Tag Archives: Tameka Jarvis-George

A & B Artistes Discussing Art

Primarily, in this space, I’ll be sharing discussions, in Question and Answer format, of craft, and insights to not only the author/artist’s journey but the story of the arts in Antigua and Barbuda. This is a Work in Progress. The main criteria, so far, for inclusion, apart from the Q & A structure and the arts/art history focus, is that these are interviews not conducted by someone who is part of the artistes’ publishing and/or promotional team, and are interviews that are in the public sphere on a platform independent of the artistes and/or their publishing and promotional team. Beyond that, it’s what I come across and you can also link me interviews that fit the very broad stated criteria by emailing wadadipen@gmail.com

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Tammi Browne Bannister talking to David DaCosta (December 28th 2016):
“When I was little, I loved reading Aesop’s Fables and was attracted to the humor, the lessons, and the tragedies and of course the way these tales made me think about the characters long after reading. I’ve written a few.” Full interview.

Mark Brown (2015) on Popreel, Swedish TV: “The main aim of the Angel in Crisis series was to bring a sort of humanness to people like her (the nun), priests, people who have to bear that burden of conforming to what society expects of them.” Interview begins at 7:35.

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Heather Doram on Observer Radio in a discussion which also included Joanne C. Hillhouse, Barbara Arrindell, and Dorbrene O’Marde (October 2017): “My feeling is that I have lived under several administrations and I really do not get the feeling that there is that widespread support for the visual and performing arts…you just use them when you need them…we do not even have a national gallery in Antigua and Barbuda so we the artists are there producing work in sort of isolation. I’ve seen it in many other countries where the national gallery would commission work; this sort of spurs the whole generation and activity of work and then the artists start to feel that sense of involvement and that their art work can actually support them…the same thing I’m sure applies to the literary artist…something like the cultural development division should be that nexus of that sort of leadership, this is where the cradle is…I would really like to see more support for the arts generally.” Read a transcription of the interview or listen to the interview.

Heather Doram participating in a virtual roundtable chaired by issue guest editor Joanne C. Hillhouse on Tongues of the Ocean along with Mark Brown, Emile Hill, Glenroy Aaron, and the now late X-Saphair King (October 2014): “They were reactive and passionate. They were not satisfied with the realistic interpretation of the Antiguan landscape. They wanted to push boundaries, they wanted to produce work with the visual language of engagement with their audience. Many of their works responded to and explored social, political, gender issues and self. The younger generation sought to explore their roles as messengers in their visual language. I think artists like Mark [Brown], Emile [Hill], and Zavian [Archibald] can be included in this group. They are much more open to expressing themselves and exploring a range of media and techniques in their work.” Read the full discussion here.

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“Art is not just a commercial transaction. When an artist shows you their work, they’re showing you their soul, their heart, and what’s important to them.” – Debbie Eckert on Sweden’s Popreel (2018) – beginning roughly at 4:30

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Cray Francis talking with Good Morning Antigua Barbuda (April 5th 2016):
“I felt like I had to write my own stories.”

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Linisa George reads and talks about ‘In the Closet’, which was the Antigua and Barbuda Poetry Postcard  for the UK series featuring works from the Commonwealth in time for the 2012 Commonwealth Games. “I’ve always been a poet…” she says, then explains the journey toward stepping in to that power. Link.

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Joanne C. Hillhouse talking to The Culture Trip (July 2017): “in The Boy from Willow Bend, Vere’s mother leaves Antigua for better economic and personal opportunities in the U.S., and Vere himself leaves at the end; in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Selena and her sisters move to Antigua from the Dominican Republic for better opportunities, and at some point one of the sisters moves away from there as well; in the story, ‘The Other Daughter’, the title character moves to the US for educational purposes. I don’t know if it holds significance to me (there are many stories in which people don’t leave) so much as being a reflection of the reality that movement is a part of the Caribbean existence—whether it’s to seek higher education, economic opportunities, or a different kind of life—the Caribbean diaspora (i.e. the number of Caribbean people no longer resident in here or in the Caribbean country of their birth) is significant. We are a region of small islands with intelligent and talented people, sometimes the desired opportunities to recognize our full potential or even the cover needed to brave the economic storms stirred up in bigger places isn’t there. So, it’s just a reflection of the reality, I think (but just one part of the reality that I write).” Full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse on Popreel, Swedish TV (2015): “The characters come to me; they don’t always reveal their stories fully, so for me writing is a journey of discovery. I can’t always see where it’s going but I’m kind of wandering my way through it and trying to figure out what is it all about.” Interview starts here at 8:50.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t know any writers from here, from Antigua, until I discovered Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid; the writers from here that I knew, and I have great respect for them, were the calypso writers, people like Shelly Tobitt and Marcus Christopher, because when I was coming up, calypso was the literature that I would hear that had some relevance to my community, the other literature that we read was mostly from America or from Britain. So it was a while before I could wrap my mind around this idea that this was what I was called to do.” – Joanne C. Hillhouse (2015) on Bookworm, Swedish radio 

Joanne C. Hillhouse in the Meet the Writer series at Grab Life by the Lapels: “I just enjoy experimenting within the story writing form, short and long. Much of what I write is character driven and distinctively Caribbean with (I like to believe) universal resonance – because I do believe the stories that are about the human condition can cross over without having to be diluted.” Full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse talking to M. J. Fievre at the Whimsical Project (November 21st 2014): “Calypso, the calypso at that time, sang the things people were afraid to say and reflected the concerns and reality of the folk, authentically, in their voice, in a way that stirred spirits. I think there’s a part of me that strives for that in my writing.” Full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse talking to Commonwealthwriters.org (2014): “I use a lot of detail, a lot of specificity in rendering the world, and I write from a very character-driven place – Who are they? What do they want? What is their truth (don’t compromise on telling their truth)? Why should we care?” Full interview.

Joanne C. Hillhouse is interviewed by Jamaican publisher-writer for Susumba (2013): “Honestly, I think it comes down to the material. I see publishing as the end game not the first step. Develop your craft, read a lot, experience life, write; these are more important. And when you’re ready do your research… take your shot, and don’t give up.” Full interview.

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TamekaJTameka Jarvis-George talking with SheRox: “I initially did not start out with the intention to write a whole book. I started writing what I thought was a short story, but it just wouldn’t end.” Full interview.

Jazzie B. talking with Chris Williams for Wax Poetics (May 14th 2014): “’Keep On Movin’ actually came about lyrically because we were at the Africa Center in Covent Gardens, and we were being put under a lot of pressure by the police. It was due to the fact that other clubs in the area were empty and ours kept being full. Every so often, we would get the squeeze put on us. At one particular moment, they threatened to close us down. The whole concept of this song came from there.” Full interview.

Clifton Joseph talking with Andy Williams: ‘…the first person to really encourage me into the writing/performing arts was an older man in my village of New Winthropes in Antigua, Mr. Murray, probably, visually, the most black, blackest person in “Blizzard” as we called our home on the northern coast of the island. I think I was around ten years old and in addition to singing the Antiguan calypso songs we heard on the radio, Mr. Murray would actually pay me a penny, or sometimes two-pence (we were still using the British colonial currency at the time) to make up my own “calypso” verses. The only snippet I remember from then are three lines: “in January they called me clinky, then in February they start to call me sebassie, and in June they start to call my cousin boone”…I have to give Mr. Murray maximum props for sparking that early interest in writing and performing.’ Full interview.

Clifton Joseph talking with Ian Ferrier (2007): “Hip Hop, Dub Poetry, Dancehall, Reggae all sort of come out of the same African inspired, Caribbean, American, emphasis on words, rhythm, repetition; all of those things pull from the same pool of stylistic influences.”

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JamaicaJamaica Kincaid talking with Mother Jones (January/February 2013): ‘I think I was trying to understand how, short of an accident—you know, you pick up the phone, he says, “Your mother is dead. Her car. The Earth fell”—I never expected the everyday to suddenly become an accident. Suddenly you go downstairs and the pine floor is a gravel pit. I was trying to understand how the everyday suddenly becomes the unexpected.’ Full interview.

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JoyLapps1Joy Lapps talking with Joanne C. Hillhouse (December 2nd 2012): “I think that my strengths lie in composition and writing lyrics for music composed by others and by myself. My inspiration comes from my lived experience and some things I read about or see on the news, my spirituality and love of God, falling in love with my husband, the everyday challenges of life…etc.” Full interview.

