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The journey began just short of a month before the international 100 Thousand Poets for Change date, September 24th, 2011.  Jamaica became involved in the first year of this worldwide movement to invoke change within its communities. Poetry has evolved into being a part of the root of the inspiration, which is now becoming more developed into consistent activities. These activities create the opportunities for individuals and communities to positively change.

It connected to the hearts of people who have yet been introduced to poetry. It stirred up ideas to connect individuals with various backgrounds beyond the scope of sharing poetry with friends, families, and even their local fans.

It united us, Jamaicans, as citizens of a world needing change. 

And it starts with you.

And I.

And it was in our mission - as Poets for Change - to empower, inspire, and induce change.

“The goals of our movement is to put humanity’s intrinsic ties back into clear sight; force-feeding the intolerance for violence, ignorance, and corruption in Jamaica. The intent is to acknowledge both the elusive and blatant paradigm shifts that has diluted and tainted our communities. We want to facilitate an equalized forum that has no reverence for division or aristocracy, fostering the constructive unification of our citizens. The hope is to provide an outlet that will host the infancies of change; therefore, evoking the prescriptive measure needed to influence the youth and elders alike. We strive to be a mirror of both problem and solution using the expression of poetry and the manifestation of actions needed to create the catalyst for the change we speak of.”

 - Tianna Cohen-Paul a.k.a Ms. Quote (International Spoken Word Poet)

Some would say “poets were full of anger, and always spoke or wrote enraged." It was how my interview began. Wednesday, September 21st, Mr. Neville the host of the morning show on TVJ, Smile Jamaica questioned the idea of poetry and its involvement in change. His statement reflected the view of some about poets as angry and aggressive persons. He asked me, “Are you an aggressive poet.” “Passion,” was the only response that could follow, though pressured with leading questions. His interest grew and Neville shared much understanding with the ideas of igniting change in Jamaica consistently beyond just the spoken word but as well the crucial need for active persons being an example of unity.

Passion in many cases hides in just our inner circles of writers, readers and poets. Many authors write of social injustice, possibilities and the need for change. Hope opens into flowerbeds in the lines of poetry and it draws us to imagine beyond the world we live in. Several poets would reach deeper within them and relate to others through poetry. We tell stories of our history, reflect on nature, rage and weep about the pain, while exploring words, styles and languages. We open minds to understand and discover the abilities we have.

The Founder, Michael Rothenberg was very much a great support in giving guidance in the preparations before the big day. He was available to answer any questions about the difficulties that many of our communities are facing. I remember the curiosity that stirred in our discussions about his inspiration in this quest to stimulate change with unity, internationally and through poetry. Michael broached passionately the need for poets to unite and have a more active presence in stimulating a positive change within our communities. We exchanged frequently stories of the journey, both up and downs in the difficulties of bringing individuals and organizations for change together.

The Poetry Society of Jamaica, Manifesto JA, Independent Voyces, Drums4Peace, and many other local and international poets and musicians joined enthused to write and speak, provoking thoughts and dreams ready for change. With only a few weeks to plan and reach out for volunteers, The Poetry Society of Jamaica readily connected in the efforts and began spreading the word about the need for writers and poets to speak and join the movement. On 24th of September 2011, we celebrated through expression of spoken words and music the need for change and the hope of our people, together. 

1st night - Poetry for Change – “Out of One Mic, Many Changes.” – Main Event (World Wide Documented Event) – Moxons Beach Club Hotel, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

  • Theme: Empowerment, Peace, and Unity & Change

  • Features: Witness, Koro Fyah, Ras Takura, Cherry Natural, Miss Quote, Kavel "The Psalmist,” Uprising Roots Band, LSX, Dexta Malawi, Ginegog “Head Cornerstone,” Yashika Graham, and Drums4Peace

  • One of Jamaica’s own leading female dub poets, Cherry Natural, reflects consistently through her poetry, bringing a wealth of passionate words en route to continuous building of self inspiring hope and change.

