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Jamaica names 1st poet laureate in 50 years

April 15, 2014

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaica has appointed its first poet laureate in 50 years in a bid to revitalize the arts and preserve the Caribbean country’s literary history.

At a Tuesday gathering at Jamaica’s national library, Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill named poet Mervyn Morris to the honorary position.

Morris has published several volumes of his own poetry and authored and edited a wide range of anthologies and essay collections. He most recently wrote a book about Louise Bennett-Coverley, a beloved Jamaican poet and folklorist who brought the island’s unique patois to the world.

He is a retired literature professor at Jamaica’s campus of the University of the West Indies.

Morris says bringing poetry to the wider public will be a “major service to Jamaican culture.” The post lasts for three years.

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