Tuesday, June 03, 2003

First up was Mel Cooke, a Jamaican journalist and poet with a booming voice and a bone to pick with Jamaican violence and American politics. One poem rhymed "rub-a-dub" with "blood," and another called the president of the United States a "son of a Bush." The young poets who followed him were mostly obsessed with sex, with much ado about flesh-slapping, the divine B-O-D-Y and wombs "stuffed like cumulonimbus."

Then Adziko Simba, a British-born poet living in Jamaica, performed her poem "Crazi Ladi Daze." With long arms waving and bare feet moving up and down as if on hot coals, she had a poetic breakdown, a long, agonized "Ahhh!" and then confessed breathlessly: "Sometimes I have a need, a need to have a crazi ladi day ... And suck thumb and suck thumb and rock and suck thumb rock and suck thumb ... and scream ... I need a day." She was a knockout.

Colin Channer's Calabash Literary Festival made the NY Times yesterday. Of course the Jamaican newspapers covered the event extensively for weeks--see Mervyn Morris's summary in last Thursday's Observer here.

What I'd really like to know is why Walcott pulled out at the last minute. Anyone have the inside story?

Monday, June 02, 2003

Meanwhile, over in Baghdad:

Ya Allah have mercy on our souls. The old state owned Internet center in Adil district has been taken over by anarchists and they are offering internet access for FREE. You just need to dial up a number, no password, no special settings. Whoever heard of anyone doing that?