Female poets deliver at Poet Laureate Presents series
Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer
As part of his mandate as Jamaica's poet laureate, Professor Mervyn Morris vowed to revive the island's poetry scene, a space many considered dying, and last Thursday evening, he delivered on that promise.
In an intimate poetry reading held at Bookophilia on Old Hope Road in Kingston, the works of two of Jamaica's finest female poets were put on display in another edition of the Poet Laureate Presents series. Ann-Margaret Lim and Millicent Graham were the night's featured poets, and both did an excellent job at opening the imaginations of the small crowd gathered to give a listening ear. The audience was made to experience a whirlwind of emotions as both poets explored a number of issues, including relationships, sex, love and fear.
Lim was the night's opening act. Reading from her collection titled The Festival Of Wild Orchid, the young poet delivered several short, impacting pieces. Leaving no stones unturned during her set, Lim managed to captivate the audience with her clever play on words, in the process exciting and shocking them with her use of sexual innuendos. Some members of the audience were left with their mouths wide open, but satisfied nonetheless, as she masterfully used words to create images of sexual encounters. Many could be seen deep in thought, as she took them on a poetic journey they were more than willing to embark on.
Images of sex aside, Lim also paid tribute to Mervyn Morris, a man she considered to be her mentor. Revealing how much she learnt while under his tutelage, she delivered an original piece, which highlighted not only his abilities as a poet, but also his ability to share the beauty of poetry with his many students. And on that note, she ended her set and made way for Millicent Graham.
In similar fashion, Graham also gave the audience a fair dosage of her work, reading pieces from her books, A Damp in Things, and The Way Home. Graham took members of the audience on a nostalgic journey to the good ole' days. While reminiscing on her childhood days, Graham brought back memories many individuals in the audience found relatable, such as a fear of the dark, following the telling of duppy stories; the hand of parents as they sought to instil discipline; and the routine of a traditional Jamaican Sunday. Towards the end of her set, she, too, thanked Professor Morris for his encouragement over the years, confessing that had it not been for him, her career would not have progressed to the stage it is today.
The Poet Laureate series, organized by Morris in collaboration with the National Library of Jamaica, is aimed at facilitating contact between Jamaican poets and potential audiences, in an effort to improve appreciation of works from Jamaican poets and to promote Jamaica's poetry at home.