Natasha Lightfoot talking with Renee Goldthree for Black Perspectives (April 4th 2016):
“In the UWI archives, there was an almanac for the West Indies in the nineteenth century, and it contained an entry in the year 1858 for Antigua. The entry mentioned that there had been a riot and that the island’s jails were completely full, but it also claimed that the riot was nothing of any political significance. The entry suggested that the rioters were basically rabble in the streets causing trouble—and not at all political. That entry raised my antenna so to speak. I thought that the way the entry was written was a sign that whatever had occurred was very political: there had been a riot in the streets for several days and the jails were full of rioters. I wanted to figure out what happened and why.” Full interview.

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Jelani ‘J-Wyze’ Nias, author of Where Eagles Crawl and Men Fly, talking about following his path to publication: “The biggest wall I encountered, not that there weren’t others, but the biggest was my own fear. And once you get through that fear/feeling of will people understand this, will people accept this, are people gonna see my vision, once you go through that then everything else tends to be a lot more easy to deal with.”  – Watch the video.

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Dorbrene O’Marde talking with Judd Batchelor at Batchelor of Arts Theatre Online (2016): “And one of the comments I made -which seemed to rattle some of the young writers, was the total absence of socio political concerns in this region, at this particular point in time when there is so much need for concern and there is so much need for understanding the post-colonial independence bind that we find ourselves in, that our leaders find themselves in that we as persons trying to inform leadership have not really clarified for ourselves. And my view of the role of the artist is to help in that clarification.” Full interview.

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Paul ‘King Obstinate’ Richards: “We’re prophets; a lot of things we write about comes true.” (King Obstinate on calypso, September 2013)

PHOTO credits: Pictures of Joanne C. Hillhouse and Joy Lapps are from the 2011 event Telling our Stories at the University of Toronto – event photo; of Tameka Jarvis George is from the 2006 Wadadli Pen/Museum literary showcase Word Up! – event photo/Laura Hall; of Jamaica Kincaid is from the 2014 University of the Virgin Islands literary festival – event photo; of Jelani Nias is a screen grab from a televised interview.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, Fish Outta Water, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

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Summer Reading List – Wadadli Edition

I’ve been stumbling over summer reading lists like…like…potholes in Antigua. And I thought, well, if everybody’s doing it!

But first, I wondered, what makes a good summer read. I mean, we have summer pretty much year round in Antigua but I imagine the summer read means something different to people from other places, the ones we see lying out on our beaches during their summer. What are they reading? Is it what’s hot, what’s new, what’s easy …the kind of book you read and discard? My parents worked in hotels when I was growing up, I got some of those left-behind books …but for the life of me I can’t remember a single one. Is that a criterion that it entertain but then go away…like a clown? No that couldn’t be it. I turned to the book blogs for a definition and found one that I decided to let guide me in creating my own Summer Reading List of Antiguan and Barbudan books. This blog broke it down to books that are escapist, interesting, fun to read – not haha fun necessarily but it should have some popular appeal and not be so ponderous it feels like a chore to read. It’s summer time after all and the reading should be easy – but hopefully NOT disposable.

Other things to keep in mind before you curse me about why your favourites – or your book – isn’t on the list: I have to have read the book and I have to be able to back up my pick with one other recommendation (which will err on the side of reader recs because it’s that kind of list); if there is more than one author, the primary author/s must be from Wadadli and/or Wa’omani; Availability – so available you can walk in to a book store or order it online without having to special order it and cross your fingers hoping it’s not out of print; I know e-readers are the lick but my picks must not only be a physical copy but one that can travel easily in your beach bag, in keeping with the whole summer reads theme; quality can be subjective but I’m not reccing anything that feels slapped together and unedited; finally, I’m a novelist – I have books too and I’m going to mention the ones I think fit the criteria (yes, it’s a conflict of interest, but this is a fun summer reading list nothing here is binding and you are free to leave your own picks and recs in the comments).

Here now are my picks for your Summer Reading List – Wadadli Edition

1. Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid – Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to North America to work as an au pair for Lewis and Mariah and their four children. Lewis and Mariah are a thrice-blessed couple–handsome, rich, and seemingly happy. Yet, almost at once, Lucy begins to notice cracks in their beautiful facade. At the same time that Lucy is coming to terms with Lewis’s and Mariah’s lives, she is also unravelling the mysteries of her own sexuality. Gradually a new person unfolds: passionate, forthright, and disarmingly honest.
LucyWhy I picked it: Of all Jamaica’s books, the ones I’ve read, this is the best fit for this particular list – though you are encouraged to check out her extensive and extensively important, acclaimed, and awarded catalogue. Jamaica Kincaid is a bona fide literary star – her words have both heft and poetry – but in Lucy, a girl (not unlike characters in shows like Girls) is a young woman trying to figure her life out in New York City (after relocating there from a small island).  If another Kincaid favourite, Annie John is about growing up, Lucy is about finding yourself and coming out of your girlhood into your young-woman-hood. I read it for the first time over a few days during a summer in the city, and not only did the poetic flow of her prose seduce me, because of that time, reading it in the park, on the train, in an apartment in Harlem, I will always identify it with summer in the city…and clearly it travels well.

Back-up rec:  “This is a very simple story which starts off with several conventional plot twists but ends on a poignant, and somewhat surprising, note.” – reader review Amazon

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2. Dancing Nude in the Moonlight by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Young Dominican single mother Selena Cruz is trying to make a new life for herself in Antigua, dealing with prejudice, poverty, and her interfering sister. When she meets handsome cricket coach Michael Lindo, her world is turned upside down. The course of true love is never smooth, and Michael and Selena’s story is no exception as they try to bridge the gap between their two cultures and their personal expectations of love. Romantic and delightful, this novella by Joanne C. Hillhouse looks at immigration and cross-cultural relationships in a warm and very human way. This anniversary edition includes a part two filled with selected poems, stories, and fan fiction.

Dancing

Why I picked it: One word: romance. It was, also, the Best of Books’ summer read pick of 2008, six years before this 10th anniversary edition was published.

Back-up rec: “Engaging account of the complications of Caribbean life and a cross-cultural, inter-racial romance.” – Fiona Raye Clarke, critic, writing in Broken Pencil: the magazine of zine culture and independent arts

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3. Considering Venus by D. Gisele Isaac  – Lesley, an African-American, is straight, recently widowed with three children, and looking for a friend, while Cass is Antiguan, gay and looking for love. They meet again 25 years after high school. What happens when girlfriends becomes more than friends?

ConsideringWhy I picked it: Released back in 1998 it was ahead of its time in its exploration of love between two women – one of whom happens to be Caribbean. What’s boundary pushing is not so much the idea and reality of lesbian love but the now topical fluid love – that sexuality is not fixed, but more about person to person connection. That this book is also about grown woman love not young love is also still sadly boundary pushing.

Back-up rec: “Isaac has written a lovely book, with just the right fusion of prose and poetry make it a joy to read.” – at Sistahs on the Shelf blog where it’s tagged “mature lesbians” and “romance” and given a 4-star review

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4. Time to Talk by Curtly Ambrose with Richard Sydenham – Sir Curtly Ambrose is one of the most famous cricket players of all time. He is also notorious for his silence. Now, for the first time, he tells his story. From his colourful upbringing in Antigua, through to the turbulent politics of both nation and dressing room, the book takes the reader behind the scenes to give a fascinating insight into the career of an iconic sportsman, and his take on the extreme highs and debilitating lows of international cricket.

Time to TalkWhy I picked it: I’ve only just started reading it but I’m liking it, as sport biographies go. I think actual cricket fans will too. I was walking with the book in my hand the other day when a man asked me about it, said he didn’t realize such a book existed AND asked me where he could get it. And that right there tells me it needs to be on this list.

Back-up rec: “a series of insightful opinions” – ESPN cric info

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5. Through the Window by Floree Williams – Anya is a 23 year old, complex and often complicated, woman who has to navigate through a maze of friendships, love, a dysfunctional family and finding love for herself.

Window

Why I picked it: Pink Teacups and Blue Dresses is still my favourite Floree Williams book but this one, all about young love and the drama it brings, is made for easy beach reading.

