Tag Archives: Short Shirt

Books about Antiguan and Barbudan Writers and Artists

You can thank Frank Walter for this latest archive. Quite a bit has been written about the Antiguan and Barbudan artist, obscure in life, since he died. Usually reviews end up in the Antigua & Barbuda Works Reviewed series. But what if there’s a book dedicated to discourse about that person’s oeuvre? Well, though there have been books about other Antiguan and Barbudan writers/artists, it was a collection on Walter’s works that finally prompted me to consider taking on another archive. The R & D link shows that there are a number of them and they are a lot of work. So make suggestions but bear with me as I try to keep up with the content. This is a work in progress. JCH, blogger

Subject: The Hart Sisters (Anne and Elizabeth)

This Moira Ferguson edited book is
a collection of the writings of the Hart sisters.

Books:

The Colour Box. Written by Barbara Anne Waite. Palomar Mountain Bookworks. 2021.

About the Books:

The Colour Box – Born in the 1700s on the British island of Antigua in the Caribbean, sisters Anne and Elizabeth Hart struggle against the injustice of slavery and inequality marking their world. Their free mulatto father inherits a working sugar cane plantation and slaves. The island does not know what to make of them. The sisters’ determination to educate the slaves eventually leads them to follow a pattern of teaching school on Sunday, a practice established by a well-known educator of the times, Robert Rakes. Set in St. John’s and then the Dockyard in English Harbour, this story interweaves imagined vignettes with research about Anne and Elizabeth and actual events leading up to the 1834 Emancipation. This vibrant historical retelling reveals a color box of personalities and cultures.

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Subject: Paget Henry

Paget Henry, pictured here, 2015, at a past conference at the Enlightenment Academy is one of the chief organizers of this annual Antigua Conference.

Books:

Journeys in Caribbean Thought: The Paget Henry Reader. Edited by Jane Anna Gordon, Lewis R Gordon, Aaron Kamugisha, and Neil Roberts. Rowman & Littlefield International. Published in partnership with the Caribbean Philosophical Association. USA. 2016.

About the Books:

For the past 30 years, Paget Henry has been one of the most articulate and creative voices in Caribbean scholarship, making seminal contributions to the study of Caribbean political economy, C.L.R. James studies, critical theory, phenomenology, and Africana philosophy. In the case of Afro-Caribbean philosophy, he inaugurated a new philosophical school of inquiry. Journeys in Caribbean Thought: The Paget Henry Reader outlines the trajectory of Henry’s scholarly career, beginning and ending with his most recent work on the distinctive character of Africana and Caribbean philosophy and political and intellectual leadership in his home of Antigua and Barbuda. In between, the book returns to Henry’s early consideration of the relationship of political economy to cultural flourishing or stagnation and how both should be studied, and to the problem with which Henry began his career, of peripheral development through a focus on Caribbean political economy and democratic socialism. Henry’s canonical work in Anglo-Caribbean thought draws upon a heavily creolized canon.

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Subject: Jamaica Kincaid (nee Elaine Potter Richardson)

Jamaica Kincaid at the Virgin Islands Literary Festival, 2015.

Books:

Critical Insights: Jamaica Kincaid. ed. Mildred R. Mickle. Salem Press. 2021.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place. 2021.

Course Hero Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother. 2021.

Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl (Course Hero Study Guides). 2020.

Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy: a Novel (Course Hero Study Guides). 2020.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John (Course Hero Study Guides). 2020.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John. Gale. 2017.

A Study Guide Student Workbook for Annie John: Quick Student Workbooks. Written by John Pennington. 2017.

In Search of Annie Drew: Jamaica Kincaid’s Mother and Muse. Written by Daryl Cumber Dance. University of Virginia Press. 2016.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’ (Short Stories for Students). Gale. 2016.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘What have I been doing Lately?’. Gale. 2016.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘My Brother’. Gale. 2016.

An Analysis of Jamaica Kincaids A Small Place: Between History and Autobiography, Modernism and Postmodernism. Written by Giorgia Scribellito. 2014.

Making Homes in the West/Indies: Constructions of Subjectivity in the Writings of Michelle Cliff and Jamaica Kincaid (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory). Written by Antonia McDonald-Smythe. Routledge. 2012.

Jamaica Kincaid: Writing Memory, Writing Back to the Mother. Written by J. Brooks Bouson. SUNY Press. 2012.

BookRags Lesson Plan: Lucy. 2012.

A Character in Transition: The Theme of Reinventing One’s Self in Jamaica Kincaid’s Work Lucy. Written by Nadine Ropke. GRIN Publishing. 2011.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: Lucy. 2011.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: A Small Place. 2011.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Bibliography of Dissertations and Theses. Written by Elizabeth J. Hester. 2010.

The Mother Theme in Jamaica Kincaid’s Fiction. Written by Loretta Haas. GRIN Verlag. 2010.

Diasporization and Family Relations: the Construction of Female Identity in Nella Larson’s Quicksand and Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. Written by Renata Thiago Pontes and Maria Aparecida Salgueiro. LAP Lambert Academic Publishing. 2010.

Caribbean Genesis: Jamaica Kincaid and the Writing of New Worlds. Written by Jana Evans Braziel. SUNY Press. 2009.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Literary Companion. Written by Mary Ellen Snodgrass. McFarland. 2008.

No Motherland, No Fatherland, No Tongue – Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘A Small Place’ and the Quest for Antiguan Identity. Written by Ayla Kiran. GRIN Verlag. 2007.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid (Understanding Contemporary American Literature). Written by Justin D. Edwards. University of South Carolina Press. 2007.

Mother and Motherland in Jamaica Kincaid. Written by Sabrina Brancato. Peter Lang Publishing. 2005.

Whiteness and Trauma: The Mother-Daughter Knot in the Fiction of Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid and Toni Morrison. Written by Victoria Burraways. Palgrave Macmillan. 2004.

Jamaica Kincaid (Writers and Their Work). Written by Susheila Nasta. Liverpool University Press. 2004.

Jamaica Kincaid’s Prismatic Subjects: Making Sense of Being in the World. Written by Giovanni Covi. Mango Publishing. 2003.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers). Written by Lisa Paravasini-Gebert. Greenwood. 1999.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents (The Greenwood Press ‘Literature in Context’ Series). Written by Deborah Mistron. Greenwood. 1999.

Rewriting history: Alternative versions of the Caribbean past in Michelle Cliff, Rosario Ferr, Jamaica Kincaid, and Daniel Maximin (Austrian studies in English). Written by Barbara Edlmair. Purdue University Press. 1999.

Jamaica Kincaid (Bloom’s Modern Critical Reviews). Chelsea House Pub. 1997.

Jamaica Kincaid: Where the Land meets the Body. Written by Moira Ferguson. University of Virginia Press. 1993.

Colonialism and Gender Relations from Mary Wollstonecraft and Jamaica Kincaid: East Caribbean Connections. Written by Moira Ferguson. Columbia University Press. 1993.

