Tag Archives: Lucille Clifton

Reading Room and Gallery 34

Here I share things I like that I think you might like too. But not just anything. Things related to the arts – from the art itself to closer examination of the art to the making of the art…like that. There have been 33 installments in this series before – use the search window to the right to find them; and there’ll be more additions to this installment before it too is closed – so come back.

MISC.

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Keanu Reeves: Reading From Paul Gauguin’s ‘Noa Noa’

REPORT

“I didn’t know much about publishing, so I reached out to several local writers who had been published but didn’t get much response. It was only when Rosalind Carrington replied that I was able to gain some traction. She would introduce me to Sharon Miller and these two women were the only ones who gave me the time of day. So many people just didn’t even respond! So I am grateful, everyday, that they did,” she details. In the course of editing her novel with the mentorship she received, she would come to realise that though she had the basic novel idea down in words, it was her craft of writing that needed something more. She explains further, “People think that in writing — well we all learn to write, so a writer simply puts words to paper, crafts a story and then goes out there, gets published and wins an award right?” she says with a laugh. “There probably should be another word for what we do — but it’s not as simple as ‘writing’ implies. It’s a different craft altogether; a very solitary profession that requires hours and hours of work and a certain disposition. As a writer you not just have to be able to tolerate solitary confinement but also somehow enjoy it.” – re Celeste Mohammed. Read more.

FICTION

‘“Micah, you know you white too, right?”
“I tell you to stop that shit. I not white.”
Keisha snorted.
Micah’s face got a little redder despite his tan “You know is the expats I talking about Keisha – the foreign kinda white, the rich peoplekinda white. Acting like if the place belong to them.”’ – Ayanna Gillian Lloyd

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“When time come for food to share, she take out she KFC and start to eat.” – from The Cook by Lisa Allen-Agostini in New Daughters of Africa, presented as the Bocas Lit Fest

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“Climbing the tree was easy, the sequence of steps and grips was like recalling a once-forgotten language. As I maneuvered along the branch to my old window, surprised it could still bear my weight, the backyard lights next door came on. I stopped moving, the pillowcase of pills swinging to a silence. The justice let out two of his goldendoodles to pee. Every summer when I was a boy, the justice and his wife had paid me twenty dollars a week to walk their dogs. Then he gave me the clerking position. Everything in my life had been handed to me.” – The First Bed by Matthew Socia

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‘It feels cold at first but that is the wind on the waves. Take a deep breath and fall to me.’ – from Part 4 of Paul Andruss’ The House by the Sea

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“The next letter, an H, took a few weeks to appear, made by juxtaposing the calf of our fire chief with the pinkie finger of the oldest woman in town. Some accused them of copycatting, writing on their skin in marker for the attention it would bring, but those who saw in person knew the sheen of the marks in the light—the matte finish of a coffee bean—and all soon admitted it was authentic.” – The Marks by Chris Haven

Antiguan and Barbudan fiction and poetry here and here.

POETRY

“Some days the body is a clenched fist. At other times it is a door knob leading out.” – Enzo Serin, Haiti, reading from forthcoming book ‘When my body was a clenched fist’, poem ‘Born to Triggers’

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INTERVIEWS

“I have always loved the image-making power of poetry.” – Grace Nichols. Read her full interview with Jacqueline Bishop: Nichols 1, Nichols 2, Nichols 3, Nichols 4

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‘I get a lot of questions from people that are How did this person do this thing? And I’m like, “Well, in chapter blah, blah blah, they said they were going to do this thing that way.” One thing I’ve noticed is that people tend to not read accurately. People read fast these days, so they don’t catch all the details, and I tend to write in a lot of detail.’ – N. K. Jemison

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‘We can’t know how long the book, or any of us, will live but … “something remains”’

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‘John Robert Lee: Papillote Press, “the small and invaluable Papillote Press,” has made a significant mark in small press publishing regionally and internationally with the important authors you have published and the awards that some of the books have garnered. As a result, are you overwhelmed by manuscript submissions, budgetary and other constraints? Have you set yourself a tight selection policy and publishing schedule?

