Tag Archives: poet

Mailbox – Goodison is Jamaica’s First Female Poet Laureate


‘”I try as best as I can to be a true representation of the life of my people, the ordinary Jamaican,” said a spirited Lorna Goodison, CD, Poet Laureate of Jamaica for 2017-2020.

In a ceremony held at King’s House on Wednesday, Goodison, 69, was invested by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen as the second officially recognised Poet Laureate of Jamaica, the fourth since 1953 and the very first female holder.

A national honour, the title is bestowed on a distinguished Jamaican poet for his/her significant contribution to the literary community.

A Poet Laureate is expected to stimulate a greater appreciation for Jamaican poetry, write poems for national occasions, and preserve and disseminate the island’s cultural heritage through prose.

“I am inspired by our (Jamaican) dialect, our resilience, and just the way we value our humanity regardless of the negatives that are happening all around. Poets are supposed to give voice to the voiceless and a lot of my works reflect this,” the St Hugh’s High alumna told The Gleaner.’ READ MORE.

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Publishing an EBook

Today, I welcome a guest blogger on a subject the mechanics of which I am still trying to wrap my mind around – epublishing. Thank God my publisher deals with that (certainly in the case of Oh Gad! which is available as a trade paperback, mass market paperback, and ebook. I hope to get there with the earlier books at some point). But Kimolisa is practically an expert at it by this stage. I asked her to share some tips with the blog’s readers, and here it is (all bolds are mine). Welcome, Kim, and congratulations on the release of She Wanted a Love Poem.

by Kimolisa Mings


I never really believed in myself or my work. To be honest, I never thought of my poetry as my work; it was something I did, I wrote poems. Although I have been writing poetry for over 20 years, it is within the last ten that I’ve shared my work. Be it through spoken word at local open mics or through my blog, Kim or Lisa.


It was because I never believed in my work that I never thought about being published in Literary Journals or even having a book of my poetry published.

It was by chance that I was looking through a person’s website that I noticed that they had a book available for purchase. I clicked on the link and it brought me to their eBook page in Smashwords. Looking through the Smashwords website, I recognized the possibility of producing an eBook that could be sold through different online stores.

No, I didn’t believe in my work enough to go through the process of approaching publishing houses to have my book published, but I could put in the hours to produce an eBook and put it up for sale. Unfortunately, it took me another two years before I published my first eBook, Martine, and another two years before I published my second, She Wanted A Love Poem.

The truth is it doesn’t really take two years to publish an eBook. In fact, it is up to you on how quickly you take your book from manuscript to eBook. It all depends on the amount of time you dedicate to getting the following done,

  1. Write – Don’t worry about perfect grammar, spelling or even if the plot makes sense, just get the story out of your head and down on paper or on your computer.
  2. Edit – First go over your draft and clean up the obvious errors and trust me there will be errors. You have a choice of letting the draft sit a while before you look at it again or you send it off to an editor, proofreader or beta readers. It is advised to get an editor like Joanne because they are viewing the draft with new eyes and they will see errors and discrepancies that you would not have noticed. Be patient, take what they say on board, and remember that the first draft is like a block of marble and between you and your editor, you will create a David.
  3. Choose Distribution Channels – Depending on what platform you are publishing your eBook, you will have to format your eBook to their specifications. There are many platforms to choose, from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing to Apple’s iBooks to Barnes & Nobles’ Nook to Smashwords. Personally, I chose Smashwords because it distributes to other online eBook sellers including Nook and iBooks and I chose Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) because Smashwords does not distribute to Amazon.
  4. Format – Depending on your platform of choice, you would format accordingly. Each channel will have its own formatting guide lines. For Smashwords, there is a free Style Guide found here, if you follow the guide to the letter, it will guarantee you distribution to the other online stores. When it comes to formatting for Amazon’s KDP, I have not found one specific style guide, but through Google, you can find websites, PDF’s and eBooks on how to format for Kindle.
  5. Cover Art – Once again follow the instructions of the Style guides, but keep in mind that the cover art should look attractive when viewed as a thumbnail. No matter how much we would like to deny it, we do judge a book by its cover. Your artwork should be clean and convey your story without giving it away. Your Title and your name should be clear and readable when viewed as a thumbnail, no fancy font. With eBooks, you will be submitting a Jpeg file, ensure it is the right size in accordance with the platform’s specifications.
  6. Upload – The websites will take you through the process of uploading your content and your cover art. It will take from a few hours to a couple of days before the eBook will be available for purchase as it will be vetted electronically and/or by a person. In some cases, you will have to make some changes to your content or your cover art.
  7. Review your eBook – With Smashwords, you will be able to download your eBook to see how it looks in the different formats. With Amazon’s KDP, you can view your eBook using the online Kindle reader and you can view it in the various versions of the Kindle. In both cases you can always go back and change the font size or change misspellings and the like and upload again.
  8. Price your eBook – This is one of the steps in the uploading process. In Smashwords, you can set the price to free. Unfortunately, the lowest price you can set in Amazon’s KDP is $0.99. This will eventually become free when Amazon sees the book is available elsewhere for free. You can visit either platform to see how much royalty you receive from the sale of the book, this can vary from 35% to 70%.
  9. Market your eBook – Let everyone and their mother know you have an eBook. There are many ways to let the world know about your masterpiece, be it through your social media network, sending out press releases, doing guest posts on other blogs. Google is your friend when it comes to searching for ways to promote your book. Keep in mind, it is a marathon, not a sprint and it may take years before people come across your book. Some say the best way to market your book is to write another book. The more books you have out there the more likely someone will come across one and be interested enough to read more of your work.

Now that you see how easy or how hard it is to publish an eBook, you should consider the pros and the cons of self publishing eBooks to see if it is the right fit for you.

The pros of self publishing an eBook include

– getting your book out there to readers;

– it is relatively easy to publish;

– you can build a readership;

– you choose what the final product looks like.

– you can make changes relatively quickly

The cons of self publishing an eBook include,

– you having to do most of the work, writing, editing or finding an editor, doing the cover art or finding some one do the the cover art, formatting or finding someone to format the book, publishing;

– because of the ease to entry, the marketplace is crowded and you have to work extra hard to be noticed;

– you might not see any or much money in the first year;

– you might get bad reviews

As eReaders and tablets with eReader capabilities become part of our day to day lives, I plan to keep publishing eBooks. This time around I won’t wait two years between publishing the ebooks. It’s my aim to publish three ebooks a year, some will be stories and some will be collections of poems. There is a lot of support and information online from KBoards, a forum for Kindle to podcasts like Rocking Self Publishing and The Creative Penn and as I mentioned Google is a friend when it comes to specific information.

Is self publishing for everyone? No, but if you are willing to put in the long hours and the hard work, if you are determined to share your work with the world and if you really want to make a living from your work, anything is possible. You just have to believe.

Kimolisa Mings with Brooklyn poet laureate Tina Chang.

Kimolisa Mings with Brooklyn poet laureate Tina Chang.

Thanks, Kim. Like she said, to each his path; choose what’s right for you. Likely you’ll discover even more pros and cons than those listed here, and quite a bit of overlap as well as technology continues to transform the publishing industry. Some other publishing articles of interest on the site can be found here. For what it’s worth, self-published or traditionally published that demon of not being good enough is one a lot of writers wrestle with. If you want to go for opportunities in publishing, feel the fear and do it anyway. It takes some kind of daring to put your work out there, by whatever means.

As with all content (words, images, other) 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,  Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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The shortlist of seven works for the 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize, the world’s biggest literary prize for young writers, was announced in the poet’s home town of Swansea – in his centenary year – on the evening of Thursday 4 September.

Dylan Thomas Prize logoThis year’s shortlist includes poetry, prose and drama, and is extremely international, with writers drawing on a rich mix of background influences: Wales, England, Ireland, Jamaica, the United States, Russia and New Zealand.  It was announced by musician and radio presenter Cerys Matthews, one of the judges for the Prize.

The £30,000 Prize, sponsored by Swansea University, is awarded to the best published or produced literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence across all genres and is open to novels, short stories, poetry and drama.

The 2014 shortlist is:

•    Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (Granta)
•    Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
•    Eimear McBride, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Faber & Faber)
•    Kseniya Melnik, Snow in May (Fourth Estate)
•    Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (Carcanet Press)
•    Owen Sheers, Mametz (National Theatre Wales)
•    Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway (Picador)


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Poetry Night with Tina Chang

This just came in the mail..


The U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean has invited Brooklyn, New York’s Poet Laureate, Tina Chang, to host a series of public poetry readings in Antigua, Barbados, and St. Vincent and Grenadines on September 25, 26, and 27 respectively.  This program will showcase the diversity and modernity of American literature, as well as allow Ms. Chang to share her opinions on poetry’s relevance and insight on her creative process.

Please see attached flyer for the date and time she will be in Antigua, we would be happy if you join us at this free cultural event.

Feel free to pass along this flyer to your friends, family and contacts.


Tina-Chang Antigua

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Unheard by Rilys Adams

[2006 – Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize First Runner Up]

The blows are forceful with intent to hurt. You desperately want to cower into a corner, and raise your arms to block the blows. But by now you know, you are no match for him, resistance causes more pain. So you stand erect, wincing ever slightly when he hits a part of your body already bruised. You want to cry, to scream, to run and to beg for mercy but you refuse to. He can break your body but not your soul.

He hurls angry words at you, calling you depraved names. Telling you that he could do much better. But couldn’t you? Who is he to talk in this manner? Does he have a job? He is a sperm donor, not a father. Never! What of the money for which you toil so hard, day in…day out? Alcohol; all of it, save the little you manage to hide away for necessities. Food. So really, who is the worthless one? He can break your body but not your self-worth.

He cares for none but himself. Your negative attributes, which he has taken care to point out, disappear suddenly when he is ready to claim his marital rights. To resist would be more blows, more pain. So you lie passively, as he takes what is his. He can break your body but not you.

But still you can’t find the motivation to leave him. Bound by the band of gold, the band he refuses to wear. You think of the excuses almost as soon as the blows stop. The children. You cannot suffer them to grow up in a broken home. It is so easy to forget, that when his reign of terror begins…your daughters cower together, crying. Wondering why it won’t stop. Night after night the shouting, the tears, the fearful look in your eyes as you tell them to stay away. You argue with yourself, who will protect you from his rage if you decide to leave. The laws? What laws? You’d be better off calling Barnes to arrange a pick up time for your battered body. He has broken your body and caused you to fear.

The turning point came as quickly as lightning could ever strike. As bright and clear as any vision Daniel had ever seen. He towers over you, attempting to strike when your oldest child runs towards him. “Daddy,” she yells, “stop it. She’s sorry…”

At six, she cannot fully understand that her father is no less monstrous than a beast. You try to call out to her, but his anger has already turned from you … to your child. Your precious child. He hits her once, and by then you are on your feet. Moving towards him, feeling a new emotion. Not like the disgust you’ve had for him before. Rage. Pure rage. A woman’s life is her child. You shock him with your anger, as you scream at him, hurling blows that he barely feels. He looks at you for one moment. His unadulterated rage is now focussed on you, as he backs you into a corner. Your daughter runs out of the house screaming, crying, “Daddy killing Mommy.”

He hits you, kicks you but you refuse to scream, your courage cannot be broken. Your daughter still screams as he slams you against the wall…the world slowly goes black.

You awaken shivering. It was only a dream, a nightmare. You move closer to your husband, a nightmare that will never be reality.


The blows are forceful with intent to hurt. She desperately wants to cower into a corner…


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