About the Books:

Critical Insights: Jamaica Kincaid – This volume explores the key works of the award-winning Caribbean-American author, Jamaica Kincaid. Originally from St. Johns, Antigua, Kincaid emigrated to America to study, and has published a variety of Caribbean-centered fiction and non-fiction. She explores a number of themes in her work, including colonialism, gender, sexuality, mother-daughter relationships, and racism. Kincaid’s works include See Now Then (2013), Mr. Potter (2002), The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), and Lucy (1990). The authors in this volume discuss the complexities of some of Jamaica Kincaid’s prolific production of prose. As of 2020, Kincaid has published five novels, a collection of short stories, six nonfiction books, two children’s books, and several pieces of short fiction and nonfiction. Arguably her most famous works are Annie John: A Novel (1985) and Lucy: A Novel (1990), fiction that melds elements of autobiography; a reluctant nostalgia for her family and for the familiarity of Antigua; a critique of colonial rule by Great Britain that entrenched patriarchy into Antiguan culture; and a desire to escape the limitations imposed by British rule. These novels have elicited much scholarly discussion, and some of the essays in this book will showcase their impact on African American letters. As well, the essays in this book will also treat some of Kincaid’s nonfiction, compare her fiction and nonfiction with other authors’ works, and make available some of her interviews. The volume starts out with an introductory essay by Editor Mildred R. Mickle, followed by an essay discussion of Kincaid’s success as a writer in the 1980s written by Robert C. Evans. Finally, a biographical essay also by Mickle introduces readers to Kincaid’s early life and work. This is followed by four Critical Context essays: Jamaica Kincaid in the Constellation of Womanist Literature, by Tahirah Joyce Walker Kincaid Speaks: A Series of Interviews and Responses to Audience Questions, by Robert C. Evans The Aesthetics of Postcoloniality, Spirituality, and Diaspora: History, Geography, Memory, and Restoration in The Heart of Redness, Mama Day, Praisesong for the Widow, Beloved and “The Disturbances of the Garden,” by Tomeiko Ashford Carter Critical Essays on Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John and Lucy, 1985-2017, by Kelley Jeans Next comes the Critical Readings section of this book, which contains the following essays: The “Popular” Reception of Jamaica Kincaid’s Writings: 1996-2012, Robert C. Evans Jamaica Kincaid’s Reception in The New York Times: 1990-2013, by Robert C. Evans Comparing Jamaica Kincaid with Other Caribbean Writers, by Martin Kich Jamaica Kincaid’s Talk Stories: Their Own Traits and Their Relevance to Her Fiction, by Robert C. Evans An Outsider-Within Cross-Examines White Liberalism in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, by Kirstin Ruth Bratt Who We Are in What They Say: An Exploration of Identity in Memoir Using Jamaica Kincaid’s My Brother, by Abandon GawinWaya Shuman An Expansion of Womanist Literature in Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy and The Autobiography of My Mother, by Tahirah Joyce Walker Re-Examination of Children’s Literature: Do We Keep Histoire De Babar, or Replace It with Party: A Mystery, by Megan Pitz Kincaid’s Resistance to Labels, by Kirstin Ruth Bratt In the final section, Resources, easy-to-follow lists are provided to help guide the reader through important dates and moments in the author’s life. A selection of further reading is then provided. Each essay in Critical Insights: Jamaica Kincaid includes a list of Works Cited and detailed endnotes. Also included in this volume is a Bibliography, biographies of the Editor and Contributors, and alphabetical Index as well as Chronology of Jamaica Kincaid’s Life and Works by Jamaica Kincaid.

Course Hero Study Guide for The Autobiography of My Mother includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

Course Hero Study Guide for Girl includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

Course Hero Study Guide for Lucy: A Novel includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

Course Hero Study Guide for Annie John includes:
An infographic depicting the plot and main characters
A chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis
Key quotes
An overview, context, plot summary, characters, symbols, themes, and bio of Jamaica Kincaid

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Novels for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

A Study Guide for Annie John – The Quick Student Workbooks are designed to get students thinking critically about the text they read and providing a guided study format to facilitate in improved learning and retention.

In Search of Annie Drew offers an alternate reading of Kincaid’s work that expands our understanding of the object of such passionate love and such ferocious hatred, an ordinary woman who became an unforgettable literary figure through her talented daughter’s renderings.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl’, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Short Stories for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘What Have I Been Doing Lately’, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Short Stories for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

A Study Guide for Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘My Brother’, excerpted from Gale’s acclaimed Short Stories for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more.

An Analysis of Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place – This book critically analyses Jamaica Kincaid’s book A Small Place. It considers the biography of the author, the history of Antigua and literature by Caribbean women. It also analyses the themes of the book and it situates them in the context of Caribbean and postcolonial literature. It also analyses the Language used by Kincaid and its meaning. It is really an analysis of Kincaid’s book and of its importance for postcolonial, Caribbean and women’s studies literature. The main themes of the book are Caribbean women, history, colonialism, and postcolonialism.

Making Homes – This study focuses on the ways in which two of the most prominent Caribbean women writers residing in the United States, Michelle Cliff and Jamaica Kincaid, have made themselves at home within Caribbean poetics, even as their migration to the United States affords them participation and acceptance within its literary space.

Writing Memory – Drawing heavily on Kincaid’s many remarks on the autobiographical sources of her writings, J. Brooks Bouson investigates the ongoing construction of Kincaid’s autobiographical and political identities. She focuses attention on what many critics find so enigmatic and what lies at the heart of Kincaid’s fiction and nonfiction work: the “mother mystery.” Bouson demonstrates, through careful readings, how Kincaid uses her writing to transform her feelings of shame into pride as she wins the praise of an admiring critical establishment and an ever-growing reading public.

BookRags Lesson Plan: Lucy – The Lucy lesson plan contains a variety of teaching materials that cater to all learning styles. Inside you’ll find 30 Daily Lessons, 20 Fun Activities, 180 Multiple Choice Questions, 60 Short Essay Questions, 20 Essay Questions, Quizzes/Homework Assignments, Tests, and more.

A Character in Transition – Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject American Studies – Literature, grade: 2,0, Humboldt-University of Berlin (Amerikanistisches Institut), course: HS: Postcolonial Theory, Literature and Gender.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: Lucy – This study guide includes the following sections: Plot Summary, Chapter Summaries & Analysis, Characters, Objects/Places, Themes, Style, Quotes, and Topics for Discussion.

BookRags Summary and Study Guide: A Small Place – This study guide includes the following sections: Plot Summary, Chapter Summaries & Analysis, Characters, Objects/Places, Themes, Style, Quotes, and Topics for Discussion.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Bibliography of Dissertation and Theses – Jamaica Kincaid has been described as a writer and a gardener, and her writing reflects both of these passions. In this volume Elizabeth J. Hester provides a comprehensive listing of doctoral dissertations, and master’s and bachelor’s theses that deal primarily with the life and work of Jamaica Kincaid. The volume also includes studies that indirectly contain references to the writer. Arranged chronologically, the text lists over 155 papers (1990-2009)from students representing over 100 colleges and universities from around the world. Author and University indexes are included. Jamaica Kincaid is an America-based novelist from Ovals, Antigua. Her publications include Annie John, At the Bottom of the River, The Autobiography of My Mother, Lucy, My Brother, and A Small Place.

The Mother Theme – Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies – Literature, grade: 2, University of Education Ludwigsburg.

Diasporization – The main aim of this book is to investigate and analyze how diasporic movements and family relations exert influence on the construction of women’s identities in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy. The author’s hypothesis is that in the selected works we will find two journeys, which have both similar and distinct aspects, and begin with the main characters’ desire to escape oppression. Given these facts, the protagonists go through a period of many discoveries about themselves and the societies with which they have to deal, which unfolds into two products: the building of Lucy’s autonomous hybrid identities in her loneliness in Kincaid’s work, and the building of Helga’s hybrid identities overshadowed by religion, patriarchy, and family relations in Larsen’s work.

