Wordsmith, artist, chronicler, storyteller— Vladimir Lucien, is all of these things. A famed Saint Lucian poet, Vladimir speaks life into words, bringing forth a magic into speech; a man that is sure to go down in the history books.
Vladimir, one can say, was a writer at birth. His father, Egbert Lucien, wrote poetry; his brothers are writers.
“My dad won the M&C fine arts award in 1988, the year I was born actually, and he encouraged reading. He recited poetry to us and introduced us to poetry and writing very early,” he said, recalling some of his childhood memories.
He was recently awarded the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, a prestigious award for Caribbean writers in Trinidad, for his book, (his first), ‘Sounding Ground’; a notable accomplishment.
‘Sounding Ground’ tells the story of ‘Centipede’, “Bush Tea’ and many others, which can cause one’s imagination to run wild and free— it is a potpourri of compelling art.
The book’s cover, a gripping painting, was artistically perfected first, by the late Dunstan St. Omer and later by his wife Nikita Lucien. “It is a mural that’s in Anse La Raye painted by Dunstan St. Omer and I loved the mural; it really struck me when I saw it, so I asked my wife to do a reconfiguration of it,” he said.
‘Sounding Ground’, which was published last year, is a collection of poems he has written over the years.The oldest poem in the book is from 2010.
The name of the book may seem apt, given what he does; he provided a deeper explanation upon request.
“I was in Trinidad; in a foreign place. Familiar yes, but then I was still away from home. I wanted to give Saint Lucia a sounding ground in the Caribbean literary circles,” the insightful poet said.
“Secondly, it was about the ground laid by persons before me: my intellectual and creative antecedents: C.L R James, Walter Rodney, Kamau Brathwaite, so I wanted to basically sound my own inheritance to show what I could do with the inheritance that I had gotten,” he expounded.
The 27-year-old grew up in Monchy, one of his favourite places, a place he calls home.
“Monchy was a place I was fascinated with very early as a child. The place where I found a niche was really in Monchy, my mother’s place, and in my mind that was the cosmos, the world I conjure up when I’m writing a lot of the time,” he said thoughtfully.
Vladimir is well-accomplished. A graduate of Monchy Primary as well as Anglican Primary, Saint Mary’s College, the University of the West Indies, (UWI), Vladimir holds a degree in Literature and Theatre and is presentlycompleting his Masters of Philosophy, in Cultural Studies. He is also a lecturer at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, (SALCC), where he teachers Caribbean Studies and soon, Literature.
He is not only all of the things mentioned, but a screenwriter and actor as well. In fact, he says he initially started drama at his alma mater, Saint Mary’s College; his first introduction to art. This is where it gets interesting.
Before he went to UWI,the artiste gave up his job as a teacher and travelled to America, in an effort to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor.
“I went to audition for a movie (“You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, Adam Sandler). I did not make it into the audition, because it was a very long line and by the time I was five persons away from the door, the audition was closed,” he explained.
Talk about missing out on an opportunity! However, he still has a long way ahead of him.
The artist travels quite often. He has been to Amsterdam, NYU and Barbados and a number of other places, performing his pieces; it’s a life which he relishes.
The 27-year-old, husband and father to a 4-yearold whom he adores,says being a writer, requires commitment.
“You have a lot of people who write but not a lot of people who say I’m going to be a writer and there’s a big difference and that difference is qualitative and otherwise.”
Contact Vladimir for more information about his award winning book via Facebook: Vladimir Lucien.