Tag Archives: Chadd Cumberbatch

Angles of Light 2

Earlier this year, I shared audio of my reading on Chapel FM (in Leeds, England) programme Angles of Light. The Juleus Ghunta (author Tata and the Big Bad Bull author) production will broadcast part 2 on March 23rd as part of Chapel FM’s annual arts festival, Writing on Air (WOA). It will feature readings by 26 poets, including John Robert Lee, Nancy Anne Miller, Marion Bethel, Mervyn Morris, MJ Fievre, Chadd Cumberbatch, and Ann–Margaret Lim. The show will be one and a half hours long.

Here’s the day’s programme:

WOA Programme 2019_Anges of Light_Mar 23rd.jpg

Angles of Light 2 is at 9:45 p.m. Here’s where you can listen live.

As someone who tries through Wadadli Pen to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, one way being through this platform, Juleus Ghunta (my list buddy: we both have books – my Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and his Tata and the Big Bad Bull – with Caribbean Reads publishing) deserves credit for bringing Caribbean writers to a platform to which he has access. Respect.

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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Reading Room and Gallery 23

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 23rd one which means there are 22 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one.

NON FICTION

“It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound now; it was worse.” – Jamaica Kincaid’s essay On Seeing England for the First Time

MISC.

‘We must never for a moment doubt that it is absolutely vital that a nation should foster and honour its writers. The good writer devotes his energy to searching for truth. And in the love of truth, straight and unvarnished, lies not only the hope but the safety of a nation. “The people need poetry,” the great Russian Poet, Osip Mandelstam, wrote, “to keep them awake forever.” The good writer, the true writer, as Cyril Connolly said in Enemies of Promise, “helps to unmask those pretenders which distract all human plans for improvement: the love of power and money, the short-sighted acquisitive passions, the legacies of injustice and ignorance, a tiger instinct for fighting, the ape-like desire to go with the crowd. A writer must be a lie-detector who exposes fallacies in words and ideals before half the world is killed for them.”’ – Ian McDonald

FROM THE BLOGS

“People think writing children’s stories is some simple, easy thing. You’ve heard that, right? It is not; children deserve that as much attention be taken with their stories as would be taken with an adult novel. The child doesn’t need to recognize the many layers in a story. The layers of meaning will come later, or not, but the layers create the finished picture. The child just needs needs to enjoy the story, just needs that satisfying feeling of reading a story where the ending spreads like joy from the tips of the toes to the tips of the fingers and creates a bubbling-up-joy in the heart and mind.” – Caribbean Children’s Literature Diane Browne

***

“he dipped his toe in the puddle
of her first words” – SimplyNatural1

STORIES

“Being a migrant is like living in a limboland where you never fully belong anywhere, the positive perspective being it also gives you a wider and deeper empathy and universality.” – Maggie Harris interview

***

Commonwealth Writers site

***

“In the lateness of the night, she rises from the table. After these many years, she has become attuned to the restaurant, and to her beloved. They work in tandem. She can hear the eaves sigh in the wind, feel the dining room chairs sag with relief as the frenetic energy of the day finally draws to a close.” – The Woman Who Lived in the Restaurant by Leone Ross

***

“Across a field of short, sparse grass, she spied another group of aliens, facing each other in silence as usual, with their silver-stones piled in the center. Some were young—short with thick fur. Others were old—their scaly skin showing where hair had fallen out in patches about their body. She wondered if they considered this planet theirs. The family parrot, Rupert, considered the bell on his cage to be his property and pecked anyone who tried to move it. And the aliens of this world were certainly smarter than Rupert. Clara remembered her father’s stories about Columbus invading the Caribbean a thousand years before and declaring himself its discoverer. Maybe Clara and her family were the invaders now.” – from Clara in the New World, 2492 A.D. by Imam Baksh – See more here.

