Reading Room and Gallery 46

Things I read or view or listen to that you might like too. Things will be added – up to about 20 or so – before this installment in the Reading Room and Gallery series is archived. For previous and future installments in this series, use the search feature to the right. Possible warning for adult language and themes.

VISUAL ART

I requested and received images from top (and consistently so over her decades spanning career) Antiguan and Barbudan visual artist Heather Doram‘s December 2022 show, held for a second year at the Henre Designs Studio in Belmont. If you missed the 2022 show, this is a selection capturing signature Doram – Colour, Caribbean, Culture, Nature, Life Vignettes, Ever Evolving, Women, and in particular Black women, and if we want to get to the nitty gritty Black Caribbean women whose every expression is a whole story.

Heather has been featured in several installments of my (author and Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse’s) art and culture column CREATIVE SPACE:

CREATIVE SPACE #4 OF 2020 – ART, MORE ESSENTIAL THAN EVER

CREATIVE SPACE #12 OF 2020 – MORE ESSENTIAL THAN EVER 2 (THE PANDEMIC SERIES)

CREATIVE SPACE #9 OF 2021 – #ARTISTCHALLENGE, WHAT CAUGHT MY EYE

Art, More Essential than Ever (CREATIVE SPACE Coda)

CREATIVE SPACE #6 OF 2022: THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF (A WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH FEATURE)

View the slides, read the articles and discover Heather Doram art.

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Lost, a short film by Tananarive Due, African-American horror writer.

POETRY

“I go gently towards the ruin, cradling a lover.

mallet and a proem in my hands.

they seek destruction and prelude:

what way to acknowledge those we lost to this.

what sobbing tragedy.” – from “Chaos Theory” by Nnadi Samuel in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“ask the men who have feasted on me

          if they ever had to dislodge

     my bone from their throats” – from “Fish” by Topher Allen in Speak Out! 2 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“Now, all across this archipelago
are those no longer daunted
by the world, no longer fearful
of dismantling one history
for another. Ancestral guardians
everywhere open the gates of memory
of origins we recognize at last as ours” (from “Archipelago”)

“We watch him reading silently. She, eyeing him
all the while, waits with the rarest patience.
Perhaps this book will teach him how to answer
all the “Whys?” she’s heaping up
or prompt him to another round of games.” (from “Meeting-Point”)

“I searched for calmer spaces.
Somewhere inside these tangled forests
there must be a tract where sunlight falls,
soft rain nurtures green shoots, and the sound
of the wind as it rises is the call of a heart – ” (from “You Another Country”)

From Leaving Atlantis (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2015) by Barbadian poet and poet laureate Esther Phillips, editor of BIM: Arts for the 21st Century

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“years later, Buju entrapped in Babylon, and you, telling me how you nearly forgot, but your voice broke into a gravelly chant when the bassline dropped” – from “After Buju’s Love Sponge since I was Never One” by Soyini Forde in ANMLY

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“We always would let her sing, then build the track in around her vocal” – Jimmy Jam on producing Janet Jackson

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“Combining the styles from old Hollywood movies – Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and we’re throwing it all in this wild setting.” – Amy Wright, choreographer of the fantasy dance sequence in the series The Boys.

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“Sometimes nature can mimic our deep need to belong to the world and that is what this scene is about.” – Denis Villeneuve, director, Dune

STORIES

“Atiya planned on delivering her baby in the privacy of her home, in water, guided by the spirits of her mothers.” – from “Atiya Firewood” by Lisa Latouche in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

***

“‘Don’t worry jareIt is just a scare tactic.’ Dubem appeared unbothered, and so, I was unbothered.” – from “Dubem” by Priscilla Keshira in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

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“Jared thought to himself: Is you who could a shoot me. De man dem a drive away and is you fire after them. I was near the car.” – from “Things must Change” by Lloyd D’Aguilar in Speak Out! 1 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

***

“‘Close your eyes, and imagine you were riding a bus.’ I closed my eyes, and a flutter of ecstasy rose from my chest to my throat.