Back-up rec: “I found this to be a very thoughtfully written book, a very enjoyable read.” – Amazon reader review

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6. Ladies of the Night and Other Stories by Althea Prince – Women’s loves and lives are the focus of these stories, filled with dramatic twists and turns: some humorous, others shocking and disturbing, all leaving a haunting melody behind. The Toronto stories capture the issues women face as they walk the ground of intimate and family relationships in that city. The Antiguan setting of some of the stories are reflective of Prince’s insight into relationships, captured in her novel and essays. The characters reveal their different ways of managing a range of struggle, pain, rage, love and pure unadulterated joy. The humour of some stories complement the plaintive sadness and emotionality of the strings some other stories pluck.

Ladies

Why I picked it: These women’s stories may make you sad, though if you keep digging you’ll see they are fighters, survivors not victims for the most part. Because of the (heavy) subject matter I considered holding this one back but that (matter of fact with a side serving of humor) tone tipped the scale.

Back-up rec: “Enjoyed the prose and dialogue. The story itself though made me sad.” – reader review on goodreads

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7. Gilly Gobinet’s Cool Caribbean series – Books in the series includes the Cookery Book, the Cocktail book, the 20 Place in Antigua book, the book of hot spices-luscious fruit-and-herb all illustrated  in full colour by the artist, using her classic watercolour technique as well a her humorous cartoons. Each is less than 50 pages – making for a quick read that you’ll come back to again and again as you explore the flavours of the Caribbean.

top20Why I picked it: These are actually handy to carry around and beautifully illustrated (in fact one of the books won the Gourmand award for best illustrations) – there’s one for your cocktails, one for your meals, one for your fruit and spices, one for all the places (well 20 of them anyway) you’ll want to see while in Antigua.

Back-up rec: “… classic watercolours interspersed with humorous cartoons… small but functional” – Search Antigua

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8. Unburnable by Marie Elena John – Lillian Baptiste fled Dominica when she was fourteen after discovering she was the daughter of Iris, the half-crazy woman whose life was told of in chanté mas songs sung during Carnival—songs about a village on a mountaintop littered with secrets, masquerades that supposedly fly and wreak havoc, and a man who suddenly and mysteriously dropped dead. After twenty years away, Lillian returns to her native island to face the demons of her past—and with the help of Teddy, a man who has loved her for many years, she may yet find a way to heal. Set in both contemporary Washington, D.C., and post-World War II Dominica, Unburnable weaves together West Indian history, African culture, and American sensibilities. Richly textured and lushly rendered, Unburnable showcases a welcome and assured new voice.

unburnable

Why I picked it: I’m of two minds about this one. It’s a really good read and there’s no way I could leave it off any list of essential Antiguan and Barbudan reading (though it is set largely in Dominica) – but that’s not what this list is – so the other mind is reminding me that it’s a thick book that deals with weighty issues – there are traumatic scenes and shifting timelines – a lot to keep track of, a lot to absorb – but a good, page turner of a read; so it will stay.

Back-up rec: “Strong writing and interesting supporting characters should keep readers occupied through the end” – Publisher’s Weekly

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9. To Shoot Hard Labour: the Life and Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan Workingman, 1877 – 1982 by Keithlyn and Fernando Smith – Sections cover THE FAMILY: Planting Sucker Follow the Root;  ESTATE LIFE: Planter Kill King and Rule Country; VILLAGE LIFE: It Wasn t Just the Doctoring We Have To Do for Ourself; THE POWERFUL: Massa Was King and King Do No Wrong; LIFE S UPS AND DOWNS : God Was With Me All the Way; HARD TIMES: Nega Even Though Them Right, Them Wrong; FIELD AND FACTORY: It Was Work Like a Bull
ShootWhy I picked it: Well, if we’re going to wade in to heavier territory no reason not to include this (oral/folk) history which really ought to be required reading if you want to understand the nature of the Antiguan and Barbudan. It set the template for folk histories locally, reversing the trend of all histories being written by people elsewhere in a way that held us as objects (acted upon) not subjects in our lives. Coming in its wake have been the writings of by Joy Lawrence and Monica Matthew, notably. And let me just say that though the terrain is pre and post emanciption, a dark time for black/island people…when is it not, right?… but you won’t regret giving up some of your sunshine to this. You’ll feel like you’re talking to Papa Sammy Smith, a man who lived long and told us a lot about ourselves.

Back-up rec: “What a rich read, nicely written with well assisted footnotes.” – Amazon reader review

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10. The Road to Wadi Halfa by Claudia Elizabeth Ruth Francis – In 1998 London born Roosevelt Mohammed Lion is chairman of a property empire in the UK. While overseeing a hotel project in his father’s native island in the Caribbean, he is kidnapped by Islamic extremists. He learns that Brayton- Harper, a former Cabinet minister in the British Government is using his ordeal to further his own ends in Africa. Roosevelt struggles to survive life in a training camp and to understand the philosophy of his colleagues in the Sudan. He must be seen to cooperate or risk the life of his precious wife Venus, and his devoted twin brother, Washington, both left in London, to mourn his loss. Washington’s marriage is on the brink of collapse, but it is Roosevelt who meets the Sudanese beauty, Allaya, on the road to Wadi Halfa. Will he learn to trust her or is she plotting her own agenda? Will Al Qaada succeed in their mission to avenge western missile attacks by bombing foreigners in Khartoum? Will Roosevelt be in a position to prevent such an atrocity? Lennox Lion sets out to find his father, but will he rot in jail? The Road to Wadi Halfa is the sequel to Tides That Bind and continues the lives of the Lion brothers and their families.

Wadi Halfa

Why I picked it: Another summer staple is the action-spy-thriller, i.e. international intrigue; am I right? You can have a go at the whole Lion series if you wish but this one makes for a good standalone read for the kind of reader who enjoys a cross-continental (spy-ish) drama wrapped in political intrigue.

Back-up rec: “The story draws you into the world of the ‘Lion’ family and examines class, culture and gender while creating romance, suspense and mystery.” – reader review on Amazon

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But what about the children, you say…?

Age 3+ (younger if adults make it for bedtime reading)

Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan – Long ago, Blackbird was voted the most beautiful bird in the forest. The other birds, who were colored red, yellow, blue, and green, were so envious that they begged Blackbird to paint their feathers with a touch of black so they could be beautiful too. Although Black-bird warns them that true beauty comes from within, the other birds persist and soon each is given a ring of black around their neck or a dot of black on their wings — markings that detail birds to this very day. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan’s adaptation of a tale from the Ila-speaking people of Zambia resonates both with rhythm and the tale’s universal meanings — appreciating one’s heritage and discovering the beauty within. His cut-paper artwork is a joy.

Blackbird

Why I picked it: Good for readalong with little kids and if you can’t read along because you’re deep in your own summer read, there are lots of pretty pictures to keep them distracted…I mean stimulated. The Sun is so Quiet and the Dancing Granny (for slightly older kids) are also great Ashley picks.

Back-up rec: “Bryan’s lilting and magical language is infectious.” – Publisher’s Weekly

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7-ish+

How the East Pond got its Flowers by Althea Trotman – A young girl Tulah, born with a caul, is thought to be destined for great things and learns important lessons from Mother Sillah.

Pond

Why I picked it: A read for the mid-to-upper primary schooler in your life – a young female protagonist, historical without being dated.

Back-up rec: “literature that represent(s) the range of cultural experiences and histories that make up the national and international communities that touch all of us.” – from Frontiers of Language and Teaching (recommending How the East Pond got its Flowers as an example of this type of literature)

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Age 11-ish+

The Legend of Bat’s Cave and Other Stories by Barbara Arrindell – a glimpse of Antiguan history through three engaging stories set in three distinct periods of time. See the Kalinago through the eyes of Antigua’s first Governor’s wife. Meet a priest who was almost defrocked after allowing two former enslaved Africans to get married in an Anglican church. Meet the boy who would become a legendary doctor in St. Kitts.

Bat

Why I picked it: History made accessible. Adults will enjoy it too  as they do her colouring and activity book Antigua My Antigua, which also will keep your child engaged and informed. My book, The Boy from Willow Bend is a good fit for this age range as well but I don’t have it listed as a summer pick given that some of them are already reading it in school – for those who aren’t though, have at it. For this age group you might also want to check out S E James’ adventure books especially Tragedy on Emerald Island and Forest Fever – I had a time finding links to them online but I believe there are still physical copies in local bookstores.