Polly Pattullo: I am essentially a one-woman band, so I do have some difficulty in making sure that manuscripts don’t pile up. I am well aware how frustrating it is to have to wait for a response, and I would hate to have such a reputation.

Even so, I welcome manuscripts – in a way you can never have too many, because you might miss a gem and I always ask someone else to get a second opinion.

It is very much a labour of love and I think I am a bit choosy, but you have to be true to yourself.’ – read the full interview

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“Carribeans love racket sports. My dad played a lot, so I started out going to his matches and serving as a terrible ballboy. The only thing we watched as a family on television was tennis, Breakfast at Wimbledon was big in my house. I had forgotten about those days, but I am fond of them. I never would’ve written the book without it. Here’s a good example: My dad rarely calls with breaking news, but one day he rang me up and said, ‘Turn on the TV, there’s a tennis poem being read on the air.’ It was Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated encapsulating his time at one of the big tournaments. Dad wanted to make sure I saw my personal Venn Diagram becoming one circle.” – Rowan Ricardo Philips

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“Who are our most important writers today?

I don’t think this is a useful question for a creative writer to consider (at least not for me). What’s more crucial for me to think about is: How can I do my best work yet?” – Thomas Glave

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“Anancy, for example, is the kind of figure who endures in the imagination because he represents many conflicting aspects of the self in one vessel – he is often selfish and greedy, so in that regard offers a cautionary tale of the baser aspects of our nature. And yet, here is this tiny creature who routinely outwits others with far more power and who often is the cause of so much that happens in the stories, good and bad. The twinness in his nature is where his appeal lies for me.” – Bocas winner Shara McCallum interviewed for the Jamaica Observer’s Bookends by Jacqueline BishopShara Book 1Shara Book 2Shara conclusion

NON FICTION

“I write, seeking an art that will last as the shadows lengthen, one that braids the lyric to the political without sounding like a jeremiad from the sidewalk or a piece of propaganda that will live only for a moment. I seek a political, nuanced, understanding, beautiful, blood-incarnadined art that brings all of us, no matter our differences, to life.” – Gabrielle Bellot

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“The story of why my own family came to be in the Caribbean had been blurred over time: it was something to do with the British, something to do with slavery, but that was all that was shared. Decades later the Guyanese-American journalist Gaiutra Bahadhur published the seminal book Coolie Woman, which brought much insight, but there have been few other notable works. Guyana doesn’t feature in the history books or the school curriculum in Britain. Consequently, when I tried to explain to my schoolfriends where my family was from – ‘What Ghana?’, ‘No, Guyana in South America’, ‘What like Ossie Ardiles?’, ‘No, he’s Argentinian’. When the Falklands War began in 1982, there were even more questions to navigate.

This is astonishing when you think that the British had such a role to play in that nation’s birth and how central that colony was to the United Kingdom’s industrial wealth and growth in the nineteenth century. Unlike the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad, it is possible that Guyana’s unique geography (being attached to the South American mainland) has rendered it and its history all but invisible from the collective British consciousness. Perhaps fittingly, it was the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.” – The Forgotten World: How Scotland Erased Guyana from Its Past by Yvonne Singh

CREATIVES ON CREATING

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“I’ve learned to listen to them when they argue with me.” – C. S. Marks

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“I lay my head on the pillow at night purposefully with a scene in my mind so that my subconscious will work out the kinks. I often pop awake with ideas. Or maybe I don’t, but when I sit to write, more ideas still happen to flow.” – C. Hope Clark

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“You have to leave room for the story to grow unexpectedly.” – Cecelia Ahern

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“People say, I write for myself, and it sounds so awful and so narcissistic, but in a sense if you know how to read your own work—that is, with the necessary critical distance—it makes you a better writer and editor. When I teach creative writing, I always speak about how you have to learn how to read your work; I don’t mean enjoy it because you wrote it. I mean, go away from it, and read it as though it is the first time you’ve ever seen it. Critique it that way. Don’t get all involved in your thrilling sentences and all that . . .” – Toni Morrison

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“I am writing this now on a laptop in central Mexico, in a region where my ancestors lived for centuries. My office is a leather equipal table and chair on a covered terrace. On either side of me, a Chihuahua snoozes. Next door a palm tree rattles like a maraca, and down in the town center a church bell gongs the hour.” – re Sandra Cisneros. Read more.

