Tag Archives: poetry

Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late August 2020)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back.

Readings

Carnival Hangover, a short story by Joanne C. Hillhouse, was excerpted as part of advocacy group Intersect (intersect.anu) ‘Carnival Bodies’ instagram series. This and other excerpted stories will be published on the Intersect website when it goes live in September/October 2020.

Events

Caribbean authors Curdella Forbes, Lauren Francis-Sharma, Marlon James, Claudia Rankine, and likely others I’m missing (with apologies for any omissions) are included in the line-up of the September 28th to October 5th 2020 Brooklyn Book Festival. It will be as virtual as everything this year of pandemics and protests 2020. Catch all the action here.

Books

Darlene Beazer-Parker’s Summertime Fun, published in 2020, has been added to our lists of Antiguan and Barbudan Writings and Antigua and Barbuda Children’s Literature. Partial summary: “Darlene Beazer-Parker celebrates the island home where she grew up in this children’s book filled with beautiful photographs. The story starts with a bright blazing sun and children running down to swim in the Codrington lagoon to cool off. There, they are free to play all day. Some children learn how to swim while others watch quietly in the shade. Jumping from a wharf or the side of a boat, the children become fast friends. Swimming styles may differ, but they all celebrate being together in such a beautiful place. At the end of the day, the children plant mangrove seedlings to preserve their lagoon for future children. They go home wishing summer will never end. Join the author as she looks back on an idyllic summer in Barbuda where anything seems possible.”

Earlier this summer, Caribbean Reads Publishing announced the publication of The Fight for Belle Vue and The Field of Power by St. Lucian Travis Weekes. Per a Caribbean Reads release, “Family feuds, forbidden romance, political corruption, colonialism, racism, and magic are some of the themes packed into these plays. The plays are set in St. Lucia and reflect the cultural landscape of the Caribbean.” Funding for the project was provided by the UWI St. Augustine Campus Research and Publication Fund Committee. Copies available in Trinidad as of August 2020 and the book is available in kindle and paperback at various outlets across the Caribbean and beyond.

Bocas 

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Jhohadli

Over at my personal author blog, the two regularly updated series are Blogger on Books and CREATIVE SPACE. Be sure to check them out. I’m still talking about To Shoot Hard Labour but turning fresh soil.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, 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/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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CARIB Lit Plus (early-ish June 2020)

Recommendations

Have you been listening to #40NightsoftheVoice at the Kamau Brathwaite Remix Engine on YouTube? Well, you should be as writers from across the Caribbean read the works of the late Barbadian poet. Brathwaite was held in great and popular esteem as one of the foundations of the Caribbean literary canon and a transformative figure with respect to the embrace of Caribbean creole as a means of artistic expression and experimentation within the language. Many see him as a mentor whether directly or through his written works, who encouraged and inspired new voices. The writers reading his work in the, at this writing, ongoing video series include Jamaicans Kwame Dawes and Opal Palmer Adisa, St. Lucia’s Vladimir Lucien and John Robert Lee, the BVI’s Richard Georges, Barbados-based Yvonne Weekes, an entire who’s who of the Caribbean canon (Pamela Mordecai to Merle Collins to Olive Senior), including Canadian of Antiguan descent Tanya Evanson. Go here for the readings.

Awards

Brian S. Heap of Jamaica is the Caribbean winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020. His story ‘Mafootoo’ has “been in the back of my head for almost five years, but this competition finally provided me with the opportunity, motivation and all important deadline to complete the work.” Heap is “the retired Senior Lecturer, Staff Tutor in Drama and Head of the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. He has worked in Drama and Education in Jamaica for over forty years. With Pamela Bowell he co-authored Planning Process Drama: Enriching Teaching and Learning (2001, 2013) and Putting Process Drama into Action (2017) as well as several conference papers and articles for refereed journals. He served as Conference Director and Convener of the Fifth International Drama in Education Research Institute (2006) in Kingston, Jamaica. He was honoured with the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in 2002.” Other regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize of 2020 are Innocent Chizaram Ilo (Africa), Kritika Pandey (Asia), Reyah Martin (Canada and Europe), and Andrea McLeod (Australia). More here.

