CREATIVE SPACE (updates)

I wanted to do a post to make sure you’re not missing out on any of the new content under the CREATIVE SPACE tab. The drop down menu includes every article since I revived the series here on the blog in (wow) 2018. The current cycle, running in the Daily Observer newspaper and here on the blog, with video installments now on my YouTube channel, launched February 2020 which makes this my montheversary. I’m glad I’ve persisted with this series, and I hope you’re enjoying keeping up with my arts and culture coverage, profiles, commentary, reviews, interviews, and more.

Articles so far for 2021 have spotlighted Antiguan and Barbudan domestic bestselling books,

the Catapult Arts Grant which supported hundreds of Caribbean artists in 2020, including me with a grant that allowed me to showcase my work (vid below), plus other initiatives that walked the talk,

and an interview and coverage of fashion designer Miranda Askie Designs and how the last year has re-shaped her brand while she continues to make fly clothes.

If you missed any of the 2020 editions, here you go.

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.

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‘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.

Oral and Written Communication Training for Antiguans and Barbudans

For anyone resident in Antigua and Barbuda interested in improving their oral and/or written communication skills, a new announcement from Barbara Arrindell & Associates (I’m an associate): Based on the requests made by potential participants our speaking and writing sessions will now begin in mid May after the cultural celebrations taking place in the earlier part of the month. This means that you still have time to register.

Here’s a copy of the registration form: 30725968_1942123662784021_8952227646196940800_n

And in case you’re wondering if this is for you, here’s what some have said in performance reviews about the written communication component which I facilitate:

“My general motivation for taking this class was to improve my writing skills on a personal and professional level. My specific goal was to be able to communicate more effectively through writing. My goal was accomplished; I am a more confident writer. ..I think another half an hour would help, since time seems to fly by quickly. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to work on their writing skills. I would like to say thanks to the facilitator. I have been pushed from my comfort zone and it feels great!”

“I would recommend this course to someone else because it is educational and our tutor is very knowledgeable and likes to be challenged.”

“I think I have improved. I now look at my weak areas when writing.”

“The overall training was good and I’ve learned how to structure my ideas.”

“I am feeling excited about writing now. I am also more aware of common mistakes…writing is fun and I could see it as a hobby in future.”

This course is open to anyone, but targeted especially at working people who may not be as confident about their skills or who simply want a refresher. I structure my sessions to cover written communication in the work environment, internally and externally.

If, however, you’re looking for information on my creative writing workshops, those are ongoing; contact me for information.

My Top Ten Posts of the Year

Time for the rundown of the year’s most popular posts. Hope you’ll check them out if you haven’t already.

#1 – Ancestral Remembrance on Emancipation Day

Excerpt: “You know, it’s a strange thing, but I heard that when slavery was over the slaves at Old Road didn’t even get drunk. I heard there was no great happiness among them. They didn’t know what would happen, so them give assurances that they will not leave the plantation, that they will continue on working for the old owners. The old slave massas let them continue to work the ground and grow food for themselves.”

Reflection: This one surprises me; I guess there’s more interest in our history than we realize as this is literally excerpts related to Emancipation in Antigua and Barbuda from the book To Shoot Hard Labour.

#2 – After the Storm

Excerpt: “I have seen social media posts (seemingly out of the US) indicating that we don’t matter either because the posters have never heard of us, because we’re too small to matter, because we’re ignorant for living in a hurricane pathway, because our houses are supposedly poorly built and not because of the 185 mph winds that passed directly over Barbuda, or because we’re doomed anyway – because climate change. I will agree with one thing; we do need to take climate change seriously – it is a factor and, though islands like ours are among the most vulnerable, this is a global problem. The lives of many hang in the balance. The Paris Agreement (which America recently pulled out of) was one step toward combatting climate change. So, in addition to supporting recovery efforts, we can resolve to educate ourselves on climate change and on efforts to mitigate its impact, and do what we can to support and advocate. The lives of every single being on the planet hangs in the balance. We have a saying here, today for me, tomorrow for you; I mention it here not to wish any of the trolls who scoffed at our pain ill but as a reminder that we need to stand together, because we’re all in this together. We, in the Caribbean, grieve and stand with the world when bad things happen anywhere in the world. We are very tuned in to the world (though we know the world is not likewise as tuned in to us) and we care (to wit, our hearts go out to Mexico as well at this time in the wake of the quake there). One of the trolls said we matter only as tourist destinations, and it is true that we live where the world vacations.”

Reflection: This is the first post I wrote after hurricane Irma; I’m delighted especially at how much it’s been shared as Barbuda and other affected islands and countries need all the help they can get (still).

#3 – Grace’s Merrymakers

Graces Merry Makers

Reflection: This was my post on my mas troupe inspired by my book With Grace; thanks for the interest, guys.