Back-up rec: “I love it! Wish the stories were a bit longer though” – reader on Smashwords

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Age 13+

Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse – Zahara is a loner. She’s brilliant on the guitar but in everyday life she doesn’t really fit in. Then she meets Shaka, himself a musical genius and the first boy who really gets her. They discover that they share a special bond, their passion for music, and Zahara finds herself a part, not just of Shaka’s life, but also that of his boys, the Lion Crew. When they all get roles in a summer musical, Zahara, Shaka, and the rest of the Lion Crew use the opportunity to work on a secret project. But the Crew gets much more than they bargained for when they uncover a dark secret linking Shaka and Zahara’s families and they’re forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about class, colour, and relationships on the Caribbean island of Antigua. Musical Youth placed second in the 2014 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.

Musical Youth

Why I picked it: My teen pick is one of mine – there are not a lot of teen-specific books in the Antiguan and Barbudan bibliography – or Caribbean for that matter – one reason why the Burt Award giving it a push by encouraging and rewarding books in this genre is a good thing. Musical Youth was first runner up for the Burt Award in its first year 2014. It’ll appeal to all teens and young adults but especially those with a love affair with music and love.

Back-up rec: “The story is modern; the teens are technology savvy.” – Amazon reader review

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What? No Poetry?

I don’t know…does poetry make for good beach/summer reading? (Don’t all come for me at once…pace yourselves)

If so, of the ones I’ve read, my top (5) picks would probably be Motion in Poetry by Motion, I am that I am by Tameka Jarvis-George, then Tameka’s Thoughts from the Pharcyde and Motion’s 40 Dayz, then She Wanted a Love Poem by Kimolisa Mings – probably in that order, too.

motion-40-dayz-cover poem

I can’t speak to their availability but I will say that I had difficulty even sourcing pictures for some of them. But, true confessions, it’s late, I’m tired, I’ve been at this way too long, and I’m posting.

You’ve read the list and my reasons…you’re up.

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, Fish Outta Water, 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, my books and writing, and/or my writing-and-editing services. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

 

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Reading Room and Gallery XVll

This page is for sharing links to things of interest around the internet. It’ll be sporadically updated; so, come back from time to time. For the previous reading rooms (1, 11, 111, 1v, v, v1 , v11, v111, 1x, x, x1, x11, x111, x1v, xv, xvi), click the links or use the search feature to the right, to the right.

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“But the story could not be just about the pursuance of futility or the exploration of unfulfilled dreams. It also had to be about the possibility of recognizing those critical life-changing moments, and in recognizing those moments, having the courage to make the decisions that would perhaps minimize the deathbed regrets.” – Garfield Ellis

***

“The stories about Africans somehow miraculously have a Western protagonist and I was like wow do we not merit our ability to tell our own stories. So I started to write plays.” – Danai Gurira on her play Eclipsed (yep, Michonne is also a writer #blackgirlsrock #blackgirlmagic #TWD)

 

WRITERS ON PUBLISHING

“Two of the main things you have to figure out before launching a crowdfunding campaign are:
◾What will your contributors receive (perks)?
◾What is your funding goal?”- Liz Hennessy on crowdfunding her book

***

“Is it wise to publish the rough draft of a novel online, either serialized on my own blog or posted to a public critique forum or writing community? Will this deter agents and editors from accepting the manuscript, even if it’s appearing online only as a rough draft that will be rewritten? I have received answers on both ends of the spectrum—mostly from self-published writers—and would like an answer from an agent.” – Agent Barbara Poelle answers.

***

“In the meantime, you’re writing and preparing your own book for publication, but you’re also working towards building up a sizable group of reading friends who may very well wish to read what you have written. So, when your book is released, there are people curious enough to take a chance and read it. But, more importantly, you’ve developed a fan base that, if it isn’t disappointed in your book, will become your cheerleaders who then tell their friends, thereby increasing the size of your fan base.” – Susan M. Toy on Looking for Readers in the Right Places…

MISC.

“I am not familiar with Antigua’s capital, St. John’s. How will I find the hotel at night?  The taxi driver soon stops and says I have to get out here.  He parks and helps me with my bags. I breathe lightly as he walks beside me, pulls my bag along in alleys crammed with revelers dancing to blaring calypso.  We finally reach the hotel. I tip him well, grateful that he did not abandon me.  Checked into my room, the boom-boom-boom from bands, shake the room.  I wonder how I will sleep, but at 12:00 midnight the music stops abruptly as if someone had cast a magic wand.” – Althea Romeo Mark, an Antiguan born writer resident in Switzerland, reflecting on her visit home in prose and poetry.

***

“The internet isn’t just cat pictures, it’s the nervous system of the world” – caller on this fascinating site, Call Me Ishmael, which challenges readers to share how a book transformed their lives or why a book matters to them in the duration of a phone message

***

“I had a very difficult relationship with my mother, I think most daughter do” – House on Mango Street author Sandra Cisneros reading the visual, evocative, and poignant Have You Seen Marie and speaking at the National Book Festival

FICTION

“The angel was no less standoffish with him than with the other mortals, but he tolerated the most ingenious infamies with the patience of a dog who had no illusions.” – A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

POETRY

“He lights his pipe as they gather round,
Children with hopeful, eager faces
Longing for the old man’s tales
Of myths and legends from forgotten places…” – Song for the Mermen by Geeta Boodansingh

***

“Mexican”

is not

a noun

or an

adjective

“Mexican”

is a life

long

low-paying

job  – from “Mexican” is not a Noun written to forty-six UC Santa Cruz students and seven faculty arrested in Watsonville for showing solidarity with two thousand striking cannery workers who were mostly Mexican women, October 27, 1985 – by Francisco X. Alarcón

***

“And though you’re poor it isn’t poverty that
concerns you
and though they fought a lot
it isn’t your father’s drinking that makes any difference
but only that everybody is together and you
and your sister have happy birthdays and very good
Christmases
and I really hope no white person ever has cause
to write about me
because they never understand
Black love is Black wealth and they’ll
probably talk about my hard childhood
and never understand that
all the while I was quite happy” – from Nikki-Rosa by Nikki Giovanni

NON FICTION

‘I know from experience that this “symbolic annihilation” can have devastating consequences. I attended majority-white schools in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and never once had a Black-authored book assigned for class, nor did I have a Black educator until my last semester of my last year of university. Like Orville Douglas, I had tastes in clothes, music, and literature that some deemed “white” or at least not “Black enough.” I also struggled to build my self-esteem and rarely saw positive images of Black women on Canadian television. I wanted to become a writer but saw no young Black women publishing novels in Canada; at 19 I discovered the work of Toni Morrison and Jamaica Kincaid but couldn’t find Canadian equivalents.’ – interesting; Zetta Elliott presents a rarely seen perspective. Read Part l here and Part ll here.

***

“Of course we had slaves! You can’t run a plantation without slaves. Everybody found that out at Emancipation. I was 43 when the apprenticeship time started and that was the beginning of the end for us. By then I had nine children, some lighter and some darker, and Mary Ann and me had married. I had a lot of mouths to feed in my family and the freed slaves would not work, no matter how much we paid them. I tell you the truth, I hated them. They belonged in the fields.” – David in 1848 – from Conversations with My Ancestors by Diana McCaulay, part of Annalise Davis’ White Creole Conversations

***

“There is also (and it remains the dominant impulse) a deeply embedded tradition of patient survival, of building from the ground up and a tradition of Creole inventiveness that transforms the world from whatever scraps are available.”  – Peepal Tree

BLOG

“I start the long process of giving up control to the road.
…The idea of train time as found time resonates with me all day. If I were at home, I’d be at work. And then I’d be home after work, doing more work on freelance projects. The dog would need walking, errands would need running, and I’d desperately want to get out and see my friends. My brain would not have any energy for words.” – Marianne Kirby on her residency by train

***

“Case in point. The performances of Maria Callas, the great soprano, sometimes ended with angry operagoers throwing rotten vegetables onto the stage. As legend tells it, the great Callas, with diva-like composure, simply picked them up and threw them back.” – Irene Allison blogging about pushing through self-doubt born of criticism of one’s artistic output

***

“So far there’ve been no murders on board, or mysterious disappearances, which is a tad disappointing. No missing Rembrandt Letters to recover, or Agents of Her Majesty’s Secret Service cleaning compartments of various super villains. I’m beginning to suspect our films haven’t accurately depicted the romance and adventure of train travel. I’m ready to solve though, so maybe soon.” – Bill Willingham blogs his residency by train

VISUAL

Danielle Boodoo Fortune’s Mango Morning

***

antiguan artist Frank Walter Ingleby Gallery“Startlingly clever, infinitely curious, and often somewhat eccentric, Walter is one of the most captivating, and yet largely unknown artists to come out of the Caribbean.” True confessions, I was not familiar with this artist and then I turned up not only that but this and this.