Art of the Moment

You may have noted that there are protests beginning in but not limited to America, sparked by a recent spate, part of a long tradition, of killings (and general oppression) of African-Americans by police. It has opened a wound perhaps some thought had scabbed over. These protests and the conversations the protests have sparked are not limited to America because anti-Blackness (including internalized or intra-community anti-Blackness) is not limited to America. There have been a number of what I’m calling #CaribbeanConversations (as I share them to my facebook page) in postings by the likes of Jamaicans Kei Miller and Trinidadian Shivanee Ramlochan and others reflecting on race in our region. And here in Antigua and Barbuda, these are recent art works that I am aware of in response to the moment.  DotkidChavy has given permission for re-posting of the image below, originally posted to his public facebook gallery, with the caption, “I’m tired. We are tired. Our demand is simple. #BlackLivesMatter”:

Another work of art, a poem, ‘Stepping on the Black Man’s Neck’ by Dotsie Isaac Gellizeau, published in the Daily Observer, is excerpted below:

“As we stretch our necks across the water/to the protests and murder in Minnesota/where is the outrage for all the necks that get stepped on in Antigua? …A British prisoner is housed in contrast conditions/to the black man’s daughters and local sons/who crap in buckets and old slop pails/who grow old and die in this overcrowded jail/A black prisoner walked in to a baton of blows/Cut-up he face and bruck-up he nose/but he can’t get no treatment./Meanwhile, Umberto Schenato got a quiet release/Now up by Fiennes receiving treatment. Please./Somebody had determined that as long as this Italian murderer is alive/he won’t spend another minute up at 1735/THAT, is kneeling on the black man’s neck….Bruce Jungle Greenaway belonged to somebody./He nah drop from hollow tree./He has children and a family./When the air left his lungs and his body could take no more/They dumped him at the altar of the shore/Waiting for the waves to wash away their sins/After they strangled him./And we wait./Every crime in this country is under investigation….Black man mek noise get kick inna he neck. Racism is alive and well in Antigua and Barbuda./So when we looking across the pond at Minnesota/REMEMBER/that plenty black man kneeling on black man neck inna dis country yah.”

Finally, this poem by me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), shared on my public facebook page, on June 3rd 2020, part of that morning’s writing exercise. It’s called ‘Sounds of Blackness’ (mostly because I wrote it during my musical meditation while listening to Sounds of Blackness):

“Not often enough but
Every now and again
The men in blue (and grey and black)
Are caught flat footed in their heavy boots
By the inconvenient realization
That the non-person discarded
Like old garbage
Hab smadee
That maybe they walk around the world in
Soot, caked on like unbelonging
And Maybe their mind is ‘modie’
But erasing them will take
Effort
Ka dem hab smadee
And somebody will say
Long time me na see so and so
Wey he?
He may be of no fixed address
(or other stories you spin)
But he know where to find his people
When he need them
And they make sure to check up on him
Where he roaming
And when dem na see he
Dem will ask smadee
And when dem see you ah abuse he
They will bear witness
With their eye-phones
And they will raise their voices
And other eyes will turn to the scene
And when that happens (if there’s to be any justice)
You will find a community of people
Turning eyes of inquiry in your direction
And your systems may protect you
This time
Or maybe this time you will be brought to account
And if there is justice in the world
(and we can’t often count on it)
You will sit in the realization
Within the walls built for people like him
That it is the man
Without feeling for his people
Who is the non-person”

COVID-19 News 

The country’s opening up and so is the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre which has relaxed its no visitor policy while keeping some restrictions in place. This is an arts site but we share this type of information because we need our community to act responsibly and to be safe. So, per an MSJMC release, all visitors (18 or older only with careful consideration given to anyone 65 and older) must wear a cloth face covering or mask (which, our edit, you should be wearing in public places anyway). Our space here doesn’t allow for a breakdown of visiting hours, which varies by department; so we’ll just say, call to check on the visiting hours – which are very tight and limited – and/or check their social media. Generally speaking, no more than 2 visitors per day, one  at a time bedside. Do not visit if you’re having any COVID-19 symptoms (in fact, our edit, call the hotline and/or your doctor for testing if you think that might be the case). You’ll be required to wash your hands with soap and water and/or apply hand sanitizer when entering and leaving patient rooms. Visitors will be required to stay in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit. Pray and take care; this is not over yet.

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 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on 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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Lead me lord

by Lehana Simon, 23

Lead me lord I will follow
but not through the bushes and on the roads with crack.
Not through the alleys, 1735, nor the rastaman shack.
Perhaps through the green pastures,
and around the church room?
maybe somewhere real far, like Freetown?
Then again, it’s too soon.

Lead me lord I will go,
but I need to know in advance
because my schedule’s already planned.
These new church shoes can’t be walking on dirt, or in potholes.
Suppose I mash two ants?
I’d destroy their home!
But don’t worry I will go.
Actually, something came up,
how about tomorrow ?

You have called me
at a time that’s extremely inconvenient.
And you have a son that you could’ve sent
‘cause it’s quite obvious that your daughter is busy –
name talking and of course deep sin diving.
The person you’ve called is unavailable,
so please, leave a message after the tone.
As a matter of fact, put down the phone.

I will answer.
As long as you call back later.
And I’ll try my best not to let you speak to the operator
And I’ll try my best not to rush you
But you already know that sermons can’t finish minutes to two.

Lead me lord
Down this path.
This one that doesn’t have any bumps or too many curves,
This one right here that’s paved out already,
the one without the word.

I will go

If I don’t go lord, then who?
Am I to walk the long bitter road in this old tattered shoe?
Cause im empty and im tired
And I’m trying to endure and wait for you.
I’m trying to endure and wait for you.

But Lord, I cant talk like them, walk them, or dress like them of old.
I’m not a product of USC, so cant you see I’m not one you got to mold?
So are you going to leave me here in Tarshish?
To endure all the mess that i’ve built?
Are you gonna leave me here to eat with pigs?
Are you gonna leave me here because of that one small fib?
Can’t you see that I stutter in my sins?
And every last one keeps reoccurring again
And every last one keeps reoccurring again.
And I’m just trying endure and wait for you
But could I endure and wait for you?

ABOUT the poem: “The poem was written with the average Christian, or more specifically SDA Christian in mind. Often times persons may profess to be willing and able to fulfill the great commission – to preach and teach about Jesus, but when the time comes, an array of things get in the way – pride, jealousy, or even other responsibilities and commitments. I wrote the poem to remind myself, and other Christians that there is no such thing as the ‘perfect time to share the gospel’ or behave in a christian manner. Rather, every opportunity should be maximized if we are to truly be disciples.” The poem was second placed in the 18 to 35 age category of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize 2020 Challenge.

Lehana

ABOUT the author: Lehana Simon is a 23 year old daughter of the soil. Like many others before her, writing became an avenue for self expression and reflection. Her poems largely revolve around the complexities of being a Gen-Z female Christian, though she would take inspiration from other themes of life. Her goal is to create pieces that reflect the reality around her, and that would resonate with people everywhere.

ABOUT prizes won:

Prizes – Patrons:

EC$250 – Dr. Hazra Medica; Bath and Body gift package – Juneth Webson (businesswoman and writer – Milo’s First Winter)

Each winner is also set to receive a certificate, a selection of books from The Best of Books Bookstore and cultural items from the Cultural Development Division – Antigua and Barbuda.

For the full breakdown of ‘who won what’, if not linked (yet), use the site’s search feature.

ABOUT Wadadli Pen: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 16 years later. It is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, encouraging  writers (and visual artists) in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to create a piece on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. In 2020, there was also an Imagine a Future climate change challenge. To support the work of Wadadli Pen, contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

Please respect the author’s copyright. If you share, excerpt, credit, and link back; do not republish without permission nor without crediting.

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The Sun Parrots Are Late This Year

by Ian McDonald

The great forests of the world are burning down;
far away in Amazon they burn,
far beyond our eyes the trees are cut
and cleared and heaped and fired.
Ashes fill the rivers for miles and miles;
the rivers are stained with the blood of mighty trees.
Great rivers are brothers of great forests
and immense clouds shadowing the rose-lit waters
are cousins of this tribe of the earth-gods.
Under the ancient watch of the stars
all should be secure and beautiful forever,
dwarfing man, generation after generation after generation,
inspiring man, feeding him with dreams and strength.
But over there it is not so; man is giant
and the forest dwindles; it will soon be nothing –
shrubs sprouting untidily in scorched black earth.
The sun will burn the earth, before now shadowed
for a hundred thousand years, dark and dripping,
hiding jewelled insects and thick-veined plants,
blue-black orchids with white hearts, red macaws,
the green lace of ferns, gold butterflies, opal snakes.
Everything shrivels and dust begins to blow;
it is as if acid was poured on the silken land.

It is far from here now, but it is coming nearer.
Those who love forests also are cut down.
This month, this year, we may not suffer;
the brutal way things are, it will come.
Already the cloud patterns are different each year.
The winds blow from new directions,
the rain comes earlier, beats down harder,
or it is dry when the pastures thirst.
In this dark, overarching Essequibo forest,
I walk near the shining river on the green paths
cool and green as melons laid in running streams.

I cannot imagine all the forests going down,
the great black hogs not snouting for the pulp of fruit,
all this beauty and power and shining life gone.
But in far, once emerald, Amazon the forest dies
by fire, fiercer than bright axes.
The roar of the wind in trees is sweet,
reassuring; the heavens stretch far and bright
above the loneliness of mist-shrouded forest trails,
and there is such a feel of softness in the evening air.
Can it be that all of this will go, leaving the clean-boned land?
I wonder if my children’s children, come this way,
will see the great forest spread green and tall and far
as it spreads now far and green for me.
Is it my imagination that the days are furnace-hot,
the sun-parrots late or not come at all this year?

 

***

Ian McDonald is a Guyanese poet and writer of fiction (such as Caribbean classic The Hummingbird Tree) with Antiguan roots. This timely and urgent poem is reprinted here with his permission.

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A & B Arts Round up – August 9th 2019 —>

December 14th 2019 – also Wesley.jpg

By the end of Summer – Cushion Club Summer Reading Challenge 2019

Before the end of August 2019 – Do you want another Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project before the end of summer? If so, email jhohadli@gmail.com for a registration form – nothing confirmed; assessing interest.

August 31st 2019 –

August 21st 2019 – @ the Best of Books bookstore – email bestofbooks@yahoo.com for more information at best of books.png

August 17th 2019 – 59775614_329036067810776_4410562896208068608_n

August 17th – 18th 2019 – Pineapple Mango Festival – quick search didn’t turn up any specific details but I believe it’s being held at the Pineapple farm at Cades Bay. Will update if more or corrective information comes to hand.

August 15th – 16th 2019 – The 14th Annual Conference and Distinguished Lecture – After the Ecological and Political Storms: Whither Barbuda’s Development? – contact paget_henry@brown.edu or janetlofgren@gmail.com

August 13th 2019 – 67543874_10102401753942904_8346986627280666624_n

August 8th – 12th 2019 –

August 11th 2019 –

August 8th 2019 –

In progress to August 30th 2019 – 66784053_3438730469486327_1069002722725855232_n

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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Bocas Long List Announced (Now with update re the Short List)

The Bocas Short List has been Announced and (you know where you are; we at Wadadli Pen still wish to see more Antiguans and Barbudans – as far as Bocas is concerned we’ve had only one make the long list ever – and more smaller islanders – there’ve been a few – but…) Yay! Wadadli Pen fam Danielle Boodoo Fortune has made the cut. Boodoo Fortune, a Trinidad and Tobago writer and artist, you may remember was a Wadadli Pen judge in 2014 – 2015, and has contributed some of her art products as prizes as well; you’ve also seen me hype her up around here since we were on a women writers panel together in 2008, and talk about her through the years sharing interviews and her poetry and art in our Reading Room and Gallery series (as I write this I literally remember a participant in one of my Jhohadli Summer Youth Writing Project saying “wow” in that full of wonder way on reading one of her poems which I had brought to the session), and most recently celebrate her as illustrator of my book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure. She’s one of the illustrators I recommended to my publisher specifically because I thought her aesthetic was right for the project. Bottom line, I’m a Dani fan and like I said, she’s Wadadli Pen fam so we’re rooting for her debut collection Doe Songs to take the win. She’s dope; we’ve been knowing it and saying it. On the subject of Doe Songs, the Santa Barbara Independent recently complimented “the fanciful shape of her concrete poems …(and) her deft use of imagery and metaphor”. If you’ve read any of her poetry or seen her art for that matter, even if you haven’t read Doe Songs, you know what they mean. Danielle for the win! (Yes, we’re showing our hand). That said, shout out Dionne Brand and Kevin Adonis Browne, also short listed for Theory and High Mas respectively. All three writers are from Trinidad and Tobago. Bocas, administered out of Trinidad, is the only book prize of its type specific to the region (and a substantial monetary prize as well). Congrats to them on another successful year and to the judges (we know this isn’t easy work), but especially congrats to all the long and short listed writers for all the good writing and reading and for continuing to raise the bar. Here’s the full report: https://www.bocaslitfest.com/2019/04/07/the-2019-ocm-bocas-prize-shortlist

Wadadli Pen

Doe SongsRicantations

Nine books by writers from four Caribbean countries have been announced on the longlist for the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media.

Widely recognised as the leading literary award for Caribbean writers, the Prize recognises books in three genre categories — poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction — published by Caribbean authors in the preceding year.

In the poetry category, the longlist brings together three writers considered part of a new wave of talent pushing Caribbean poetry in fresh directions. Doe Songs, the debut book by Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné of Trinidad and Tobago, “investigates the personal and the political, deploying a stunning range of imagery and themes,” write the judges. “Mothers and daughters, hunters and the hunted, metal and fire meet in this dazzling constellation of archetypes that moves us to a new understanding of the Caribbean landscape.” Loretta Collins Klobah of Puerto Rico is…

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An Open Letter from August Rush concerning the Future of the Expressions Poetry in the Pub Series

This past week Linisa George posted to the Expressions Poetry in the Pub facebook group, an open mic series that has brought many new voices forth over the past seven years, that they were taking a break. The series is produced by August Rush – a professional and artistic partnership between George and Zahra Airall. But they both need a break to pursue other projects. I can relate and the best answer at such times is, I understand. Below is George’s full message (reposted here with her permission).

Linisa George pic 2

Linisa George.

Hey Expressions’ Poets, Patrons, Friends and Family,

We know many of you have been waiting with baited breath for the new season of Expressions: ‘Poetry In The Pub’ to begin. We are eternally grateful for the continued support that both performers and audiences have shared. This is why, with a heavy heart, we announce that we have decided to delay Season 8 of our open mic night. We will be embarking on personal creative projects that will prevent us from efficiently managing Poetry In The Pub over the next year.

We’ve been back and forth on the issue as we struggled with whether to bring Poetry In The Pub to a complete end or turn over the franchise to another entity. We started Expressions because we were passionate about developing and exposing the authentic and unique talents of writers, poets, spoken word artists, musicians, visual artists and other creatives that stretch across the island. After 8 years, we are still committed to that goal.

We would like to shout out Shirlette Thomas and her team at Heavenly Java 2 Go for not only providing us with a home for Expressions, but for also going above and beyond our expectations. Java 2 GO has been our home away from home, and the hospitality and support from Shirlette and her staff fuels that comfort. August Rush would also like to thank Fred and the rest of SpillingInk for providing the sound system equipment for Expressions for the past two years.

We would also like to thank EVERY performer that has stepped on stage, especially our regulars who’ve been with us from the beginning. We’ve watched so many of you step up to the mic and find your light and voices. From becoming authors of multiple publications, to gracing the stages locally and regionally, to branching off and developing your own creative initiatives, it brings us immense joy to see each of you flourish. We remain forever committed to supporting and spotlighting your amazingness. To the attentive audience members that show up every month to cheer on the artists in addition to our numerous supporters and private sponsors and donors, you form part of the development of the art and culture scene in Antigua and Barbuda. Your support is invaluable.

Expressions Poetry In The Pub will return on Tuesday 9th October, 2018. During that time our Facebook page and Twitter will remain active sharing literary news and happenings from across the island. Our Expressions: Poetry In The Pub group will remain open to all the blogger, poets, spoken words artists who want to share their work. All three pages will still be managed by us.

Although we will be on hiatus for a year, there are still many opportunities for you to get your creative fix. Please don’t forget to support the Wadadli Pen Open Mic which happens ever 2nd Saturday in the month at The Best of Books Bookstore. Do check out The Captain’s Monthly Wine-tasting & Poetry at the Captain’s Quarters Restaurant & Bar which begins on Wednesday 29th of November, where you can enjoy performances from many of our Expressionists. We are also looking forward to the 5th anniversary of Soothe happening early 2018.

Thank you all for your patience as we made the decision to take this year break. Your understanding is greatly appreciate. We will be back, better than ever, with an even greater experience for everyone.

‘Til then, continue to make loud and beautiful Expressions!!!

Linisa x Zahra
August Rush Productions Co-Founders

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The Sonnet Explained

Hey guys, how have you been? I’m taking a poetry class this semester and it’s so much fun. I’m learning a lot about the history of various forms, reading so many great pieces I never would have found myself as well as experimenting with these new mediums. I thought I’d ‘briefly’ share what I’m learning […]

via Briefly: Sonnets — maggy liu

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From the Mailbox – New VI Collection

isun_vi_fullcover

The anthology comprises poetry from 26 poets, including Eileene L. Parsons, Patricia Turnbull, Verna Penn Moll, Natalio Wheatley (Sowande Uhuru), Richard Georges, Quincy Lettsome, Traci O’Dea, Joe O’Neill, Adell Semper, Giovanni Herbert, Kamaal Lettsome, Jennie Wheatley, Beverly Donovan, Nia Douglas, Leslie Cramer, Bobbi Fawcett, Tracy A. Christopher,  Daiikiru Maximillion (Errol Percival), Lavanta ‘Artful’ Thompson, Brandon Tang, Diana Stewart- Walker, Juana France, Jaedia Smith, Kimberly M. Cordes, April Glasgow and Osario Norman.

Launched in November 2016, it is a product of House of Nehesi Publishers based in St. Martin/St. Maarten. The Where I See the Sun series also includes Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin, published in 2013 and Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in Anguilla, published in 2015.

 

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Show Me by November Child

I need you to show me, show me the little boy trapped inside the man. Show me the spring he got his first dog, the wildness when they played. Show me the summer he learned to swim, the sting of chlorine in his eyes. Show me the autumn he first rode his bike, the wind […]

via Show Me — november child

And here’s my prose fiction response to the same prompt, Empath.

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