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“I was one of a number of writers invited to Finland in the late 1980s as part of a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Finnish book. The trip really resonated with me, even though it didn’t occur to me at the time that I might use small details I picked up during my time in Finland in a novel. But of course, given the nature of the celebration itself, it makes sense that I did, and I’ve now generally come to be more aware, whenever I travel, that something I see or feel might make its way, in a transformed form, into my fiction.” – Meg Wolitzer discusses the writing of The Wife

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‘The Southern writer Rosemary Daniell once looked at me as we sat on a panel at an early Atlanta Book Festival and murmured with wonder, “Hmm, a writer with a happy childhood.” Well, of course, it was not all happy. We all have our own bag of rocks, and a writer of color in this country has more than her share. But it was my childhood.’ – Tina McElroy Ansa

DISCUSSING ART

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“She’s still being sexually abused but now she also has three children to watch and a farm to keep, and he’s just brutally beating her constantly.” – the Margos discuss movie vs. book, The Color Purple (Alice Walker)

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Discussions of Antiguan and Barbudan art by the artistes can be found here.

Discussion of Antiguan and Barbudan art by critics can be found here.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator 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. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. 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, Wadadli Pen News

Reading Room and Gallery II

The stacks were overflowing at the original Reading Room and Gallery; I decided to expand. ETA: At this writing, I’ve expanded all the way up to 10 Reading Rooms; use the search feature to the right to find them.

DISCLAIMER: By definition, you’ll be linking to third party sites from these Links-We-Love pages. Linked sites are not, however, reviewed or controlled by Wadadli Pen (the blog, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize nor coordinator/blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse); and Wadadli Pen (the blog, the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize and coordinator/blogger Joanne C. Hillhouse) disclaims any responsibility or liability relating to any linked sites and does not assume any responsibility for their contents. In other words, enter at your own risk.

Here you’ll find stories, interviews, reviews, poems; you name it…a totally subjective showcase of (mostly) Caribbean written (sometimes visual and audio visual) pieces that I (Joanne) have either personally appreciated or which have been recommended (and approved) for posting/linking. If you’re looking for the winning Wadadli Pen stories (and I hope you are!), check Wadadli Pen through the years. You can also see the Best of Wadadli Pen special issue at Anansesem which has the added feature of audio dramatizations of some of the stories.

POEMS

Won’t You Celebrate with me (print and audio) by Lucille Clifton; also These Hips (actually Homage to My Hips).

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You never thought by Nic Sebastian.

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I have a theory about Reflection by Renee Ashley (The Robert Watson Literary Prize Poem)

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As I write this I’m reading Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda (in Spanish and English) and amidst the lush language, I found this gem that seems timely (it being pre-Valentine and all at this posting) – Sonnet XVII which reads in part

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de si, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra

Translation:

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

The full poem can be found here.

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I am nobody’s nigger – bup! bup!

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Liking the humour in Maelynn Seymour-Major’s Retired Woman War.

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Still haven’t read The Help, nonetheless Carol Boyce Taylor’s Borscht made me think of it. Those who have read it can tell me if I’m totally off the mark.

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As a fan of Gil Scott Heron’s The Revolution will not be Televised, I had to share this piece, Complainer, about the late poet-activist by Fred D’Aguiar.

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Tell me One Fine Day I will walk with my Head held High by Bisi ADeleye-Fayemi (also found here) doesn’t leave you feeling empowered.

SHORT STORIES

Twins by Tiphanie Yanique from Ma Comere.

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One of my favourite shorts from one of my favourite writers: Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl.

