Ja Rising sets stage for more Jamaican poets
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
After the Jamaica Rising events in Bristol, United Kingdom, in mid-October, Asif Khan and Richard Jones, who had visited the island earlier this year for the Spoken Word edition of Arts in the Park, are planning more Jamaican literature presence in Bristol.
The Arts in the Park series is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment.
BIGGER PLANS FOR 2015
"We are planning to do a more extensive programme next year," Khan said, mentioning Dr Kei Miller (recent winner of the Forward Prize for his collection The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way To Zion) and Linton Kwesi Johnson (whose 2002 collection Mi Revalueshanary Fren was published in the Penguin Modern Classics series).
Yashika Graham and Richard 'Dingo' Dingwall were part of the Jamaican contingent to Bristol, that trip coinciding with Jamaica's Poet Laureate Professor Mervyn Morris' delivery of the Bristol Poetry Institute's 2014 reading at the Wills Memorial Building. All three participated in a reading at The Watershed, Bristol's Harbourside, which pulled in a full house. A number of writers from Bristol were also on the programme.
"The partnership has been so productive that they want to continue. The events have been successful and the quality so high that they want to continue," Jones said. "All the events sold out." The estimated turnout for Morris' reading was at least 650 persons.
Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson was supportive of Jamaica Rising, speaking at a reception for the visiting poets.
At the reception, Graham read Directions from the Border and Dream, with Kitchen, Still, My Mother, Obeah Woman in Ben-down Market, Straight Fatherless, and Con Sequence among the poems she read at Watershed. Dingo's Watershed reading included My Love is Like Water, Land, In Third World Shade, Love and Hate, Autocorrect, and Blouse and Skirt Vibe.
Morris read briefly before introducing Graham, who closed the evening.
Editor's note: Mel Cooke also participated in Jamaica Rising as a poet.