***

“Placing one slender, manicured tip on the backspace key, she erased every word, every trace of what she’d been feeling. It was four in the afternoon, and Laurie was beginning to feel suffocated. She needed this meeting to end. The only consolation was that she’d chosen a seat with her back against the wall, so her screen was not easily seen. Today was not her day to present, nor did she have the energy to rebut the statements being made, so she blindly allowed her mind to wander – a dangerous pastime.” – The Looking Glass by Zahra Airall (also posted to A & B Writings in Journals and Contests)

INTERVIEWS

“I would say to young writers be true to yourself and go for what is deeply meaningful for you, ask yourself over and over: What do I want to say?   Be as authentic to yourself and your subject as you can be.  Write every day.” – Lawrence Scott

***

“It’s scary out there, man. It’s so scary.” – Kendrick Lamar with Rick Rubin

***

“My mantra is definitely slow and steady wins the race. I apply this mantra to a lot of things, but I think in terms of my business I really avoid the sensation of being overwhelmed.” – Holly Wren Spaulding

***

Several Caribbean writers sharing their work and insights, including Jamaica’s Tanya Shirley – “Matter of fact which women really needs a head unless she’s proficient in giving head and keeping her mouth shut when she’s not”; St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien – “…no land, not enough last name to get the loan…”; and Barbados’ Karen Lord – “It appears that war, when deprived of one reason, simply seeks out another; we are still a people divided.” – listen to the full thing at the BBC.

***

“…if you have just finished writing your first story, you may want to take some time honing it and your craft and ensuring that it is truly ready for publication before approaching publishers. Completing a draft for most writers is the first step in a long journey of becoming a published author.” – advice from agent Anna Ghosh

***

“Every day I learn to write a better sentence.” – Ingrid Persaud and other Caribbean Commonwealth short story finalists interviewed by Shivanee Ramlochan

POEMS

“Bob Marley doesn’t know
His song has been hijacked
And drummed into heads
Knees weak from fear
Do not allow us to stand up.” – Althea Romeo-Mark’s Revolution and Reggae (Liberian Coup 1985) in Calabash

***

“light      smoke      how to dance

disco ball blocked by bodies

the sun eclipsed by moons

men growing like trees

in this club we leap

we do not look” – After Oliver Senior, ‘Flying’ by Andre Bagoo in Cordite Poetry Review 

***

“I think of you like a storm remembered—a marker in my life

Stalking my dreams and my memories like a phantom” – Stormy Night by Damian Femi Rene in Cordite Poetry Review

***

“when I was eight, a priest came and flicked holy water

into the four corners of this wooden house

that kept my parents, two sons, a daughter,

and a darkening forest in its mouth.” – Exorcism/Freeport by Richard Georges in Cordite Poetry Review

***

“Their point guard calling an illegal pick

as we double teamed, breathing like dogs

on a leash. I was staying in the spare room

of your house. Living below the line

like denominators until I learnt Algebra;

from the word Al-jabr – the reunion

of broken parts. Your nephew the third man,

floated by (a silver shadow) and drained

a three crunch through the chains.” – Pythagoras Theorem by Nick Makoha in Adda

***

***

“Nennen’s toothless smile

Granny lifts her skirt high

before plunging them back between her thighs

and a laugh from deep within bellows joy

Another aunt tears streaming from her face

thumps a table and gasps for air

and a laugh escapes

peeling sorrow away from the wooden walls

of the house

in Salem” – Chadd Cumberbatch, Norene’ s Laugh

***

“Beautiful man, you are

the ocean churning inside a skull. Every cuss

a broken piece of bottle. You never left

the island but long to. Fingertips smelling

of tobacco or herb, always ready

to fight someone or something.

Thrusting a gun finger

into the air, rigid—

a brown beacon; I will you

to life: fuse sinew, blood

tendons, bones, memories.” – Poem for a Gunman by Soyini Ayanna Forde

***

“I am the last in the line of the man Massa bury.

