Tag Archives: Antiguan and Barbudan poetry

CARIB Lit Plus (early-ish June 2020)

Recommendations

Have you been listening to #40NightsoftheVoice at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine on YouTube? Well, you should be as writers from across the Caribbean read the works of the late Barbadian poet. Brathwaite was held in great and popular esteem as one of the foundations of the Caribbean literary canon and a transformative figure with respect to the embrace of Caribbean creole as a means of artistic expression and experimentation within the language. Many see him as a mentor whether directly or through his written works, who encouraged and inspired new voices. The writers reading his work in the, at this writing, ongoing video series include Jamaicans Kwame Dawes and Opal Palmer Adisa, St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien and John Robert Lee, the BVI’s Richard Georges, Barbados-based Yvonne Weekes, an entire who’s who of the Caribbean canon (Pamela Mordecai to Merle Collins to Olive Senior), including Canadian of Antiguan descent Tanya Evanson. Go here for the readings.

Awards

Brian S. Heap of Jamaica is the Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020. His story ‘Mafootoo’ has “been in the back of my head for almost five years, but this competition finally provided me with the opportunity, motivation and all important deadline to complete the work.” Heap is “the retired Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in Drama and Head of the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He has worked in Drama and Education in Jamaica for over forty years. With Pamela Bowell he co-authored Planning Process Drama: Enriching Teaching and Learning (2001, 2013) and Putting Process Drama into Action (2017) as well as several conference papers and articles for refereed journals. He served as Conference Director and Convener of the Fifth International Drama in Education Research Institute (2006) in Kingston, Jamaica. He was honoured with the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 2002.” Other regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020 are Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Africa), Kritika Pandey (Asia), Reyah Martin (Canada and Europe), and Andrea McLeod (Australia). More here.

Art of the Moment

You may have noted that there are protests beginning in but not limited to America, sparked by a recent spate, part of a long tradition, of killings (and general oppression) of African-Americans by police. It has opened a wound perhaps some thought had scabbed over. These protests and the conversations the protests have sparked are not limited to America because anti-Blackness (including internalized or intra-community anti-Blackness) is not limited to America. There have been a number of what I’m calling #CaribbeanConversations (as I share them to my facebook page) in postings by the likes of Jamaicans Kei Miller and Trinidadian Shivanee Ramlochan and others reflecting on race in our region. And here in Antigua and Barbuda, these are recent art works that I am aware of in response to the moment.  DotkidChavy has given permission for re-posting of the image below, originally posted to his public facebook gallery, with the caption, “I’m tired. We are tired. Our demand is simple. #BlackLivesMatter”:

Another work of art, a poem, ‘Stepping on the Black Man’s Neck’ by Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, published in the Daily Observer, is excerpted below:

“As we stretch our necks across the water/to the protests and murder in Minnesota/where is the outrage for all the necks that get stepped on in Antigua? …A British prisoner is housed in contrast conditions/to the black man’s daughters and local sons/who crap in buckets and old slop pails/who grow old and die in this overcrowded jail/A black prisoner walked in to a baton of blows/Cut-up he face and bruck-up he nose/but he can’t get no treatment./Meanwhile, Umberto Schenato got a quiet release/Now up by Fiennes receiving treatment. Please./Somebody had determined that as long as this Italian murderer is alive/he won’t spend another minute up at 1735/THAT, is kneeling on the black man’s neck….Bruce Jungle Greenaway belonged to somebody./He nah drop from hollow tree./He has children and a family./When the air left his lungs and his body could take no more/They dumped him at the altar of the shore/Waiting for the waves to wash away their sins/After they strangled him./And we wait./Every crime in this country is under investigation….Black man mek noise get kick inna he neck. Racism is alive and well in Antigua and Barbuda./So when we looking across the pond at Minnesota/REMEMBER/that plenty black man kneeling on black man neck inna dis country yah.”

