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Bennett-Coverly, Louise (Miss Lou)

DONNA AZA WEIR-SOLEY

Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Extract

Louise Bennett-Coverly was born in Kingston, Jamaica on September 7, 1919 and died in Toronto, Canada, on July 26, 2006. Miss Lou, as she was fondly called, was a poet, a performance artist, a folklorist, and a comedian. Her father, who owned a bakery in Spanish Town, died when she was 7 years old, leaving his wife to care for their only child from her earnings as a seamstress. Bennett attended St. Simon's College and Excelsior High School. Through her exposure to her mother's clients, many of whom were unschooled working-class Jamaican women, Bennett developed an appreciation for folk culture. She began writing and performing in Jamaican Creole at a very early age, and by 1942 she had already published her first collection of poetry (in Jamaica), Dialect Verses . Beginning in May 1943, she had her own Sunday poetry column in the national newspaper, The Gleaner . Bennett became a strong proponent of the African influence on Jamaican culture and championed the Jamaican Creole language as an artistic medium long before it was popular to do so. In 1945, she was awarded a British Council Scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She worked at the BBC and in repertory companies in the United Kingdom for several years before returning to Jamaica to teach drama to community groups and at the University of the West Indies. In 1953, Bennett relocated to the United ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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