INTERVIEWS

“Fortunately, every time I am about to lose faith in men, God puts a good man in my path to show me that to every negative there is a positive.” – Tameka Jarvis-George talking about her life and art and where they intersect.

***

“…we were shelling down the place with Antiguan music and we were having so much fun. We realize that we have to make sure that we dominate as Antiguans and Barbudans. Because arwe small, arwe small but arwe tallawah, but we can only do it together.” – 9 time Antiguan and Barbudan soca diva Claudette Peters p.s. watching this interview, her discussion re the lack of money and management underscores that if you’re an artiste in Antigua, perhaps true across the Caribbean, you’re essentially an independent artiste – no big record deals, no big advances, no industry intelligence, financing your own recordings etc. etc. stumbling along – driven by passion and not much else.

***

But the only thing, in the end, that protects you is that you did the book the way you wanted to, because then if it succeeds or fails, at least you have that satisfaction. At least you didn’t compromise and then fail. If you compromise and then you succeed, that’s another kind of feeling. But if you compromise and fail, it’s two failures at least. – Alexander Chee on the 15 year gap between the release of his first and second book

***

‘But it’s still Me Before You that draws overwhelming volumes of reader mail. And Moyes—now 46 and living on a farm in Essex with her husband, a writer for The Guardian, and their three children, ages 10, 14 and 17—still personally answers every letter. “Sometimes people are sending you a page of very emotional stuff about their lives, and you can’t just say, ‘Oh, thanks for reading the book!’ You have to answer them properly,” she tells WD. “And I suppose because I was a fairly unsuccessful author for so long, I also feel an obligation because, you know, there’s always a part of me thinking, Thank you for buying my book!”’ – outtakes from Jojo Moyes’ Writer’s Digest interview

 

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From the Archives – Tameka Jarvis George

I’ve been in media for a minute – going back to the Nation newspaper (Antigua’s not Bim’s; this was a public sector publication and my first internship in a media career that has included reporting and producing at ABS radio/TV, writing features and a Sister to Sister column for the Antigua Sun, reporting freelance for the Daily Observer, and lots of other publications local, regional, and international). In this From the Archives series I’ll be digging up old art pieces – arts and human interest features are my favourite things to cover – and as I’m building an online data base of things literary/artistic, it seems a good idea to start sharing some of them. It’ll be a slow process (some of these stories are not stored in easy to transfer formats – *cough* floppy disks, hard copies – and some are perhaps best not -re-shared – I promise you I’ve grown as a writer since then), but I’ll add what I can, when I can.

This one is Tameka Jarvis-George, interviewed by me for the Daily Observer newspaper, after her National Youth Awards Antigua-Barbuda win in 2011. Do NOT repost or re-use in any way without permission.

Youth Spotlight – Tameka Jarvis-George

By Joanne C. Hillhouse

Tameka Jarvis George’s win in the literary arts category of the 2011 National Youth Awards was not Unexpected – to borrow the name of her first novel, released in 2010 – but it was appreciated.

“I was so honoured,” she gushed. “I stare at it all the bloody time. I am very proud of it. It made me feel so good, because sometimes when you are going about your business, you don’t realize that people are noticing, so in a way it validates you and makes you feel like you count or matter, like you did something cool.”

With three books of poetry (Thoughts from the Pharcyde, I am that I am, and I am), two short films (Dinner and Ugly), lyrics (Naki’s Talking in Tongues on the Tin-Pan riddim) and the aforementioned novel to her name, Jarvis-George is doing lots of cool stuff.  Not to mention that her online series, The Key, at this writing has them salivating for each new installment and declaring “I like de story bad!”

No doubt, there’s something compelling about the descriptive and gritty nature of her scene-making, and the emotional intensity of the male-female relationships that dominate her storytelling: from, in the case of Unexpected, losing your virginity to losing your first love.

“Xion laid there full of Joshua, and sobbed from the shame and the pleasure of what was happening” is about as mild as the construction and deconstruction of a young woman and her messy relationship gets. That the author rewards the reader with blissful eroticism – such as the urgent hallway scene in Unexpected wherein “she was grabbing at the air, the ledge and the wall in hopes of grabbing back her sanity and her senses” – is the flipside of that. The mechanics need work and Unexpected could have benefited from another rigorous spin in the editing cycle, but as a writer, Jarvis-George dares and bares, physically and emotionally, and in so doing hooks the reader.

“I don’t believe in censoring myself,” she told the Daily Observer. “I write it exactly as I think it or hope it to be or remember it…I’d like to think I make people blush a little or have to fan themselves when reading something I wrote.” In fact, so organic is the process, that she added, “I wish there was a program where I could speak the words and they would appear on the computer. Sometimes, I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head, that my mind is going faster than I can keep up and I get frustrated.” But between when she started and now, she’s learning, she said, the patience a writer must have to get to the good stuff. Having to juggle two kids, a husband and bill paying jobs will do that.

Asked what she understands better about writing now, she replied, “that once it’s authentic, comes from your heart and means something to you…you’ll touch or inspire someone.” Which begs the question many writers hate, how much of her writing, and Xion of Unexpected in particular, is autobiographical. “Eighty percent, some days 90 percent,” she replied with a laugh.

Of course, when you cut that close to the bone, you leave yourself a lot exposed, and if she feels any discomfort with what she writes it’s knowing that people close to her, her mom for instance, will be reading it. “My best friend’s mother read it,” related Jarvis-George, speaking of Unexpected, “and she loved it, but every time she saw me, she would shake her head and laugh…I guess my biggest fear was people getting the wrong impression of me.” Also when you mine your own experiences for your art, as many artists do, you also have to confront yourself in so doing. Reflecting on the parallels between her life and Xion’s toxic relationship, Jarvis-George said, “I did not want to go ‘there’ and remember anything about that part of my life…but I figured it would show any woman going through anything similar that sometimes an intense physical relationship could fool you into thinking it was love.” But going there is also freeing, as most artists also know. “It’s really very therapeutic,” said Jarvis-George, “and it helps me to get a lot of crap off my chest…you can do, say, or be whatever, even if you are really afraid to do it in real life.”

So far, she’s been blown away by how open people are to journeying with her as a writer. “When you do something like this, you hope for the best, but you never really know,” she said. “I love that it’s appreciated…I am encouraged. I just know I want to do better and write better and create something that people are eager to read and recommend.”

Jarvis-George writes most regularly these days at her bac2moi.wordpress.com blog. And while she’s not sitting on Oprah’s couch or living in that mansion yet, with her family unit and writing, which she describes as her second husband, she feels pretty blessed. “As long as you are actively pursuing your goal, then you’re living your best life,” she said. “Once you’re alive and you still yearn for it, go for it, no matter what age you are.”

Of course, Jarvis-George is still on the younger side of 35 which is why she was able to qualify for a National Youth Award. Having done so much already, imagine what she’ll do with the rest of it.

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, Fish Outta Water, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

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A & B Writings in Journals and Contests (A – M)

This page has grown fairly quickly, so I’m breaking it up in to two pages. For N – Z, go here. For books, go here. This is exclusively for creative pieces by Antiguans and Barbudans accepted to established literary journals, festivals (and other notable literary platforms), and contests (not pieces posted only to personal blogs) as I discover (and in some cases, re-discover) them. Primarily, the focus is on pieces accessible online (i.e. linkable) because those are easiest to find; but it is not limited to these. It is intended as a record of our publications and presentation of creative works beyond sole authored books. Naturally, I’ll miss some things. You can recommend (in fact, I welcome your recommendations), but, as with all areas of the site, additions/subtractions are at the discretion of the admin.

AIRALL, ZAHRAThe Looking Glass – in Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean – Complexities of Place, Desire and Belonging – 2012

Excerpt: “They’d met at a conference in Mexico, she was from Dominica, and Laurie was instantly drawn to that thick French accent when Marie spoke.”

ARRINDELL, BARBARAA LIFE, a spirit…a name – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

ARRINDELL, BARBARA – How Snake Stories became Anansi Stories – Womanspeak: A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 Womanspeak 7– 2013

ARMSTRONG, VEGALegend of the Sea Lords in Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

Excerpt: “Suddenly Freya dove under the water, the others quickly followed her. When they caught up with her they too saw the mysterious creature.”