Caribbean Genesis – By exploring the breadth of Jamaica Kincaid’s writings, this book reveals her work’s transmutations of genre, specifically those of autobiography, biography, and history in relation to the forces of creation and destruction in the Caribbean. Jana Evans Braziel examines Kincaid’s preoccupation with genealogy, genesis, and genocide in the Caribbean; her adaptations of biblical texts for her literary oeuvre; and her authorial deployments of the diabolic as frames for both rethinking the boundaries of genre and altering notions of subjectivity, objectivity, self, and other.

Jamaica Kincaid (Writers and Their Work) – A volume in the Writers and Their Work series, which draws upon recent thinking in English studies to introduce writers and their contexts. Each volume includes biographical material, an examination of recent criticism, a bibliography and a reappraisal of a major work by the writer.

Jamaica Kincaid’s Prismatic Subjects – Nonfiction. Literary Criticism. Women’s Studies. African American Studies. Jamaica Kincaid’s polyphonic narratives, at once locational, relational and intercultural, speak lyrically to the widest constituency. They also might be said to provide the cognitive tools through which the reader makes sense of being in the contemporary world. Covi’s book proposes a fresh reading of Kincaid’s lyrical and political storytelling as a central contribution to materially-grounded feminist and postcolonial theories over the past twenty years. Covi foregrounds the relevance of Kincaid’s articulation of such a discourse and shows just how it is capable of accounting for contemporary socio-cultural complexity and of pointing the way towards a politics of collective justice.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Literary Companion – This book offers an introduction and guided overview of her characters, plots, humor, symbols, and classic themes. Designed for students, fans, librarians, and teachers, the 84 A-to-Z entries combine commentary from interviewers, feminist historians, and book critics with numerous citations from primary and secondary sources and comparative literature. The companion features a chronology of Kincaid’s life, West Indies heritage and works, and includes a character name chart.

No Motherland – Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject American Studies – Literature, grade: 2,0, University of Hamburg (Insitut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik), course: “I Could Tell You Stories” American Autobiography 1960 to the Present.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid introduces readers to the prizewinning author best known for the novels Annie John, Lucy, and The Autobiography of My Mother. Justin D. Edwards surveys Jamaica Kincaid’s life, career, and major works of fiction and nonfiction to identify and discuss her recurring interests in familial relations, Caribbean culture, and the aftermath of colonialism and exploitation. In addition to examining the haunting prose, rich detail, and personal insight that have brought Kincaid widespread praise, Edwards also identifies and analyzes the novelist’s primary thematic concerns―the flow of power and the injustices faced by people undergoing social, economic, and political change.

Mother and Motherland in Jamaica Kincaid This book introduces students to the work of the Caribbean writer Jamaica Kincaid. The author offers a close analysis of six of Kincaid’s works, reading the central theme of the love-hate relationship between mother and daughter as a metaphor for the dialectic of power and powerlessness governing nature and history. Placed in the specific context of the Caribbean in colonial times, the mother-daughter plot reads as an allegory of the conflict between the motherland and the colony. The association is played out at two levels, with the nurturing figure of childhood embodying the African-rooted Caribbean world, and the scornful mother of adolescence evoking the subjugating colonial power. Two conflicting worlds, the African and the European, meet in the duplicitous figure of the mother.

Whiteness and Trauma – This original and incisive study of the fiction of Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid, and Toni Morrison uses cutting edge cultural and literary theory to examine the ‘knotted’ mother-daughter relations that form the thematic basis of the texts examined. Using both close reading and contextualization, the analyses are focused through issues of race and contemporary theorizing of whiteness and trauma. Remarkably eloquent, scholarly and thought-provoking, this book contributes strongly to the broad fields of literary criticism, feminist theory and whiteness studies.

Jamaica Kincaid: a Critical Companion – With the publication of her novel Annie John in 1985, Jamaica Kincaid entered the ranks of the best novelists of her generation. Her three autobiographical novels, Annie John, Lucy, and Autobiography of My Mother, and collection of short stories, At the Bottom of the River, touch on the universal theme of coming-of-age and the female adolescent’s need to sever her ties to her mother. This angst is couched in the social landscape of post-colonial Antigua, a small Caribbean island whose legacy of racism affects Kincaid’s protagonists. Her fiction rewrites the history of the Caribbean from a West Indies perspective and this milieu colors the experiences of her characters. Following a biographical chapter, Paravisini-Gebert traces the development of Kincaid’s craft as a writer. Each of the novels and the collection of short stories is discussed in a separate chapter that includes sections on plot, character, theme, and an alternate critical approach from which to read the novel, such as feminist. A complete primary and secondary bibliography and lists of selected reviews of Kincaid’s work complete the study.rly and thought-provoking, this book contributes strongly to the broad fields of literary criticism, feminist theory and whiteness studies.

Understanding Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John – Since its publication in 1985, Annie John has become one of the most widely taught novels in American high schools. Part of its appeal lies in its unique setting, the island of Antigua. This interdisciplinary collection of 30 primary documents and commentary will enrich the reader’s understanding of the historical, social, and cultural contexts of the novel. Among the topics examined are slavery in the Caribbean, the various religions in the Caribbean islands, the controversy over Christopher Columbus, family life in Antigua, and emigrations from the West Indies to the United States. Sources include newspaper and magazine articles, editorials, first-person narratives and memoirs of life in the Caribbean, letters, and position papers. Most of the documents are not readily available in any other printed form. A literary analysis of Annie John examines the novel in light of its historical, social, and cultural contexts and as a coming-of-age novel. Each chapter concludes with study questions and topics for research papers and class discussion based on the documents in the chapter, and lists of further reading for examining the themes and issues raised by the novel. This casebook is valuable to students and teachers to help them understand the setting of the novel, its themes, and its young heroine.

Jamaica Kincaid (Bloom’s…) – Essays discuss the themes and techniques used by Jamaica Kincaid in her major works.

Jamaica Kincaid: Where the Land Meets the Body – Moira Ferguson examines all of Kincaid’s writing up to 1992, focusing especially on their entwinement of personal and political identity. In doing so, she draws a parallel between the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship in Kincaid’s fiction and the more political relationship of the colonizer and the colonized. Ferguson calls this effect the “doubled mother”- a conception of motherhood as both colonial and biological.

Colonialism and Gender Relations – Ferguson juxtaposes English and Dominican writers of the 18th, 19th, and 20th century, From Wollstonecraft’s linking of colonialism and women’s oppression, to contemporary women’s views of the British colonial project.

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Subject: Short Shirt (nee Mclean Emanuel)

Books:

Short Shirt doing a little impromptu performance during the 2014 launch of Dorbene O’Marde’s Nobody Go Run Me (File Photo courtesy Colin Cumberbatch)

King Short Shirt: Nobody Go Run Me: The Life and Times of Sir Mclean Emanuel. Written by Dorbrene O’Marde. Hansib. 2014.

About the Books:

This important biography of Antigua’s greatest calypsonian is also an in-depth study of the culture and socio-political history of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the wider Caribbean. The traditional ‘Caribbean song’ and its creators are treated with dignity and deep appreciation. The result is an essential and long overdue addition to the study of calypso.

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Subject: Frank Walter

Books:

Frank Walter: a Retrospective. Edited by Susanne Pfeffer, Consulting Editor Barbara Paca. Walther Konig/Cornerhouse Publications. 2020.

‘Carnival and Frank Walter’s Universe’ in Find Yourself: Carnival and Resistance. Edited by Barbara Paca. 2019.

