It almost didn’t happen, twice…but this time I made it to the St. Martin’s Book Fair. I’m glad I did. Overall – between the radio appearance (right as I came off the plane!)… missing most of the opening (pout) but getting there in time to here some of The Adulterous Citizen: poems stories essays author Tishani Doshi’s treatise on the power of words
“We become strong by our words even though in life we may be sick or weak. We become gods by the worlds our words create. We do not write for a void, we write for an audience and the words we use must land somewhere and we must make them sharp and fresh so they can find new countries,” she said. “Words can change the truth, change reality, and can be a kind of power, a resistance. What we lose we find in words again.” – from the Daily Herald
….reading Musical Youth to students at Hillside Christian School
… the epic reading by more authors than I can count on two hands, panel, and the sweet post event night out to down time spent with a front row view of the sea from my balcony at Divi Little Bay, looking back I have good memories. The folks couldn’t have been nicer (from organizers Shujah and Lasana Sekou to the numerous youth volunteers who were especially EXCELLENT) and running into some of the writers I’d met just the week before at the Anguilla Lit Fest, it kind of felt like being among friends. Made some new friends too, or rather connected with some writers I’d only known virtually or on the page. Meeting people in person you’ve only known online is odd. You’re strangers and yet you know each other better than strangers have a right to. But what you know isn’t personal, more a projection of ideas, perspectives, a sense of how this person thinks about this or that. Kind of like meeting your favourite writer. And if the person you’re meeting in person is actually a writer you enjoy or admire, odder still. Literary festivals are such meeting grounds. So, shout out to Oonya Kempadoo (author of Buxton Spice (Bluestreak)) -– I kind of gushed a bit when I met Kempadoo, singing my praises of Buxton Spice. But we got past my fangirling…I think, Vladimir Lucien (author of Sounding Ground), Dr. Rhoda Arrindell (author of Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin), everybody.
Congrats to Bankie Banx on winning the president’s award and thanks for the music.
One of the ways I’ll say thank you to the organizers of the St. Martin Book Fair is by sharing information on some of the books coming out of event co-organizer House of Nehesi publishers that, thanks to them, I now have in my possession. This is both a blessing and a curse – a blessing because I love to read; a curse because of the sheer volume of books already on my book shelf unread and the many more books on my wish list of books to-read. It’s a good problem to have though. Chances are, you’ll get to some of these before me (well, except for Lasana M. Sekou’s The Salt Reaper – Selected Poems From the Flats CD…listened to that a few times yesterday – on first listen hearing only the music, on second listen and ever thereafter being shifted by the words); be sure to share your thoughts when you do.
Author: Ellsworth McGranahan “Shake” Keane was born on May 30, 1927, in St. Vincent, Caribbean. He was taught to play the trumpet by his father, Charles (who died when Keane was 13). His first public recital was at age 6 and at age 14, he became a band leader. Keane travelled to England in 1952, to study literature at London University. He did not complete his studies but remained committed to writing and applying a “sharp innovative intelligence” to playing music–mambo, kaiso, highlife, and “free form” jazz. His seminal writing shows early signs of the jazz inflections that would influence Caribbean freestyle and dub poetry decades later. In 1972, he recited his poetry at the first Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA) in Guyana. In 1979, Keane won the Casa De Las Americas prize for poetry for his collection One A Week With Water. One of the innovative fathers of Caribbean literature, Keane’s other titles are L’Oubli (1950), Ixion (1952), and The Volcano State – a series of five poems (1979). In 1981, Keane, “musical chameleon,” poetic iconoclast of “all kinds of ‘sacred cows,’” emigrated to the USA. The Angel Horn – Shake Keane (1922 – 1997) Collected Poems, an anthology of six unpublished manuscripts, is the fifth and most comprehensive book of Shake Keane’s poetic range and vision from the late 1940s to his last poem written in 1997. In 2003, Shake Keane, poet, musician, educator, raconteur, “the grand egalitarian,” was honored by his country with the unveiling of a life-size bust at the Peace Memorial Hall in Kingstown.
Author: George Lamming is an illustrious Caribbean novelist and cultural critic from Barbados. His novels and volumes of essays and literary criticism offer insightful analyses on history, western philosophy, racism, colonization, education, literature and Caribbean independence. The Lamming titles include In the Castle of My Skin (Ann Arbor Paperbacks), Natives of My Person, Of Age and Innocence, Season of Adventure, The Emigrants (Ann Arbor Paperbacks), Water with berries, and Conversations II – Western Education & the Caribbean Intellectual. The award winning author is the editor of Cannon Shot and Glass Beads (Picador Books), and co-editor of the Barbados and Guyana independent issues of New World Quarterly. George Lamming is a distinguished visiting professor at Brown University.
Author: Lasana M. Sekou (1959) was born in San Nicolas, Aruba, and raised in St. Martin. He is the author of many books of poetry, monologues, and short stories. His poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Callaloo, The Caribbean Writer, Anales del Caribe, The Massachusetts Review, De Gids, Revue Noire, Das Gedicht, Calabash, Prometeo, and Chicken Bones. His poems have been translated into Spanish, Dutch, French, German, and Chinese. Some of his works are Nativity & Dramatic Monologues for Today(1988), Quimbé: Poetics of sound(1991), Brotherhood of The Spurs(1997), Big Up St. Martin: Essay & Poem – Colony, Territory, or Partner? (essay), The Cubs are in the Field (long poem)(1999), The Salt Reaper: Poems from The Flats(2004, 2005), and 37 Poems(2005).
I don’t have this one, just the book cover, but it’s definitely an intriguing cover…
Author: Amiri Baraka is the author of some 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism. He is a revolutionary thinker and an indomitable political activist whose activism has taken him from Black Nationalist to Marxism-Leninism – without ever turning his literature into dogma or being an apologist for any movement or ideology. Baraka is probably best known as the father of the Black Arts Movement, founded in Harlem in the 1960s, and for his signature study on African-American music, Blues People (1963) and the play Dutchman (1963). He has taught at Yale University, Columbia University, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The Essence of Reparations is Baraka’s first collection of essays radically exploring what it is to become twenty-first century watershed movement of Black peoples around the world to the interrelated issues of colonialism, self-determination, national and human liberation and sovereignty, which he has long been addressing creatively and critically. It is said that Baraka is committed to social justice like no other American writer. Awards and honors include an Obie, the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts grants, Professor Emeritus at the State university of New York at Stony Brook, and the Poet Laureate of New Jersey.