‘Imagine you were riding a bus, but remove the constant bumps and potholes.’” – from “A Matter of Time” by Kabubu Mutua in Speak Out! 2 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

***

“I picked up the hallway handset as Adada was screaming, ‘Doctors write, Lusubilo! Don’t doctors write? Doctors write useful things. Like prescriptions and medical books! What is this foolishness about wanting to be a writer? Better stop with this fucking nonsense!’ ” – from “A Doctor, A Lawyer, An Engineer or A Shame to the Family” by Mubanga Kalimamukwento in Speak Out! 3 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

***

“Opened up my eyes in Ward C one mornin’, and a broad-shouldered lady in hair curlers was grinnin’ down at me.” – from “Annabeth” by Rolli in Speak Out! 3 in Adda by Commonwealth Writers

***

“We had a clear view of the horizon in any season.”

St. Lucian writer McDonald Dixon reading from his novel A Scream in the Shadows

***

“So, you’ve tasted the fisherman, but you’re not satisfied. You are his secret. He tiptoes to your backdoor after dark. He only kisses you with the curtains closed. He makes love to you with the lights off. He leaves your bed to sleep in hers. You want more. You want to keep him all to yourself.” – The Fix by Alexia Tolas, 2022 winner-BCLF Elizabeth Nunez for Writers in the Caribbean

INTERVIEWS, CONVERSATIONS

“We, the artists, we need to be partnered with organizations who have the resources that can fund the work we do because creating the work is one thing, getting it out is another…the theatre production that we’d done, bits of it were taken like to schools… bits of it were done like in a rum shop…bits of it were done like at community meetings…more of that needs to happen but that takes funding, that takes money, we need to partner with who can help.” – Kendel Hippolyte, award winning St. Lucian poet and dramatist, during a panel entitled “Art and Climate Justice: Reimagining the Future” chaired by Jamaican writer Diana McCaulay, Commonwealth Foundation

***

 “Now, for instance, my showrunner Jenn Flanz…I’ll say to her, ‘hey, watch out for my blind spots. I’m not a woman, so let me know if I’m missing anything.’” – Trevor Noah in conversation with Alex Wagner about creating comedy

***

“At 72, I guess I also am more aware of aging, death of friends and my own time of departure, whenever that comes.” – St Lucian poet John Robert Lee with Jacqueline Bishop an article in her series in the Jamaica Observer.

***

“The captain had been to West Africa: the captain knew Barbados – that’s where he found Samboo and picked him out as a gift for his wife. There were things that he and the captain shared. You read it as an unnatural attachment, but I had to fiture out what else did this nine- or ten- year old have. He’s overwhelmed with fear and panic, and he wants to be out of it, he wants to lie down and not wake up. But I couldn’t leave him there, so I gave an alternative, imagined ending of the return. Perhaps his last dream, a vision, perhaps his spirit travels home; I’d like to think it did.” – Dorothea Smartt in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop:

***

“My reaction sent me on a journey of further reading and thinking that led me to reevaluate a lot of my beliefs and realize the incompleteness, partiality, and, in some cases, dishonesty of many of the narratives that prevail around British colonialism in the UK. In addition to broadening my horizons, my reading quest remade my understanding of myself and my world. Although the journey wasn’t always easy and required me to shed some assumptions along the way, it taught me to see much further than I’d been able to do before. Even books that seem to have been written that have quite different views from us can deliver such epiphanies.” – Audio essay. Ann Morgan on BBC: Four Thought – Reading Outside Your Comfort Zone.

***

Marita Golden, co-editor of Gumbo, revisits the making of the seminal anthology with some of its 70 contributors, all successful writers in their own right. They also discuss writing and publishing then and now. See also the Gumbo review in this site’s first Blogger on Books.

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Image: “Seba’s Ecstasy” by Delvin Lugo. Credit A. McKenzie (from Delvin Lugo – Caribbean-American Artist Depicts ‘Chosen Family’ | Inter Press Service (ipsnews.net))

IPS interview (“Caribbean-American Artist depicts Chosen Family“) with Dominican-American Delvin Lugo about his first solo show in New York. ‘The exhibition, titled “Caribbean Summer”, pulled visitors in with its vivid colours and animated characters and also exemplified the success of alternative art events. The gallery space was provided by non-profit arts group Chashama, which describes itself as helping to “create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate”.’