Finally, this poem by me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), shared on my public facebook page, on June 3rd 2020, part of that morning’s writing exercise. It’s called ‘Sounds of Blackness’ (mostly because I wrote it during my musical meditation while listening to Sounds of Blackness):

“Not often enough but
Every now and again
The men in blue (and grey and black)
Are caught flat footed in their heavy boots
By the inconvenient realization
That the non-person discarded
Like old garbage
Hab smadee
That maybe they walk around the world in
Soot, caked on like unbelonging
And Maybe their mind is ‘modie’
But erasing them will take
Effort
Ka dem hab smadee
And somebody will say
Long time me na see so and so
Wey he?
He may be of no fixed address
(or other stories you spin)
But he know where to find his people
When he need them
And they make sure to check up on him
Where he roaming
And when dem na see he
Dem will ask smadee
And when dem see you ah abuse he
They will bear witness
With their eye-phones
And they will raise their voices
And other eyes will turn to the scene
And when that happens (if there’s to be any justice)
You will find a community of people
Turning eyes of inquiry in your direction
And your systems may protect you
This time
Or maybe this time you will be brought to account
And if there is justice in the world
(and we can’t often count on it)
You will sit in the realization
Within the walls built for people like him
That it is the man
Without feeling for his people
Who is the non-person”

COVID-19 News 

The country’s opening up and so is the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre which has relaxed its no visitor policy while keeping some restrictions in place. This is an arts site but we share this type of information because we need our community to act responsibly and to be safe. So, per an MSJMC release, all visitors (18 or older only with careful consideration given to anyone 65 and older) must wear a cloth face covering or mask (which, our edit, you should be wearing in public places anyway). Our space here doesn’t allow for a breakdown of visiting hours, which varies by department; so we’ll just say, call to check on the visiting hours – which are very tight and limited – and/or check their social media. Generally speaking, no more than 2 visitors per day, one  at a time bedside. Do not visit if you’re having any COVID-19 symptoms (in fact, our edit, call the hotline and/or your doctor for testing if you think that might be the case). You’ll be required to wash your hands with soap and water and/or apply hand sanitizer when entering and leaving patient rooms. Visitors will be required to stay in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit. Pray and take care; this is not over yet.

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, 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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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business

Reading Room and Gallery 33

Sit back and enjoy, and when you’re done, if you want to sit back and enjoy some more, use the search feature to the right to search ‘reading room and gallery’ and visit the previous installments.

MISC.

“In these revisions, Brathwaite seems to be Caliban discovering his mother’s voice through the  computer for the first time.” – Professor Kelly Baker Joseph’s Kamau Brathwaite Lecture

VISUAL ART

THE BUSINESS

“My mind was blown. As a lifelong perfectionist, it had never occurred to me that I should seek out failure as a means to level up. I felt both embarrassed and eternally grateful. This eureka moment—a trusty hand-me-down from Liao—inspired me to make rejection my New Year’s resolution.” – Courtney Kocak

For more Resources, go here.

CREATIVES ON CREATING


POETRY

‘“Your fault you were drinking”
“Well, was she wearing a thong?”
“Sounds like she just wants attention or something”’ – There is Strength in Our Stories: MeToo# – Christian Garduno

***

“Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
Will you ever win?

Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon
Rhiannon

She rings like a bell through the night and
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
She rules her life like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover? – two time Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame inductee Stevie Nicks

***

“The motherland had called our sons to her bosoms
come, sons come fight for your motherland, she said;
that bitch

Son, I have no language for this loss
him dead” – from Unwritten (Caribbean poets sharing poems inspired by the Caribbean experience in the second World War) on BBC Sounds 

FICTION

“My body was a well of fear, but the neighbor was asking if he could come in for a minute and get warm. He appeared cold and gray, and he was trembling. He smelled as if he were his own ashtray. I imagined these past weeks hard alcohol had been his water, cigarettes worked as food, but on this day he was beyond human, some kind of wild animal, all bones of limbs and ribs. His cheeks sunken, his presence felt witchy. If I had asked him to leave, he might have cast a spell on me.” – Snow Line by Elizabeth Brinsfield

***

“Meanwhile, the smell of bread, the taste of it. We’d split a loaf, slice it, and the steam would bloom up. We’d devour it. I’d bring out some butter and salt from the walk-in fridge and we’d stand in that kitchen, facing the empty bar and two-tops, eating our prize in silence. This was our communion, a religious moment, and there was nothing to contemplate but bread, and the soft inside was hot enough to burn you, and the crust could cut up the roof of your mouth.

