We are the epitome of Caribbean Heritage and our mandate is to celebrate the uniqueness of our gifts and contributions to any society we belong to. We discovered a gem earlier this year and it is only right that she gets the recognition she so deserves. The US celebrates National Poetry Month in April and as Caribbean people our love for the arts is huge. I have had the chance to perform at many Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) events. Poetry is something near and dear to us and even our very own poets, like Claude McKay, had such a great influence on the Harlem Renaissance. 

So, what did we discover? A growing list of poets from all over the West Indies compiled by Yasmin Morais.  The Poets are listed by country and do include poets from the French, Dutch and Spanish islands. Ms. Morais described the list as a labor of love and welcomes additions. She not only added popular poets but up-and-coming poets with links to their websites and/or social media pages. Now that her school-aged children are heading off to college she intends on putting in more work to keep the list and her blog updated. 

But who is Yasmin? She is a cataloging librarian at the Charles and Hilda Mason Law Library in Washington, DC.  Yasmin was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and is a proud graduate of Kingston Technical High School. She obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB Hons.) from the University of London, MLS from the University of Toronto MSc in International Relations from the University of the West Indies. 

Her published works include From Cane Field to the Sea, a   collection of poems about love, loss, and the immigrant experience, Kianda, about a woman’s determination to unfetter herself from a cycle of violence. It is a story of courage in the face of loss, heartbreak, fear, and abuse, and offers hope for anyone who has ever felt beaten down. Ms. Morais’ was always a lover of poetry and began scribbling lines while attending UWI with themes that surrounded politics, social justice, the social conditions in Jamaica,  family experiences particularly those of her grandmother. Although she was hesitant to go the self-publishing route she got encouragement from Jamaican Poet, Lorna Goodison. 

In addition to the list, Yasmin’s blog also posts poetry from other posts and sometimes does reviews and giveaways. She is accepting more poets so visit her blog at Poets of the Caribbean.