Tag Archives: Marita Golden

Reading Room and Gallery 41

Things I read 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.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“It’s not gory for the sake of it; I mean, it has to be set in reality.” – Sara Bennett, VFX supervisor, The Old Guard

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“Baobab trees are hollow which is why you cannot measure their rings to access their age. You must look at their breadth and at 20 feet this one is estimated to be 300 years old. I film at a distance, then close up, and then walk around it and then from in it. In it, there is an opening to see the hollow. big enough to go inside but I would never dare enter. It feel empty. I left there feeling a tightness around my throat which my friend told me is what happens when spirits attach themselves to you. Later that night he sent me a song by Miles Davis to listen to and I cried. I felt so much grief and it didn’t feel wholly mine.” – La Vaughn Pelle, USVI, blog 1, Catapult Stay at Home Residency

POETRY

“The stories my mother told were always too frightening for us…” – Legends by Edwidge Dandicat

REPORTS

“Contemporary artist Sheena Rose was born in 1985 in Bridgetown, Barbados, where she also currently lives and works. A Fulbright Scholar who holds a BFA from Barbados Community College and MFA from the University of North Carolina, Rose’s work is equally rooted in her Caribbean heritage as it is in her efforts to challenge any preconceived notions and definitions of said heritage.” – Sheena Rose: Dramatically Removing the Landscape by Heike Dempster in Whitewall

STORIES

“Cecile rarely smiled, or made conversation, but when you’re watching her scale and bone fish there is no need to say a word. You just stand in awe, and watch a master at work. Cecile is the person who thought to charge people extra for scaling and boning in the early days, back when things used to change in Chattel Lane.” – A Hurricane and the Price of Fish by Shakirah Bourne in Adda

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“It was quiet like Sunday afternoon, that storm.” – ‘Rain’ by Maria Govan, the Bahamas (Catapult Stay at Home Residency recipient)

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“On the day my dead brother came home I awoke to the smell of salty broth, mushrooms swelled with water and heat, the tang of sugared limes. My mother entered my bedroom, pulled me from sleep with cool fingers. He’s home, she said. Who? Your brother. When she said his name, I pushed away the thought of the boy I had once known, glasses round and thick, framing eyes whose lashes I never stopped envying, a checkered shirt or perhaps his Manchester United polo, a missing canine that had never grown in. Instead, I rolled over and said, My brother is dead. Let me sleep. Patiently, my mother peeled back the covers, waited for the February air to work its way under my pajama shirt. He’s in the living room, she said. He needs a change of clothes. Give him something of yours.” – Fish Stories by Janika Oza, 2020 Kenyon Review Short Contest Winner

CONVERSATIONS

“Each of the characters’ stories were written on their own, before I spliced them together and rewrote the whole story.” – Ingrid Persaud and Jacob Ross in conversation

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“Democracy is both fragile and also enduring.”

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“When I was finding my voice as a writer, Alice Walker meant so much to me because I learned courage from her. She was a feminist when Black women wanted to kill her because she was a feminist. She was writing about spousal abuse when we had no word for that. She was called a man hater. When the book Colour Purple came out, she wrote about how she almost had a nervous breakdown, the hate was so extreme. Then she had the nerve to write about female genital mutilation. So, she really means a lot to me because of her courage. She just wouldn’t stop.” – Marita Golden

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“It’s been really amazing, for example this year, especially during the summer, during the protest, to see people reconsider Haiti’s role in fighting white supremacy at its very beginning, the revolution and all those issues coming up in terms of what’s happening in the contemporary…Haiti suffered punishments for this revolution.”

V is for Voices in conversation, in 2020, with Haitian writer Edwidge Dandicat on Instagram.

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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Mailbox – What are You Reading for Black History Month?

I haven’t shared a (from the) Mailbox standalone post in a while (especially since I’ve been doing the round-up posts) but, though this is technically a promo post, I felt compelled to share it because of the question it poses.

The poser is the great African-American writer Marita Golden whom I had the opportunity to hear read live at the first Antigua and Barbuda International Literary Festival (then called the Caribbean International Literary Festival in 2006).

Exif JPEG

Exif JPEGAh, the ABILF…remember that? One of many arts-related things we’ve started and stopped because of failure to realize their potential and support their growth.