Frank Walter: the Last Universal Man. Edited by Barbara Paca. Radius Books. 2017.

Frank Walter. Edited by Barbara Paca. Ingleby Gallery. 2013.

Screen captures of some of Frank Walter’s art.

About the Books:

An exhibition, Frank Walter: A Retrospective was the first to present the oeuvre of the native Antiguan and Barbudan Frank Walter in a museum. The exhibition was curated by Susanne Pfeffer, Anna Sailer, and consulting curator Barbara Paca. The works by John Akomfrah, Khalik Allah, Kader Attia, Marcel Broodthaers, Birgit Hein, Isaac Julien, Julia Phillips, Howardena Pindel, Rosemarie Trockel, and Kathleen, Lady Walter revolve around colonialism in the Caribbean in the past and present as well as the intellectual contexts of colonial and post-colonial thought.

from Find Yourself – Coinciding with Antigua and Barbuda’s National Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, Find Yourself is an exploration of Carnival as an act of resistance. Paying homage to the earliest uprisings in Antigua and Barbuda, art merges with intangible cultural heritage to create contemporary statements on social justice, or the lack thereof. Frank Walter’s painted and sculpted masks, and his photographic documentation of Antiguans, both in daily life and attending Carnival celebrations is presented for the first time to an international audience.

Frank Walter: the Last Universal Man – Coinciding with Antigua and Barbuda’s inaugural National Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2017, The Last Universal Man is the first comprehensive monograph of this important Caribbean artist. Carefully crafted book made in Verona. Distinguished contributors to the book include Rodney Williams, governor general of Antigua and Barbuda; international affairs professor Nina Khrushcheva; Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth; Antiguan born businessman and philanthropist Mark Moody-Stuart; neurosurgeon Caitlin Hoffman who analyzed his archive and medical condition; Marcus Nakbar Crump who interviewed Walter as a community activist; relation; and former minister of tourism and economic development Selvyn Walter; and Kenneth M. Milton who undertook the arduous task of conserving Walter’s artwork and archive.

Frank Walter – To celebrate Frank Walter’s first solo presentation at Miami Art Basel by Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery in 2013, this publication provides an introduction to Frank Walter’s life and work. The slender booklet includes numerous color reproductions of Walter’s paintings and an essay by Barbara Paca, art historian, and friend of Frank Walter who has worked closely with the Walter family and a team of experts since 2003 to protect the integrity of the artist and help to preserve his legacy.

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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Dance with Me – King Short Shirt

In a trance want to dance
First time the girl go hear a steel band
This young gyal from Switzerland came down just ot get a sun tan
In time to witness a j’ouvert morning
See thousands on the street dancing
Just standing there she listening to the beat
The girl went wild in the streets

And she shouting
Dance with me
Jumping up in the steelband
You go think she born in the islands
Dance with me
Breaking back bobbing an weaving like Muhammad Ali boxing
Dance with me
I never see such a thing yet
That morning I’ll never forget
Dance with me
I decide to join the action and accept the invitation
Jump inside ah de ban
Glass a rum in me hand
You should see we how we carry on

Creating confusion
In the heat a we 25th Carnival
She tall and slim
So she wining
Twisting up all in front a de band
People start to gather round
When she limbo low to the ground
Even the Carnival committee was amazed
J’ouvert morning she dance Scotch Row like a stage

Das macht spass*
Ich been fruch*
German, you know the girl start to sing
Ichan been duchantapshansan*
But nobody understanding
Acting like if she got rum in she brain
Friends try to drag she outa the rain
Lois and Shirley, they try to control she
But she jumping nonstop like she insane
An she bawling dance with me…

Repeat cho. ending with:

She bawling Antigua me come from

Outro:

Dance with me
Dance with me
Dance with me
Dance
If you dancing
Dance with me
Dance with me
Dance with me
Dance (x2)
Then repeat to fade
Dance with me
Dance with me
Dance with me
Dance

#This 1981 release by Antiguan and Barbudan calypso Short Shirt was possibly a collaboration with Stanley Humphreys.

*pardon my German. Correct if you can.

For more song lyrics from Antigua and Barbuda, see our song lyrics data base.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written (in this case, transcribed, as the songs writer is to be credited with its writing) 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-and its Spanish language edition Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen, my books, and my freelance writing-editing-coaching-workshop services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Please note, all lyrics are shared here for informational and educational purposes; no profit (no money at all) is being made. If you share, please credit the artistes for their work, and the site for the time and effort of transcribing.

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Most Influential Antiguans and Barbudans

This list is not scientific.

But that’s not the point. The point is….there is no point just an opportunity to acknowledge some of the people who’ve helped shape life in Antigua and Barbuda over the last hundred years or so according to … a very small group of people …with internet access … and a facebook presence … who had time today (not today) … and were aware that there was a poll being run by a random person on the internet.

Like I said, it’s not scientific.

But it was fun and educational, and culturally-relevant; all reasons I thought sufficient to bring the top 10 here to the Wadadli pen blog. My primary interest was in seeing how many of our artists made the list but it’s an opportunity for us to reflect (especially as the year winds down, and as we lose more and more) on the people who have shaped life in Antigua and Barbuda.

 So, here we go.

Top 10 Most Influential (in Antigua and Barbuda) of the last 100 years … (according to some people on facebook):

10 – tied – Elvira Bell, Christal Clashing, Samara Emmanuel, Kevinia Francis, and Junella King (i.e. Team Antigua Island Girls – first all Black, all female team to row the Atlantic), Baldwin Spencer (former Prime Minister and former leader of the Antigua-Barbuda Workers’ Union),

 

 

 

 

Jamaica Kincaid (celebrated international author of fictionalized memoirs like Annie John, Lucy, and See Now Then whose newest book is a children’s picture book based on one of her early short stories), Lester Bird (former PM and officially designated National Hero who published his autobiography The Comeback Kid in 2019), Prince Ramsey (Doctor/HIV-AIDS awareness activist, calypso writer and producer who died in 2019) – one social media commenter said of Dr. Ramsey “I think he’s the most inspiring of them all”

9 Short Shirt (most decorated Antiguan calypsonian; the Dorbrene O’Marde penned biography about him Nobody Go Run Me was longlisted for the 2015 Bocas prize)

8 –  Obstinate (undefeated calypso icon)

7 – tied –

Edris Bird (former resident tutor of the UWI Open Campus who in 2019 also became a Dame), Andy Roberts (bowler, first Antiguan and Barbudan to play for the West Indies Cricket team, knighted),

Winston Derrick (deceased host of Observer Radio’s Voice of the People and co-founder of Observer Media Group which transformed the media landscape and broadcast media especially after a legal battle for the right to broadcast that went all the way to the privy council and with its victory opened up the broadcast media door for others to enter)

6Alister Francis (late former principal of the Antigua State College, a groundbreaking tertiary institution of its time for Antigua and Barbuda and the eastern Caribbean)

5George Walter (Antigua and Barbuda’s second premier and former leader of the Antigua-Barbuda Workers Union; officially designated National Hero)

4  Nellie Robinson (late former educator, founder of the TOR Memorial school which is credited with breaking down class/social barriers in Antigua and Barbuda, and officially designated a Dame and our only female National Hero)

3 V. C. Bird (deceased; second president of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union, which is credited with boosting the voice and fortunes of Black and working class people in late colonial era Antigua and Barbuda, first Chief Minister, Premier, and Prime Minister – Father of the Nation, and first officially designated National Hero)

