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Poems of Politics and Pum-Pum: Seh Sup'm August Edition

Skygrass brought Seh Sup'm: Poetry and Live Music to a mellow close

The August edition of Seh Sup’m Poetry and Live Music peppered Redbones the Blues Cafe with live and recorded music as well as diverse poetry that ranged from politics to pum-pum. 

The evening got off to a very late state which was eventually broken by the addition of eclectic and engaging music from DJ Iset Sankofa who would set the tone for the evening with her selections. 

Keith Shepherd came armed with retro-dubThe live performances finally got going with a poem from the evening’s host, and event organizer, Izemi Clem who delivered ‘I’ve Found You Friend’. Though not the most stirring piece of poetry, it was a welcome start to a small open mic segment, which improved significantly with ‘Seek’ by Jamel Hall and ‘Time Travel’ by Yashika Graham.

Finally, the night’s first featured performer, Keith Shepherd, appeared. Shepherd, who was announced as holding the record for the most medals won at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s annual speech festival, brought some generally light-hearted retro-dub to the evening.

His pieces included ‘The Argument Done’ and ‘Me Di Babylon Stop’, and brought with them echoes of early Nomaddz, an unsurprising trait as Shepherd’s son, Sheldon Shepherd, is the group’s frontman. Poetry and politics melded as Mel Cooke explored language and masculinity

The poetry then took a more political turn with the arrival of Mel Cooke. Cooke opened his set with ‘Isle’ and ‘Malapropism’ two pieces that focus on language highlighting the ways that class, race, and social lethargy and blended within them. Cooke then thrust deeper into an exploration of social injustice with ‘Anthem’ and gave that an international spin with ‘Anthem and Gods’. 

With the witty poem ‘Truck’, Cooke returned to language, this time to explore it as a battlefront between our colonisation by the British and the neo-colonisation of the Americans. 

“We are that security guard, reflex defenders of a language we hardly speak,” Cooke read. He closed off the language segment with the pun-tastic piece ‘Badwud Poem’.

Cooke closed his set with three pieces exploring masculinity at different stages. In ‘Supermarket’, using a sanitary napkin as a launch pad he explored how men are groomed to revile menstruation while ‘House Cleaning’ delved into domesticity as affection. He closed with the haunting ‘Chapel’.

Kavita Ganess served up vagina enriched poetryAlthough the Saturday had been reasonably cool, at least compared to the scorching temperatures that have gripped the city this summer, the night was about to get a little hotter with the words of Trinidadian poet Kavita Ganess.

“I write from the that well deep, deep inside me,” Ganess said when she came to the stage, and it was a pun well intended, which her next statement underscored.

“Tonight I’m serving Trini pu--y on the rocks,” she declared. And as she uncovered all its nooks and more than a few crannies, that was precisely what she did.

Ganess opened with ‘In Praise of My Vagina’, which is interesting but suffers from two many lazy rhymes, a trait which holds down many of the pieces. Fortunately, her breathy delivery style masks many sins of her poetry, and the deliciously bold raunchiness tempts you to forgive others.

Ganess’ set included ‘Flour’ a piece which might forever change your view of roti making, and ‘Sexy Jamaican Man’, a rather weak piece, which nonetheless went over well with the audience, proving that compliments can indeed get you anywhere.

One of her strongest pieces was ‘We Piss’ a beautiful poetic aria in praise of women urinating. 

The night closed with a not quite acoustic but no less enjoyable set from Skygrass. With pieces such as ‘Peppersauce’ and their classic (to lob that descriptor around a little carelessly) ‘High Grade Love’ they brought the evening to a mellow end.