NON-FICTION/ESSAYS/CREATIVE NON-FICTION

“Another thing my daughter taught me: surveillance is never neutral (Foucault).” – “Lettre a Simone” by Sonya Moor in Speak Out! 2 on Adda published by Commonwealth Writers

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“So when Babylon, like a raging bulldozer, tramples over your daughter’s rights to wear her hair as she pleases, when it wields shears like a weapon and turns her scalp into a scarred hill, woman, don’t let the oppressors see you cry.” – “Hair/Her Emancipation” by Nadine Tomlinson in Speak Out! 3 on Adda published by Commonwealth Writers

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CREATIVE SPACE is an Antigusn and Barbudan/Caribbean art and culture column by Joanne C Hillhouse, Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator. It runs every other Wednesday in the Daily Observer and online. This Reading Room and Gallery (likely the last of 2022) seems a good time to recap the most popular CREATIVE SPACE of 2022:

it “is a tradition and skill I’m very passionate about,” Celene Senhouse in CREATIVE SPACE #19 OF 2022: THE “HEADKERCHIEF”; HERITAGE, FASHION, CELEBRATION, AND RESISTANCE (10), “It was an exciting time then…dealing with children who wanted to play the pan,” Barbara Mason in CREATIVE SPACE #7 OF 2022: THE PAN PROGRAMME AT CULTURE: WHAT HAPPENED…? (9), “gentle rising ground…open to the sweet and gentle breeze of the bay” is the location of the historical site discussed in CREATIVE SPACE #11 OF 2022: MINING NUGGETS OF HISTORICAL GOLD (8), “the epitome of glamour, structure, and sophistication” is how model and budding designer Nicoya Henry describes her new direction in CREATIVE SPACE #12 OF 2022: CUT AND CONTRIVE (7), “whatchu gonna do, whatchu gonna do, when time, time, time, finally run out on you,” Short Shirt wonders in this track from the album featured in CREATIVE SPACE #5 OF 2022 – IS PRESS ON SHORT SHIRT’S GREATEST ALBUM? – A CASE COULD BE MADE (6), “But these are just memories, and everyone’s Carnival memories will be different,” I acknowledge in CREATIVE SPACE #15 OF 2022: THAT CARNIVAL FEELING (5), “a form of self-care…a fun, creative outlet” is how St. Lucian sister Catherine-Esther Cowie described collaging in CREATIVE SPACE #22 OF 2022: ART PLAY – MAKING ‘USELESS’ STUFF AS A FORM OF SELF-CARE (4), “de song an’ dem so sweet…I does forget they send me out,” my mother said recalling town crier Quarkoo in CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2022: DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN? (3), “To the best of my knowledge, no legislation exists that mandates women must not enter sleeveless into government buildings. It is actually a policy held over from the colonial period,” said lawyer Beverly George in CREATIVE SPACE #2 OF 2022: THE CII™ OF PUBLIC SECTOR DRESS CODES (2), and “Heather Doram, a former Culture director and the designer of our national dress” is one of the women featured in CREATIVE SPACE #6 OF 2022: THE STUFF THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF (A WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH FEATURE) (1).

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“All this made me wonder the extent to which the diaspora represents an untapped market for St. Lucian literature, where the challenge is one of reaching readers.” – from “St. Lucians don’t read: Fact or Myth?” by Anderson Reynolds

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“In talking to someone recently about the new set of plates I had completed, The Market Woman’s Story, in which I traced the figure of the huckster, higgler, vendor from the period of slavery until today while enveloping her in fruits and flowers, he pointed out that my first collection of poems, Fauna from Peepal Tree Press, had a section that did a similar thing, for in it I was using local Caribbean flowers to tell Jamaican women’s stories. I suddenly realised that I had a long history of using floral imagery to represent female concerns.” – “The Market Woman’s Story” by Jacqueline Bishop in the Jamaica Observer

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“In an introduction to Steppenwolf (which I’ve not finished reading after all these years of trying, as much as I love Siddhartha), Hesse complained that his poetic writing was often misunderstood. But he nonetheless conceded it was up to the reader to interpret his work, declaring, “I neither can nor intend to tell my readers how they ought to understand my tale. May everyone find in it what strikes a chord in him and is of some use to him!” Who knows if Hesse would approve of my wayward ways. He would certainly not deny me my right to remember the version of the book I first found as a young, single student in London one balmy autumn day in 2004.” – “My Hundred-Year-Old Boyfriend: On Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha” by Trinidad and Tobago writer Andre Bagoo in LitHub

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on AmazonWordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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