Speaking in Tongues

Tongues of the Ocean is an online Caribbean literary platform originating in the Bahamas under the stewardship of managing editor Nicolette Bethel. The current issue is guest edited by me and features literature and art from and about Antigua and Barbuda. I hope you’ll check it out. Here are some excerpts…it will be updated at a pace of about two new additions per week until the entire issue is live. Be sure to let the creators know what you think about their work. Thanks.

summer one

As I posted on social media about this piece, art inspires art. I remember writing my poem ‘One’ (published in the She Sex anthology out of Trinidad) in response to a painting by Glenroy Aaron. I told him how his painting had inspired me when I sent him my poem ‘Summer 1’ (which had been published in The Missing Slate) simply because I was curious to see what it would look like visually and *hint hint* hoped it would inspire him. Aaron readily embraced the spirit of what I was suggesting, and captured the vibe of the poem without re-creating it in a literal sense. ‘Summer 1’ (the poem) will be republished in this special Antigua and Barbuda edition of the Tongues of the Ocean. Summer One by Glenroy Aaron is the cover image for the issue.

“I think that artists are essential catalysts of change; we have the power to raise consciousness, stimulate debate and promote change.” – Heather Doram during the roundtable discussion of Antiguan and Barbudan artists – this roundtable also includes Mark Brown, Emile Hill, and Glenroy Aaron, with art work by Aaron, Hill, Doram, and X-Saphair King.

“Near twenty years ago, my delight upon recognizing an intimate self in Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John was equal to my delight a few years prior when I re-discovered the Antiguan kaisonian, after years of a staple diet of Trinidadian kaisos. These two moments have plotted my trajectory to this current moment in which I am fresh from defending a doctoral thesis that intervened into the traditional obscuration of Antiguan and other ‘small-island’ narratives.” – Dr. Hazra Medica in an essay entitled Discretely Antiguan and Distinctly Caribbean

Here’s my introduction to the issue. Still to come, poetry, fiction, and art by… me, more from Aaron, King and Doram, also Marcus Christopher, Dorbrene O’Marde, Brenda Lee Browne, Gayle Gonsalves, Barbara Arrindell, Kimolisa Mings, Tameka Jarvis-George, Charles Langley, Tammi Browne-Bannister, Linisa George, and past Wadadli Pen finalists Shakeema Edwards, Devra Thomas, Rosalie Richards, Vega Armstrong, and Zion Ebony Williams – a WP selection, by the way, which spans  the singled-out submission of our youngest contributor to date to new writing by our oldest winner to date. As satisfied as I am with the issue, I am especially pleased with the present and past Wadadli Pen voices in the mix because that feels like Wadadli Pen has played a part, however small, in developing new literary voices out of Antigua and Barbuda. We are here – Arwe Yah!

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