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Masquerade: Calypso & Home



Written and Performed by Roger Bonair-Agard

Directed by Kamilah Forbes

October 2011


Early 1980’s Trinidad. Midnight Robber meets Michael Jackson, Soca Music meets first dances and first fights. Carnival, football, family and a bottle of rum, MASQUERADE: CALYPSO & HOME begins with a drum call and a declaration; “If one day the ancestors should return, honor them.” Sharing poetry, stories and calypso over a bottle of rum, Bonair-Agard weaves living and breathing tapestries out of politics and the notion of home. He tenderly unmasks family secrets, his adolescence in 1980’s Trinidad, and life as an immigrant in America.


Press and Awards


“Roger Bonair-Agard is his own revolution, a deft purveyor of unflinching politics, stark sensuality and the relentless drum

of the island home that beckons from every page. There is simply no resisting these stanzas,

absolutely no way to turn away from what they will do to you.”

Patricia Smith


“Bonair-Agard is a poet who fixes his experience with memory…A poet of live language mastering its literary “statement”. Someone whose poetry can be entered and felt and understood.”

Amiri Baraka


Two-Time National [Poetry] Slam Champion


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ROGER BONAIR-AGARD (performer/playwright) was dubbed by Patricia Smith as “…his own revolution” and by Thomas Lux “a poet of blue lighting and white hot passions”. Roger Bonair-Agard is a veteran of the spoken-word scene and a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion. He is the author of Tarnish and Masquerade (Cypher Books, 2006) and co-author of Burning Down the House (Soft Skull Press 2000). His most recent book of poems is Gully (Cypher Books, Peepal Treet Press, 2010). Roger moved to the United States from his native Trinidad and Tobago in 1987. Intending to begin university and eventually pursue law, Roger found himself instead exploring the seediest sides of New York City life. From Harlem to Brooklyn to Washington Heights, his poems explore the intersection between his twenty plus years as an immigrant in America and the Trinidad from which he came. Roger has appeared three times on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and on the “MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour” amongst other television and numerous radio appearances. For the last ten years he has worked with the youth at Urban Word in New York City and for the last seven with the youth at Volume in Ann Arbor and Poetry Youth Organizations in Seattle, San Francisco, and the Adirondack Valley, NY. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the LouderARTS Project in New York. He has also been Adjunct Professor in the Creative Writing Department at Fordham University. Currently Roger is writer-in-residence with Vision Into Art and Poet in Residence with Young Chicago Authors. Roger is also a Cave Canem Fellow. He has lead countless workshops and lectures, and he has performed his poetry at many American universities as well as international festivals in Germany, Switzerland, Milan, and Jamaica.

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