The Angles of Light project is a radio project which – in the tradition of the seminal BBC Caribbean Voices programme which helped lay the foundation of the Caribbean literature we now know as canon – is broadcasting Caribbean literary voices in the UK. This isn’t an inter/national programme though; it is broadcast on Chapel FM in East Leeds.
The first voice – after the broadcaster and producer introduction, and the preface by Jamaican writer Opal Palmer Adisa – is Professor Edward Baugh, the Walcott scholar and a poet in his own right. Baugh is Jamaican. He did two quiet and reflective poems which are among my favourite recordings on the programme – I wish you a Leaf Falling and a 19th Century Portrait, which zero in on and magnify small aspects of a scene you might otherwise miss and lends greater meaning to them.
Second is my favourite poem of the programme Merle Collins’ She sits on the Train and sings, in which the Grenadian poet – author of acclaimed books like Angel and The Ladies Upstairs – describes London from the point of view of a Caribbean immigrant. The oddness of the scenery inside and outside the train, the pull of home on her memory, the expression of it in song is very evocative…and in my case evoked a memory of an older Caribbean woman working a concession stand, and humming to herself when chastised by her supervisor for her chattiness, in a Massachusetts airport. We conjure home, if/when/how we can.
Philip Nanton, a Vincentian in Barbados, has perhaps the most professionally produced recording, with supporting voices, music, and natural sound effects.
Esther Phillips, meanwhile, is the Poet Laureate of Barbados, and you can tell.
“We are island people/we walk and talk the rhythms of seas and oceans” … right?
Oh, one of the features of the programme is the use of complementary music as recommended by the artists. Baugh had Cat Stevens and Phillips had the Mighty Gabby. I (Joanne C. Hillhouse, repping Antigua and Barbuda) had included King Obstinate’s Children’s Melee as my song choice because it is a companion piece to one of my three submitted poems…the one that wasn’t used, so it seems kind of random as far as the one calypso to share with a British audience goes. But, whatever, it’s still a fun choice even if tonally it’s at odds with the poems that were featured, Development and Summer 1.
Thanks to UK based Jamaican poet and children’s book author Juleus Ghunta for inviting me to submit – and for following up when I didn’t; it really is a pleasure to share my work, rep the 268, and be in such distinguished company (especially as someone who sees herself a fiction writer, not a poet).
Give the programme a listen which I’ve posted to my You Tube channel (AntiguanWriter).
Optionally check out the radio’s website – the programme, which begins at 1:19:00, is about 40 minutes long. I’m told the online version is better on the site. Be sure to bookmark the site, by the way, for when part 2 of this totally dope programme airs in March 2019.
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved.