Jamaican Poet Malachi Smith Returns from Successful Stint in Colombia

Malachi Smith

Following in the voicesteps of Mutabaruka, Tomlin Ellis, Yasus, and Kwame Dawes, Malachi Smith was triumphant at the recently concluded 22nd International Poetry Festival in Medellin, Colombia.

The one week festival got off to a grand start on Saturday, June 23, when patrons of a jam packed and overflowing Teatro al aire libre Carlos Vieco were treated to a rich sampling of what was to come for the week.

The next day, Malachi read in the City of Bello at a mall at Centro Commericial Puerta del Norte. Smith anchored the reading, which also featured the great young poet from the Phillipines Mookie Katigbak, Kazajstan Master Poet Ulugbek Esduletov and native Colombian poet Mauricio Contreras. 

Wearing his “Let Every man be Hear” t-shirt from his new clothing line, Smith had the mall standing still as he delivered his works in vintage Malachi intense style. He closed the reading, much to the delight of the large raptured audience with “How Yu Mek Ar Massa God” on the “She is Royal” rhythm.  Mookie and the other poets were also royally received.

The following day, Smith read at Corporacian Juridica Librtad, a Colombian institution that advocates for the judicial disadvantaged in Medellin. He read with Colombian poet Angye Gaona, who was victim of the harsh Colombian justice system and native Colombian Indian writer Hugo Jamioy. Smith and his colleagues received gifts from the director of the institution after their reading.

Another highlight of Smith’s one week tour of Colombia was his appearance in the City of Itagui, where he had to do an encore after bringing persons in the audience to tears. Smith also read at Teatro Luis Felipe Velez, Casa de la Cultura de la Communa, Teatro Lido, and on the closing night at Teatro al aire Libre Carlos Vieco. The overflowing audience erupted as the master had them clapping and dubbing along.

A key component of the 22nd festival was the celebration of indigenous cultures from around the world.  Sessions were held and presentations were made on the impact of Globalization on culture.  The sessions, narrated by Colombian poet, professor and television producer Vito Apushana featured Aprirana Taylor,  New Zealand; Jhonathan Arango, Colombia; Hugo Jamioy, Nacion Kamsa, Colombia; Moria Clara Sharupi, Nacion Shur, Ecuador; Dida Aguirre, Peru, Nacion Quechua;  Rita Mestokosho, Nacion Innu, Canada; Vito Apushana, Nacion Wayuu, Colombia; Kareene Wood, Nacion Monacan, EE UU; Maria Teresa Panchillo, Nacion Mapuche, Chile; Mata-Uiroa Manuel Atan, Nacion Rapa Nui, Chile, Isla de Pascia; and Atala Uriana, Nacion Wayuu, Venezuela.

The 22nd Festival de Poesia de Medellin also featured South African Poet Laurete Kgositsile, a founding member of the ANC Department of Education and Departments of Arts and Culture; Greek master poet Dinos Siotis; Spanish poet, Jose Luis Reina Palazon; Edwin and Luis Rendon from Colombia, and many other world greats.

Smith returned to the USA to great news, he will be honored on August 18 as one of the 50 Jamaicans who has made a significant impact on Florida and the South U.S. Jamaican Diaspora community.


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