#4 – Anne Lamott shares 12 Things She knows for Sure

Excerpt: “via 12 things I know for sure: Anne Lamott speaks at TED2017 — TED Blog

Reflection: This was just a share but understandably one that’s proven popular among book bloggers and readers.

#5 – Food as Culture

Excerpt: ‘Food to reflect differences.

‘“I can help with snacks,” the woman was saying. “Finger foods for during rehearsals and performance night.”

The woman seemed almost shy. Was that Granny Linda? He’d pictured someone taller. Her voice had sort of a shake in it too. This was Zahara’s no non-sense, ‘take no bullshit’ grandmother? Wow.

“Maybe some grilled pork and pineapple skewers?” she added.

“That sounds good,” Mr. Perry said, nodding. “Although you know, some of the kids are vegetarian; pork might not do for everyone.”

“That’s okay, I can substitute chicken,” Granny Linda said, and at that everyone fell out laughing.’’

Reflection: This post was sparked by an online food debate about the right way to make ducana (a Good Friday staple in Antigua) and got me thinking about the ways food shows up in my own work. Who knew food could inspire so much passion.

#6 – In the Race

Excerpt: “Thanks to my nominator for taking the time to read the work (With Grace) and fill out the forms (I know it was a pain); you didn’t have to and I appreciate that you did.”

Reflection: My post on my nomination for the Astrid Lindgren prize.

#7 – With Grace Selected for the Virgin Islands Summer Read Challenge

Excerpt: “As the author of With Grace, I am delighted at this development and hope With Grace continues to find its way in to the hands of children across the Caribbean and around the world.”

Reflection: When I learned that I had been selected for this, I was hyped. Thanks, VI. I just got a copy of the special edition – it’s not in the original post but I’m going to share it here anyway. That’s me with the publisher and the special edition of With Grace.

meeting with Mario Nov 2017

#8 – It’s Lost! Pub Day

Excerpt: “Remember, go to my facebook  (today – November 30th 2017) to participate in the AMA, author-illustrator in conversation, Lost! virtual launch, book birthday.”

Reflection: This AMA was dope. Okay, it wasn’t so much of an AMA as a chat between me and the artist, loved that.

Lost Cover Front 4

#9 – Top Ten – Contemporary Caribbean

Reflection: This trended primarily across the book blogging community; happy to introduce others to books from my part of the map.

#10 – Do You Know Eileen Hall?

Excerpt: ‘If you google her, you might find her wiki entry (no pictures though) describing her as “an American poet”. Not true. She is, though, a largely forgotten Antiguan poet; and the same wiki entry does disclose that “Hall was born in Antigua; her father’s family was from Oxford and her mother’s family was part French and part Irish, the French side having been in the West Indies since the mid seventeenth century.” Like I said, Antiguan poet, one of the first – research would suggest – to be published internationally. Her 1938 book, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, was The Fountain and the Bough.’

Reflection: Researching this post after I’d read Hall’s book consumed the better part of a night, so I’m glad there’s some interest because damn I went down the rabbit hole on this one.

Those are my top ten – i.e. most viewed, shared, liked, commented on – posts of 2017 (so far). Thanks for reading.

After the Storm

Mother Nature has her way of reminding us of our fragility. For us in the chain of islands making up the Caribbean, getting out of the way is more complicated – we are islands (literally surrounded by water) and small. Of course being in hurricane pathways has bred in us a high level of awareness, preparedness, and responsiveness. But we are still small islands and at a certain point all we can do is surrender, hunker down, and wait…and after the storm get on with the business of doing what needs to be done to get back to normal…until next time. There is a feeling of helplessness that comes with that but we are also a resilient people, and we don’t wallow in that feeling for long – if we give it any purchase at all.

This time around while Antigua was barely touched, our sister island Barbuda was left bare (literally, the island has had to be evacuated after the decimation caused by hurricane Irma)

news footage

Barbuda: Post-hurricane Irma news footage (video still).

…and that’s just one island who felt her force as she made her way toward the mainland US (which is, as I write this, awaiting Irma’s landfall). We are in our twin-island Caribbean nation state beginning the process of recovery and there are ways you can help. I wanted to share some links that seem legit (though, please, do your own due diligence):

ETA (post-Maria): Caribbean Sailing Association’s links for aid across the Caribbean

Antiguanice’s list of hurricane relief avenues for Dominica

This one’s a list of donor needs and avenues (for Barbuda) maintained by Antiguanice

Women who live on Rocks list of aid/response agencies across the region

The Barbuda Recovery and Conservation Trust Fund

Information re government accounts through which people can make donations

and a couple more for people off island:


This is a gofundme set up by (Antiguan based in the US) Juneth Webson

Barbuda Hurricane Relief Fund set up by (Antiguan based in Canada) Tasheka Lavann

Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross

TickeTingInc

There are others. There’s also this facebook group which is steadily updated. These are just some of the avenues I am aware of and feel fairly confident passing on. Support recovery efforts if you can – these are specific to Barbuda but several other countries have also been hard hit (do what you can, if you can).

