Award wining Liberian poet, Lekepele Nyamalon, has returned to his alma mater, Ricks Institute, with an open poetry exhibition which he hopes will help discover and foster creative writing talents.
Held under the theme “Ebola Recovery Night of Poetry”, the event brought together more than 15 poems from students of the school, creating a platform on which they can showcase their writings while expressing thoughts and feelings about the Ebola virus.
“I’m amazed by the outstanding talents of these young writers, as well as the expression and vision they have shown in these works. I’m of a stronger conviction that you’re the next generation of Liberian writers,” Nyamalon said.
He said that poetry takes much more than originality in expressing one’s thoughts and experiences and is also meant to present to the world knowledge that, even though beneficial in understanding everyday’s problems, has escaped the minds of many people.
“I’m happy that you were able to recount your knowledge about Ebola and express it through artistic works that have stirred the mind and emotion,” he said, further congratulating the students for showcasing their poetry.
Patrick Dahn, an 11-grade student whose family was quarantined during the Ebola outbreak, read a rousing poem that brought tears to the eyes of a few people in the audience.
Among the participants was Shirley Beyslow, a student from the six-grade. Of the elementary section she was the only representative.
Nyamalon said a poet should be more inventive in his choice of words while expressing self- confidence, adding that poetry should be able to stimulate interest and provoke discussions.
“A good poet is one that reads constantly, and I hope that you continue this dream,” he said. “Your works exhibited here show exceptional talents and mark the beginning of a poetry revolution among you.”
“In your tender and loving hands the future of the nation is entrusted, in your innocent hearts the pride of the nation is enshrined, on your scholastic development the salvation of the nation is dependent. As you leave this hall you carry the future of Liberia and Africa in your school bags,” he added.
Ms. Precious Marshall, the Director of Administration at Ricks Institute, said that the school remains committed and dedicated in molding the minds of Liberian youth as future leaders of the nation.
She added that the school is proud of the participants and will do all it can to nurture the creative talents of the students.
Congratulating the students for their works, she said that the “poems express what we as a nation and people have felt and experienced about Ebola.”
“Clearly, we will soon forget to tell the real story and its effects. But with these works, I’m sure that future generations will get to realize what all of us felt during the Ebola crisis,” she explained.
“You people have shown great talent. The clarity and brilliance of your description give the readers a feeling of being present on the scene,” she added.
Ms. Massa Mamey, who is an instructor at Ricks Institute, said, “I’m not surprised by the creative talents shown by our students. From the outset, I have believed in their ability and the poems produced here are heart-touching.”
She said that although the administration did help the students in breaking their poems into stanzas and editing minor subject-verb agreement, the creativity and expressions are the students’ own.
“My hope is that the administration can continue just such a talent hunt,” she concluded.