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Regular readers might remember me writing about Will Allison’s What You Have Left. Here’s an excerpt (kinda) from Zoetrope’s All Story.

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Quirky, interesting tale from the New Yorker; A Man Like Him by Yiyun Li.

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This origin story from the Shonga People in Zimbabwe, published in Anansesem, was quite engaging. Favourite line: “After this they knew that when they listened to the beat of their hearts, they would not feel trapped or lost.”

NON FICTION

i’m still on a learning curve with this publishing business. But I can report that much of what this writer says is true, from my experience; and that I read it with an eye toward checking off what I’d done and what I still needed to do. Turns out I’ve done most of it and hope to see it pay off. For anyone thinking of publishing – either independentally or with a publishing house – this is useful information re marketing: http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/five-marketing-tips-to-drive-excitement-and-buzz

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Anyone who knows me (well) knows how much I love and relate to the music of Lauryn Hill and even to her particular brand of ‘crazy’. It’s why I feel the need to share this: http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/lauryn-hills-tumblr-letter-on-the-music-business/ which says among other things “I Love making art, I Love making music, these are as natural and necessary for me almost as breathing or talking.  To be denied the right to pursue it according to my ability, as well as be properly acknowledged and compensated for it, in an attempt to control, is manipulation directed at my most basic rights! ”

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A blog about Bocas and others in the series  by author Karen Lord.

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“…knowledge of one’s own history and culture has intrinsic value.” Read more in this Carolyn Cooper response to a critic who calls into question the relevance of a course in reggae poetry at the University of the West Indies. Personally, I’d like to see a course in calypso poetry too.

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“I thought that publishing a book meant I was a writer, but I was wrong. Convincing yourself each day to keep going, this means that you are a writer.” Read more of Last Lecture: Am I a Writer? by Cathy Day.

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This blog entry by Tameka Jarvis shares her review of Rita Marley’s No Woman No Cry, a book I’ve reviewed here in Blogger on Books and which remains one of my favourite autobiographies.

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Love this blog entry by Brenda Lee Browne… as I prepare for the launch of my new book, I can relate to the hesitance to dip your toe in the water. This is a scary, scary path we choose when we pour our heart, soul, energy, years of life into this thing that we then have to let go and await the world’s judgment.

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This is actually a blog entry by Silver Sparrow author Tayari Jones. Silver Sparrow is on my to read list, NaNo which challenges you to write a certain amount of words in a month, is decidedly not on my to do list, her blog sums up why. Mostly, I like what she suggests about writing being a process not a destination. While challenges like the one mentioned can help a writer develop the discipline needed to finish a book, to take up pen and declare I want to write a book rather than I want to be a writer misses the mark; the latter requires investment in the discipline of actually developing craft and perspective. Read, live, grow, write (and edit, and redraft, and redraft, and redraft…), then (maybe) publish.

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Perspective on the publishing industry … if Shakespeare was publishing today, would he be rejected too?

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The Bronte sisters aren’t Caribbean, unless you count the literary link between Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys Wide Sargasso Sea or the fact that many of us children of the Caribbean grew up reading both books; either way, I thought this article on the Brontes might intrigue you as it did me.

INTERVIEWS

I’m sharing this interview with Cara Blue Adams, fiction and non fiction of the Southern Review literary journal in the U.S., for two reasons – and, no, one is not her delightfully quirky name. One, I think her insights on the process submissions go through provide some insight and perspective for writers. Two, I found interesting the discussion about fewer women being published (and perhaps) writing…because with Wadadli Pen it’s actually the opposite. A grad student actually asked me about this once i.e. the level of participation among girls versus boys in Wadadli Pen, and it broke down that in 2004 only 12% of the participants were boys, 18 percent in 2005, 29 percent in 2006, 0 percent in 2010, 16 percent in 2011, 23 percent in 2012. The arts in Antigua, I think, are not seen as manly things, and many of the literary folk I come across (not just in Antigua but in the wider Caribbean) tend to be female, but, interestingly, many of the region’s literary legends are male. Interesting.

