Jonathan Cumberbatch shows his Primary Colours with poetry

Primary Colours is Jonathan Cumberbatch's first book of poetry, he plans to launch a second book on Valentine's Day next day.  -
Primary Colours is Jonathan Cumberbatch's first book of poetry, he plans to launch a second book on Valentine's Day next day. -

At 11, Jonathan Cumberbatch won a copy of Robert Stevenson’s Treasure Island – which he still owns today – and that “exploded his mind.”

He never stopped reading from that day.

“Like millions of young readers, it exploded my mind. As you read and explore,” he said.

Today, he is the author of his first book of poetry called Primary Colours.

“Primary Colours is meant to speak to the colours we may ascribe to our most visceral and immediate moments of flushed emotion, eg infatuation, grief and joy. Some of the poems here may speak to specific colours but are not meant to be definitive.

“Some others seek to capture a reminiscence or reflection and all collectively serve as a record of this past phase of my life, the kernels of wisdom gained, and perhaps some insight in common with the reader,” the Amazon blurb said.

The Maracas/St Joseph artist, poet and senior human resource professional is also a lifelong artist. He has been doing art since he was a boy and that branched into poetry.

“I’ve been doing serious poetry probably since the 90s. Occasionally, reading it out to friends,” he said in an interview.

The pandemic year was a reflective one for Cumberbatch. He had conversations with his daughter during which she reminded him that he was not getting younger and should do something about his poetry collection.

He then shared his idea with a former colleague who had migrated to the US, got into poetry and found a “good publisher.” She shared Edna J White’s number with him. White is an independent publisher whose publishing house is Wounded to Wonderful.

Human resource professional and poet Jonathan Cumberbatch shows his Communicator Award. -

Cumberbatch spoke to White about what he wanted and came up with a plan to have Primary Colours done.

He got all that he needed to publish, together. He thanked White for his guidance on publishing.

He began compiling his poetry in July last year. It was published on November 11, 2021. There are 27 pieces in the 48-page book. It addresses topics such as cricket and relationships.

With a style influenced by late American novelists Toni Morrison and Ernest Hemingway, Cumberbatch uses minimal words to tell his truth.

“Not too flowery, not too extended. That is the kind of style that has always appealed to me. A lot of the poems you will see are relatively short or compressed,” Cumberbatch said.

He also mixes his music with his poetry. Some of the titles of his pieces allude to popular songs like Radiohead’s There, There and Irish rock band U2’s Even Better Than The Real Thing.

“Music is always something on in the house. Some of the titles are borrowed from songs.”

Some of the poems speak to life experiences, he said, which resonate with his readers.

“Things that have resonated with me, in my life, that I have enjoyed and still enjoy,” he said.

Primary Colours is also available as an audio book and younger audiences have been buying the audio book.

The audio book was recorded in Diego Martin with musician Roger Israel and even incorporates the use of pan.

Cumberbatch said in 2022 one does not just publish a book but rather it is marketed and various formats created.

The marketing of his book even gained Cumberbatch an award. The book’s premiere trailer won the 2022 Communicator Award for best online video – publications, its Amazon page said.

The international Communicator Awards is dedicated to recognising excellence, effectiveness, and innovation across all areas of communication, its web page said.

The book has received renewed interest particularly on Amazon because of this, Cumberbatch added.

Jonathan Cumberbatch received the Communicator Award for promotional videos for his first book of poetry, Primary Colours. -

He has also started working on his second book of poetry and it’s called Valentine’s Day. Cumberbatch is hoping to release it on February 14 next year.

It will circle around ideas of love and all forms of love (eros, philia, agape and storge).

“Trinidad and Tobago and the wider world are facing a lot of challenges and more to come and I am also very concerned about a stereotype that is evolving for anything male: that we seem to be all toxic and monsters.

“There are bad men but having said that, there are a lot of good men and not enough is being said about these guys,” he said.

He wants the book to address this.

“It was a labour. It was just to get these poems I had carrying with me forever and ever from pages actually printed out from university years to those I had in Notedrop I had on my phone.

“They just come to me. I will be sitting waiting and there is one that just came to recently called Kite. Something about the fragility of the kite in the air. That is inspired from memories with my son,” he added.


"Jonathan Cumberbatch shows his Primary Colours with poetry"

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