Then I’d drive home. I’d circle my neighborhood, looking for parking, craving sleep, late afternoon, the sky turning orange. In my dreams I baked bread, ruined bread, ate bread. It went like this. Soon it would be early morning again, and I’d be trying to remember where I put my car so that I could drive back to the kitchen to bake bread, to make the kitchen dirty with flour again.” – Butter by Eve Gleichman 2016 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest Winner

***

“She told me I could serve her in heaven. She accompanied me to school each day.” – from Genesis by Tope Folarin

***

“They’re showing familiar-looking aerial footage, a SWAT team crossing the sports fields and the track, when I realize I’ve seen this all before, because I recognize that track.” – Breaking by Christopher Fox

***

“I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal— having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.” – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

***

– Jojo Instiful and Tamera George reading from the children’s picture book With Grace by Joanne C. Hillhouse at a 2018 Black History Month event organized by the Barnes Hill Community Development Organization and held at the Barnes Hill Community Reservoir Park.

For published short fiction and/or poetry by Antiguans and Barbudans, click the links for A-M and N-Z.

REPORTING

“I propose we start by giving the prophets honour in their own land while they’re alive. Let us like Barbados and Jamaica establish positions of writer laureates or poet laureates in our country for a defined period for each of our accomplished writers, giving them the opportunity to promote writing and their own missions either in schools or in other public spaces.” – Chairman of the Folk Resource Centre, St. Lucia, Embert Charles

***

“As a child of generations of immigrants and a victim of civil war, she communicates her experience of feeling naked in a new and often unwelcoming environment. Thus, the poems in the collection reflect her attempt to get into the marrow of the immigrant’s ordeal.” – Ghana Writes Editor, Ekuwa Saighoe, interviews Prof. Mark-Romeo on The Nakedness of New

***

“Gonnella depicts boxing great Muhammad Ali as young and strong in his fighting stance, the slightest hint of amused confidence hiding in his eyes; smoke escapes in a sinewy wisp from Jimi Hendrix’s lips, parted in a playful smile.” – Pop Phiz Fantastic by Naydene Gonnella as reported by Andrea Milam in Maco

***

‘“Ryan really wanted them to have these blankets close off their costumes because he wanted them to have this moment of reveal, where they push the blankets back and you see their weaponry and they go into battle,” said Carter of her work on Black Panther. “Ryan felt he couldn’t really do the Black Panther story without having gone to Africa, so he went and spent some time with the Basotho people [in Lesotho] and he fell in love with these blankets and I see why — they’re beautiful.”

Having purchased 150 Basotho blankets from South Africa and “stamped [the fictional metal] vibranium on one side to make them like shields for the warriors,” Carter said, the blankets were inevitably screen-tested by Marvel as too thick and unusable. So one of Carter’s assistants spent hours shaving each one of the 150 blankets with a men’s shaver to get it right.’ – 10 Surprising Facts About Oscar Winner Ruth E. Carter and Her Designs

***

“Of course, Debbie Eckert, I feel like there are two main lanes to her visual art – her portraits, she has an incomparable knack for capturing the light in her subject’s spirit, especially when it comes to children; and her nature canvases which are all about that magical glow. Right away I knew Approach, the full moon’s golden glow hitting the water and rippling out, was hers.” – from ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: AN ART, HISTORY, CULTURE TOUR 2 – CREATIVE SPACE #14 OF 2018 (coverage of the 2018 Independence Visual Arts Exhibition, spotlighting several local artists including one former Wadadli Pen finalist) 

REVIEWS

Doe Songs
“This is a fascinating collection, recommended for readers who like their poetry with teeth, claws and a dash of surrealism.” – PN Review of Doe Songs, an acclaimed poetry collection by Danielle Boodoo Fortune (past Wadadli Pen judge and patron, Trinidad and Tobago writer, illustrator – including of Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Wadadli Pen founder Joanne C. Hillhouse) – Also check out Danielle Boodoo Fortune in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 30, 26, 25, 22, 18, 17, 14, 11, 5, 4, 2, and 1

For reviews of works by Antiguans and Barbudans, go here.

