Poetry of AJ Seymour celebrated

Lloyd Marshall recites poetry and gives a history lesson simultaneously as he shares Seymour’s poem of names

The poetry of A J Seymour was celebrated, concert style, on Sunday evening as several well-known poetry enthusiasts paid tribute to a man described by Ian Mc Donald as “Guyana’s greatest man of letters,” and “a scene setter for West Indian writers.”

The concert, See More Poetry, is just one of a series of events and activities planned by the National Library, the University of Guyana and Frances Quamina Farrier to celebrate the poet’s work. It is no secret that many Guyanese relish classical poetry, which, among other things, is what Seymour was exceptional at.

And the fact that the man has been dead for 25 years (Sunday would have been his 100th birthday)

Lloyd Marshall recites poetry and gives a history lesson simultaneously as he shares Seymour’s poem of names
Lloyd Marshall recites poetry and gives a history lesson simultaneously as he shares Seymour’s poem of names

has done nothing to diminish the adoration felt by many towards his work. This being said, few events and activities focusing on such work are organised these days.

Nevertheless the facilities of the 300-seat Theatre Guild seemed hard-pressed to accommodate the droves of poetry enthusiasts, both classical and contemporary, who turned out to be part of Sunday’s festivities.

Several of Seymour’s poems were read with spirit and vitality by a who’s who of Guyanese dramatists, including Desiree Edghill, Russell Lancaster and Farrier.

Particularly captivating pieces were done by Lloyd Marshall, a pilot who recited “Name Poem,” a piece which explains how some Guyana’s rivers, streets, villages and interior locations got their names.

Marshall, after his recital, told Stabroek News that he learned the poem as a child and has remembered it to this day particularly because of the history embedded in each of its lines.

Meanwhile, Yaphet Jackman, a young, more contemporary poet, recited two pieces while local budding actors, including Nickose Layne and Melissa King dramatised the poems.

Yaphet Jackman (right) recites a poem amidst music and dramatizations
Yaphet Jackman (right) recites a poem amidst music and dramatizations

APNU parliamentarian Dr Rupert Roopnaraine also read two of Seymour’s poems.

A J Seymour was a respected poet, essayist, lecturer and memoirist, credited with contributing much towards the establishment of the foundations of the literary arts in Guyana and the Caribbean. He was 75 when he died.

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