2  Tim Hector (late pan African political activist; media pioneer – founder of the Outlet newspaper and writer of the Fan the Flame column; fighter for press freedom through his investigative reporting, and battles in and out of court including the privy council, arrests, and alleged arson; award winning journalist;  commentator on politics, culture, sports; and political candidate)

1Viv Richards (second Antiguan drafted to the West Indies cricket team, the only Windies captain never to have lost a Test, one of Wisden’s top five cricketers of the 20th century, and officially designated National Hero)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a handful of artists made the top 10 which is always good to see. But I did wonder who were the top 10 artists in the poll overall, hence this second list. According to the same poll – but in reverse order – and highlighting only the arts side of their life – these are the top 10 artists among the Most Influential in Antigua and Barbuda of the  last 100 years or so…according to the voters in this particular social media poll:

1 –  Obstinate

2 –  Short Shirt

3 – tied – Prince Ramsey, Jamaica Kincaid

4 – tied – Swallow (who with Obsinate and Short Shirt make up the Big Three of Antiguan calypso, known especially for his road march hits), D. Gisele Isaac (writer, cultural critic, author of Considering Venus, The Sweetest Mango, No Seed), Burning Flames (iconic jam band)

5Barbara Arrindell (writer)

6Reginald Samuel (sculptor, national flag designer)

7Ralph Prince (writer)

8 – tied – Oscar Mason (musician, masquerade artist), Yvonne Maginley (musician, composer, Community Players), Dorbrene O’Marde (playwright, cultural critic and activist, calypso writer, novelist), Roland Prince (musician), Joseph ‘Calypso Joe’ Hunte (calypsonian), Marcus Christopher (calypso writer), Alister Thomas (mas designer and builder), Robin Margetson (pan composer, Panache founder – pan school and orchestra)

9 – tied – Stachel Edwards (musician), Rupert Blaize (singer), Wendel Richardson (musician, one of the founding members of Osibisa), John S. Laviscount (musician, founder of the island’s oldest band Laviscount Brass), Isalyn Richards (director of the combined schools choir), Winston Bailey (musician), Althea Prince (writer), Oliver Flax (writer, playwright), The Targets (music group), The National Choir, Shelly Tobitt (calypso writer known for many Antiguan and Barbudan top calypsos of the 70s and early 80s especially through his collaborations with Short Shirt e.g. classic albums Ghetto Vibes and Press On), Ivena (calypsonian, Antigua and Barbuda’s first and to date only female calypso monarch), Bertha Higgins (musician, involved with Antigua Artists Society, Hell’s Gate), Veronica Yearwood (Afro-Caribbean dancer and choreographer, founder of the Antigua Dance Academy), Zahra Airall (writer, award winning dramatist and playwright – Zee’s Youth Theatre, Honey Bee Theatre, Sugar Apple Theatre plus her work with Women of Antigua, poet, arts event producer – notably Expressions Open Mic, photographer), Hilda McDonald (writer)

10 – tied – Novelle Richards (writer), Conrad Roberts (actor)

*

Apologies if I’ve offended anyone or breached protocol by leaving off all honorifics; that was a choice I made to leave off all instead of forgetting some as I am likely to do (better to have you mad at me for something I chose to do than for something I didn’t mean to do). All honorifics are, however, of course, acknowledged. Also acknowledged is that the named people have done much more than captured in my mini-bites. Some books are pictured in this post but remember to check our listing of Antiguan and Barbudan literature for books on or by any of the named influential Antiguans and Barbudans – if you’re looking specifically for biographies/autobiographies, scroll through the non-fiction list. Also, if someone’s picture is not included it’s because they’re not in the Wadadli Pen photo archives and time constraints didn’t allow for scouring the internet. Hopefully, that covers it – this is just FYI and for fun and I would encourage you to continue the conversation by sharing your picks for most influential Antiguans and Barbudans of the last 100 years or so (the or so is really 20th century forward to this year – I think those were the parameters).

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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Share the Honey

Written by Fd/sung by Short Shirt

How dare you assume
I’m a prophet of doom & gloom
‘Cause I’m concerned & so I should be
Night time like jumbie haunting me
Daytime ‘A’ worry constantly
About conditions here in my country
All day we struggle just to get by
While foreigners eating most of the pie
Totally disillusioned some people have given up hope
With financial pressure it’s hard to cope
Many try to drown their sorrows with drink & dope
But not me no

chorus 1
I love Antigua
Way beyond measure
I love Antigua
Here lies my treasure
From Sea View Farm to Old Road
Belly hungry pocket dry
Black clouds of desperation
Sweeping across the sky
Foreigners alone seem to flourish
And I don’t think that is fair
If honey in this rock
Antiguans want their share

verse 2
I am not inviting prejudice nor greed
Outside investors we need
But then we owe then no special favour
Our fathers fought for this legacy
It’s our right not a privilege
To enjoy the best fruits of their labour
But this is one big rat race
Antiguans way back in second place
And may I remind them this is my island in the sun
And no outsider ‘goin’ spoil my fun
I don’t intend to pack my belongings & run
Not me no

chorus 2
I love Antigua
Way beyond measure
I love Antigua
Here lies my treasure
Can’t cater to whims and fancy
Of the foreign man
They want to buy every nook & cranny
Of this blessed land
They smellin’ of sweet success
While we catching we arse right here
If honey in this rock
Antiguans want their share

verse 3
Must be déjà-vous we’ve seen it all before
English pirates came ashore
Exploited we people and their labour
Full up ‘they’ pockets & then sail away
We bear the scars up to this day
But never again not in Antigua
Peacefully we must protest
Any unfair play must be redressed
Picket parliament if you have to
To make our feelings known
From dawn to the setting of the sun
Let our voices ring out as one

chorus 3
I love Antigua
Way beyond measure
I love Antigua
Here lies my treasure
When the best brains of the country
Have to run abroad
A social policy overhaul must be on the cards
And now to my government
My language simple & clear
If honey in this rock
Antiguans want their share

 

Lyrics submitted by the writer. For more Antigua and Barbuda song lyrics, go here.

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Heaven Help Mankind

written by Fd/performed by Short Shirt

Sittin’ on my boat drinkin’
All alone and thinkin’
A felt a sudden urge to bare my soul
In this world we live in
Damn ludicrous what’s happening
Pictures of helpless victims
Make me blood run cold
So many billions wasted on weapons
Lying in silos under our feet
While millions are dying
Sick babies crying
Homeless, hungry, nothing to eat
Voice from the bottle tellin’ me wake up son
Something must be done
The state of affairs is cause for concern

chorus 1
Something must be wrong
Why mankind hate each other
Something must be wrong
So many million years on this earth together
Something must be wrong
We find cure for all kinds a cancer
Something must be wrong
Is there no cure for greed in the heart my brother
Man like a sailing ship adrift without a sail
Destined for disaster large scale
If some practical solution we don’t hurry up and find
Heaven help mankind

verse 2
Maybe I should have a
Rap with a preacher
Who better to advise me what to do
I spoke with church leaders
And religious teachers
Only to encounter differing views
One preacher tell me
Come to church Saturday
Next preacher tell me
Sabbath day long gone
Roman Catholic say
Try a piece a bacon that’s okay
But Jewish rabbi tell me that is wrong
When A take a look at the Middle East
Where religious fanatics dictate
Big big tug of war between church and state

chorus 2
Something must be wrong
Why man can’t live together
Something must be wrong
Why man can’t trust each other
Something must be wrong
We build bridges over miles a water
Something must be wrong
Where is that bridge to love and peace my brother
Men like Sadaam and mad man Gadafi
Disciples of Hitler left here to haunt we
If the key to trigger nuclear weapons they should find
Heaven help mankind

verse 3
How about the children
Tomorrow’s men and women
Who will provide the guidance they’ll need
Some parents couldn’t care less
And teachers are hard-pressed
Our children’s future looks bleak indeed
And while we vegetate
While we sit and wait
This world is sinkin’ deeper in the mud
Governments won’t take a stand
So radicals take the chance
To go on spillin’ innocent blood
We gotta find that special leader
Dunno where dunno how
Oh Moses where are you now

chorus 3
Something must be wrong
So wrong.. so wrong
Something must be wrong
Everyday we seein’ the sign
Something must be wrong
So wrong.. so so wrong
Something must be wrong
Terribly wrong with mankind
Father clock tickin’ away we near the end of the road
This world sittin’ on a time bomb ready to explode
If we don’t seek intervention of power divine
Heaven help mankind