My great- grandmother run to the hills

same day, with Papa in her belly. Papa

was a wild one, kill plenty backra. Each time

he kill one  him say, ‘Massa me no dead yet.’” – Penny Kill Shilling by Monica Minnot 

***

“Because to him
Giving in
Is the only real sin” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Differences (also posted to A & B Writings in Journals and Contests)

***

“Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.” – Love after Love by Derek Walcott (read by Tom Hiddleston)

***

“I felt sleepy, bored by the mundane,
the usual conversation and the continual beauty
of sun and sea” – from The Day The Sea Turned Brown by Tania Haberland in Adda

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“I had this image of a woman grieving the illness of her lover, but yes, the lover is not-quite-human. He’s a construction or a creation or a person who has been made in our own image. I was thinking of love as a double helix between attraction to the other, the opposite; and attraction to some unarticulated part of ourselves that we recognize in another. And then, out of the blue, I could see Jin and Naomi dancing together, and the perspective was that of child, a neighbor, watching this love affair unfold, and interpreting that otherness, that not-quite-humanness, in a very different way. So that was the beginning.” – Five Questions for Madeleine Thien

***

“You learn about the objective art of rhetoric, more specifically about the structural choices that bad and good men have made in speeches to lead us down certain garden paths – not by magic, but by repetition and specific diction and verb choice.” – Leone Ross on The Answer to that Question: Where do I get Ideas from

***

“The reason an inciting moment matters is that it determines what the story is about. It’s like a snowball that is pushed down a hill. It will gather it’s own momentum, and direct the story to its conclusion unless you put obstacles in the way (like a rock) to throw it off track and into another direction. If you don’t want your story about Cinderella to hinge on the prince’s ball, you might not want to include the invitation in the plot in the first place.” – Andrea Lundgren

***

Solange Knowles jam sessions and creative process for Seat at the Table.

***

“When I sat down to write Ashael Rising, I knew very little about KalaDene. In fact, it didn’t even have a name until the third draft or so. My world-building was all done as I went along. I once heard an excellent description of the process; it explains just what it feels like to me so I’m going to share it here. World-building is like walking through a tunnel (the world) with a torch (the story) so I can see as much of the world as the story shines a light on and a little bit around the edges but everything else is just fuzzy shapes in the darkness, with maybe a puff of cool air indicating that there might be a door to somewhere else off to the left.” – Shona Kinsella talks world building

***

“Here’s the catch: More than one type of character arc exists. Our characters can change for better or worse. Or, perhaps they might not change much, except in strength of resolve. So, how do writers determine what kind of arc a character is following, or which arc fits our story best?” – Fantasy writer Sara Letourneau blogging on character arcs

***

“People think writing children’s stories is some simple, easy thing. You’ve heard that, right? It is not; children deserve that as much attention be taken with their stories as would be taken with an adult novel. The child doesn’t need to recognize the many layers in a story. The layers of meaning will come later, or not, but the layers create the finished picture. The child just needs needs to enjoy the story, just needs that satisfying feeling of reading a story where the ending spreads like joy from the tips of the toes to the tips of the fingers and creates a bubbling-up-joy in the heart and mind.” – Jamaican author Diane Browne blogging Children as Heroes/Heroines of Their Own Stories

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, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, Musical Youth, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon 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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Yeah Yeah for Ya Ya

I wrote this after attending the Antigua launch of Chadd’s cumberbatch Ya Ya Surfeit back in August 2010. The option to publish wasn’t picked up by any of the usual suspects. But, hey, that’s what blogs are for. Here then are reflections on a beautfiul night. Photos by Marcella Andre.

That's Marcella, far right; yes, she's talented like that...the photog and the subject...also pictured, far left the night's emcee Brenda Lee Browne, artist extraordinaire Heather Doram next to her, y yo.

By Joanne C. Hillhouse

Ya Ya Surfeit; translation, plenty chat. When Montserratian Chadd Cumberbatch

Chadd

 launched the book here recently there was plenty of something else; laughter – I mean, laugh until you belly hurt you laughter.

The Best of Books @ Royal Palm launch was, frankly, not well attended  but it was full in every way that counted.

The poetry collection, which enjoyed a theatrical launch at home earlier in the summer, travels well. It helps that Cumberbatch, no stranger to either stage or movie lights, brought to the reading, the ease and charisma of a natural storyteller. The effortless chemistry between Cumberbatch and radio personality Marcella Andre, who also participated in the Montserrat launch, was a plus.