BROWNE, BRENDA LEE – Granny Cecelia’s Travelling Handbag – Womanspeak: A Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women Volume 8 Womanspeak 8– 2016

BROWNE, BRENDA LEEexcerpt from London Rocks in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters – 2015

Excerpt: “Dante’s mother asks if he is getting married as he smells as sweet as a bride and he had been getting ready since about 5pm – well since midday when he went to the barbers for a trim and a shape.”

BROWNE, BRENDA LEEFor my Father & Untitled – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

BROWNE, BRENDA LEE – Betty Sope – Womanspeak: A Journal of Writing and Art by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Wee Willie Winkie – The Caribbean Writer Volume 29Caribbean Writer 29 – 2015

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Stabs in the Dark – Akashic’s Mondays are Murder series – 2014

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Strange Fruit – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – No Frills, No Lace in Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing – 2014

Excerpt: “The director’s walk was ceremonious not in haste, perhaps from years of practice. He carried one hand lying in the other at the back of his buttocks and he went along with his head bowed.”

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Coo Yah – in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters (online Virgin Islands journal)- 2014

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMICocks, Hens, Dogs and Swine – in St. Somewhere (online literary journal) – 2013

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMIThe Bird who saved his Food – in Anansesem (online Caribbean Children’s Literary Journal) – 2013

Excerpt: “Once upon a time an albatross got caught in a fisherman’s net that was spread out at sea.”

BROWNE-BANNISTER, TAMMI – Mango Belly and Mango Belly Part 2 – in Anansesem (online Caribbean Children’s Literary Journal) – 2011

Excerpt: “He ate each and every kidney, tantalizing his classmates with every suck, pick, slurp and lick. Their mouths watered and their eyes followed the golden juices that gushed down his hands.”

BUTLER, LORINDA T.Antigua Me Come From – in The Caribbean Writer, Volume 8 – 1994.

D’ORNELLAS, ANNALISA -Toes in the Sand – national contest selection (no word of announced publication) – 2009

Excerpt: “I was once a girl
that played on these shores.
I gathered the shells
in  bundles and scores.
I wore them on my neck
and strung some as bangles
I  noticed their twinkling
and delightful angles.”

EDWARDS, GEORGE W. (AS TOLD TO JOHN H. JOHNSON) – Folklore from Antigua, British West Indies – Journal of American Folklore Vol. 34 No. 131 pp. 40-88 – Jan – March, 1921

Excerpt (from Johnson’s introduction): “The stories, riddles, and proverbs given in this collection were recited by George W. Edwards, a native of Greenbay, Antigua, British West Indies…George Edwards is a man fifty years old. In giving the bulk of this material, he exhibited unusual memory-power. Aside from prompting, suggestions, and riddles Nos. 34, 39, 42, 45, and 47, he alone is responsible for the entire collection. He has lived in New York for the past ten years. His greatest aid in recalling the stories has been his wife, who is about thirty years of age and also a native of Greenbay, Antigua. She is the informant of the five riddles mentioned above.”

EDWARDS, GEORGE W. (AS TOLD TO JOHN H. JOHNSON)The Chosen Suitor from Folklore from Antigua, British West Indies, Journal of American Folklore Vol. 34 No. 131 as reproduced in Bluebeard (ed. D. L. Ashliman) – 1999 -2014

Excerpt: “Dere’s a woman had one daughter an one son. Dis boy coco-bay, boy, an’ he was an’ ol’ witch too.”

EDWARDS, SHAKEEMADiaspora & That Laugh – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

EVANSON, TANYA – Apocalypsiata – Womanspeak: A Journal of Art and Writing by Caribbean Women, Volume 7 – 2013

Excerpt: “Soon there’ll be nothing left to burn/books, beds, bodies on the Barbie”

EVANSON, TANYA – reading/performing at Calgary Spoken Word Festival – 2013.

EVANSON, TANYADervish Weaponry from the CD Memorists on Badilisha Poetry.

EVANSON, TANYA – reading/performing about “An-teee-ga”,  The Travels of No Travels and other pieces at the Calgary Spoken Word Festival.

Excerpt: “Let me tell you bout that place/in Caribbean/clear blue water/sand sat between your toes/in hot sun/and the people/my people/and not my people/Antigua”

GEORGE, LINISA – In the Closet – BBC Poetry Postcards series – 2014.

GEORGE, LINISA – Brown Girl in the Ring – performed during the CARA Festival, Antigua, 2009. Later published in the World Record (a publication of global artistes invited to perform at the 2012 Poetry Parnassus staged to coincide with the 2012 Olympics). Published (2014) in Tongues of the Ocean. Also featured, the Charlotte Caribbean Festival, and, 2015, in the Shakespeare festival in the Bahamas.

GONSALVES, GAYLEMiss Ellie – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

Excerpt: ‘Ellie points to England, a land that is far from the Caribbean Sea, and smiles at her daughter, “This is where it all started.”’

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.* Papa Jumbie – Akashic Books’ Duppy Thursday series – 2017

Excerpt: “… he choops to heself. Only picknee believe in jumbie. Dead na speak an’ Papa dead long time.”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.The Other Daughter – Adda (the Commonwealth Writers online literary magazine) – 2017

Excerpt: “The day we went uphill, my corn-rowed head level with Mom’s melon-sized chest, my inquiries about where we were going were met with silence and a determined tug on my arm as I dragged my feet.”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – The Bamboo Raft, Election Season, and Zombie Island – Interviewing the Caribbean – 2017

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Game Changer – Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters, Vol. 9 – 2016

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – When we Danced – The Caribbean Writer (also winner of the Caribbean Writer’s 2014 Flash Fiction Prize) – 2015

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Children Melee in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters – 2014

Excerpt: “Peanuts roasting
 Music pumping
 Obsti prancing about in pigtails”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Summer 1 – The Missing Slate – 2013 & Something Wicked – The Missing Slate – 2014

Excerpt: “Essie is flamboyant as ever; her full and curvy frame hugged up by a red bustier straight out of a burlesque show, black leather pants, and dangerously (sexy, she would say) red heels that still only bring her up to Claudette’s chin. Claudette is also in black, tall and svelte in a black strappy ankle-length maxi dress, black combat boots and a black beaded cloche hat someone like Louise Brooks might have worn during the jazz era; her red-red lip stick and the red beading in the fitted cap, the only pop of colour. Essie had given the whole get-up an eye roll when she’d picked her up. Claudette had done her own mental eye roll at the way her friend, enviably comfortable in her own skin, still doesn’t get the concept of size-appropriate clothing.”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.The Cat has Claws in Akashic Book’s Monday’s are Murder online noir series – 2013.

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.  – Caribbean Woman in The Columbia Review – 2013

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Teacher May – published in Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing – 2011

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Ghosts Lament – published at the SX Literary Salon – 2011.

Excerpt: “…as someone beats a pan; a skanking Marley jam…”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. The Arrival – published in Calabash – 2008.

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C.Prospero’s Education (on hearing George Lamming) – published in Calabash – 2008.

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Friday Night Fish Fry – published in Liberian journal Sea Breeze and read at the Breadloaf Writers Conference – 2008

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – Da’s Calypso – published in Calabash – 2008.

Excerpt: “He na min school pon
Shakespeare,
but he understan’ well
de ingenuity o’
wan pun,
weave imagery o’
everyday life
inna song –”

HILLHOUSE, JOANNE C. – reading excerpts from unpublished manuscript Closed for Repairs and poems Second Middle Passage and Apocalyptic Dance while a participant in the Caribbean Fiction Writers Summer Institute at the University of Miami – 1995.

Excerpt: “A sister pimping her soul
A baby with a gun in his hand
Love gone cold”

*Clearly, I’ll know all of my credits but I don’t want this page to be the Joanne show, so this is just a sample. Follow the links to read other published fiction and poetry by me. Some of it is also available in Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings.

ISAAC-GELLIZEAU, DOTSIE – Home – national contest selection (no word of announced publication) – 2009.

Excerpt:”Her soul and heart rejoiced
Upright and locked position”

JARVIS-GEORGE, TAMEKA Woman to Woman – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014

JARVIS-GEORGE, TAMEKA – Poem Ugly featured in film of the same name.

