Who is Cyndi Marshall? Meet the Bajan poet with plans of bringing the art form mainstream

24-year-old poet Cyndi Celeste Marshall has packed her fair share of punches in the world of poetry  as she is ranked Number 21 in the world and has big plans to transform how poetry is seen in Barbados.

Speaking to BUZZ Marshall said that though she plans to build on the work of her mentors, she wants to help change the mood of poetry on the island.

“I really want to diversify what poetry events look like in Barbados, to help change this one dimensional view of poetry as this serious, sober thing. I would love to create a space for poetry in Barbados that caters to people like the fledgling poet I was in 2013 when I started,” she said.

Marshall added that she wants to see more mentorship and developmental opportunities to perform in new and exciting spaces.

But she knows that in order to create this change she has her work cut out for her and so she’s planning on returning to the University of the West Indies to pursue her Masters in Creative Arts.

To date Marshall has travelled to Dallas, Texas for the 2021 Women in Poetry Slam and South Africa for the Vrystaat Arts Festival in 2019.

Marshall was given a main role in 2019 as poetic narrator at the historical removal of the statue of Lord Horatio Nelson. 

“The performance at Nelson was definitely the biggest audience I’ve faced so far. Being given that opportunity has opened a lot of doors for me and I think for poetry in general. It gave me the confidence to step outside my comfort zones more and more and of course it meant I was a part of history which is something I would not have dreamt of saying so early in my career.”

Although home means a lot to Marshall she often thinks of performing more in African countries.

“There’s a kindred spirit when I perform in Africa and I want to explore that further. But of course I want to experience as many poetry scenes as possible, it’s the same as learning about other cultures.”

In 2020, for the first time Marshall released her EP which was born out of the memory of her mother and released on her late mother’s birthday on September 8th.

The eight piece album includes her favourites Say My Name which speaks to her identity as an artist and Badu which is about the black women and the Tignon laws which prevented them from wearing their real hair.

Marshall isn’t stopping just yet and has hinted at another audio release sometime soon.

For her success looks like making a comfortable living doing what she loves.

“[This is] affecting some visceral change in the Barbadian poetry scene and maybe travelling because I love interacting with other cultures and seeing new places.”

Her album Cyndicated is available on all streaming platforms.