The Womanspeak journal was an easy read. Not easy as in quick and disposable but easy as in quick and enjoyable, yes, but also deeply meaningful and inspiring; easy in the way that things that bring you pleasure and discovery are never difficult, even when they are. Know what I mean?
Kudos to Lynn Sweeting for the selection and the flow of the entire collection of visual and literary art; as for my favourites, in visuals, there’s…
The Madonna-esque cover image Requiem for Haiti by Chantal Bethel and later in the collection her sensuous and affirming And Still I Rise, and sad yet defiant The Survivors 2010 about the aftermath of the Haiti quake.
Ashley Knowles’ youthful re-imaging of Old Higue and Chickcharnie, the latter a bird like creature from Bahamian mythology, which she blends into the natural forested environment. My other favourite Danielle Boodoo Fortune’s Drown shows a similar seamless relationship between subject and her environment in which case the female subject has real curves and is part of the fabric of her undersea environment. The name suggests something tragic has happened, the image itself suggests a kind of peace.
Among the written pieces, my favourites are…
Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming’s The Sea has been Sick in which said sea coughs up all the carelessly discarded detritus of our lives, hinting at the lives behind those pieces and the connectedness of everything in the process.
Danielle Boodoo Fortune’s At Grand Riviere which begins strikingly, “It’s been said the world rests on a turtle’s back”.
Sonia Farmer’s An Unfortunate Number which speaks with intensity of human kind’s arrogance and inevitable undoing by the everlasting nature of nature, in spite of our worst efforts.
Sweeting’s Impossible Dream, Revolution, Sonnet for the Moon, and Spit; all rich in imagery and symbolism.
Victoria Sarne’s straightforward and spare Endangered.
Anita MacDonald’s The Blood Orange, juiced up with strong gastronomic imagery and an even stronger message.
Nicolette Bethel’s sweet and sad tribute to Nellie and her For Agatha, on the Occasion of her Passing; Agatha being both a clearly defined and unique character and also a familiar archetype of our Caribbean landscape.
Patricia Glinton-Meicholas’s powerful and thought provoking take on Eve’s curse, A Witch’s Tale, and Keisha Lynne Ellis’ inventive re-imagining of the Creation story in The Serpent and I; one of my favourite-favourites in the collection. I especially liked her rendering of the Eve character’s awakening consciousness, a perspective not seen in the original Creation story.
Angelique V. Nixon’s Warrior which begins with the delightfully provocative opening lines “I remember her saying that she wanted to paint a portrait of my stretch marks”. Don’t you just want to find out more? This poem is in a way in the same family of another of my favourite-favourites in the collection the moody Addie’s House by Helen Klonaris, which provides a window into a relationship doomed by taboo, a story daring in its willingness to put this often shuttered reality on front street, on the page anyway in a way it couldn’t be in the reality of the story.
Claudette Dean’s inspiring testimony of her journey as woman and artist in The Circles of Life is a fitting end to a collection about life, nature and the nature of life from a feminine and oftentimes feminist (no, Katy Perry, that’s not a bad word) perspective.
The book is broken up into sections – fairytales, fiction, poetry etc – with well selected quotes as a guide. This was my favourite: Isabelle Allende’s “You can tell the deepest truths with the lie of fiction.”
Isn’t that the truth?
I am pleased to have been a part of this collection which includes my poems Development, She Lives There, and especially She Works, which I’m finally happy to see in print after it was selected some time ago in national competition for a publication that never made it to print …as far as I know.
But nothing happens before its time, right? This is the collection it was meant for.
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