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Peppers Gives Off Steam with Late Night Lit
As a part of the recently concluded Kingston Book Fest 2015 the embryonic Jamaican Writers Society (JaWS) gathered a pool of literary talent that caused the Peppers Lounge to Sizzle with the event Late Night Lit. Susumba was happy to join in the sizzling fun, and because we know that a picture says more than a thousand words, our story is accompanied by images from Marcus Golding photography.
Hosted by poet and journalist Mel Cooke, who intermittently brought some of his own poetry to the evening, Late Night Lit featured Kellie Magnus, Kalilah Enriques, Sharon Leach, Owen Blakka Ellis and Dingo. The evening delivered on its promise of saucy literature, delighting the audience that had thronged to the lounge and filled it to capacity.
Early arrivals were well primed for the performances with wine sampling courtesy of CPJ wines. Then exactly at six minutes to nine, Cooke set the tone for lyrical dexterity with ‘Not Enough Head’.
The main performances opened with laughter as Kellie Magnus read from her translated children’s picture book parody Go the R--s to Sleep. Magnus, who had briefly taken off her hat as Kingston Book Fest Chair, explained that the book is a stark departure from her usual fare of children’s literature, and that she was only one of the translators not the author of the book.
With the ‘children’ appropriately put to bed, it was then time to unleash the steamier stuff as Kalilah Enriquez took over the microphone. The journalist, poet and vice president of JaWS unsheathed her more risqué with a suite of poems exploring the contours of love and lust with occasionally graphic detail.
Poet and comedian Owen Blakka Ellis, armed with his new collection of poems Riddim and Riddles was next to the podium. Ellis delivered a potent combination of poetry and comedy. Ellis‘ selection explored the prison of silence surrounding masculinity, identity and the effects of adultery. His selection included ‘Man Talk’, ‘Objectified’, ‘After Marley’s Kayah’, ‘Small’ and ‘Tonight’. He tagged in fellow comedian and friend Tony ‘Pale Face’ Hendriks to read the haunting and gritty poem ‘At Aunty’s Funeral’.
After a brief intermission, the literary flames continued as poet Tanya Shirley took command of the microphone. Though she attempted to declare that her poems were not wholly concerned with the sexual, poet Tanya Shirley delivered a heady reading that was saucy, sexy and often downright hilarious.
Shirley read from her two collections of poetry She Who Sleeps With Bones and The Merchant of Feathers as well as even newer work ‘Don’t Let the Fluffy Fool You’. Her readings often negotiated the terrain of contemporary female sexuality with pieces such as ‘Said By A DJ at a Downtown Dance’ and ‘Said by a DJ at an Uptown Dance’.
It was then time for editor, journalist and short story wri Leach took the audience on an entertaining foray into the world of prostitution as she read from her recently released sophomore collection Love It When You Come, Hate It When You Go with the short story ‘Confessions of a Whore’.
Dingo brought the night to a close with Dingo. Though he kept to the high levels of lyricism and maintained much of the poetry, Dingo deviated somewhat from the night’s sexual overtones. Though he forgot the lines of a few pieces, it was an entertaining set as he delivered poems such as ‘Land’, ‘Shopkeeper’. At the close of his set his seminal piece ‘Blouse and Skirt Vibe' was demanded by the audience.
Late Night Lit took place at the Peppers Lounge in Kingston on Thursday, March 5, 2015. The 2015 Kingston Book Festival ran from March 1 - 8, 2015.