BVI News

Via Donovan-Hodge wins first-ever Festival Poetry Slam competition

Via Donovan-Hodge is the winner of the first-ever Virgin Islands Festival Poetry Slam competition, which kicked off the territory’s 2020 emancipation festivities Friday night, July 31.

Performing seventh on the night under the theme ‘Emancipation’, Donovan-Hodge performed a well-executed piece in the virtually aired competition to walk away with the top prize of $1,000, beating her 10 other competitors.

Coming in for second was Teia Edwards who won $500 while third went to Kamal Lettsome who received $250.

The other competitors included Dwain Frett, Jaidene Webbe, Aneka Christopher, Kimberly Cordes, Helina Hewlett, Nadia Merry, Desean Shaw and Jermaine James.

Rules of the competition

The competitors were judged following a strict criterion which was announced by the coordinator of the competition, Sharia deCastro.

Poets were required to perform original pieces that were no longer than 3 minutes and 30 seconds. 

“No props are allowed. Props are defined as any non-body piece of equipment, musical accompaniment excluding mouth, or body percussion may not be used. Be responsible for your words, avoid profanity, excessive violence, explicit content and language that degrades any group of people,” deCastro said while further outlining the rules.

Junior government minister Sharie deCastro sat on the judging panel with former educator Dr Richard Georges — who is the Acting President of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College — and an award-winning author and poet Dr Patricia Turnbull who is also an educator.

The next event of the festival is the Virtual Emancipation Service which will be held today, Saturday, August 1 from 3 pm on Virgin Islands Festival Facebook page.


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  1. Awwww says:

    Congrats to you. You did an awesome job Via. Pretty unique name also.

    Like 10
  2. Thank you says:

    To everyone that participate, you all did a wonderful job and are all winners.

  3. My only comment says:

    Congratulations to everyone that participated in this event. You are all winners in my book. Just wanted to say, the young adults did something positive and only two comments? I guess
    If they had went out and did something negative, the site would have been loaded with comments.

    Like 5
    Dislike 3
  4. H says:


    Like 1
    Dislike 7
  5. Up Top says:

    Big up the plan player AMANI !!!!

  6. K says:

    @ my only comment. Well you comment a 100

  7. Hope says:

    Wonderful work Via! I am so proud of you!

  8. Awesome job! says:

    Well done Via!

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