The prospect of continuing a love affair may indeed rouse you early on a Sunday morning, and cause you to wend your way expectantly to the UWI Mona Campus. Love Affair with Literature 5.
And once there, poet Tanya Shirley welcomes you on behalf of the Department of Literatures in English, assuring you that this is one love affair that is okay, with no risk of fornication, sin or hell!
(Kellie Magnus then reminds you that this is the start of Kingston Book Festival 2016.)
A-dZiko Simba Gegele reads from her novel “All Over Again”, and you enter into the world of a young boy carrying home his school report to his mother.
This envelope full of bad things.
Look, you tell yourself. You just have to explain that not everyone can be good at everything. Surely she will understand. You are good at climbing trees, and swimming in rivers and making bingys and you can hit a cricket ball right over the school fence and you know where to find sweet guavas….
Mel Cooke reads a number of his poems, having you follow him as he highlights social issues, individual and collective pain, ending with the first poem in his collection “11/9”, reiterating that he is indeed a “Word Terrorist”:
Me a no no writa
no poet, no journalis’.
No rhyma, no chanta
no Gleana Tursday columnist.
Me? Me is a word terroris’ –
Olive Senior reads a poem from 30 years ago and a more recent poem, both to do with the environment, and then reads from her new collection of short stories, “The Pain Tree”, which is to have its Jamaican launch this Thursday.
That was fine with Mrs. F, for she loved to explain things to foreigners. One of the reasons – perhaps the only reason – she liked going to her Book Club – she hated reading – was that it was full of foreigners, many of whom were attached to embassies. She was frequently asked to their little do’s, and she and her husband to some of their big parties celebrating this Day or that Day – something that gave her one up on those poor souls who never got invited to Foreign Missions, as Mrs. F loved to call them. (From the story “The Country Cousin”)
Vladimir Lucien, St Lucian poet who is currently Writer in Residence at UWI Mona, reads from his collection “Sounding Ground”, and you are entranced when he reads the poem “Tjenbwa: Protean” – from the Tjenbwa series – first in Creole and then in English.
The moth that enters
your house at night is a grudge
that somebody is holding
Then it is over. You feel good, as you leave, perhaps taking a book or two with you to preserve the love…through till next year, when you hope…hope…the Love Affair with Literature will continue….