Features — 31 August 2005

When we asked Watler what was the purpose of bringing out the CD, he responded, ?I am getting old and there is so much request for me to put my work out so that more people can hear some of my writings and some of my poems and things like that. This is a very good time to do it, especially since I am ill with my heart and I gotta go take an operation in Cuba, I am putting out this CD to raise some money so that I can do what I need to do.?

He describes his three pieces:

?The Story of Belize City is an unforgettable piece of work, you know, not just because I have written it myself, but because of what I have been told by people throughout the time. For the past 20 years, people have been mentioning some parts of this work, The Story of Belize City. It?s something that I think every Belizean should hear. Because The Story of Belize City is really the story of Belize, when it boils right down to it. I think that it?s kind of a historic poem in a poetic form.

?Also, While they fight/I write, helps to keep that focus on the Heads of Agreement and the Belize-Guatemalan dispute. Constantly, this subject is on everybody?s mind because it?s unsettled. When this poem was written, there was a concerted effort to have it accepted as the settlement of the Belize-Guatemalan dispute, which used to be the Anglo-Guatemalan dispute, but the people rebelled so viciously that the document was never put into a treaty, because the Heads of Agreement was just that?you know, the heads. There was nothing. There was just some bones and the flesh was supposed to be put on the bones, which was the different terms that would have been agreed upon by both parties, but that was never done?

?The Grand Tour of Monkey River has always been my favorite environmental piece, because you know, although it is about one area, it tells about what used to happen all over the country to preserve it??

Watler?s philosophy is that, ?There is no future without a past.?

Amazingly, Watler says that he has memorized all his works, including some of his monologues that are over an hour long.

?I can tell you that from foot to tale?? he says. ?I have a volume of work that is retained in my mind that I could just get out there and do it. Of course, I can get out there and ad lib too.?

He claims to have a photographic memory. He recalls that when he was a student at Lynam Agricultural College in Stann Creek, his teacher would give him poems to memorize, which he would do in an astonishing 20 minutes.

Those who have missed the great John Watler on the Belizean stage can get to see him perform from his latest CD at the Youth of the Bay, which is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 8, 2005.

This is a special edition of the bi-weekly poetry show, Lyrical Lounge, which will be held at its usual spot, the Putt Putt Bar and Grill.

Other performers on the line up for that night are guest poet, Andy Palacio, Kalilah Enriquez, the Grandmaster, River of Fire, Erwin X and a slew of other dynamic artists.

Watler?s works won?t end with this show. His latest work, a novel called Boss of Dangriga is in the pipeline.

The launch of The Story of Belize City takes place at King?s Music, 33 Albert Street, Belize City during the daytime.

His other works to date include, Wapye?s Letter, One Foot Was Pushed, and Sunkutu?s UFO Experience, which is featured in his book, De Works.

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