Gavin Selerie’s Hariot Double

The Reading Series welcomed poet and painter Gavin Selerie to discuss his latest book, Hariot Double. The collection, which is the work of seven years, consists of a dual narrative charting the lives of 20th century jazz musician Joe Harriott and Renaissance scientist Thomas Harriot. Blending the two seemingly disparate time periods – as in “Calypso Gloriana”, which juxtaposes the rhythm of calypso with the structure of Elizabethan courtly dance – the poems reflect the constructs of power and servitude through the struggles of both men, from suspicion of atheism and the imprisonment of two patrons in the case of Thomas Harriot to the limitations racism placed on Joe Harriott’s success.

Selerie gave a detailed analysis of the forms at play in his work, as well as reading a selection of several poems from the collection. The evening concluded with a brief Q&A session, concentrating on the problematic nature of reflecting post-colonial voices.

Please join us for our next session on 1 November when Dorothy Lehane will be in conversation with Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze.