Tag Archives: Mary Oliver

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

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” – Poem 133: The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

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

REPORTS

“The impact of negativity is magnified when we talk about it, no matter what we say. We breathe life into poor decisions, bad ideas, and evil people by discussing them over and over again.” – Joseph Brodsky explains Perfectly how to deal with Critics and Detractors in Your Life by James Clear

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“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

“This discovery was further evidence that Latham was ‘no angel’.” – from OBF Inc by Bernice McFadden, one of three stories read in this August 2021 edition of Selected Shorts

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“As they continue searching, notice that they look like miners with rubber gloves and torches attached to the bands on their heads – all they are missing are pickaxes. When the doctor eventually comes in, don’t be surprised that she is one of the most beautiful women you’ve ever laid eyes on. If you are overweight and have lost your vagina in your hairy under-legs, the white doctor chosen to examine you will look like a human Barbie. That is simply the luck you are born with.” – How to find Your Vagina (An Instruction Manual) by Maham Javid (story was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize)

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“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

“The next book is always the one that I’m writing about, the thing that I’m writing next.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse in conversation with Diaspora Kids Lit, which gave a five star goodreads review to her 2021 children’s book release The Jungle Outside

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“What I wish and what I’m trying to find is the space and time to finish…something.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on the Badass Black Girl vlog

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“I’ll be honest with you: I’m still figuring that out. I think that the story finds its medium in a lot of ways. And some of it is beyond my control, although some of the choices are intentional, but when I’m writing, I’m not thinking “it’s going to be this genre or that sub-genre.” I’m just trying to get the story out. I’m trying to commune with the characters and hope that they will trust me to tell their stories. And then, as the story is taking shape, then I get a sense of what it is trying to become, whether it’s trying to be a short story (because I love writing short stories as well); a novel, and if I’m willing to make that commitment to the long form; or a children’s book.” – Joanne C Hillhouse being interviewed for ACalabash

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“Yes, I’m competitive, but it’s for myself. I want to make sure I’m always reaching for greatness. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m never going to stop reaching for it.” – Black Women’s Stories Are the Hardest to Get Made: The Gina Prince-Bythewood Interview, Indie Wire

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“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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Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

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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