The release of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s Dread Beat an’ Blood album 40 years ago – a collection of radical political spoken poetry – established ‘dub-poetry’ as a new literary genre and introduced the Jamaican-born artist as a genuine literary voice. Now 66, Linton Kwesi Johnson is widely recognised as one of Britain’s most significant poets; he is only the second living poet to be published by Penguin Modern Classics and in 2012 received the Golden PEN award for ‘distinguished service to literature.’
In this special one-off Book Festival event, Linton Kwesi Johnson pays homage to friend, social worker and fellow Jamaican dub-poet Mikey Smith. Before his tragic (and suspicious) death aged just 28 at a political rally in 1983, Smith recorded his debut album Mi Cyaan Believe It. It catapulted the poet to legendary status and he even recorded a coveted John Peel session for the BBC.
Johnson is joined by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Anthony Wall – who produced the 1982 movie Upon Westminster Bridge, which documented Mikey Smith’s first visit to Britain – contemporary dub-poet, singer, musician and performer Roger Robinson, and Jamaican-raised author Leone Ross.
Remembering Mikey Smith brings together film excerpts, poetry readings and enlightening conversation to celebrate the life and legacy of one of Jamaica’s most influential literary sons.