Jamaican poet, novelist, and playwright, Geoffrey Philp has recently released his collection of poetry, Dub Wise. I really enjoyed reading this collection of poetry. Although I do not have a vast knowledge of reggae or Dub music, I was able to relate to Philp’s words. In fact, in reading Dub wise, I felt as if I was privy to the vivid imagination of a quilt maker. Geoffrey Philp has woven together everything that represents his heart and his perception of the world dealing with spirituality, existence, love, and family. Yes, acrostically, this spells “SELF.” I threw that in just to be clever, but he also explores identity in the poem,“Red.”
The opening poem, “Father Poem,” talks about a father who comes home. While reading this poem, I wondered if this was a daily routine, or was the father coming home from a long journey. The poem ends talking about the reaction of the children as the father pulls into the driveway. There is likely more to the poem, but this is what stood out in my mind. I imagined the father, the children, and the excitement of daddy coming home. I felt this was a wonderful piece.
The poem “Tallahassee 2005” was wonderful in its historical references and imagery, which reminds me, I came across a few poems in Dub Wise that caused me to Google unknown words or phrases. In other words, it is a great teaching tool; I would definitely use it in the classroom on a secondary/collegiate level. There is another poem “BODHISATTVAS,” which focused on the heroic efforts of firefighters during the tragic event of 911. I learned a great deal in reading Dub Wise.
By the way, I loved the title poem, “Dub Wise,” and I enjoyed the poetry written in Jamaican patwa like “Ode to Brother Joe” and “Mule Train.” If you like a little eroticism, Philp tastefully turns up the heat in the poem, “Sunday Homily.” Yes, there is something for all of us. I guarantee that you will find "S.E.L.F" in one of these poems (being clever).
Get yourself a copy of Dub Wise. The poetry is rhythmic, stylish, and thought provoking. Like Jamaica’s reggae music, it has the ability to instruct and delight simultaneously. It is a celebration of life, family and Jamaican culture.
About the Author: Geoffrey Philp is the author of the novel, Benjamin, My Son and five poetry collections: Exodus and Other Poems, hurricane center, Florida Bound, xango music, and Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas. He has also written a book of short stories, Uncle Obadiah and the Alien; a play, Ogun's Last Stand, and a children's book, Grandpa Sydney's Anancy Stories, and Who's Your Daddy? and Other Stories in 2009. Check out Geoffrey's blog and find out more about his work and other Caribbean writers.