Performance artist gives voice to Caribbean at UMSL

Performance artist Philip Nanton will perform “Spoken Word Poetry: Caribbean Voices” 5-7 p.m. Feb. 8 in Gallery 210 at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Nanton is known in the Caribbean for his highly idiosyncratic and original “Island Voices,” short dramatic monologues that range in tone from broad humor to pathos. What

distinguishes them from the work of other Caribbean storytellers is their satirical edge, their refusal of romanticism and feel-good island nationalism. With his monologues, Nanton takes delight in poking fun at pretension, hypocrisy and social climbing in the context of the imaginary island of St. Christopher and the Barracudas, a place where anything can happen and the wrong thing usually does.

Nanton dramatizes a wide range of social situations featuring Caribbean people from diverse class and gender backgrounds. He takes on the persona of a coconut water vendor, gardener, librarian, radio DJ, bar owner, laborer, lawyer, wives of wealthy Caribbean men and many more.

He is of Vincentian origin and has lived in Barbados for more than 10 years. He

has taught at the University of Birmingham in England, St. Georges University in Grenada and presently teaches courses in cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill in Barbados.

He has published many academic essays in edited books and journals. He is also a creative writer. From 1998 to 2002 he wrote and presented a number of feature length radio programs on aspects of Caribbean culture for BBC Radio Networks 3 and 4. In 2004, he edited the collection of essays, “Remembering the Sea: An Introduction to Frank A. Collymore of Barbados,” published by the Central Bank of Barbados on behalf of the Frank A. Collymore Literary Endowment Committee. His most recent publication is a 75 minute spoken word CD which was written, produced and recorded in Barbados.

This performance is sponsored by the E. Desmond Lee Professorship in African/African-American Studies, Center for International Studies in association with the creative writing program and the Center for the Humanities at UMSL.

Visit or call 314-516-7299 to make a reservation for this event and request your free parking permit and campus map.


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