10 Questions with Dr. Sue, author of "The Ode to Miss Lou"

This week we have a conversation with Dr. Sue, author of the book “The Ode to Miss Lou“. Influenced by Hon. Miss Lou, the book is a compilation of 50 poems documenting significant moments throughout the years, culminating in her 50th birthday jubilee and Jamaica’s 50th independence. Susan Lycett Davis fondly know as Dr Sue worked as a Professional Actress and an esteemed Arts Administrator. Dr. Sue performs internationally and among other roles, aptly depicts that of Jamaica’s “Miss Lou” or “Auntie Roachie”. She has been a panelist for the past four years at the annual Louise Bennett-Coverly Reading Festival. She is a sought after Keynote Speaker and event MC.  Dr. Susan Davis is a university professor, a devote Christian, active church member, and a woman who has found her purpose in life. Here is our conversation with Dr. Sue.


Tell about your book “The Ode to Miss Lou”? What inspired you to write the book? Is this your first book?
Ode to Miss Lou…From the Soul of Dr Sue is a compilation of fifty poems commemorating significant moments in my life.  The poems in the book were assembled as a resource for personal reflection and social occasions such as school and church recitals we well as leading discussion topics in an educational setting.
I was inspired to compile this book, as a result of people’s interest in my work, my love for creative writing and passion for keeping the Jamaican cultural legacy alive.

This is the second compilation of my pieces, first was a CD of the same name, and yes, this is my first book!

How did an extremely busy person find the time to write this book. How long did it take you from paper (computer) to print?
God’s Grace!~!!! Where there’s a will there is a way….
Fifty years is noteworthy, as in biblical terms it represents a time of celebration, a time of renewal, and a time of new beginnings.  So on becoming fifty, I thought about what I could do to celebrate my literary accomplishments and add new insights to the creative writing scene.  Once I made the decision to publish, as is my nature, I found balance, and dedicated my time and resources in producing a product of quality.  The material are ‘writings’ that span 40 years so the work was with deciding what fifty pieces to include and having the book ready for my birthday….paper to print took approximately five months.

The book is divided into a few sections. Tell us about each section and are they targeted to a specific audience?
My desire is to reach readers of any given age or stage in life.  To that end the book is divided into three themed sections for easy access, and interest as it does not have to be read cover to cover.  The first section, “Ode to Miss Lou” is what I call my performance pieces, and some of these are included on my CD.  These pieces are written in the vernacular (patois) and are reminiscent of Miss Lou’s style of poetry that often infuses humor to deflect pain or loss.
The second section “My Soul” speaks to my personal experiences, or were written for or on behalf of someone else.  Some are written in earnest supplication while others are penned from quiet introspection and a longing to both discover and celebrate one’s highest self.
The third section “Let’s Talk” is a collection of eclectic writings which are informational and thought-provoking, tackling personal and social hot button issues with broad implications.

We know this is very limited but the 3 words you would use to describe Ms Lou? Do you think Ms Lou should be a national hero ?
The three words I would use to describe Miss Lou would be: Intelligent, Creative and Fun-Loving!  
Creatively by far Miss Lou was singlehandedly responsible for having Jamaicans and the world embracing and appreciating our Jamaican dialect.  She paved the way for artists in Jamaican and abroad to write and perform in the vernacular without the fear of rebuke…yes culturally I think Miss Lou should be considered to be a National Hero.

What lessons have you learned about Jamaica, Miss Lou and yourself after writing this book?
The process has taught or reconfirmed for me that Jamaica and its rich culture is revered by many at home and abroad; Miss Lou’s legacy is worth and is going to be kept alive; and finally I realized for me, that though I could live without my professional ‘hat’ I could not survive without my creative ‘hat’.

What is your favorite poem or Ode in the book?
This is a difficult one…the pieces are so much a part of me it is difficult to choose.  A favorite though for readers – (one from each section) would seem to be “Title Change”, “I am the Prize” an “Don’t Give Up”, based on feedback!

What other Jamaica projects are you working ?
Well… as you know I wear several ‘hats’.  As a University Professor, I get the opportunity to sometimes fly down to Jamaica and teach on our international program there!  Work or perk…go figure?! Among other things, I consider myself the voice of the people, I hear from them and then advise the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Jamaica as to the issues, concerns and matters needing to be addressed, in support of those here in the Diaspora. A mammoth task I know, but with my passion for my people, a great group of advisors and God’s sustenance I manage!
My other Jamaican project would involve my personal creative engagements.

Who are your favorite authors? What are your 4 favorite books of all time?
Favorite authors…hmmmm??!!  Can’t think of any right now!  I love, love, love.. biographies and autobiographies so anything in that vein is a winner for me.  I love to read about people life history.  A current winner right now is New York best seller…’The Other Wes Moore’ – powerful and riveting.

Seven day, six night, all expense paid, my vacation destination is…
Wow , that’s not fair…you know how much I love to travel, so it would definitely be somewhere still on my to-do-list like Australia (that would have me experiencing all the continents). Wouldn’t that be a blessing…are we on?!!! Lol

My favorite guilty pleasure is
Currently Jaxson’s Grape-nut Ice-cream….to die for!!!!!

On behalf of the readers of thanks for providing us with this interview. Do you have any closing thoughts for our readers?
Thank you for this opportunity to share with you and your readers.  I applaud the great job does at keeping us current, informed and entertained!  Keep up the good work…the Jamaican community loves and appreciates you.

About the author

Xavier Murphy