Former poet laureate: ‘I’m loving the skin I’m in’

Anna Riggenbach

Eintou Pearl Springer performs in Kiva with help from daughter

A drum held around a musician’s shoulder is being played in the corner of the stage. A barefoot woman, dressed all in white, dances while holding a broom, her red lipstick the only color on her body. She lets her body flow freely while feeling the music of the drum. An emotion-filled voice, songlike, begins to read:

Shades of I/she

shades of I/she,

mirroring me,

mother of all


these thighs have nurtured

every nation;

unsung cocoon of creation,


Eintou Pearl Springer, award-winning poet from Trinidad, performed a one-woman show of her poetry last night in the Kiva. She is the former Poet Laureate of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, and recently published a book of poetry titled Loving the Skin I’m In.

Provost Paul Gaston began the night by comparing Trinidad and Tobago to poetry.

“Poetry is the tension between the energy of assertion and the quiet contemplation,” he said. “Here we will see the Trinidadian contrast.”

In addition to being the former Poet Laureate, Springer has also been director of the National Heritage Library, a founding member of the National Drama Association, as well as a member of other cultural committees and councils.

Maggie Anderson, director of the Wick Poetry Center, introduced Springer’s performance.

“To read her poems is to experience an intense lyrical flow of language,” she said. “(Springer) is a tireless public defender of minorities and especially women’s rights.”

As Springer read her poetry, the audience was silent. An emotional poem titled “The Stain” filled audience members’ ears as they sat motionless. Springer was on the edge of the stage as she read the words describing rape.

Not all of Springer’s poetry was as serious.

She redirected the evening’s mood with a mix of hip-hop and jazz. Springer sang and proclaimed, “I’m loving the skin I’m in!” as she and her daughter danced across the stage to the drum and saxophone music.

Junior communications major Megan Bing said she enjoyed Springer’s performance.

“I thought it was very visual and a very graphic performance,” she said. “Springer’s words were very strong and meaningful.”

Springer ended the night by dancing her way around the stage as the audience exploded into a standing ovation.

Springer will be reading her poetry tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in Room 107A of Oscar Ritchie Hall.

Contact College of Arts and Scences reporter Anna Riggenbach at [email protected].