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Roots and Memory: Adrian Augier's Navel String Launched at the UWI, Mona

Adrian Augier, reads from Navel String

“St Lucian poetry, in the wake of Derek Walcott, is alive and well,” Declared Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh as he uncovered the roots surrounding Adrian Augier’s Navel String. Augier, a St. Lucian poet was in Jamaica island whilst his collection of poems was receiving its Jamaican launch, courtesy of the Department of Literatures in English, at the University of  the West Indies, Mona.

Augier, the 2010 Laureate of Caribbean Arts and Letters, delivered a tempered reading punctuated by just enough drama to allow the poems to fully take over the Neville Hall Lecture Theatre. He read poems that sang of identity, loss, and remembering.

“It is suffused with the poet’s identification with the people and the place,” Baugh had said earlier, providing a great foundation for Augier’s reading. Baugh remarked that the poetry in Navel String explored the folk, their spirituality and resilience, rootedness, identity, memory and community.

Prof Baugh (right) waits in the line to have his book signed by Adrian Augier (seated)“It’s always difficult to know what to read,” Augier said. “We poets love all our poems.” Yet, though he made have had some difficulty, his choices went over well with the audience as he delivered ‘Seafarers’, ‘Perhaps the Children’, ‘Duncan de la Croix’, ‘Returned to Lusca’ and ‘It’s a Hard Thing’.

The launch also featured performances from Trio Ambiance (Rosina Moder on recorder, Sean Richards on guitar and Jeremy Ashbourne on percussions), who delivered easy listening music. The trio delivered a largely light-hearted set which included ring games, a folk medley and a touch of Reggae with Sattamassagana.

At the end, the Department had presented an engaging morning. As with most of the writers that the Department tends to highlight, Augier’s is a voice worth knowing. The roots tangling with Navel String speaks to experiences and sings with a cadence that is unique to St. Lucia, but its echoes reverberate across the Caribbean.

Navel String was published by Peepal Tree Press in December 2012.