Antigua and Barbuda in Verse

I just responded to a request for a poem about Antigua and Barbuda – I get requests like that from time to time, on account of being a writer and, possibly, on account of my voluntary work with the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, which suggests that I’ve got some kind of finger on the pulse of what’s happening literarily in Wadadli. Not sure about that but I do do my best to catalogue our writings which allows me to be able to pass along not only a link to my poems, but to some of the other Antiguan and Barbudans who’ve published or presented verse (and non-verse) on industry platforms.

Having spent some time doing that, I thought I’d share it with you here so that you can discover these writers as well. The list is broken down alphabetically A – M and N – Z.

with Althea Romeo Mark and Brenda Lee Browne
(Three Antiguan and Barbudan poets/writers meeting up – Brenda Lee Browne, Althea Romeo Mark, and Joanne C. Hillhouse)

You’ll find on those lists publications like Althea Romeo-Marks Neighbour’s in the Wood Shack, Desiree’s Revenge, Flawless, Play-Mamas, and A Kind of Refuge/Living in Limbo in Womanspeak, 2013; Burdened in KRITYA Poetry Journal, 2012; Revolution and Reggae in Calabash, 2007 … what can I say, the Switzerland based writer has written and published a lot and not frivolous sh*t either. Check it out.

“Bokrah man
lashing whip ‘pon back.
Nager man
lashing whip ‘pon back
when slavery
done gone long time.”

You’ll also find Charlene Spencer’s Stranger from 2014’s The Caribbean Writer, Brenda Lee Browne’s Granny Cecelia’s Travelling Handbag from 2016’s Womanspeak, Tammi Browne-Bannister’s Wee Willie Winkle from 2015’s The Caribbean Writer and Coo Yah from 2014’s Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters. Shout out to Tammi.

“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.”

Peep also a discovery, George W. Edwards’ Folklore from Antigua and Barbuda, circa 1921, and finds like Shakeema Edwards, someone who came through the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Challenge and published Diaspora and That Laugh in 2014’s Tongues of the Ocean, which I had the opportunity to edit.

You have warriors like Linisa George whose In the Closet was part of BBC’s Poetry Postcards series in 2014, Clifton Joseph’s I remember Back Home and Slo Mo at Words Aloud in 2007, Edgar Lake’s Walcott Reads to Brodsky’s Godmother in 2007’s Calabash, to Kimolisa Mings turning the fairytale on its head with Little Red Hoodie in 2014’s Tongues of the Ocean.

I’m listed, too; from 2004’s Rhythms and Ah Write! in The Caribbean Writer to 2011’s At Sea in Munyori to 2016’s Game Changer in Moko, and others.

“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.”

Click the links in this post, if so inclined, and read a bit of Antigua and Barbuda in verse. Oh and remember to vote for the Wadadli Pen Readers Choice Book of the Year #readAntiguaBarbuda #voteAntiguaBarbuda


New on the Blog

ParadiseThe latest Blogger on Books update (Take Time for Paradise) is less a review, actually a throwback review, and more a memory with my niece whom I used to let practice her reading by reading aloud to me in the car…and apparently while watching cricket.

The previous review, also a throwback review, because reading-what-reading, is archived here.



Rick as Cotton on Dr WhoThe latest CREATIVE SPACE, CREATIVE SPACE 12, spotlights the art of the recently departed George Rick James. Here’s an excerpt:

Theatre on the Road and on the Stage: Rick James

With the passing of playwright, actor, and mas builder George ‘Rick’ James this September, I find myself moved to reflect on his contribution to the creative arts – as much has and will be said about his contribution to electoral reform and transparency through his Free and Fair Election League. Also on the need for us to archive our arts. And publish our plays! A question on my mind is what will become of his papers (i.e. his plays and any creative side work). Such items, depending on the artist’s impact, have been donated to or acquired by libraries, educational institutions, archives, governments (see the Caribbean Literary Heritage Project for more on the archiving of artists papers). In Antigua and Barbuda, though, who knows? So consider this, CREATIVE SPACE’s first obituary, a recording of sorts.

Read the whole thing.

The previous CREATIVE SPACE, CREATIVE SPACE 11, Musical Harmony, can now be found here.

The CREATIVE SPACE series remains an opportunity for businesses in Antigua and Barbuda to boost their brand while boosting local art and culture.

  1.  Sponsored posts – Your logo or other company image featured prominently on the post you’re sponsoring (your sponsorship supporting coverage of Antiguan and Barbudan arts and culture) with a link back to your web page or social media (your brand linked to that post as it’s syndicated on Antigua Nice, promoted on social media, and archived here on the Jhohadli site). For a fee.
  2. Brand partnership – for companies that have a creative/cultural product they want me to sample and/or cover and/or participate in, and write about. For a fee. I decide if the product is a good fit for the series and I retain editorial control of the content (I’ll be honest and fair).

October 2018

The Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series continues. New sessions begin in October as soon as the sessions started in September wrap. We’re going BACK TO BASICS.

Lost! first copies

Finally,  Lost! the Caribbean Sea Adventure and I will be in Miami in November for the Miami Book Fair. Details of that appearance here.


Haven’t checked out any of my books yet? Children’s picture book to teen/young adult fic to adult novels? Read more. If you’ve read any of my books, please consider posting a review to amazon, goodreads, or other online space if you haven’t already done so. It makes a big difference. Keep in mind…

help writers.jpgThanks!


One more thing. Here’s a link re my services as writer, editor, writing coach, and course/workshop facilitator if you should ever need them.