I have seen social media posts (seemingly out of the US) indicating that we don’t matter either because the posters have never heard of us, because we’re too small to matter, because we’re ignorant for living in a hurricane pathway, because our houses are supposedly poorly built and not because of the 185 mph winds that passed directly over Barbuda, or because we’re doomed anyway – because climate change. I will agree with one thing; we do need to take climate change seriously – it is a factor and, though islands like ours are among the most vulnerable, this is a global problem. The lives of many hang in the balance. The Paris Agreement (which America recently pulled out of) was one step toward combatting climate change. So, in addition to supporting recovery efforts, we can resolve to educate ourselves on climate change and on efforts to mitigate its impact, and do what we can to support and advocate. The lives of every single being on the planet hangs in the balance. We have a saying here, today for me, tomorrow for you; I mention it here not to wish any of the trolls who scoffed at our pain ill but as a reminder that we need to stand together, because we’re all in this together. We, in the Caribbean, grieve and stand with the world when bad things happen anywhere in the world. We are very tuned in to the world (though we know the world is not likewise as tuned in to us) and we care (to wit, our hearts go out to Mexico as well at this time in the wake of the quake there). One of the trolls said we matter only as tourist destinations, and it is true that we live where the world vacations.

Exif JPEG

Better days: visit to the Barbuda frigate bird sanctuary, one of the country’s main tourism attractions and an environmental treasure.

 

Mother Nature smiles on us most days out of the year with her unparalleled beauty, but  our size and location notwithstanding, we matter like anyone else, simply because we are.

 

Okay, this ran longer than I planned…and it’s still my Sunday Post and my Sunday Salon (in part because I’m hoping more people will see it and pass it on). The Sunday Post is a  book-related meme run by the Caffeinated Reviewer and Sunday Salon is a book-themed facebook group. So let’s get to the books, shall we.

I moved my review of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys here and, you know, after some of the comments exhibiting willful ignorance re the Caribbean, I can’t rec this one enough.

Meanwhile, my new review this week is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which is my quickest read in a while, mostly because of the hours of waiting before and after Irma – it was a good distraction (I know books are a good way of passing the time, of course, but one of my nephews was reminded of that with the power out. I really do hope he sticks with the book he started reading). This book was given to me by a fellow blogger over at Book Connectors, so I’ll be sharing this there as well.

Also some other quick links in case you missed them -my interviews with the Culture Trip and African Book Addict; my guest posts on Wandering Educators, the Author Dream series, and in the new issue of Anansesem; and this shout out by the Rumpus re my contribution to their letter for kids series  and my Carnival flashback – Out Dey!

 

Happy Sunday and Happy reading and give where and if you can.

 

 

 

 

 

Be Innovative, Be Deliberate, Be Happy (my TEDx Antigua Barbuda blog) – Part 4

Broken into a few parts due to length

Previous part

Marcella André Georges

Marcella AndreFull disclosure, I’d heard her rehearse this one before the morning of Saturday 13th June; that didn’t rob it of any of its power and resonance though. When she spoke about how hurricane David upset her 5 year old reality, I remembered that summer vividly – I was six and my sister, mother and I had spent the summer in Dominica, my mother’s homeland. Then, near the end of summer, the winds, category five, blew in. I remember, like she said, that nobody was expecting it. Either the forecast had got it wrong or David changed his mind. Someone even tied out a cow in the pasture down the road from us that morning and I’ll always remember the pummeling the house took – glass and rice everywhere; the way we had to dash downstairs from the upstairs apartment in the cold and wind, and the things flying about with fury, seeking shelter; the absence of the cow when the winds stilled. I remember the looting and disorder that followed, and how the disorder to a child was excitement (not the tragedy that it so clearly was), perhaps because I’d be returning home and with my sister and mother there I had no reason to feel my world tilt. Marcella did not have that luxury. There were details of that time I was learning for the first time from her presentation – 34 dead, 5000 plus injured, three fourths of the island homeless, displaced children like her ripped from their lives and flown to new homes in Antigua. Temporary for some, permanent for others. Marcella grew up in Antigua – a product of two families, two islands, and a whole hurricane of internal confusion.

“Looking back at the seemingly disjointed parts (of my story) allows me to create positive meaning,” Marcella said, putting her journey into perspective.

No, she wasn’t unpacking her story to serve up tasty morsels to voyeurs and gossips but to search for and share meaning, to inspire the audience to similarly look at ourselves and discover what we stand to learn about ourselves.

