The Caribbean Magazine Plus (CMP) Poetry Contest 2021 award ceremony was held on October 9, 2021 and was a huge success thanks to its parent company, Arawak Media. New poets are now recognized and had their chance to bask in the glow of their accomplishments as it has given them a “boost of motivation” and “courage” to do more.
The top two finalists out of three, were all first timers to submitting their work to the wider public. We applaud them for their courage and for their brilliant works.
Candice Diane-Skerrette, first place finisher from Trinidad and Tobago, with her entry “Let Girls be Girls”, said about her inspiration for her entry: “The inspiration was based on reading an article about the experience of a foreigner in another Caribbean island with street harassment and the emotions that the individual spoke about, it really resonated with me and kind of made me reflect on experiences a lot of us have had as women, and Caribbean women in particular.”
Candice, on the other hand, only shared her work with family members up until CMP ran the contest. Now she said she has more courage and will share more of her work as we gave her confidence that she is on the right path with her efforts. “It has really given me a lot of courage.”
Second place finalist, Zenna Lewis from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), with her entry “Madam Anxiety,” said: “The inspiration for my piece came from my own personal experiences and my own personal struggles with anxiety and depression.
“Being a teacher I had to learn how to cope with my anxiety and some days are better than some where she tends to take full control over my mental space and she blocks me from seeing my true potential as an individual.”
Powerful stuff by Zenna and not bad for her first time ever submitting her work for the public. Zenna has always kept to herself as her anxiety held her back, but no more. We hope we helped to free Zenna from her anxiety prison as she shared her afternoon with us about her entry. “It was the boost of motivation for me because of my anxiety has been that issue that I had to overcome in order to see the potential in my writing pieces,” she said.
The inimitable Kwame McPherson, author and speaker and the contest lead judge as well as the host of the award ceremony, said that he was more than grateful for Arawak Media and CMP for giving him the opportunity to help new artists and in this case, first time artists to the public space.
Kwame is an award winning author and has written countless books to go along with his awards. He said about Zenna’s piece that he was “drawn” to her piece because his latest work is on depression and anxiety. “It was really poignant in that sense and relevant to what I had written. And I saw similarities to what I had put into my book and to what you have what you have you had the prose you have created and the diversity in it. It was again another powerful piece and a very thought provoking.”
Ysanna John, third place finalist from the British Virgin Islands by way of SVG, is also a teacher and the more experienced of the trio as she has submitted works before for wider publication and dissemination. She said: “My first competition my first writing competition that I entered was when I was in secondary school. My first competition was in Farmer’s Week in SVG and I won that competition.”
Last year Ysanna also entered the Commonwealth Secretariat Short Story Competition last year but didn’t place but she plans to enter again this year.
She is also a songwriter having penned songs for the school that she teaches at currently and also for her Alma Mater in SVG. “Some of my pieces have been published in different magazines and we have a publication at our headquarters in St Croix,” she said as the storage in St Croix is a place for all of her “Warrior Princess” editions and other personalised work.
Good fun was had by all and we congratulate these first initial winners in our first ever CMP Poetry Contest.