Lyrics submitted by the writer. For more Antigua and Barbuda song lyrics, go here.

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Nobody Go Run Me (lyrics)

 

Night and day, ah ketching hell

people t’ink ah doing well

Jus’ because ah sing a few calypso

But that is my misery

calypso don’t make money

but most of them don’t know

that I have my axe to grind

just like any other man

existing in poverty

and this giant ghetto land

but I intend to hang on

tell them tell them for me

no dice

I ain’t gonna eat lice

I ain’t gonna grow old

sitting in the cold

not me

no way

they go have to beat me

they go have to eat me

or their heads go roll

 

Cho.

Tell them I say

I was born in this land

Ah go die in this land

nobody go run me from where me come from

Nobody go run me, lard

Nobody go run me

Nobaddy go run me

Nobaddy go run me

me mumma mus’ nyam

me puppa mus’ nyam

me woman mus’ nyam

me picknee mus’ nyam

Nobaddy go run me

Nobaddy go run me

Nobaddy go run me, lard

Nobaddy go run me

 

Life ain’t much for us to choose

Some will win and some will lose

but sometime life is so confusing

I had a lot of friends one time

whom I used to wine and dine

and gave them bread when they need it

now most ah dem against me

take me make big enemy

simply because I am not

what they all want me to be

and with their political views I cyan’t agree

but tell them for me no dice

I ain’t gonna eat lice

I ain’t gonna grow old

sitting in the cold

not me, Algie

No way

They go have to beat me

they go have to eat me

or their heads go roll

Cho.

 

Twelve years I at CDC

work at Halcyon for free

when they went bankrupt and had no money

because of my tolerance

they gave me the assurance

the job belongs to me

But I hear some people high

in our society

they don’t like my calypso

because they can’t control me

so they plan to kick out my ass

tell them tell them, Patty

no dice

I ain’t gonna eat lice

I ain’t gonna grow old

sitting in the cold

not me – Shorty

No way

Allyuh have to beat me

Allyuh have to bury me

more than six feet or more

Cho.

 

Election come and gone

some ah dem treat me with scorn

others put the whole ah Point against me

Tell them I don’t give a damn

I am going to sing my song

exactly as I see it

whoever want to make me

a political enemy

who feel that they playing god

and could wreck me life for me

tell them I ain’t running away

Tell them tell them for me

no dice

I ain’t gonna eat lice

I ain’t gonna grow old

sitting in the cold

not me – Shorty

no way

allyuh have to beat me

allyuh have to bury me

more than six feet ah mould

Cho.

 

Transcriber’s note: This was an oral transcription from listening to the track. I tried to capture the interplay of dialects and/or vernacular, and the diction that is so distinctively Short Shirt. This track – a personal favourite – is from the Ghetto Vibes album, 1976, written by Shelly Tobitt. No profit is being made; it is being shared here purely for informational purposes. – JCH

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We have got to Change (lyrics)

Genre: Calypso
Origin: Antigua and Barbuda
Writer: Shelly Tobitt (?)*
Artiste: Short Shirt
1.
You don’t say in which family
You would like to be born
But you can control your destiny
To stand still or go on
Growing up in the ghetto
With all them bad example
You’re inclined to follow
The wrong set ah people
With price increasing everyday
And very little to put on
You might think it’s the best way
To steal from your fellow man

Cho.
In the ghetto I was born
In the ghetto life must go on
But poverty don’t mean crime and violence
We have got to change the environment
In the ghetto I grew up
Where hunger is part of life
But poverty don’t mean hating your fellow men
We’ve got to change these bad condition
We have got to change
For the benefit of our children

2.
Growing up with insecurity
That makes you sigh and cry
Day after day it’s calamity
The problems multiply
Sometimes you feel like giving up
But somehow you keep hanging on
Trouble starts and never stop
All through the night good Lord until morn
And then you hear your granny say
You must have faith my son
Each night you go to bed you pray
Hoping for relief to come

Cho.

3.
Day by day
You struggle on
With elusive goals in view
Wondering just why you were born
To suffer the way you do
Paddling to keep your head above water
Holding on to your good name
Sometimes you wonder why bother
When life remains the same
And you know giving up will never
Solve the problems we face
And I wish every one will consider
To help and fight off disgrace (?)

 

*(?) means not 100 percent sure.

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Over the Boundary: the Monarch

This is a throwback to an article I did for the Calypso Association 50th anniversary magazine in 2007. In the interest of increasing awareness of the accomplishments of some of our iconic calypsonians and increasing appreciation for the art form, I figured I would share some of that issue with you. This particular article looked at a quartet of repeat-repeat-repeat winners. in this post, I’ll share the section of that article focused on King Onyan (as it ran, so some of the info will be dated), who came from the soca/party world as one of the original Burning Flames to create sparks on and off the stage in the calypso world. The previous excerpts from this article focused on Queen Ivena, King Onyan, and King Swallow. DO NOT repost without permission or credit.

“We are three men who came a long way, and we supported one another by way of competition. Short Shirt had to come good, because I was there waiting for his tail. Swallow had to come good because Short Shirt was waiting for him, and the three of us supported each other….”
(Sunshine Awards Hall-of-Famer King Obstinate in a 2006 interview published in the Daily Observer newspaper)

Mclean Emmanuel, alias Short Shirt, has won the crown so many times – 15 to be precise – that in Antigua when you say ‘The Monarch’ everyone knows it can only be him.

Competing for the first time in 1962, after returning from the Virgin Islands where he had worked for a time, Short Shirt was eliminated. He made strides in1963 when he snagged the second runner-up spot, before jumping to the head of the line in 1964 when he claimed his first title with ‘No Place Like Home’ and ‘Heritage’.

Since then, he’s won more Monarch crowns than any calypsonian, we believe, anywhere. The Monarch’s record of most consecutive wins may have been eclipsed, but no one has come close to touching him when it comes to most overall wins in the Calypso Monarch Competition. Add to that his seven Road March wins, and it becomes clear that he really is in a class by himself.

Short Shirt’s full measure, though, is not only in the numbers – impressive as they are. With dance-worthy music belying the weight of lyrics like…

“When will our dreams become utopia
When will our sorrow cease to be
When will the poor no longer hunger
When will mankind be truly free”,

…he spoke to people in profound ways, while infusing day-to-day concerns with epic significance. Lyrically lucrative partnerships with the likes of legendary Antiguan scribes, notably Marcus Christopher and Shelly Tobitt were key to this magic.

