Friday, March 03, 2006

as long as

available on AMAZON

as long as” commemorates the poet's thirty second anniversary and fiftieth birthday.

Since his first collection in 1974, Roi Kwabena has fascinated many with his stories, poetry, music, lectures and lively interactive sessions. Actively promoting Cultural Literacy as an integral part of life-long learning, his energetic performances are in demand for conferences, seminars and concerts. This inimitable approach to teaching history and literature development has influenced ongoing activities at numerous schools, community centres, museums, prisons, universities, libraries, elderly homes, and places of worship internationally.

“as long as” deliberately reinterprets memories of Caribbean life at the turn of optimistic sixties and turbulent seventies. This is apparent in "never forget", “skylarking”, “DJ Big man city”, “Never forget”, "Recess", "Advice" and "Guarding Botanic Gardens ".

Widely misunderstood socio-cultural values of the Caribbean are celebrated in this new poetry." lockjoint”, is as much a childhood experience and valid historic event. This writer consciously revisits seemingly titular events to reopen

pitch darned trenches
that never healed

and these abrasions manifest today, as seemingly insurmountable quandaries in his birth place. Unemployment and poverty remain great concerns in "touristy" despite the glossy travel paraphernalia. Basic Human Rights in the Caribbean are constantly under threat by a phenomenal increase of violent crime, supplemented by recent sensational reports of impropriety in the echelons of power in collusion with parasitic oligarchs.

This is a passionate plea for an end to what is painted as "provocation". It is a courageous attempt to

“…enable sight through the lies
an’ chase away the flies of broken promises”

Proposing to “write the wrongs” is idealistic, but an acrimonious “émigré mask”: supping /from the same/ cup of poison / for sanctuary” is a bizarre dilemma. As one noted literary critic suggested, not many versifiers have “seen how the political system works on the inside... and.. step away from that role to reclaim the license of the folk poet to s(t)ing those who in power who do to live up to their rhetoric.”

Readers are reminded that " will but forced " emancipation did not address the fundamental issues of equality and liberty. Capital punishment remains enshrined in several independent territories and politicians grapple with legislations for appropriate conduct of those assigned to keep order. While the witty " re-ah-just " implores elected custodians to "re-direct" fiscal expenditure from armoury and security to health social welfare and education. For "ah vacuum" and the "great divide" will persist, if community empowerment remains ignored by those entrusted to govern.

The poet confidently prescribes conflict resolution for a "piece of mind". "JULICA" is in response to recent Hurricanes which devastated many islands. The catastrophe that occurred in New Orleans does not escape this poet via “Big Ease Back” nor does the horrific bombings across London in “Last Thursday”.

As Long As is complimented with selected authorised translations into Greek, Swedish, Hungarian, Italian and Turkish.

"In the Moment", “Capital of Culture” “Holocaust Memorial” as commissioned works as Poet Laureate of Birmingham City, UK feature alongside other recent commissions : “ Enlightenment & Dissent” and “the dark”. While "So Sea Here" literally knits sound and text resulting in enthralling rhythmic responses on a variety of issues. There are other surprising gems that traverse dissimilar landscapes of Wales, Cambrian lake district, Bavaria and Sudan; “ laid out in buffet style, something for everyone” as suggested in the introduction.

as long as” is Introduced by celebrated Danish based playwright Lennox Raphael and an after word by English Literature Lecturer Dr Eric Doumerc of the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail in France.

Readers are invited to celebrate the achievements of this exciting writer. Happy and incisive reading.