Book Launch by Cy Grant

Cy Grant reads from his new book, 'Rivers of Time: Collected Poems'

Cy Grant was born in British Guiana in 1919. He moved to England in 1941 to join the Royal Air Force. In 1943 he was shot down over Holland and spent two years in a prisoner of war camp. His war poem, ‘Retrospect’, was broadcast on BBC’s ‘Caribbean Voices’ radio programme and was an important catalyst in the development of Caribbean poetry, according to acclaimed poet Kamau Brathwaite. After World War Two, Cy Grant became one of the first black faces to appear regularly on British television, singing the news in calypso on ‘Tonight’ from 1957. He is best known as a singer and actor of stage and screen. Cy also set up the Drum as the first black arts centre in the UK and co-ordinated the Concord multi-cultural arts festivals.

The poems in this collection take the reader on the journey of Cy Grant’s life, from the early influence of colonial schoolrooms and their teaching of the English Romantic poets to the horrors of war; from the anger of the 1960s to the discovery and inspiration of Aimé Césaire’s work; from calypso and steel pan to an immersion in the ancient wisdom of Taoism and traditional African religions. The work shows Cy Grant to be a poet who is ‘delighting in spinning word-webs, creating alternative healing realities at the crossroads of so many different journeys’ (Ian Dieffenthaler). Join Cy to hear him read from his new book and as he reminisces on his incredible life story.

[In association with Naked Light Publishers]

Nov 21, 2008