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Poetry Reading Builds up to Final Fusion

August 14, 2004 – The evening of jazz and poetry reading at the Florence Williams Library Friday started out on a soft note with Royette Russell, accompanied by her husband Sen., Ronald Russell on guitar, singing two numbers with a Brazilian flavor to an audience of about 12.
As the evening wore on more people kept arriving. By the time Dahveed Nelson read the final poem, the room, which used to be the children's reading room on the second floor, was almost filled to capacity. Dahveed's poem was a rousing verbal display portraying a man who wanted to do nothing but sing. The man was called crazy, but he questioned whether some one who just wants to sing is crazier than those who pollute the earth driving around in their cars.
Dahveed had the jazz band improvising behind him and the audience chiming in when encouraged.
The program was broken down into one hour of jazz and one hour of poetry. But more than once those categories were fused.
Although there were poems of a political nature and appeared to be calls to action, most were more of a personal feel like three read by Ruth George. George graduated from the University of the Virgin Islands as an English major last year. She said she began writing poetry about nine years ago when she was 15. This was her first time at a library poetry reading. The readings take place the second Friday of each month.
The poem that seemed to garner the most appreciation was a Revolutionary Love Song by playwright Levy Lee Simon.
Edgar Lake, in his opening remarks, said that the Friends of the Library chose Friday because it is a good "wind down time." He said that the poetry-reading project was a fitting part of the Christiansted library's celebration of its 30th anniversary.
Russell, who chaired recent hearings on the state of education in the Virgin Islands, said more young people have to become aware of programs like this. He said it was a good time for them to "exercise their intellectual capacity."
The Friends of the Library provided snacks during intermission. Librarian Denise Ellis is project coordinator.

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