From Anil Bedasie at the library event!
On Saturday July 1st, the Queens Book Fair and Literary Festival Inc., which was introduced by Dr Dhanpaul Narine in 2018, held its annual Poetry themed event entitled “Poetry is Life” at the Richmond Hill branch of the Queens Public Library. As the 3rdevent in the 2023 Book Fair series, it was well attended by a large number of young adults along with other community representatives and special guests. There were over twenty-seven participants who either read poems of other poets or read their own compositions to the listening audience. In this event, I performed the role of moderator.
The Greek word “poieo” means “to create,” and allows poets to write about a variety of topics. Poetry, as a genre of literature, predates written communications, and researchers believe that thousands of years ago,poems were sung and passed on as oral history. As such, through the medium of poetry, writers are able to express their thoughts and inner feelings, which coincides with the Book Fair tagline “telling our stories.”
The program began with introductory remarks by Ashook Ramsaran of the Indian Diaspora Council, who commented on the value of the Book Fair events,which is to showcase the talents and accomplishments of our community youths with special focus on successful trailblazers. Mr. Ramsaran also spoke on current events in our nation, such as recent US Supreme Court decisions, young American poet Amanda Gorman and the controversy with her signature poem “The Hill We Climb.” He reflected onhis own personal journey as a young man coming to the USA and the challenges he faced over the years as an immigrant settling into a new world.
The poetry segment was initiated by Ariana Narine,who recited one of Dr Dhanpaul’s poem called “The Middle Passage,” followed by nine-year old Ethan Misir who recited a poem called “Dreams,” and thenseven-year-old Akira Ramnarain, who delivered a beautiful poem called “A Child of Guyana.” Next, we listened to Samantha Tappin’s poem called “She” by Victoria Sheridan, and then Jelecia Blair, who recitedDr Dhanpaul’s poem “Some People.”
Veena Bedasie, who is a regular presenter of the Book Fair Series since 2018, delivered one of her own compositions called “Graduation,” in which she highlighted the ceremony’s meaning and its importance for future trailblazers. Her sister, Shreya Bedasie,briefly chronicled the issue that many young students face in school in a poem titled “My High School Wake Up Call,” which was her own composition as well.
Karter James and his mother Gina delivered poems on Mom, one of which was called “We Go Together Like Mother and Son.” A newcomer to the Book Fair Series, Victor Fuhrman delivered one of his own inspiringcompositions titled “Circles and Rings.” Victor is a Spiritual Coach and Healer with Destination Unlimited, and he and his wife were happy to learn about the poetry event, commenting how enjoyable it was to listen and interact with the participants.
Next, Daina Bramble recited her poem called “Happiness,” followed by Kametric Butter’s poem called “I Am A Very Simple Girl” by Dr. Debasish Mridha, and then Liones Narine recited “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” by Tupac Shakur. The audience then listened to poems by the Lamarre family namely Types of Stock (Noah), Forest John (Charles) and Mrs. Lamarre recited a Khalil Gibran Poem.
Dr Dhanpaul Narine admitted that poetry was his favorite type of literature and has written numerous poems in his life. His latest poem created just a weekprior called “The Arranged Marriage,” focused on a young teenage Indian newlywed’s dilemma after the passing of her husband, which highlighted a common Indian tradition that still exists today.
Tanuja Raghoo, the daughter of the late Eshri Singh, the legendary broadcaster (RJ) from Guyana’s Radio Demerara, reflected on her dad’s life and his love for America. She recited his poem appropriately titled “Love America,” along with her own composition called “My Life’s Been Touched.”
We then listened to a poem by Arun Whyte called “My Beautiful Mother,” and then a poem by Marlene Sharma called “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.These recitations were followed by a number of Dr Dhanpaul’s poems presented by other participants,namely Shivaaya Diya Ramdial (My Miracle Mother),another one of his poems by Darmattie, and finally one by Karissa Jagbeer called “Backtrack.”
Later, Daniel Alvarez recited “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by the late Maya Angelou, and then the audience heard poems by Mohini and Riya Shibsahai, who are regular presenters of the Book Fair series and recited poems by Helen Keller. Afterwards, Maya Hardowarrecited a poem called “Mom.”
In the audience, there were several culturalrepresentatives and local organizational leaders of the community. Popular community MC/DJ Anand Kishore spoke briefly on the issues of the community and finished up by reciting a poem by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore called “The Motherland.”
Ralph Tamesh, President of the Indo-Caribbean Federation gave the audience a brief history of the ICF,which started in 1985, and highlighted the organization’s support for local cricketers this year. He also provided some details on their annual free eventcelebrating Indo Caribbean culture held each June at Smokey Park in Richmond Hill, NY which attracts hundreds of attendees.
Local political aspirant Rusat Ramgopal, opined that as a community, there is a need for political representation in the areas where we live and highlighted the lack of support from the current District 28 councilwoman in the allocation of funding for road repairs, as an example. He will be running for NY City Council District 28 representative in November and urged the audience to vote for change.
The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Faiuze Ali Vice Chairman of the Queens County Community Board Nine who earlier in the program provided details on the weekly Food Pantry program in Richmond Hill where Mr. Ali, along with other volunteers, hand out free food supplies to members of the public every Saturday morning on Liberty Avenue Queens.
An altogether enjoyable, educational and enlighteningevent for lovers of poetry and the attendees as well. Look out for another program in the Queens Book Fair Series planned for October this year. For information, please email Dr Dhanpaul at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in becoming a presenter in future events.