Their Eyes were watching God is not only one of my favourite books, Zora Neale Hurston, its author, is one of my literary heroes. For more on her, I recommend Valerie Boyd’s Wrapped in Rainbows. This is not an interview but a discussion with Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, and Ruby Dee on Hurston’s writing and legacy. It’s lengthy but worth checking out.

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Jamaica Kincaid, uncensored…but then isn’t she always. And then there’s this one, I’m struck by how pretty she looks in this interview and by these words “I understood the book much better when I was writing it” (I understand this feeling so much as I try to answer questions now like ‘what inspired you to write this book i.e. Oh Gad!’ when that impulse is now a vague memory).

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Surprise, surprise American Scholar Henry Louis Gates is a bibliophile. But do you know which Antiguan author is on his list of essential reading? And which Caribbean writer he’d readily take to the beach again? Check it out.

VISUAL ART

Author of the Caribbean Adventure Series Carol Ottley-Mitchell’s visual tale featuring the resourceful monkey Chee Chee. Perfect for classroom storytime.

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Interview with and analysis of the artistry of up and coming talent Danielle Boodoo Fortune at the ARC.

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Jamaica Kincaid reading at Columbia “the beauty, economy and precision of Kincaid’s prose transports even the most curmudgeonly and aloof reader into the abject state of gushy fandom.” – Saidiya Hartman, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia university

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Something about this… Doggie in the Picture by Danielle Boodoo Fortune.

…AND HERE’S SOME OF MY STUFF

Excerpt from Oh Gad! (my new book released in 2012)

Friday Night Fish Fry (fiction) @ Sea Breeze – http://www.liberiaseabreeze.com/joanne_c_hillhouse.html

After Glow (fiction) @ Tongues of the Ocean – http://tonguesoftheocean.org/2009/11/after-glow

How to Make Cassava Bread and Other Musings on Culture (non fiction) @ Antigua Stories – http://antiguastories.wordpress.com/food-2/food

At Calabash (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/at-calabash

Defining Moments (non fiction) @ Geoffrey Philp’s blog – http://geoffreyphilp.blogspot.com/2010/12/defining-momentsjoanne-c-hillhouse.html

Off the Map (non fiction) @ Signifying Guyana –

http://signifyinguyana.typepad.com/signifyin_guyana/2010/12/guest-post-writing-off-the-map-by-joanne-c-hillhouse.html  and again at Blurb is a Verb

What Calypso Taught Me About Writing (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/what-calypso-taught-me-about

At Sea (fiction) @ Munyori – http://www.munyori.com/joannehillhouse.html

Pushing Water Up Hill (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pushing-water-up-hill-one

Wadadli Pen – Nurturing Another Generation of Antiguan and Barbudan Writers (non fiction) @ Summer Edward’s blog – http://summeredward.blogspot.com/2010/08/guest-post-by-joanne-c-hillhouse.html

Cold Paradise (fiction) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/Hillhouse_ColdParadise.htm

Somebody! (fiction) @ St. Somewhere – http://visitstsomewhere.blogspot.com

Reflections on Jamaca (non fiction) @ Caribbean Literary Salon – https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/reflections-on-jamaica

Portent (fiction) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/Hillhouse_Portent.htm

Philly Ramblings 8 (poetry) @ Ma Comère – http://dloc.com/AA00000079/00004/36j

Ghosts Laments (poetry) @ Small Axe – http://smallaxe.net/wordpress3/prose/2011/06/30/poem-by-joanne-hillhouse

Benediction before the Essence (poetry) @ Women Writers – http://www.womenwriters.net/aug08/fiction_poetry/hillhouse_poetry.html

Prospero’s Education, The Arrival, Da’s Calypso (3 poems) @ Calabash – http://www.nyu.edu/calabash/vol4no2

Interview @ Caribbean Literary Salon – http://caribbeanliterarysalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-joanne-c

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, and Oh Gad!). 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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Filed under Links We Love, Literary Gallery