ABILF_logo

Anyway, Marita is the co-founder of the seminal Washington-based programme Hurston-Wright Foundation, which is still very important to Black America and the diaspora (as organizers of the Hurston-Wright Writers Week, the Legacy Awards, and the College writers award, all of which we promote on our Opportunities and Opportunities Too pages). It has in some ways been a model for some of what I’ve been trying, since it launched in 2004, to do with the Wadadli Youth Pen Prizewhich is self-mandated to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. And her Antigua-Barbuda connection includes offering a spot in the Writers week to a winner of the Independence lit prize back when former Wadadli Pen Challenge judge Brenda Lee Browne had reignited it (you know, before it fizzled again, in spite of the judge who succeeded Browne, Barbara Arrindell urging government in an open letter to appoint an officer to see to lit arts development year round) – you already know that I think a writers residency or laureate programme would be an indicator that the powers that be are serious about lit arts, but deaf ears and all that. I also believe some young writers – perhaps also through BLB’s intervention including past Wadadli Pen finalist Rilys Adams had the opportunity to participate in the Hurston-Wright youth programme as well. Maybe Marita will consider making a contribution of one of her books or a mentorship  session or manuscript critique to a future Wadadli Pen Challenge winner. Just putting that out there but that’s not the point of this post. The last of my preamble, I love that this programme is named for one of my favourite writers Zora Neale Hurston – so to the question of BHM recs, I would definitely have Their Eyes were Watching God on the list and the collected works I love Myself When I’m Laughing; also books about her like Valerie Boyd’s Wrapped in Rainbows and Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.

Okay, here now is Marita’s message from my Mailbox.

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“Welcome to the first Black History Month of this new decade. Like many of you I feel mixed emotions about this month. I am proud of its roots in the work of the groundbreaking historian Carter G. Woodson. Yet I long for the day when the full range of what African Americans have borne and contributed is seen as the legacy of all Americans and woven truthfully into the historical fabric of this nation.

I am enormously proud of my contributions to Black History Month in the 17 books I have written, and as co-founder of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation.

My parents were my first writing mentors because they encouraged me to write, to think critically, to ask questions and to feel that I had the right to live fully in and impact the world. Their spirits inform everything I write.

I write to tell stories I want to read.
I write to enlarge and enhance the canon of narratives about Black life and experience.
I write to build a bridge from my heart to yours.

If you are looking for a book to read this Black History Month, I have written 17 books and somewhere in that mix I am sure there is a book for you.

I also recommend these three great reads for Black History Month:

Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin
A Particular Kind of Black Man by Tope Folarin
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn”

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The Mailing is punctuated by images of Golden’s books of which I’ve read and blogged two in the Blogger on Books series right here on the blog: After (which is still quite topical as it deals with the fallout of a police involved shooting) and Gumbo (which is amazing as it collects so many different voices and is co-edited by the late great E. Lynn Harris – check out one of his books as well).

gumbo_book

Check her out.

I, of course, hope you’ll check out my books as well… which from colourism to development/land use issues to putting a dark skinned black girl at the centre of her own fairytale…touch on being Black in my Caribbean.

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Cover_FRONT_Finalwith-grace-cover

There are numerous other book rec lists on this site plus the reading room and gallery and our listings of Antiguan and Barbudan and Caribbean books via our bibliographies – use the search to the right to find them.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Reading Room and Gallery 25

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 25th one which means there are 24 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. – JCH

MISC.
– re storytelling lessons from the screenplay.

ON BEING A WRITER

“A lot has to happen from the time you finish your book until it is published. ” – from 10 Things I learned as a New Author by Phyllis Piano

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“If I had been deterred or demoralized by the initial rejections, if I had given up then, the manuscript would still be sitting in some drawer.” – Leonard Chang

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‘Thick Skin. I wish you the covering of the cascadura, since you must endure many disappointments and discouragements. Rejection slips are never welcome, and, unless you are very lucky, you will get many of these. Harder, though, may be the tossing-aside of people who dismiss your work, or folks, some of whom you may count as supporters or friends, who pigeonhole you. “A genre writer! Good at fantasy!” “Not bad at children’s stories.” “Good at travel writing — not much else.”’ – Pamela Mordecai

INTERVIEWS

“Most poems begin for me with the very basic, almost physical need to write. Then comes the process of finding the right words, finding images that are both unexpected and easy to relate to. I write, then roll the words around in my mouth a bit, make sure that the texture is right. Read, edit, re-read and repeat!” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune. The post includes three of her poems.

