Black Sand - Edward Baugh's Latest Collection of Poetry Launched

The Department of Literatures In English, University of the West Indies, Mona, had the honour of launching Professor emeritus Edward Baugh’s Black Sand and Cultural Voice was present.

Representatives of the Department came out in their numbers, special mention was made of Sir Kenneth Hall, and Professor Roy Augier. In the audience Velma Pollard, Victor Chang, Karen Ford-Warner, Judith Hamilton, Genevieve Vassell, Monica Minott, Tanya Batson, Earl McKenzie, Erna Brodber, Norval Edwards, Schontal Moore and Paula-Ann Porter were among those who showed their support.

Professor Carolyn Cooper, a former student who studied at the feet of Professor Baugh, consoled the poet and scholar, who bemoaned writing too few poems (less than 100) thus far. She assured him that his giving of his life to teaching was indeed another form of poetry much appreciated by his many students. Tanya Shirley introduced Dr. Michael Bucknor, who introduced Professor Edward Baugh, the star of the evening.

Ambiance (Rosina Moder on recorder, Jeremy Ashbourne on piano along with Peter Ashbourne) presented stirring musical interludes. But it was the poem, "It Was The Singing", that first brought the audience into the world of Edward Baugh. It was the singing presented by Jean Small took us through music, sunshine, laughter, envy and, more laughter, especially his reminders of  the “carry down artists” and “ingratitude” that face Jamaicans daily. Through his works Baugh shows a willingness to face death man to man, not shirking away but acknowledging that we as conscious beings can do so graciously, giving thanks for the days we have had.  

The life of The narrator of the poem embodied by the dramatist Jean Small portrayed , a person that could be an aunt, mother, or cousin but certainly a rural Jamaican woman, whose simple life touched many. In his characterisation, Baugh took us and placed us in the song service, we sat in our pews acknowledging the traditional long-meter pastor, and a daughter that did her mother proud, “ and just like me and Gertie," on Sunday morning  “we know we were people together.”  Some of us were moved to tears.

Dr. Michael Bucknor said it well: Edward Baugh’s poetry spotlights what many call the throw aways, the rubble. The book starts with the END POEM, where goats and children know delight. It gave pause, and reminded us that to enter into the kingdom we must first become like little children. Those of us who put aside besetting haughtiness could enter and were welcomed and feted with treats: The ICE -CREAM MAN who had developed a new market,  we met the editor who exposed Baugh, who did not have any ‘Black poems’to present, leaving him only to respectfully decline. Baugh's strong sense of a world out of balance, focused us to the inequities meted out to minorities in the U.S.A. He allowed the audience to follow him into his searching out Miss Lady is Weeping, thankfully he did not leave us there, but transitioned into lighter moments, nevertheless troubling. Those who listened intently like his father did in Listening Dead or to True Love, and I Wish You a Leaf Falling, experienced the essence of Baugh; compassion, wit, honour and love. Baugh is without contest one of Caribbean’s finest poets/scholars.

Tenk You Sah. 


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