JARVIS-GEORGE, TAMEKA – Poem Dinner featured in film of the same name.

JOSEPH, CLIFTON – That Night in Tunisia  – performed in the documentary Dark Arts in the Plastic Hallway – 2009.

JOSEPH, CLIFTONI Remember Back Home & Slo Mo – performed at the Words Aloud 4 Spoken Word Festival in Canada – 2007.

Excerpt:
“It wasn’t all bright smiles, sea sand, sun and
fun

Back home had its share of oppression in the sun

Back home had its share of dreams burnt in the
sun”

LAKE, EDGAR O. – Little Richard’s Second Coming in Calabash – 2007.

Excerpt: ‘But, the Faithful wait for the King of Pommade, Tuti
The Monarch of Mascara, pre-Pink Floyd, Tuti-Fruti
He’s turned his back on Hollywood – protesting!
He’s the King of Rock-and-Roll – will take it back –
“This Little Light of Mine – Say What?”
The tired Daughters of the Carolinas toss their curls
Little Richard’s seen the fork in the road – and took it

Praise his name!’

LAKE, EDGAR O.Walcott Reads to Brodsky’s Godmother in Calabash – 2007.

LANGLEY, CHARLESBlack Woman Cry – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014.

MCDONALD, HILDA – Dawn and Evensong – KYK-OVER-AL No. 22: Anthology of West Indian Poetry, edited by A. J. Seymour (p. 47) – 1957.

MEDICA, HAZRA – The Greeting in Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing – 2012.

MEDICA, HAZRA Ode to a Night in Ale – finalist in the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest – 2010.

MEDICA, HAZRAThe Banana Stains – Highly Recommended in the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Short Story Contest – 2008/9.

Excerpt: “I see my father motioning for me to come to him. His face is grim- the inspector had not been kind to him. On the drive home I think of Mr. Massiah and his stained clothing. Mr. Massiah has calloused hands. His hands make me think of the banana trunk in my dream.”

MINGS, KIMOLISALittle Red Hoodie – Tongues of the Ocean – 2014.

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, Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad!, and With Grace). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, 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.

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Antiguan and Barbudan song writers

The cover of the Calypso Association 50th anniversary magazine on which I had the privilege of working as editor.

As with the playwrights and screenwriters, the listing of Calypso song writers may will take a good long while, building sloooowly over time as I gather information and as I find time to upload the information I already have. Part of the challenge is that while we know the names of the artistes, the writers often exist somewhere in the wings, out of the spotlight (sometimes deliberately so). Often, even today, there are no liner notes (a pet peeve of mine since well-written liner notes enhance the listening experience for me). So, more than any of my lists, this one promises to be a challenge. In a number of cases, I’m not 100% sure about the songwriting credits (so if anyone knows, for sure – i.e. with proof, please email wadadlipen@yahoo.com). I think Antigua and Barbuda has produced some classic calypsos (and noteworthy songs in other genres) and they dripped from somebody’s pen; and those guys and gals deserve a bit of the spotlight, wouldn’t you say?

Davidson ‘Bankers’ Benjamin – Bankers’ popular tracks include ‘Me D Ras’ and ‘Fire go bun Dem’ which won him the Antigua Calypso Monarch crown in 1996. He’s also popular for the songs he did with Dread and the Baldhead (‘Motorbike’, ‘Do You wanna rock some more’ etc.) in the 1990s and for songs like ‘Pulling Me’ on the Sweetest Mango [film] soundtrack.

Boasta (Tario Philip)Old Time Something (2015).

Muerah ‘Mighty Artist’ Bodie His calypsos are known for their double entendre (read: alternate lewd interpretation), earning the most humorous prize in competition a time or two. His songs include ‘Vitamins and Iron’, ‘Tarpan Tone Up’, ‘Woman Working Under Man’, ‘Me Ole Wife’, ‘Pot Hole’, ‘Business Dead’, ‘Clap You Tongue’, and others. He’s been singing since 1972.

Marcus Christopher– over 300 calypsos written: incuding several which won the Calypso Monarch competition like Short Shirt’s Carnival on the Moon (1969), Beatles MBE (1965), No Place Like Home (1964)  and Heritage (1964), Technical School (1971), Black Like Me (1971); Zemakai’s Tribute to Radio Antigua and Fidel Castro (1961); King Canary’s Gem of the Caribbean and Slapping Hands (1960) and Island People Names and Immigration Bill (1962). Also many that while not winners are memorable, such as Short Shirt’s Parasites (1963) and Anguilla Crisis (1969) and Sleepy’s Under the Carpet. Christopher died in 2015.

Toriano ‘Onyan’ Edwards – One fourth of the original groundbreaking Antiguan jam/soca band Burning Flames and later a solo act and four time calypso monarch (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000); Onyan has attracted controversy for lyrics deemed offensive by some (I for instance wrote an article critical of 2012’s Kick een she back doh – loved by fans who assured it the road march win, and decried by women’s groups) and not for the first time; anyone remember such classics as Man fu Whorehouse and Baby Food off the Baby Food album? But with songs like Crazy Man, Old Fire Stick, Life in the Ghetto, Nice and Slow and even the named controversial songs he remains  a crowd favourite and road march winner.

Mclean ‘Short Shirt’ Emmanuel – The Calypso Hall of Famer is celebrated as The Monarch (subject of the documentary film The Making of the Monarch  and of the book Nobody Go Run Me – long-listed for the 2015 Bocas prize) as the 15 time Calypso Monarch (’64, ’65, ’66, ’69, ’70, ’72, ’74, ’75, ’76, ’79, ’80, ’86, ’87, ’88, ’92) of Antigua and Barbuda; in addition to being a multiple title holder in both the Road March and Caribbean Calypso King categories. Check out this article on his 1976 album, Feeling the Ghetto Vibes. Also scroll down for the Shelly Tobitt entry.

Fd – The official pseudonym of a songwriter who provided evidence of his contribution to Antiguan calypso (as I hope other songwriters will do so that I can continue to build this data base). Those contributions include social commentaries  –  ‘True Antiguan’ (2011), ‘Forward Together’, ‘Share The Honey’ (1992), ‘Heaven Help Mankind’ (1993), ‘How Could I Sit Back’, ‘Tell The Truth’; and party tunes – ‘Push Back You Bam Bam/Jennifer’ (1987), ‘Taste The Honey/Taste It’ (2011), ‘After Midnight’ (1983), ‘Get It Up’, ‘Champion’ (1987) & ‘Angela’ (1987) – all performed by King Short Shirt. Other Fd songs: The Party, Give me a Beer, Rolling Back, That’s How I Like It’, ‘Wire Waist’, ‘Stay out of Politics’, ’25 Years’, ‘Good Advice’, ‘Love Me Up’, ‘Shake de Booty’, ‘Push Wood’, ‘Selfish Man’ (1983), and ‘Rub Your Body (1983)’.

Stanley Humphreys – a frequent Short Shirt collaborator beginning with 1980s Summer Festival album, continuing wtih 1981’s Dance with Me Album including songs like Nationalism and We have got to Change, and ongoing; also in 1981 Pledge (as confirmed by the artiste himself).

Joseph ‘Calypso Joe’ Hunte – His classic “Bum Bum” became, in 1970, the first homegrown winner of the Antigua and Barbuda calypso road march title. Other well known tracks composed and (I believe) written by Joe include: 1971’s ‘Educate the Youths’ and ‘Recorded in History’ with which he won the Calypso Monarch crown;   ‘War’, ‘A Nation to Build, A Country to Mould’, and 1972’s ‘Life of a Negro Boy’.

Tameka Jarvis-George is a novelist and poet who continues to cross boundaries by mixing genres such as when she converted her poem Dinner into a short film of the same name. Her lyrics for Naki’s Talking in Tongues on the Tin Pan Riddim is another example.


Oglivier ‘Destroyer’ Jacobs  has written for both himself and his son Leston ‘Young Destroyer’ Jacobs. Destroyer Sr. has never won the crown, though he came close in 1971 and 1989 winning the first runner-up spot. His written songs include 1967’s ‘Bring Back the Cat-o-Nine’, 1989’s ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Message from Gorkie’, ‘Back of de Bus’ (sung by his son and winner of best social commentary in 2006),

Accepting a National Vibes Star Project Award

‘Woodpecker Sarah’, ‘Jail Cart’, ‘Country Running Good’, ‘All Fool’s Day’, ‘Beg Georgie Pardon’, ‘Ah Wha Me Do You’, ‘Can’t Smile ‘Bout That’, ‘Ah Wonder Who Do Dis’, and many others.

