Organised by Serpentine Galleries
For Park Nights 2022, Serpentine is pleased to present an evening of poetry with poet, musician and activist, Linton Kwesi Johnson. Kwesi Johnson will read from his newly reissued Penguin Classics publication, ‘Selected Poems’, and will be joined by poet, Caleb Femi, who will also give a reading.
Park Nights is Serpentine’s live experimental, interdisciplinary platform programmed for the annual Serpentine Pavilion.
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Linton Kwesi Johnson (b. 1952 Clarendon Parish, Jamaica) is a poet, musician, and activist. Johnson’s poems first appeared in the journal Race Today in 1974, and his first LP was released by Virgin Records in 1978. Born in Jamaica, Johnson moved to London in 1963, attended Tulse Hill secondary school and later studied Sociology at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, where his personal papers are currently held in their archive. While still in school he was an active member in the Black Panther Party.
Kwesi Johnson is a pioneering performance poet and has shaped the evolution of dub poetry. Over the last decades, he has released numerous books of poetry including Mi Revalueshanary Fren (2002), one of only three books in Penguin’s Modern Classics series by a living author, and the only in the series by a Black author. He has recorded and released over fifteen albums including Dread Beat an’ Blood (1978), Forces of Victory (1979), Bass Culture (1980), LKJ in Dub (1980) and Making History (1983). A new edition of Johnson’s Selected Poems will be released by Penguin in August 2022, featuring new poetry and an afterword, as well as an introduction by Gary Younge.
Raised on the North Peckham estate in South London, Caleb Femi is a poet and director. His debut collection, Poor, was published in 2020 by Penguin Press. He has written and directed short films for the BBC, Channel 4, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton. A former Young People’s Laureate, Caleb won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection (2021) and has been shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize (2021), and longlisted for the Jhalak Prize (2021). He has been featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture.