This picks up where the previous Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (there was one, two, three, four, five , six – use the search feature to the right to dig them up if the links don’t work). As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.
“…what’s most intriguing is Dot Kid’s magnificently imaginative editorial photographs that capture the surreal and otherworldly in beautifully compelling ways.” – AfroPunk on the art of Antigua-Barbuda’s Dot Kid.
‘What he left behind suggests that he is among the great visionaries of the late-20th and early 21st centuries. The sampling at the Armory is enough to immerse us in Walter’s world. His colors are beautiful, glowing, opaque primaries, pastel yellows, reds, blues, cream, and thalo greens. His touch is careful — he knows what he’s trying to depict; surfaces are scumbled, rough, and awkward, like his mind is moving faster than the brush — his hand trying to keep up, get it all down. He also paints foggy or iridescent washes with tissue-like attention to changes of brush direction. It’s impossible when looking at his work not to sometimes think of modern artists like Cocteau, Picasso, and Kandinsky, as well as contemporary artists like Chris Ofili, Peter Doig, Chris Martin, Nicole Eisenman, even Mary Heilmann. A startlingly abstract image of geometrically divided stars within faceted, colored circles instantly suggests the visionary greatness of my all-time favorite American 20th-century painter, Marsden Hartley. Indeed, Walter gives the work a title that Hartley would have understood: “Psycho Geometries.” We see jet-black faces that recall Kerry James Marshall. There are strange Whistler-like nocturnal scenes of seasides and waves. A mystical series titled “Meditative Patterns” pictures dot-patterns of crowns, hearts, birds, spiderwebs, and petroglyphs.’ – Vulture.com in a piece entitled Antiguan Master Frank Walter is a Revelation at ADAA
“In her debut collection of poetry, Marilyn Sargeant, a contemplative and introspective writer, as well as light-hearted and playful in her verses, presents her readers with both narrative and lyrical poetry that is innocent and explorative, as well as dark and brooding—touching upon topics which have stood the test of time in their truth and importance for contemporary audiences.” – Anna Grace, B.A.H. Eng. Lit., M.Ed.
“Dolphin the Arctic seal is a playful, adorable seal who easily gets distracted and “day-dreamy.” Thanks to his wandering mind, he’s about to go on a very big adventure, and young readers will love following along to see what happens.” – The Feathered Quill reviews Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure
“Joanne Hillhouse is a powerful writer, raising questions directly and with great energy.” – Literary Hub’s 10 Female Caribbean Authors You Should Know (and Add to Your American Lit Syllabus)
“Written in Hillhouse’s strong poetic voice, With Grace spins a magic-laden story of the universal battle between good and evil. But it is far from ordinary. An involved tale, With Grace takes the reader on a series of twists and turns as Hillhouse explores the limits of human capacity for tolerance and meanness.” – read the full review by children’s book author and publisher Carol Mitchell
“Children will likely relate well to this story of getting lost while daydreaming and to the reassurance that kindly adults will look after strays. The book also gives them a chance to learn more about the work of environmentalists and Caribbean sea life.
An appealing book, all the more so for being based on real life.” – Kirkus Reviews on Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure
Re Dorbrene O’Marde’s play This World Spin One Way:
“Dorbrene O’Marde’s best written play, and probably the best play written by an Antiguan….” – Tim Hector
“…really good. Everyone should go. It was a combination of funny and sad. A must see!” – The Daily News (St. Thomas)
“…subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs… The two main characters (played by Alvin G. Edwards and Zeinab C. Sekai) created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out. They made sparks fly” – The Dominica Online Review
“(This World Spin One Way is) about very intimate human relations, disappointments – finding oneself…..it is about the choices people make in life. I am interested in the discussions after people see the play. It will make everyone reflect on their life.’ – Jean Small of the University of the West Indies School of Drama who directed the St. Thomas version
“(This World Spin One Way) is a wonderful source of entertainment that laudably raises important issues from the Caribbean perspective’. She suggests that ‘O’Marde writes to validate the unique aspects of social behaviour in the Caribbean including not only intimate relationships but also the exercise of authority.’ – Drama critic Barbara Twine Thomas
“(This World Spin One Way explores) complex relationships between men and women that permeate life in our islands. It is thought provoking….you’ll find yourself flashing-back to O’Marde’s drama in days to come.” – David Edgecombe – who produced the first version of this play and directed the second
“There were some very powerful scenes in this play….the audience ate them up. The artists’ creative juices blend in a most delightful, funny and provocative play. It will surely prompt discussions among those who were fortunate enough to see it during its short run here.” – Dorrett Phipps/Night Crawler
“While there was considerable sexual overtone in the play, I found it subtle and well-suited to the universal themes of the ups and downs of love affairs …as well as betrayal, misunderstandings and nostalgia about past relationships. The two main characters created, These two main characters … (made) sparks fly easily (and) … created plentiful tension that kept the audience hanging on to their every word, wondering how it would all turn out.” – Ti Domnik Tales commenting on the 2014 staging in Dominica where the main characters were played by Alvin G Edwards and
Zenaib C. Sekai
“Good play, well written play, well directed play, well-staged play (for the most part), good performances all around but especially so that of Dr. Alvin Edwards, not because his character was likeable, he often wasn’t, but because he so successfully made him human.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse for Wadadli Pen
“You don’t have to be a cricket fan to enjoy Curtly Ambrose’s Time to Talk.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (exclusive to Wadadli Pen)
“O’Marde’s first book after a well-established reputation as a playwright, the fictional book Send out you Hand, was weighted and slow by comparison – exposition heavy, the characters too often coming across as mouthpieces for the writer’s intellectual concerns rather than fully drawn people.
In Nobody, O’Marde invests more successfully in the characterization and humanization of his subjects, making them (Short Shirt, Short Shirt’s writers, and, in fact, calypso, more relatable, complex, and interesting) while at the same time tying them all, Short Shirt and calypso especially, in to the larger cultural and societal shift.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Dorbrene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me in the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books
“I found the last story, the most domestic of the stories, dealing with a mother’s death and its impact on her family, to be, strangely enough, the most interesting of the three. This story, Chasing Horses, love that title, is also included in the new anthology of Antiguan and Barbudan writing, So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End, edited by Althea Prince. I did wonder, what it might have sounded like from a single perspective like the story of the Governor’s wife kidnapped by the Kalinago and then exiled by her husband or the progressive Bishop trying to build a church community in a socially and racially divided island, instead of shifting from point of view to point of view. I enjoyed and empathized with the other children’s voices, yes. But, as the reader I was particularly interested in how Irene, the oldest daughter whose life was most transformed by her mother’s death, was processing the changes in her life. I felt that sticking with her perspective could have sharpened the thematic focus with respect to what it was like for girls then when it came to the intersection of family obligation and personal ambition.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse on Barbara Arrindell’s The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen
“This book is also interesting, as noted, for the insight it offers to the immigrant experience.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse’s review of Althea Romeo-Mark’s If the Dust Would Settle, originally published in the Daily Observer, archived to Wadadli Pen