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“This was one of the things I learned about creativity. You have to let go of self-consciousness. When I started thinking about this book, I knew that if I felt self-conscious while writing, it would probably come out bit by bit and it would not be as honest.” – Amy Tan

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“We were just in an atmosphere …that said it was okay to write…there was no separation for me from the West Indian street outside and the work that I was reading, sometimes even in French….I would say that it’s the duty of any parent to check out the talent of the child and to make sure that that talent is not smothered, that you don’t divert that child’s ambition, especially in terms of a writer; we would have more writers if we didn’t have a system that said you have to be a doctor or engineer.” – Derek Walcott in conversation with CBC Radio

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“When you’re creating, it’s not always automatic. Many days in the studios were just days of talking and listening to music that had nothing to do with our music. Sometimes she’d say she wasn’t coming in. We treated it much more as a creative thing than an emotional process, but we knew there was a lot of emotion involved. Literally she’d sometimes say that she just was not coming in, so we’d create new tracks or tweak something or comp a vocal. We always had things to do even when she didn’t come in and we’d pick up where we left off.” – Jimmy Jam (producer) discusses the making of Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“Drop the hints. Don’t point out the clues.” – Janice Hardy on Telegraphing

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“My advice to aspiring writers is the short story is a fantastic form to commit yourself to, but don’t to put all your eggs in the competition basket. Subscribe to your local literary journals, read them, submit your own stories: when accepted, add a line to your literary curriculum vitae; when rejected, take another look at the story and see if there’s anything you want to change before submitting it elsewhere.” – Confessions of a Prize Winner by New Zealand writer Craig Cliff, at Commonwealth Writers

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“Foreshadowing can be a little confusing. It’s a single word used to describe a narrative technique that can be used for two different purposes. Probably there should be two different words—one for each purpose—but there isn’t. So to make this discussion a bit clearer, I’m going to borrow a word from film studies: planting (as in: planting and payoff).” – Don Allmon

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“To me, structure always comes about as a result of trying to answer the issue of point of view.” – Christopher Nolan discussing Dunkirk

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“I decide to dissect myself” – Sheena Rose

POETRY

“What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?” – from Harlem by Langston Hughes

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“I am the great mother boa
turning the soft egg of the world
beneath my ribs. I will tear myself in two
and heal before morning.” – Danielle Boodoo Fortune

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“I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with Allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to Europe
to cool my thirst.
My oldest daughter is Nefferttiti
the tears from my birth pains created the Nile
I am a beautiful woman” – Ego Trippin by Nikki Giovanni

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“The night she tried to beat me, I slept on the veranda
of the shop in the square. At dawn, a man hauled
me home. She dragged me to school, whipped me
with the principal’s cane.” – Wounds by Juleus Ghunta

FICTION

“Hyacinth Ike wanted to kill himself because he had lived a fulfilled, successful life and couldn’t think of anything else he was loitering in the world for.” – By Way of a Life Plot by Kelechi Njoku

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-excerpt from The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden
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“God thought of ways to punish the woman for what she had done, without immediately killing her.” – from The Day After by Stephen Greenblatt in The Paris Review

NON-FICTION

“I remember a Haitian radio show I was on years ago, after my first book was published. This woman called in to say, ‘That’s all fine and good, but you better get your nursing degree.’” – Edwidge Dandicat

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‘It doesn’t matter what pisses you off, she says, as long as you pay attention to that feeling. “Writing against” is a good compass “until you know what you’re writing for,” she said.’ – Katherine Boo’s 15 Rules for Narrative Non Fiction

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“Most of us are not compelled to linger with the knowledge of our aloneness, for it is a knowledge that can paralyze all action in this world.” – The Creative Process by James Baldwin

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Sojourner Truth’s Ain’t I a Woman speech is a powerful piece of speechmaking (note the use of tone and rhetoric in the words and in this Cicely Tyson interpretation of them).

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“You stay because it’s your home, you have to stay and take care of it.” – Luis by Jo-Anne Mason

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, With Grace, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Do not re-use content without permission and credit. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, 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 Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery