October 7, 2008

Heroes, Role Models & Dreamers

Jamaican poets
Poets Marva McClean, Beth Harry, Ivy Armstrong, and Donna Weir Solely will present a dramatic presentation, Heroes, Role Models, and Dreamers, at the Broward County South Regional Library, 7300 Pines Boulevard on Wednesday, October 15, 6:30 PM.

The poets note that the presentation seeks to honor those individuals who have worked to offer hope and inspiration to others, often positioning themselves as role models, and dreamers. According to Ivy Armstrong, “the idea for this presentation arose from a desire to pay tribute to our (Jamaica’s) national heroes during the month of October when they are nationally recognized.” The four poets will read selections from their work in celebration of all the heroes and heroines in our lives, those who work as community activists in the public eye and those unsung heroes/heroines whose quiet support remain constant and enduring inspiring hope and possibility in our lives.

About the Authors

All four poets are educators and active community members committed to community building and civic engagement.

Ivy Armstrong is a psychiatric nurse, actress, and writer whose poetry cuts across themes to include Jamaican patois, love, and cultural heritage. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, she is the author of five volumes of poetry including Native Dawta, Share my Precious Stones and Lignum Vitae and Leather. Miss Ivy as she is popularly known, notes, “Wherever we go we carry our native selves within our hearts. It is this awareness of who we are that adds credibility to our external endeavors and gives us a sense of rootedness.”

Jamaican-born Dr. Donna Weir-Soley is an Associate Professor in the department of English at Florida International University. She is the recipient of the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Faculty Career Enhancement Fellowship. Her scholarly text on Spirituality and Resistance in Black Women’s Writings will also be published in 2009 by University Press of Florida. Professor Donna Weir-Soley will be reading from her poetry collection First Rain, published in 2006 by Peepal Tree Press.

Beth Harry who was born in Port Maria, Jamaica pursued her BA and Masters degrees at the University of Toronto and her Ph.D. at Syracuse University. She has been a teacher all her adult life, including teaching English at the secondary and community college levels, and special education at all levels. She is presently a professor of Special Education at the University of Miami in Florida. She will read from her recent publication, In Sunshine and in Shadow, a collection of intensely personal poems that reveal her deep- rooted connection to the sensuous colors and rhythms of her Caribbean experience.

Marva McClean, Ph. D., is an educator and author who explores issues of ancestral heredity and identity in her writing. She is the author of Bridges to Memory, a collection of poetry which explores the intriguing connection between culture and identity, and memory and the imagination. Dr. McClean will read a selection of poems celebrating the West Indian ideology of resistance and empowerment.

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