The stripped down presentation and smaller venue, meanwhile, allowed for a certain intimacy not just with the performers but the words. Certainly, it allowed even those of us who’ve read this poetry collection and witnessed the coming alive of favourite pieces at the previous launch, hear the words as if for the first time; I mean really hear them, and be tickled or moved anew as a result.

As with the book itself, the pieces chosen for the Antigua launch were well ordered, beginning, rightly, with the reflective Ascent to Grace before picking up the pace with the defiant Emancipation and the caustic Fences – the latter capturing well the attitudes of some to the all-a-we-is-one-family sentiment and having fun with the words. “So hall you bauxite”, therefore, emerges as the kiss-off it is when dependent only on the sound of the words for the meaning, a reminder that so many of the pieces in this collection, while they read well, really feel meant for the stage or some sort of audio recording. At other times the visual is so clear – “with a flick of her plastic, blonde weave” – the layers of meaning immediately reveal themselves. That’s from Buy Local, which ends with the sarcastic, “It is her religion to take communion at Western Union”.

Cumberbatch went to great lengths to reiterate – perhaps overmuch – that not all the pieces reflect his lived experiences. But certainly Daily Bread, the seed of which was planted during a tedious staff meeting at his day job, is. It was Andre’s favourite piece and she declared  we could all relate to:

“Lord de wuk

De never-ending-forever day wuk

De hustle

De sweat

De back and forth

De forth and back…

And the meeting

And the other meeting

And the meeting to plan the next meeting

About the briefing

About the memo

Re de missive from de Ministry

Cause de Boss say

De minister say…”

You get the idea.

And for everyone who’s ever been to a pageant, Priscilla, featuring “…Peggy daughter, the one wey look like one ‘O’” was no less relatable, easily earning the biggest laughs of the night – the kind of laugh where you swear somebody’s about to tek een. Well, to be honest, the competition for biggest laugh of the night tug-o-warred between this and the three-man skit On the Block which wondered, what do women want?

The pieces in what Cumberbatch described as the “love zone” earned a different kind of laughter, more subdued, more the laughter of commiseration; I’ve-been-there-I-know-what-that’s-like kind of laughter. From Monday to On Rumpled Sheets to Crescent to Grey to Confessions of a Love Sick Fool, the pieces tracked love’s slow unraveling: such as “Tonight I’ll slip away from you and you will never know because you don’t see me anymore” (from Wakening) and “I fell hard like a rock/hard like granite/hard like diamond/heavy like a stone/and I shattered…like glass” (from I Fell).

The encore came via the poet’s reading of one of his favourite pieces, Conversation with Cheese. It was a reminder of the real life relatability, layers of meaning, and sly humour of the well-worth-buying collection. In it, a young boy asks a Rasta – Cheese? – why he smokes weed. The answer comes via the Bible and, specifically, how Moses received the epiphany that led him to Pharaoh’s door precipitating the Israelites’ exit from Egypt: “through the burning bush”.

Chadd signs copies for his fans including Antiguan artist/actress Heather D.

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Ya Ya Surfeit launches in Antigua

Former Culture Director and celebrated artist and costume designer, Heather Doram, receives her signed copy from Cumberbatch at the Antigua launch of his book. (Photo by Marcella Andre)

Here’s what I wrote after travelling to Montserrat for the launch of Chadd Cumberbatch’s Ya Ya Surfeit: “Even so, his book, with its balance of humour and pathos, layers upon layers of meaning; its insight to and balanced presentation of the male and female psyche, its uniquely Caribbean (and especially Montserratian) perspective on things, and searing honesty will be a revelation. The words feel alive on the page. Imagine then how much more exciting it was to see them leap to life”.

A trimmer but no less enjoyable presentation of the work took place Saturday August 21st at the Best of Books at Royal Palm.

If you haven’t already pick up a copy of this book today. You won’t regret it.

Now you may be wondering why feature a Montserratian writer on an Antiguan site, but quite apart from the fact that Antigua and Montserrat are kissing cousins, there’s the fact that Chadd has made his mark on the Antiguan artistic scene.

Have you seen his performance in the Antiguan film, No Seed?

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