King Zacari

Trevor ‘King Zacari’ King  (pictured above, performing)- The 1991 and 2001 monarch began writing for juniors in the early 1990s (e.g. The Zulu Will Rise Again performed by Pepperseed) before entering the arena with his own tracks among which can be counted Black Rights, Guilty of Being Black, Fine Ants (2001), Guilty as Charged etc.

Logiq (Vincent Pryce) – A rapper whose discography includes tracks like Sometimes, Intimidation, and All 4 Love.

Menace (Dennis Roberts)Old Time Something and Sand to the Beach (2015).

Kobla ‘Promise No Promises’ Mentor – This Guyana born singer-songwriter broke through in Antigua with his behind the scenes contributions (as co-writer) on the 2003 Wanski hit (More Gyal) before claiming the so/calypso spotlight the following year with hits like Can’t Stop My Carnival and Pon de Move; 2010’s Do Good,  2011’s Her Drums , and 2014’s Draw we out are among his more recent offerings.

Lesroy Merchant – His songwriting is referenced in this obituary/tribute but details of the specific songs remain elusive. RIP. ETA: “Lesie wrote mainly for Franco, as a matter of fact, it was Lesie who introduced me to Franco and tried to get me to write songs for him. I was very busy at that time hence Lesie wrote the songs for Franco and many times he would have me look at them and asked for my input. May he rest in peace.” – William Shelly Tobitt in the comments below the post ‘Press On’

Justin ‘JusBus’ Nation – He’s written and produced songs and remixes for many artistes including himself with his 2015 J. Nation CD (Vertigo, Hard Work, Sometimes I, Blasting Away etc.)

Dorbrene O’Marde – song listing requested. Dorbrene is also the publisher of Calypso Talk magazine and the author of the Short Shirt biography Nobody Go Run Me.

The Mighty Bottle (Percival Watts) – Fungi, Dive Dung Low, 10 Bag a Sugar.

Rupert ‘Littleman’ Pelle – Song listing requested but it is well known that he has been a prolific writer for artists like Lady Challenger (pictured).

Swallow

Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo – ‘Raphael Trujillo‘ (1961), Party in Space, Man to Man, Dawn of a New Day, We Marching, Subway Jam, One Hope One Love One Destiny, Don’t Stop this Party, Fire in De Backseat, and more as chronicled here. With Short Shirt and Obstinate, he is considered one of the big three of Antiguan calypso and a legend in his own right.

Quarkoo

Quarkoo, circa 1942. (Museum of Antigua and Barbuda archival photo)

“The dominant form of popular music in Antigua [up to arouund 1950] was ‘Benna’. The main proponent at the time was a strolling minstrel John ‘Quarkoo’ Thomas.” – P. 20, King Short Shirt: Nobody Go Run Me by Dorbrene O’Marde. Listed among his songs – Maude Smell Donkey and 1924’s Man Mongoose, dog know your ways; 1943’s Yes, it is more than tongue can tell…

Sir Prince Ramsey is a family physician by profession, an HIV/AIDS activist by choosing, a calypso lyricist and producer by calling. He has produced more than 45 calypso albums and written over 100 songs since 1979 for artistes like King Obstinate, Rupert ‘Baba’ Blaize (‘In Antigua’), Onyan (‘Stand up for Antigua’ – 1998 Calypso Monarch winner), De Bear (‘My Allegiance’ – 2003 Calypso crown winner; and ‘Man is Nothing but Dust’ – 2007 Leeward Islands calypso competition winner), Zero (‘Protect Yourself’ – 2002 Calypso Monarch winner), De Empress (‘We don’t want it here’ and ‘Power of a Woman’ – 2000 Queen of Calypso crown winner), Blade (‘The Brink’ – 2008 Carnival Development Committee winner for best writer and best calypso), and others (about 50 artistes in all).

Paul ‘King Obstinate’ Richards – The Undefeated is the creator of such classic gems as 1980’s Believe, Children Melee, Always come back to You, Antigua’s True Heroes, Got a little Something  for  You, Coming down to Talk to You (1982), Hungry, Shiny Eyes, Who kill me Sister? (1985), I already Talk to you (1992), All of Self (1993), Ready to Go (1996), as well as Wet You Hand, Gold Rush, and Is Love a Love You.

King Obstinate

Shelly Tobitt – Arguably Antigua and Barbuda’s best songwriter in the calypso arena, especially at his height in the 1970s during his winning partnership with the country’s most lauded calypso icon The Monarch King Short Shirt. It’s important to define Shelly’s partnership with his cousin and frequent collaborator Short Shirt. “Shelly wrote, virtually everything. He also provided ‘base’ melodies. Short Shirt either fine-tuned the melodies or created new ones based on his singing abilities or his own melodic instincts and he helped shape musical arrangements. He also provided a grounding of Shelly’s lyrics. Shelly was the poet, prone to flights of fancy and fantasy. Short Shirt pulled him back, opting for the ghetto slang or the dialect expression in phrase or sentence.” – p. 81 – 82, Nobody Go Run Me by Dorbrene O’Marde. Among the songs they did together are Lamentation in 1973, Lucinda in 1974, Carnival ’76, Inspite of All, When, Tourist Leggo, Nobody Go Run Me (in fact the whole 1976 Ghetto Vibes album), Rock and Prance in 1977, Jammin and Gently on my Mind in 1978,  Press on the title track for an album that included songs like Viva Grenada  and What You Going to do in 1979, and HIV/AIDS and Fyah in 1988. Tobitt’s discography in progress, also, includes:  Latumba’s Culture Must be Free and Liberate Your Mind in 1979, Chalice’s Show Me Your Motion (1981), King Progress’ You getting it  (1984), Figgy’s Look what they’ve done to my song (1998), Benna (2011). ETA: “I am the writer and arranger of my works and provide everything needed to realize a complete production. Back then, before I could write the musical parts for the musicians I needed an arranger to do so, but it was my arrangements that they wrote. I sat with and instructed every arranger I worked with how I wanted the songs, and what rifts and motifs to write.” – William Shelly Tobitt in the comments section below the post ‘Press On’

Cuthbert ‘Best’ Williams

Cuthbert ‘Best’ Williams with Queen Ivena

has written winning tunes for Antiguan monarchs Smarty Jr. (who won the crown in 1993, 1994, 1995 with ‘Never Again’, ‘Role of the Calypsonians’, ‘What Black Power Means’, ‘Cry for Change’, ‘Draw the Line’ and ‘Follow the Leader’) and Ivena (who won the monarch crown 2003, 2004, 2005 with ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’, ‘Ivena’s Agenda’, ‘After Lester’, ‘Reparation for Africa’, ‘What Did Castro Say’, and ‘Don’t Pressure Me’; and the  Queen of Calypso crown in 2001 – 2005 with ‘Old Road Fight’, ‘Save Ms. Calypso’, ‘I’m Angry’, ‘Remember the Pledg’e, and the other named songs).

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, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, 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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Melissa G Wins/Tameka J Debuts

Okay, I’m a little late with this one. But bear with me; a lot of artistic Antiguans out there doing their thing and I just trying to keep up. This time I turn the spotlight again on Melissa Gomez.

Her first feature length documentary Silent Music won the Audience Choice Award at the Toronto Deaf International Film & Arts Festival in May. It had its US debut shortly after, in fact earlier this month, with a screening at the DC Caribbean Film Festival in Maryland.

Go on, Melissa!

And you, reader, go here to read my October 2012 exclusive Wadadli Pen interview with Melissa. And here and here for my previous coverage of the film’s movements on the festival circuit.

Now for a little six-or-less degrees of separation trivia. Melissa’s partner in work and life is Christopher Hodge, the director of Dinner, written by Tameka Jarvis-George who is mentioned all over this site as songwriter, poet, screenplay writer, actress, model, novelist…and now we can add fashion designer after she debuted her GenX 724 line at Caribbean Fashion Week. What first time designer debuts at the biggest fashion showcase in the region? Tameka J that’s who.

Go on, Tameka!

Read about Tameka’s adventures in Jamaica and the dreaming and daring it took to get there on her blog.

Ent ah tell you artistic Antiguans out there doing their thing and ah jus’ tryin’ to keep up?

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