The Poets Can Inspire the Change
By Jamaica Senior Poet & Martial, Cherry Natural © 2007

Holding our breath
Waiting to see
What tomorrow will be.
Moral degeneration
Global catastrophes.
No job, no income…
How can the hopeless find hope,
when the future only looks bright for some sexual commerce.
Have the place weak
Most a de warriors tun’ pimp and freak
Little girls innocence taken too soon, too soon
Little boys with hope in their eyes.
We losing them fast to prisons, drugs, and drive bys’
The silence is so loud
It’s deafening our conscience

No world, no people
No people, no world
I can feel the change
Change mus’ come
The Poets can inspire the change

From the Lamas of Tibet
To the mystics of Egypt
Everyone is searching for the key to this magic.
Clarity of mind
Connection of spirit
So close to the gold
Yet we don’t know it
As the Pendulum swings
Ding, Dong, Ding
A Revolution is in the making
This revolution will be televised
This Revolution will be live
It will hit you like a bow.

No world, no people
No people, no world
I can feel the change
Change mus’ come
The poets can inspire the change.

Words will transform thoughts,
Stimulate feelings
Merging the intellect with the intuitive
Breaking locks off cultural prisons
Tearing down social boundaries
Spiritual communication flowing cosmically
Voices chanting in unison.
Retelling stories to inspire new vision
A revolution without bullets,
A revolution without bombs.

Listen, there is a message coded in the wind
That will influence the change
There is a glimmer of hope,
A bright fulfilling essence
Glowing in the darkness
Wake up, and open your eyes
From the Ashes of a dead fire
The Phoenix will rise.

No world, no people
No people, no world
Change mus’ come
I can feel the change
The poets can inspire the change.

Cherry Natural @ 100TPC JA 2011


“And our hearts connect with our palms resonating above ground for change and unity; we beat passion into rhythmic sounds of love, peace, faith & hope!”

Damali Adele Ife’ © 2011

2nd day – Monday, September 26th – “Street Dub Poetry Vibe” – Half Way Tree, Kingston

  • Local & International Poets/Musicians perform/speak on theme towards influence of change & positive movements openlyin popular street locations.

  • Express the need for change & bring more awareness for active solutions relevant within local and international schools and communities.

  • Encourage value of life, positivity, growth & development, success, and the intolerance for violence.

3rd day – Tuesday, September 27th – 100,000 Verses – Poetry Society of Jamaica Fellowship connect with Poets for Change – Meeting of the minds” - Edna Manley – 7:30pm Ft. Poets: Abbebe Payne, Ras Takura, & Damali Adele Ife’

  • Discussion about societal issues and potential solutions to bring about positive changes. -- Also celebrating the readings from the works of Mikey Smith and Louise Bennett.

  • The Poets for Change, Jamaica began building a team that will include; poets, musicians, artists, community leaders, and organizations to strategize, build, and plan events to reach and include the general population in an influence for the positive change we need in our society.

  • The Poets for Change, Jamaica began building a team that will include; poets, musicians, artists, community leaders, and organizations to strategize, build, and plan events to reach and include the general population to influence the positive change we need in our society.

  • The events reached and connected with many persons of different ages and successfully portrayed the importance of poetry and how it can affect a positive change beginning with us as poets and musicians. The journey continues hereafter to consistently seek to improve ourselves as individuals and to also speak and to act on the essential changes needed within our communities and across borders.

Read me...Poetry
By Damali Ade'le Ife'

Read me
the lead scribbling curved lines of love
in every part ah mi
read mi nuh
and hear my voice whispering smiles
while cringing in pain
read mi
before your eyes scorn what you do not know.

and we always have to race to find the page where mistakes are stripped from the sound of each word written
like whispers...
on the crowded street 
radiant coloured voices rising in speech
and the lines curving letters in poetry and mathematics
inked pencils scribe visions of cultivated languages
misunderstandings hiding away in the crevices
under bruised banana peels
grounded under calloused, leather, rubber, plastic feet
each step sounding anthems in sewers cross borders
in uptown ghettos where roaches stay for free
and the quakes can only mean an overload of decisions miscued

if only...
fingertips turned the pages to balance thoughts patiently
instead of diving off edges labeled by voices unseen
fable dreams so easily believed...
and thoughts slip at the corners of each page
imprints creasing cheeks of the chapter's name, page number...
blurred visuals damped from the candid slumber

but somehow still
it finds itself
sweeping into the air I breathe
kissing thoughts to unravel senses
sleeping with sunsets
finding laughter in the moments the sun drifts under the sea
an infectious write carrying light beyond mental mystery
po- e - try... 

Youtube Links:

Yashika Graham, Poetry Society of Jamaica, Host/Executive Member/ Poet/Writer:

Uprising Roots Band – Musicians for Change 2011:

100 Thousand Poets for Change Jamaica Preview 2011: