By Isanella Patoir
Award winning Trinidadian journalist and poet, Wesley Gibbings launched his fifth collection of poems at Moray House, Camp Street Georgetown on Friday.
Titled ‘Passages’, the book holds a collection of 31 poems written and composed over a period of 26 years.
Gibbings’ first collection of poems was published in 1977, while he was still a secondary school student.
He told the News Room that almost half of the poems were written about his experiences in Guyana, however, there are Jamaican experiences and of course Trinidad and Tobago.
He said most of the poems show the changes in the Caribbean from 1993.
“I’ve lived and worked throughout the Caribbean including in Guyana and what I find is a need, a thirst by people for freedom. There is a level of passion in the region, people feel strongly about the things they believe in and I think the prospect for change is somewhere there in the narrative,” Gibbings said.
According to Gibbings, every river reference in the poem emerged from the rivers in Guyana.
“At a very early age, I read Wilson Harris, Palace of the Peacocks and the imagery associated with rivers, it had a really strong impact on me at the time,” Gibbings said.
He was presented with the Percy Qoboza International Journalist Award in 2017 by the US National Association of Black Journalists for his work in the area of press freedom.
Gibbings visited Guyana for the first time in 1988 and according to him it was one of the most memorable experiences of his life.
And then he met Martin Carter –a famous Guyanese poet who is widely respected in the Caribbean region.
“I came later on and I actually overnighted on a boat on the Essequibo, and to me that is one of the most fantastic experiences of my life,” Gibbings reminisced.
Gibbings continues to work in media development and journalism in the Caribbean region.
While the launch of his fifth collection of poems was not planned, Gibbings said, “I think it’s the most appropriate place because so much of it reflects my experiences in Guyana and the things that inspired me.”
One of the poems in the collection speaks about the Bartica Massacre in 2008. Twelve persons were brutally murdered in Bartica by the notorious criminal gang led by Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins.
At the launch, Gibbings read a couple of his poems and interacted with the audience.
Signed copies of ‘Passages’ are on sale and is available on essencebookstore.com.