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John Galuska
Foster International Living-Learning Center

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Friday, October 24, 2008

Outspoken Jamaican poet to offer workshops for students, public at IU Bloomington

Oct. 24, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a continued effort to "bring the world to the students," Indiana University Residential Programs and Services, Foster International Living-Learning Center and Collins Living-Learning Center will co-sponsor a series of workshops by Cherry Natural (aka Marcia A. Wedderburn) -- one of Jamaica's leading poets and women's rights activists -- from Oct. 28-30.

Natural is known as a "reggae poet," meaning her poems are influenced heavily by the everyday experiences of Jamaicans and the sounds, rhythms and creativity of generations of Jamaican musicians and storytellers.

"I want to go to the universities, colleges, prisons, hospitals, poetry festivals . . . anywhere and everywhere, to bring poetry therapy to people who need to be inspired and motivated," Natural said.

Cherry Natural

"Reggae poet" Cherry Natural will appear at IU next week.

Her poetry addresses critical social and economic issues and celebrates the contributions of women around the globe. With her words, she strives to bring personal healing and self-liberation. She began performing in 1979 and is also a motivational speaker, producer and martial arts instructor with a Black Belt in Modern Arnis. She has published two collections of poetry, released a variety of spoken word recordings and received numerous awards for her poetry and work with audiences of all ages.

Since 1990, Natural has been touring and delivering her message with poetry throughout the U.S., Canada, the UK and the Caribbean.

John Galuska, director of the Foster International LLC, first met Cherry in 1991 in Kingston and has worked with her since then on a range of research projects and events.

"Cherry served as a primary source of inspiration and resource for my doctoral research and fieldwork," said Galuska. "She has also inspired the IU students I take to Jamaica each spring as part of the interdisciplinary 'Roots, Fruits & Jamaican Ecologies' course I teach. She is very excited to return to Bloomington and interact with a range of students, faculty and staff."

This is her fourth visit to IU; she has also performed at Bloomington's Lotus World Music and Arts Festival.

Events during Cherry Natural's visit include:

Self-Defense/Holistic Health Workshop: Tuesday, Oct. 28, 6-7 p.m., IU Foster-Harper Formal Lounge (1000 N. Fee Lane)

Inspiring Creativity Writing Workshop: Tuesday, Oct. 28, 7-8 p.m., IU Foster-Harper Formal Lounge

"Reggae Poetry" Performance: Wednesday, Oct. 29, 8-9:30 p.m., IU Willkie Auditorium

Performance Poetry and Musical Improvisation Workshop: Thursday, Oct. 30, 7-8 p.m., IU Collins Living-Learning Center Coffeehouse

"Reggae Poetry" Performance: Thursday, Oct. 30, 8-9 p.m., IU Collins Living-Learning Center Coffeehouse

Co-Sponsors:Residential Programs and Services, Foster International Living-Learning Center and the Collins Living-Learning Center.

Additional Sponsors: Global Village Living-Learning Center, Foster Community Council, Foster Student Government, Willkie Community Council, Light & Lyrics, Rastazumska Productions, Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and Folklore & Ethnomusicology.

For more information, see