INTERVIEWS

“I think a great many of us thought that Independence would lead to a kind of progress; that things that seemed inadequate like education, medical care, infrastructure that we feel had been neglected – we thought well they denied it to us, at least that was my view – but now that we were in control, we would proceed and show them how to manage small places with small, dedicated, intelligent people and morally good people, people on the right side of history. So when I returned I met kind of a universal chorus of ‘oh, they’re so corrupt, oh this, oh that, and the disturbing thing I think for me was the way the citizens reveled in it.” – Jamaica Kincaid on the BBC (interview also features Jacob Ross and Claire Adam)

***

“When you live in Baltimore City, especially coming up in the crack era, people dying is not a strange thing. Witnessing murders is not a strange thing, or being in a situation where you’re on a basketball court and somebody starts shooting is not a strange thing.” – Baltimore author D. Watkins in conversation with NPR

***

“I got a message a few years ago from a minister of government when I returned to Grenada accusing me of giving the island a bad name and I said to the messenger I’d like you to tell the minister I’ not writing tourism brochures.” – Jacob Ross  – interview with Jacob Ross, Jamaican Kincaid, and Claire Adam with the BBC

***

“It was really fun to get inside each others’ heads and understand how we see the world.” – Jennifer Miller w/Jason Feifer in conversation with quickanddirtytips.com

***

“First and foremost, I think she is an unquestionably talented writer whose books and poems shed light on a very interesting literary and geopolitical period.” – Eliot Bliss biographer Michela Calderaro in conversation with Jacqueline Bishop. Read the whole thing: Bookends Eliot Bliss

***

“We inhabit the life of a theoretical stranger and we really get to know a point of view that we might not otherwise really understand.” – Barbara Kingslover (interview on BBC) 

***

“I acknowledge the assimilation of many writers from what I think of as a Caribbean Tradition in the writing of my first novel Witchbroom. Africa, India, Europe all mixed up – a creole culture, so many languages. That’s what I celebrate. Beacon movement, our part in Harlem Renaissance, but also what I call the greats of the 50s, 60s, 70s novelists, poets and historians and now such a lot going on, many many more women: poets, story tellers, novelists, historians, Bridget Brereton; critics – Ramchand and Rohlehr, setting the pace in 1977. Dear Pat Ismond! London calling: New Beacon, Bogle Overture. And let’s adopt Jimmy Baldwin. I went on pilgrimage last December to St Paul de Vence. Volunteering at The George Padmore Institute. I get so excited at the lives and the works that are being archived there.” – Lawrence Scott

***

“When I was writing my dissertation in the 80s, this was my initial quest to unearth the first and earliest novel/poem/play, anything by a Caribbean Woman. As a teenager I had read Herbert G. De Lisser, 1929, novel The White Witch of Rose Hall, but I yearned for the stories of black enslaved women and free working class Caribbean women. I read the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Mary Seacole in Many Lands,1857; The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave, 1831, and I wanted to find the Caribbean equivalent to Phillis Wheatley. I had read poems by Una Marson, and of course everything by Louise Bennett. Read Sylvia Wynter’s novel, The Hills of Hebron, 1962, then stumbled on Phyllis Shand Allfrey, The Orchid House, 1953; Ada Quayle’s first novel, The Mistress, 1957; Eliot Bliss’ Luminous Isle, 1934; and finally Alice Durie’s One Jamaican Gal, 1939. Although, Durie is an outsider, a white American who married a Creole Jamaican, her text offers important insights. Sadly, when I was doing field research in Jamaica and sought out and met her son, he confessed to burning her papers and other unpublished novels, because he didn’t know what to do with them, he claimed. This was a man with a successful business and warehouse. I was so angry I gritted my teeth to keep from slapping him. If this was the fate of an upper class white woman, then what chance during those earlier times for the poems and novels of a poor black woman, especially in the Caribbean.” – Opal Palmer Adisa  – Also check out Opal Palmer Adisa in Reading Room and Gallery 21, 13,  5, 4, and 1.

***

James book
“MARLON JAMES: A lot of it came out of all the research and reading I was doing. African folklore is just so lush. There’s something so relentless and sensual about African mythology. Those stranger elements aren’t about me trying to score edgy post-millennial points. They are old elements. A lot of this book was about taking quite freely from African folklore, specifically from the area below the Sahara Desert. And that’s important to me. Mostly when people think of sophisticated Africa, they think of Egypt. And even that they attribute to aliens.” – Interview magazine. Also check out Marlon James in Reading Room and Gallery 31, 28, 18, 1514, 6, and 1.

For Antiguans and Barbudans discussing their art, go here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (founder and coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Oh Gad!, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All rights reserved. Subscribe to this site to keep up with future updates.

 

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business, Wadadli Pen News