Mark T. Watson

Born in the late sixties, Mark showed an early love of poetry, writing his first poem at the age of only 8 years, called “Summertime”. It was in celebration of getting off from school for the summer holidays.

His father Reginald Wilcox Watson was a merchant seaman, born in 1918 in a sugar cane plantation in Berbice, East Demerara, British Guyana. His father’s nickname was “Slow Train” as he’d walked 250 miles from London to Liverpool, seeking work in the 1950’s after serving on the supply ships throughout World War II and performing naval service during the battle of the Atlantic.

At the age of nine, Mark’s world changed, when his father had a stroke and became a quadriplegic. Mark was one of four siblings raised by his mother Sonia, who came to Liverpool from a little village in North Wales. A white woman raising four black kids in the 1970’s was a clear social work case and inevitably in 1975 Mark was taken into local authority care.

He emerged semi-literate from that era at the age of 18 years, with no formal qualifications and a bitter taste from the injustices he had both suffered and witnessed whilst in so-called “care”. This was to spark a remarkable chain of events which caused him to challenge the system at all levels and compelled him to travel the globe in search of the truth.

The journey started with his meeting the infamous political poet and performer “Gil Scott Heron” who took Mark under his wing and schooled him in life. Mark has travelled on and off with Gil and his band from 1984 to the present day, touring the UK, Europe and the USA.

During these tours, Gil took it upon himself to mentor Mark and encouraged him to become productive, creative and educated. This mentoring, combined with close study of Gil Scott Heron’s published work had a dramatic effect on Mark, fostering a real sense of social responsibility and a desire to both change himself and bring about positive changes in the world.

Mark left Gil for a few years and went away to sea. He used the long days to ponder nature and taught himself to read and write. He wrote to Gil regularly, sending copies of his poems for Gil’s appraisal. This book largely derives from that period, inspired by Gil’s teachings and the value of his revolutionary poetic work, which not only inspired the black people of three generations in the States, but ricocheted throughout the world.

Reginald Wilcox Watson meets Prime Minister Burnham and President Jagon of Guyana at Dunlops in Liverpool. U.K (1966).  
  Mark T. Watson on U.K tour with Gil Scott Heron (1988).
Malik Al Nasir reading for an MSc. in Applied Social Research at Liverpool Hope University (2002).  


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