer, director and playwright and a strong advocate for gender justice. She is an Executive member of Women of Antigua, a non-profit organization established in 2008, and co-owner of August Rush Productions, a creative arts company. Linisa also serves as the Director of The Young Poets Society of Antigua & Barbuda (YoPoSAB), an organization that uses poetry to awaken the creative elements in youth ages 12 to 17.
George, who is also the 2010 co-winner of a National Youth Award for her contribution to the Literary Arts, is currently working with her YoPoSAB members as they prepare to perform at the launch of this year’s Antigua & Barbuda Review Of Books next month. Some of Linisa’s work will be featured in this year’s review. The society will also continue to put the finishing touches on their first poetry publication to be released later this year.
On reflection of her published piece in the anthology, George remarks, “To have my most personal poem (Brown Girl In The Ring) included in THE WORLD RECORD alongside Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature Derrick Walcott, is extremely humbling and exciting all at the same time. I had to submit seven pieces for them to choose from, It says a lot that they chose Brown Girl.” A full version of Brown Girl In The Ring is presently being displayed on the walls of the Southbank Centre.
Linisa resumes work on her other projects including preparations to begin filming ‘Brown Gurl Envy’, a documentary based on ‘Brown Gurl In The Ring’. She will also continue to develop existing initiatives with her August Rush counterpart and creative equal Zahra Airall, including their bi-monthly open mic nights Expressions; Poetry In The Pub, which has been influential in highlighting the local talent of spoken word artist and musicians in Antigua. Linisa presently blogs at www.blackgirlinthering.blogspot.com.
THE WORLD RECORD was published by Bloodaxe Books and is currently available on Amazon at a price of £10. The historic paperback is a monumental poetic feast worthy of the spirit and history of the Olympic. It celebrates the powerful combination of brave, cultural and political voices of the world’s poets.
To read about Antigua and Barbuda’s athletes at the Olympics, go here.