Short Shirt’s catalogue is deep, with many hits beyond the ones that won him the title. This includes ‘Lamentation’, a sustained wail of a song that is as relevant today as it ever was; more so in some ways. Consider any recent newspaper headline against lines like:

“Mankind can’t find no solution
I say we reapin’ the sour fruits of retribution
And I am now convinced we are violent, lord, vulgar animals
Oh Lord, oh lord
And is we who say we intelligent
We superior
We civilized and we wise
Yet we making all kinda bomb, blowing up everyone
Shooting one another with gun
And who ain’t got gun, use knife…”

Amazingly, this now classic tune lost the crown, but it remains a favourite. D. Gisele Isaac writing about the 2004 ‘Reunion of Kings’ show in the Daily Observer, commented, “The crowd did everything but genuflect when Short Shirt came onstage (opening with ‘Lamentation’). You had to have been there. You just had to be there. When every mouth in Carnival City – soprano, alto, tenor, bass – opens to sing ‘Lament, oh my sooooooooul’ and soars together on ‘Oh Lawd, Oh Lawd’, it is a spiritual moment.”

Of course, it wasn’t always spiritual; tunes like Shorty’s ‘Kong’ and ‘Send Yuh King’ testify his Muhammad Ali-esque swagger, and the keen rivalry between him and Swallow in the 1970s. More recently, his fleet footedness slowed by time, some have argued that he should have stepped down before being knocked from his perch; and his ill-fated return to competition a few years ago has been criticized. Few could deny, however, that on the strength of his vocal ability and onstage charisma, and the enduring relevance of his songs, he can be considered an icon of the game.

This is, after all, the man who sang, warningly and prophetically, in ‘Pledge’:

“True liberation does not only lie in constitutionality
We have gained nothing if all we do is pass
From bondage to a subtler task
Where foreign sharks with their fangs exposed
Surround us with promises of a brighter world”.

This is the man who reminded the powerful on their lofty perches, in 1979’s ‘Not by Might’ that:

“Wherever a people are oppressed and down trodden
They shall rise with a vengeance that will shake the world

The spirit of revolution will never bow down to a man
The quality of virtue increases beneath oppression
The more we are suppressed and denied our rights
To pursue all happiness and liberty
Is the greater our resistance to tyranny shall be…”

But Short Shirt didn’t only have great, deeply resonant, powerfully impactful lyrics, and music to make you ‘jam and w’ine’. As Dorbrene O’Marde wrote in 1988’s Calypso Talk, “He…has this tremendous performing ability – especially at competitions – to lift the ordinary, the blasé into the realms of excitement.”

One can infer further that when Short Shirt’s material was more than ordinary, he was unstoppable. His 1976 Ghetto Vibes album, coming from the belly and heart of the ghetto, comes to mind. This album contains alongside the defiant ‘Nobody Go Run Me’ and celebratory ‘Vivian Richards’, ‘Tourist Leggo’, the song that literally shook the Savannah. The year was 1977 and it was a simple but infectious tale:

“Carnival, jouvert morning, just as the band start parading
I in Scot’s Row jamming tight with a leggo,
Pretty little yankee tourist at that
She say she come down from Halifax
And she never see Carnival
So she come to join in the bacchanal…”

The song would cause all kinds of bachaanal when it proved more popular than the homegrown hits with the Trini crowd; so popular in fact that protectionism reared its head. The July 13th 2001 edition of the Outlet chronicles this chapter, and in fact points the finger: “The campaign against non-nationals was led by the very venerable Lord Kitchener, the Grand Master of Calypso.” It goes on to reference another Trini calypsonian, Lord Blake’s, defense of Short Shirt:

“You are out of place, Kitchener
Listen to what I say
Yuh tell the brass band and steel bands
what tune they must play
who give you the authority
to condemn road march in this country
what the public say
dat is road march on Carnival day

You name could be Short Shirt/Swallow/Beckett or Arrow”.

Few outsiders can claim similar impact in the self-affirmed land of Calypso.

Having won his last crown in 1992, Short Shirt retired from the calypso scene for a time; and his life took a markedly different turn when he was ‘born again’. But, even his segue to gospel paid off musically with the Monarch putting out two well-received gospel albums – ‘I Surrender’ and ‘Jesus Touched Me’. And when he began putting out secular music again, he pre-empted his detractors in 2001’s ‘The Message’:

“Nothing wrong with the Music
The rhythm or the melody
Calypso is part of our culture
That I hold very dear to me
So before you criticize
What you don’t understand
Remember music a gift from God to man
So the only thing with any song, I say
Is the message that the words convey.”

Short Shirt, one of only two Antiguan Sunshine Award Hall-of-Famers’, message has been loud and clear over the years. As he said in a 1998 Antigua Sun interview, “we were out there trying to impress upon the government what they should do; trying to turn things around to make poor people better off.” One has only to think of the lyrics of fiery tunes like ‘Not by Might’ to appreciate the truth of this.

FYI, here’s a short cut to some other calypso related links on the site: this is a report from the launch of the book on the Monarch King Short Shirt by veteran calypso writer – Dorbrene O’Marde; an article on that book being short listed for the regional Bocas prize and why it matters; an article on Antigua’s King of the Road – Swallow; an article on Marcus Christopher – the late great calypso writer and key figure in the development of the art form and of Carnival locally; a piece on pre calypso pioneer Quarko; an article on Short Shirt’s documentarian and the birth of his film; a piece on Short Shirt’s 50th; the site’s evolving songwriters’ data base – dominated by, you guessed it, calypso writers; an article on King Obstinate; a reflection on Latumba; a review of Dorbrene’s book by D. Gisele Isaac; a video retrospective – King Obstinate; an article on bandleader and key figure in the development of the art form – Oscar Mason; Lesroy Merchant was, among other things, a calypso writer – we remembered him here on the site when he passed; Short Shirt article; my review of his classic Ghetto Vibes album

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, Oh Gad!, and Musical Youth). 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. And using any creative work without crediting the creator will open you up to legal action. Respect copyright.

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A Little Perspective

The long list of the OCM Bocas Prize was announced this weekend and an Antiguan and Barbudan writer/book/subject is on the list! 2136dd3c-42db-4ee4-841a-70fa52ac3d4cThe writer, Dorbrene O’Marde; the book, Nobody Go Run Me; the subject, Short Shirt . Maybe it will get some press here at home – whether you believe as I do that Short Shirt is the epitome of Antiguan and Barbudan calypso artistry, he is one of our cultural and calypso icons after all – whatever he does is news (right?), and Dorbrene is a well-established arts and media personality in his own right – from his days as Head of Harambee, widely acclaimed as the best of Antiguan theatre, to his current role as head and mouthpiece of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission (his profile certainly makes him news, right?). Plus Nobody Go Run Me was part of the news story that was the year-long anniversary celebration of Short Shirt’s 50 years in Calypso – something I, as a freelance journalist, covered for local publication Daily Observer, regional publication Zing, and, with specific reference to the book, am in the process of writing about for the Antigua and Barbuda Review of Books which has ties, through its editor Dr. Paget Henry, to Brown University in the USA. All of that to say, this news of O’Marde and Nobody Go Run Me making the long list of a major Caribbean prize is news and probably won’t get lost in the shuffle. Probably. But, just in case, I want to bring a little perspective.

When Antigua and Barbuda’s name is hollered for major literary prizes – PEN/Faulkner, the Guggenheim, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Book Award to name a few, it’s usually followed by Jamaica Kincaid. You won’t find her face on any of our many, many roadside billboards but she is a literary celebrity by any stretch of the imagination and, though her nom de plume references a larger island in the northern Caribbean, she is from the Ovals community right here in the 268. She has been and continues to be an inspiration for writers like me and others – from places like Ottos, Antigua and places far removed from it, where young girls dream of daring to write unconventionally, compellingly…uncomfortably, truthfully.

For many, Antiguan and Barbudan literature in as much as it even exists – and for many it doesn’t – begins and ends with Jamaica.

Because of this oversight, every pebble that ripples the water, reminding the larger Caribbean and international community that we are here (arwe yah!) matters.

When Brenda Lee Browne, in 2013, made the long list of the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize – a prize which allows an emerging Caribbean writer time and resources to advance a work in progress – to date the only Antiguan and Barbudan of 22 long listed writers between 2013 and 2014, it mattered.

When an Antiguan and Barbudan book, in 2014, made the short list and went on to place second for the first ever Burt Award for Young Adult Caribbean fiction, it mattered.

There weren’t headlines here at home for either of these breakthroughs, both administered by the team behind the BOCAS literary festival in Trinidad, and presented during the awards ceremony there, but as far as creating ripples in the water, they mattered.

Well, the OCM Bocas Prize is the biggest award presented at that festival. For Caribbean writers, with the Commonwealth Book and First Book awards now just a memory and the other major literary awards of the world not impossible to reach – as 2015 Frost medalist Kamau Brathwaite’s accomplishment recently reminded us – but a stretch (and, don’t get me wrong, stretching is good), the OCM Bocas Prize is one of the few opportunities remaining. It is specific to us, demands the best of us, rewards the best among us. Since its launch in 2011, it has been won by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (White Egrets); Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie) – who also took the Grand Prize from the Caribbean Congress of Writers for the same book; Monique Roffey (Archipelago) – previously shortlisted for the Orange Prize for another book, White Woman on the Green Bicycle; and former Guggenheim fellowRobert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys). Its long list has been a who’s who of Caribbean literati – Edwidge Dandicat, Kendel Hippolyte, Lorna Goodison, Kei Miller… and no Antiguans and Barbudans, until now 2015 with O’Marde’s book, Nobody Go Run Me. The book is in formidable company as there are no also-rans in this line up – Miller’s the Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion is already the winner of the prestigious Forward Prize in the UK, Marlon James (did you catch him this past week on Late Night with Seth Myers on NBC?) landed on several year-end best of lists in 2014 (TIME, New York Times, Amazon etc) and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US thanks to his Brief History of Seven Killings, Roffey’s House of Ashes was a finalist for the Costa Award, Tiphanie Yanique’s Land of Love and Drowning has already won the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, Elizabeth Nunez’s Not for Everyday Use has been dubbed by Oprah.com as one of the Best Memoirs of the past year, the author of Dying to Better Themselves, Olive Senior, is a previous winner of the aforementioned (and no longer) Commonwealth Writers Prize, and Tanya Shirley’s The Merchant of Feathers and Vladimir Lucien’s Sounding Ground have been receiving all kinds of critical acclaim. Nobody Go Run Me (described in the Bocas release as “…a carefully researched biography of Antigua’s most celebrated calypsonian and a history of Antiguan society and culture in the crucial decades after independence.”) deservedly claims its place among these great works. I hope that isn’t overlooked, as things of this nature tend to be, here at home.

It matters.

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, Oh Gad! and Burt Award finalist Musical Youth). 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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From Doc to Documentarian: Dr. James Knight

March 2014 movie madness mona short shirt film dr james knight James KnightI wrote this article back when the film debuted in 2013,  published in the local press but also with the intention of posting it here; don’t know why I didn’t post it before now. But better late than never. Pictures above top – screening of the film in Jamaica; bottom – Dr. James Knight.

By Joanne C. Hillhouse

That the man behind the new Short Shirt documentary is Dr. James Knight, a man primarily known for his work in public health, may have come as a surprise to some. That he’d been building his skills doing screenwriting, animation and related courses at U.S. institutions such as Fordham, New York Film Academy, and the New York Film Academy’s branch at Universal Studios in Hollywood in preparation for this role, a bigger surprise yet. It took some doing too; for one, Dr. Knight noted, “I couldn’t get study leave because the things I went to study had nothing to do with medicine”. There were hurdles but such was his determination that he found creative ways to make it happen.

To those who really know Dr. Knight, it likely seems a natural evolution for the boy who became enamored with documentary films while running the projector on films out of Africa and the diaspora for the African Caribbean Liberation Movement while yet in his teens.

“We used to go to different school rooms to show films about the struggle for liberation,” said Dr. Knight. “I got to appreciate the very effective medium that the documentary film can be for transmitting information (while entertaining).”

That appreciation and the theory and practice he’s acquired in recent years come together in the skilled storytelling that is his film, The Making of the Monarch. It can’t have been easy but he was driven by a keen appreciation for things local, his love of the medium, creativity enough to craft a two hour film with very limited archival footage to pull from, and a determination to do it right or not at all. His promise to himself: “it’s either going to be good or it’s not going to be seen.”

That his first subject was Short Shirt, a legend of the calypso game, who had done a fair job of scrapbooking his life, was a bonus. “He had material that surprised me,” said Dr. Knight, referencing the Monarch’s old performance footage. “He came to my house with a whole set of them. He was very cautious at first, but when he realized that I was serious, he began to open up his archives.”

Even with Short Shirt’s archives being unusually rich, he still had to scout for key interviews and additional footage – the Star Black footage for instance, that’s courtesy of Mayfield who has lots of vintage Antiguan scenes on reel. Dr. Knight commented on the fact that in general though, whether due to economics or mindset, we, culturally, tend not to hold on to things; old images, old paraphernalia. “Without that tradition, documentary production is a challenge in these parts,” he said.

Still, he made it work, although it wasn’t always certain that he would. “I did not know clearly how I would have done this until maybe a few years ago,” Dr. Knight said. His stints in film schools and internships programmes overseas helped make this much clear to him: it’s all about the story. “Here is where you situate the character early, who he is, where he came from, what triggered…” and so on.

The challenge in having a living subject as the subject of your documentary is of course the conflict between the story you’re trying to tell and the story of their life as they see it. Dr. Knight did a good job of bringing balance to the telling of the life of a complex man and artiste, and, in the end, satisfying the subject as well. “I think Short Shirt was satisfied, after a while, that he would have to live with some things he didn’t remember or wish to remember; and there are some skeletons that couldn’t be sealed away in the closet,” Dr. Knight said. That said, from all accounts, the Monarch is “extremely pleased; this is something that he is going to leave behind that he is extremely pleased with.”

The film is set for screenings has screened in other parts of the Caribbean and the U.S. All who’ve seen it already can agree that it’s only the beginning. From school teacher to journalism to cartooning to medicine to public health education to filmmaking, Dr. Knight has proven himself to be a man of many interests; and these days his interest is in continuing to use the documentary medium to tell stories of Antigua. “I have several ideas in mind,” he said. “Having done that (the Making of the Monarch), I hope I’ve established myself as someone who can do a documentary of some worth (and) I hope they’ll be able to receive other (films).” Health issues and political issues are some of the sub-topics that appeal to him; a documentary on the life of Leonard Tim Hector perhaps. It’s one of many ideas he’s mulling now that he’s announced his arrival as Antigua and Barbuda’s latest filmmaker.

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