GREAT BAY, St. Martin – A “Tribute to the Great Salt Pond” will take place here at the Jubilee Library of Thursday, February 24, at 7 PM, said Shujah Reiph, president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).
The cultural performance tribute is part of CLF’s 20th annual month-long Black History Celebration. “We’ve gotten Lasana to do one of his rare performance readings. The poems will deal specifically with pain, love, survival, heritage, pollution, and death in the historic Great Salt Pond,” said Reiph.
“The idea is to link poetry, dance, and music in the tribute to the painful labor of our people, socialization and production, historical and cultural meanings, modern St. Martin identity, and conservation of the Great Pond,” said Reiph.
“Lasana has called the Great Salt Pond the symbolic ‘cradle of the St. Martin nation,’ that is for the unity of our island-nation, North and South. One of the poems will even look at a St. Martin mythology of the pond,” said Reiph.
A brief discussion between the poet and USM students from Dr. Jay Haviser’s archeology class will follow the cultural performance. “This class assignment may be unique for us but this is normal among the better universities around the world.”
“It’s a live exchange between students and cultural workers or activists in the field,” said Reiph. Any audience member can participate in the discussion.
And talking about activism, Reiph said that a petition to save the Great Salt Pond will be opened at the tribute reading for guests who may want to sign the document.
“The petition hopefully adds to the work of environmentalists and to the concerns and grief of the island’s people, visitors, and media against pollution and more land-filling of the Great Salt Pond,” said Reiph.
The petition, developed by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), and the signatures, will be presented here to Parliament at a later date – after its circulation on the island and on the Internet, said Jacqueline Sample, president of HNP.
The Thursday evening program concludes with Sekou signing copies of his new book Pelican Heart / Corazón de pelícano. The independent Cuban scholar Emilio Jorge Rodríguez edited the 428-page anthology of Sekou’s poetry collections between 1978 and 2010.
The “Tribute to the Great Salt Pond” is coordinated by CLF in collaboration with Philipsburg Jubilee Library and HNP www.houseofnehesipublish.com. The theme of the Black History Celebration 2011 is, “Documenting the history we make.”
“All of the St. Martin people are invited to the Philipsburg Jubilee Library on Thursday at 7 PM to celebrate our history, with a tribute to the Great Salt Pond,” said Reiph.
Caption1: Lasana M. Sekou (center) street-reading in Marigot. (Saltwater Collection file photo)