From the Archives

I’ve recently taken on an editing project that will see me bringing together creative works by Antiguans and Barbudans into a single collection – in this case an online collection. I say “in this case”, because I’ve done this once before. The year was 2007 and the collection was actually a Daily Observer supplement to mark the 50th anniversary of Antigua’s Carnival.

cover image - Spirit of Carnival by Heather Doram.

cover image – Spirit of Carnival by Heather Doram.

It’s one of my favourite projects and one of the publications I’ve been involved with that when I hold it in my hand, makes me smile.

Okay, so what're you looking at here....top left, the tail end of an excerpt from Marie Elena John's Unburnable, bottom left-left Jennifer Meranto's Carnival Mask, and bottom left-right Floree Williams' The Pulse. Right page Bum Bum lyrics Calypso Joe, to the right of that Jan Farara's Rhythm at Sunset and an excerpt from Akilah Jardine's Living Life the Way I Love it...and peeking in at the bottom...an Epicurean fine foods ad.

Okay, so what’re you looking at here….top left, the tail end of an excerpt from Marie Elena John’s Unburnable, bottom left-left Jennifer Meranto’s Carnival Mask, and bottom left-right Floree Williams’ The Pulse. Right page Bum Bum lyrics Calypso Joe, to the right of that Jan Farara’s Rhythm at Sunset and an excerpt from Akilah Jardine’s Living Life the Way I Love it…and peeking in at the bottom…an Epicurean fine foods ad.

My only disappointment (apart from the fact that I wish it would have been possible to do it without advertisements in between – but art needs ccommerce, so I got over that) is not a lot of people got to see it or were even aware of it, I think, and that’s a shame because it really does bring together some of our best artists and writers…especially around such a celebratory theme. I hope this new project I’ve been invited to work on is as much fun, though I know it will bring its own challenges…and, as it will be online, I anticipate that more people will get to see and read it.

Now about that Carnival 50 collection, Carnival is All We Know (riffing on the CP song ‘All I Know’) one of my favourite things is the imagery…from the cover image, Spirit of Carnival, by Heather Doram to Carol Gordon’s Ancestral Call

Ancestral Call by Carol Gordon.

Ancestral Call by Carol Gordon.

to Mark Brown’s Jumbie

Jumbie by Mark Brown

Jumbie by Mark Brown

to the various sketches and final pieces in the section showcasing the art of pageantry and mas featuring the likes of Doram, Sharon Barton, Colin ‘Wanga’ Martin, Calvin S

Left to right are Heather D's Lady in Red, Genesis, Caricom Woman and Spirit of Africa (sketch and final),  and Sharon Barton's Wild Orchid and Evolution gowns (sketch and final version).

Left to right are Heather D’s Lady in Red, Genesis, Caricom Woman and Spirit of Africa (sketch and final), and Sharon Barton’s Wild Orchid and Evolution gowns (sketch and final version).

….to the Artist’s Monarch

The Monarch King Short Shirt - a very life like painting by the Mighty Artist, calypsonian and painter...the words around are from a Berni Isaac interview with Shelly Tobitt, one of the Monarch's greatest singer-writer partnerships.

The Monarch King Short Shirt – a very life like painting by the Mighty Artist, calypsonian and painter…the words around are from a Berni Isaac interview with Shelly Tobitt, one of the Monarch’s greatest singer-writer partnerships.

to Jan Farara’s Rhythm at Sunset to Jennifer Meranto’s Carnival Mask (which, with thanks to her, has been hanging on my wall since) …and others…I only wish some of the art work could have been better displayed (some of it is too squeeze-up-squeeze-up for my taste) but we only had so many pages and even with cuts the only way to fit all of them, plus advertising, I guess, was to change the perspective. I would have preferred we do more with less. But enough about what I didn’t like.

I like that it includes published pieces by folks who, up to that time at least, hadn’t published all that often or were reticent about publishing or new to publishing…makes it feel special…it has the haunting narrative poem Sandra’s Request by Brenda Lee Browne, Arthur Bum Jardine (excerpts from this then forthcoming, not sure if it’s been published yet, memoir My Travels with Brute Force),

The page on the left is all Bum (sidebar: I have to thank Edgar O. Lake, also featured in the collection, for that link-up)... and on the right you can just see the late E T Henry's Christmas String Band painting.

The page on the left is all Bum (sidebar: I have to thank Edgar O. Lake, also featured in the collection, for that link-up)… and on the right you can just see the late E T Henry’s Christmas String Band painting.

Floree Williams’ The Pulse and Tameka Jarvis-George (After the Dance) among others.

Tameka's story is about a mother and daughter, Neeka and Ayana, and the Debbie Eckert painting complementing it is of a mother and daughter Lornette and Oriane. Off to the right, you can glimpse sketches from Dance of the Masks, the Errol Bumpy Nanton designs from Dynamics' 2001 presentation.

Tameka’s story is about a mother and daughter, Neeka and Ayana, and the Debbie Eckert painting complementing it is of a mother and daughter Lornette and Oriane. Off to the right, you can glimpse sketches from Dance of the Masks, the Errol Bumpy Nanton designs from Dynamics’ 2001 presentation.

I like that it also has essential voices like Leonard Tim Hector (an excerpt from the late writer-publisher-activist’s Fan the Flame), D. Gisele Isaac (among other things, an excerpt from her yet unpublished novel tentatively entitled In Search of a Road), Selvyn Walter (excerpted from his Bank Alley Tales), Marie Elena John (excerpt from Unburnable), and Althea Prince (excerpt from Ladies of the Night)

How you panty get wet? was the Ladies of the Night story included in Carnival is All We Know along with this Mark Brown painting (Queen of the Band)...across from that you'll see a mix of Vitus designs by Bernard Richardson and Heather Doram.

How you panty get wet? was the Ladies of the Night story included in Carnival is All We Know along with this Mark Brown painting (Queen of the Band)…across from that you’ll see a mix of Vitus designs by Bernard Richardson and Heather Doram.

…and amidst all that excerpting the first ever published anywhere excerpt from my since published novel Oh Gad!

gad

I like that it includes calypso and soca lyrics by the likes of Destroyer, Calypso Joe, and Marcus Christopher, and lyrics and an interview (or re-print of an interview) with Shelly Tobitt.

All told there were about 45 contributors and each of those contributions had to be cleared with the copyright holder ahead of use…it was a long and not always successful process….yep, some I just had to let go, but I’m happy that I was able to bring so many of them together and thank them for trusting me with their work.

Marie Kinsella's The Joy of Pan.

Marie Kinsella’s The Joy of Pan.

Fingers crossed I can do it again.

Re that other collection, email me for details if you’re an Antiguan and Barbudan writer and are thinking of submitting.

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