Miss Lou to be honoured at Poet In Motion

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The life and work of Jamaica's folklorist, educator and writer Louise "Miss Lou" Bennett-Coverley will take centre stage at this year's staging of Poet In Motion scheduled for the Manchester Golf Club on Sunday, February 24.

Festival conceptualiser Yasus Afari explained the reason for this year's focus.

"Miss Lou is the neuro-linguistic mother of the Jamaican language and culture, so we have to honour her every morning when the sun rises and in the evening when the moon goes down. This year marks 100 years since her birth; it's a landmark year, and we are the beneficiaries of her brilliance and advocacy," Yasus Afari, head of Sen Yacum Entertainment, told the Observer yesterday.

The event promoter compared the folklorist to Jamaica's sole national heroine, Nanny of the Maroons.

"She is just a militant as Queen Nanny of the Maroons, but instead of guns and bullets, Miss Lou used language and humour," he said.

Born in Kingston on September 7, 1919, Miss Lou grew up to become the leading proponent in preserving the practice of presenting poetry, folk songs and stories in patois -- Jamaica's native tongue.

Her work took on mass appeal through her presence in media -- initially in print and later the electronic media to radio and then famously on television where she hosted Ring Ding, a weekly talent expose on the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation.

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