Creative Space #7 of 2018 – Carnival


The Carnival schedule was the jump-off for this update to the CREATIVE SPACE series. The series is me jumping back in to something I’ve enjoyed doing over my many years as a journalist covering (reporting, providing commentary on – sometimes both), among other things, local art and culture across various media – TV, print, and online – but this time using my own platform (oh, look, I have one of those). To reach a bigger audience, I syndicate the series – so far to Antigua Nice. To enable me to continue doing the series, I am inviting local (Antiguan and Barbudan) businesses (and businesses with interest in Antigua and Barbuda) to sponsor a post, or two, or three…in the series. Boosting their Brand while boosting local art and culture.

Go back and read the posts about Playing to Inspire, the launches of Lovers Rock and Plantations of Antigua: the Sweet Success of Sugar, Tennis Antigua’s Labour Day tournamentopen mic, Barbuda’s Homecoming, and, of course, Carnival!

If you like the series share it, if you want to sponsor a post (and why wouldn’t you!), contact me.

New CREATIVE SPACE – Barbuda Homecoming

This post is about the latest update to my CREATIVE SPACE series. Non-Antiguans and Barbudans you are invited to read these too (I hope you do), but the primary audience is Antigua and Barbuda and our diaspora as it focuses specifically on things Antiguan and Barbudan (specifically our art and culture, interpreted fairly broadly) and Antiguan and Barbudan businesses (and businesses who see Antigua and Barbuda as part of their market) which I am inviting to sponsor future posts (BOOSTING your BRAND while boosting local art and culture) – wha yuh say? Contact me to find out more.

Since this series started several weeks ago, I’ve covered two book launches, a tennis tournament, an open mic, a symphony concert (starring Shaku Kanneh-Mason, the cellist who recently played at the Royal Wedding), and I’ve lined up other activities/events I’m interested in covering and received invitations to cover other activities/events. I look forward to doing it. This is dependent on the series being able to pay for itself, using as a model sponsored posts (the sponsors logo with a link to their website is advertised on the post they sponsor and acknowledged when the post is syndicated). Syndication simply means that the series posts are shared on other platforms – so far Antigua Nice which is one of Antigua and Barbuda’s oldest and largest online platforms, a hub especially for tourism (meaning that content is reaching locals and non-locals far and wide). Contact me to find out more.

This latest edition of CREATIVE SPACE – number 6 – is about the Barbuda Reunion coming up this summer.


‘Few things have been as heartbreaking as Barbuda this past year. Heartbreak born of nature’s fury by way of September 6, 2017’s hurricane Irma which decimated the island, as well as the politically-driven fissure in the sisterhood shared between Antigua and Barbuda.


“Residents of Barbuda have recently survived a very traumatic, life altering series of events, and they still thrive,” she (Beverly George, part of the planning committee) said via our e-correspondence. “This speaks to their tremendous strength, resilience and resolve.  Many are still experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder…We ask our Antiguan brothers and sisters to be sensitive to these issues, and to continue to be supportive of our brothers and sisters.”

The Homecoming, she explained, is a coming together of the will of the some 30,000 Barbudans in the diaspora – across the United States of America, Canada, the UK, likely other places, and, of course, Antigua and Barbuda.’ READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

Then contact me to support more coverage of Antiguan and Barbudan art and culture.

More Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series

I have organized and led three independent series in the Jhohadli Writing Project Creative Writing Workshop Series since the start of 2018 – 4 Saturdays each time for 12 sessions overall. And continuing.

New sessions will begin in June 2018 as long as there is even one registrant (and sometimes it has been just one) interested in participating. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to contact me to be put on the mailing list re future sessions.

I enjoy doing deep dives in to the art and craft of writing, analysis and practice, and if participant feedback is any indication, they seem to be getting something out of it too. Pass it on.

“My favorite character* workshop activity had to do with reading about characters and being able to figure out what the writer is trying to show the reader about the characters personality and actions…I learnt about how to develop a character more effectively.”

“I wanted to get some formal on techniques that would make my writing more compelling. I also wanted to get feedback on if my work was interesting. (My favourite activity was) writing a character profile… It really was an exercise in imagination and conjecture based on little information…I achieved the goal of refining just a little bit more the skill of writing compelling characters…I would recommend the workshop for amateur writers because we many times think we can just write. But the workshop presented different ways to think about writing.”

*p.s. these workshops are primarily fiction focused with emphasis on one area – the emphasis for the April-May sessions being, you guessed it, character.

Remember, workshops will be ongoing throughout the year, and though set in Antigua are open to participants from anywhere in the world; if you want to participate, contact me

Wadadli Pen 2018 Has Wrapped

Yes, it has and above are some visual highlights (photos with the winner and the honourable mentions – also pictured team members and patrons) and here are some links you can check out:

Media links – the only ones I’ve come across are Antigua Chronicle (which is published and edited by 2006 Wadadli Pen winner Angelica O’Donoghue) and Antigua Nice (which has donated space on its platform via a permanent page in addition to sharing our notices and releases). Observer Media Group did reach out with an invitation to appear on their Marketplace programme (91.1 FM, also streamed online), so listen in on Saturday 28th April 2018 at 8 a.m.

Site updates – Who Won What in 2018 (i.e. the prize breakdown; shout out to the patrons!), and the Media Release we sent out that …2 (?) ran–>ETA: Well, Actually

Stories – Winning story ‘Creak’ by Kyle Christian, which was supposed to the only story posted but there’s been a demand for the posting of the honourable mentions so I’m putting those up bit by bit as well; starting with A Song to Sing by Chloe Martin (more to come so follow Wadadli Pen or check back)

And for anyone still wondering, Wadadli Pen what’s that? I’ve updated our About page and the 2018 page.

Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting; fingers crossed for growth in the future.


Thanks to Glen Toussaint of the Best of Books (and also a past Wadadli Pen judge who organizes and hosts a Wadadli Pen open mic – a bookstore project) for the pictures.