The Independence edition of #wearehere took place Sunday, August 30, on the St Dominic’s Penal Facebook page. The live call-in programme hosted by Vicar for Communications Fr Robert Christo started March 22 during the lockdown as a way for clergy to stay connected to the faithful and provide a space for questions, concerns and feedback. Romero Gowrie, was a featured Spoken Word poet, who delivered a reflection on independence and the challenges of a nation still striving, “still in progress”.
The Catholic News found out more about this talented poet.
Q: Can you provide some context to the Spoken Word poem which was shared for Independence?
A: I wrote an independence piece probably six years ago, thought it needed to be updated and a lot more needed to be said to encapsulate where we stand as a population. So, I put pen to paper to highlight the issues we face and cover up as a population.
Q: How long did it take to prepare? How did it end up being used on the #wearehere? Do you know Fr Christo?
A: Father Christo is my parish [St Dominic’s RC, Penal] priest, he requested a piece and I obliged. Although I had planned on writing this piece to commemorate our 58 years of independence, Father gave the extra encouragement and impetus in producing the final product.
Q: Can you share about your background?
A: I am 28 years, Catholic and I have been doing Spoken Word for the past 11 years, competed at the national Spoken Word semi-finals in 2018 but due to personal reasons I have opted out Spoken Word competitions. I have had the opportunity to perform at Machel Monday in 2014, youth award nominee for arts and culture in the same year. I have graced many stages across Trinidad and Tobago and even jointly represented the country at the Brave New Voices Festival in Philadelphia with my younger brother Rojelio Gowrie (winner of the Intercol Spoken Word competition 2014).
Q: How did you get started in spoken word poetry?
A: I started off with an interest in writing, always did. We started a group called 71Degrees that previously was featured in the Catholic News, we basically were doing music (myself, Rojelio and Dale Cedeno) Kristoff Vidalis was our sole poet. We began attending an event called ‘One Mic’ where I truly gained the appreciation for a particular style of Spoken Word, Gary Acosta and Kyle Skeeto Amos to name artistes that caught my attention. I got home the second night of attending the event put pen to paper on my first Spoken Word piece and when it was performed the pore-raising response received has kept me writing and performing to this day!
Q: Were you always good at public speaking?
A: Actually, I was initially a bit on the shy side, had a more introverted approach but as I got into the latter part of my teens, personality expanded and I am who am now!
Q: Describe the creative process?
A: I firstly like themes that I am already emotionally driven about, so it tends to put my mind in a place where the words come with passion. I tend to do a little research on my topics and look at videos, music or spoken related to the topic.
Q: You made a comment about Spoken Word being “blanked” and foreign content being given more attention on the airwaves…elaborate? What has been your experience?
A: Well, I was a part of the ‘Free Speech Project’ aired on 96.1/107.7/94.7, a project hosted by Tony Chow Lin On and while I remain humbled and appreciative of the experience in 2013/2014, prior to this little or no exposure was given to Spoken Word on major radio stations and since the project ended, Spoken Word only occupies minimal time frames on radio.
Q: What would you say are some of the burning issues of our society. You touched on them in your piece, can you give a few comments on the poet’s role in drawing attention to them?
A: Burning issues of society are all I ever write about, anything that affects us as a society even in minute proportions is a burning issue, so to list them here is simply impossible. I take the role of drawing attention to these issues seriously, to take the ‘everyday talk’ and put it into a poetic form just make more ears just not hear but actually listen.
Q: What is your message to other persons who may be interested in Spoken Word poetry? Is there a particular mindset/attitude one must have? Would you say social media has helped to promote Spoken Word poetry and talented persons?
A: The only attitude required is positivity really, as long as you have that mental stamina to stay positive even in negative climates. Message to anyone interested: START WRITING, get your work out there, fear not scrutiny. Spoken Word has changed my life and it can change yours. Indeed, social media has played a significant role in the promotion of Spoken Word and other talents in general, since it is the platform, we are forced to use most, especially in this pandemic where physical performances are almost non-existent.
To view Romero’s Spoken Word: CLICK HERE