For me, there were two very powerful anecdotes – one the story of her at a school assembly addressed by her Antiguan father,  waiting for him to claim her as he did his other children in his speech, and waiting in vain, feeling keenly in that moment the loneliness of not quite belonging; the other the story of sitting with her brothers at her Dominican mother’s bedside on the eve of her death. There, but detached from the moment. I can’t imagine it was easy to unload any of that, but the vulnerability she allowed herself was prelude to declaring that following the death of her Dominican mother, she’d bravely stepped into her skin, into choices that made sense to her. She was, after some soul searching, “living a deliberate life” (among the most powerful affirmations from any speaker on this day).

Sidebar: I have to give the organizers props for the programming of the TEDx Antigua Barbuda event – both the bookings and the ordering of both live and recorded speeches (there were two of those from US TEDx events). The one that followed Marcella’s was by Cameron Russell, a model, who spoke of how much of that path is artificial and accidental (it’s worth a listen)

– among the resonant bits, that she’s a successful model essentially because she fits a certain aesthetic, luck, nothing to do with choice and purpose. And then there was…

Next Part…

 

Be Innovative, Be Deliberate, Be Happy (my TEDx Antigua Barbuda blog) – Part 1

Broken into a few parts due to length

The Speakers. Image courtesy TEDx Antigua.

The Speakers. Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

The first ever TEDx Antigua Barbuda, reportedly first for the OECS as well, has wrapped and I am one of the lucky ones to have nabbed a ticket. From the time I walked in to the sight of the X crafted from fish pot material (courtesy of Cedars Pottery) on the stage

See me nar lie? Fish pot X in progress. Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

See me nar lie? Fish pot X in progress. Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

– on one side of the much more familiar version of the TEDx sign

TEDx Antigua sign under construction. Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

TEDx Antigua sign under construction. Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

Showtime! Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

Showtime! Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

with a coal pot and yabba on the other side, I knew I was at an event poised, as one of the organizers would later put it, to not only bring a quality TEDx event to Antigua but bring Antiguan energy to the world. Organizers, take a bow.

...or, you know, just do what you do. From left: Colin J. Jenkins, Yvelle Charles-Jenkins, Zahra Airall, co-chair Amaya Athill, and behind her giving the thumbs up Jon Whyte, founder and co-chair Julianne Jarvis, Linisa George, and Kyle Christian.

…or, you know, just do what you do. From left: Colin J. Jenkins, Yvelle Charles-Jenkins, Zahra Airall, co-chair Amaya Athill, and behind her giving the thumbs up Jon Whyte, founder and co-chair Julianne Jarvis, Linisa George, and Kyle Christian. Images courtesy TEDx Antigua.

And if anyone has anything ever again to say about Antiguan and Barbudan mediocrity being inevitable, take all the seats in the Sir Vivian Richards stadium and don’t get up ‘til we sen’ call you. Because this group – participants of which have been involved in several quality events from local stagings of the Vagina Monologues to our first ever national televised political debates – prove routinely that mediocrity is not in our DNA. To reference one of the TEDx speakers, Kai Davis, who likened the imperative to a heartbeat, we can “do good, do good” do better, do better. It takes will, it takes vision, it takes cooperation, it takes creativity and discipline (yes, those concepts can co-exist), and watching the pictures from the TEDx Antigua behind the scenes, there is no doubting that it takes a whole lot of energy as well.

hard work

On to the next part…

Last Stop – Youths Get Musical at Antigua Girls High School

UPDATED TO ADD: I don’t have any more stops scheduled at this writing but never say never – as approached this time around it was manageable and even fun. And if there was patronage to cover in-school writing workshops and/or support book giveaways to the students, even better. Hit me up if you’re either a potential school or potential patron, and I’ll keep you in the loop re future plans as and if they develop.

Pulled in to my last tour stop on my February schools tour, Antigua Girls High School, today. And after a very fun session, I’m having thoughts and feelings…hope you’ll indulge me…I’ll even give you some pictures to look at as you do so…

...to say the auditorium at the Antigua Girls High School [AGHS] was packed during my visit would be an understatement.

…to say the auditorium at the Antigua Girls High School [AGHS] was packed during my visit would be an understatement.

in the 'wings'

in the ‘wings’

…and yes, I still get nerves, no shame in that… the challenge is to rise to the occasion…and usually once I get in to the reading, I do that. Usually. To that end, the impromptu dance competition as three of the girls and their always game teacher Ms. Airall attempted one of the dance moves from the book Musical Youth, from which I read.

"shoulder-shrug, chest-pump, hip-sway, hop"

“shoulder-shrug, chest-pump, hip-sway, hop”

"shoulder-shrug, chest-pump, hip-sway, hop"

“shoulder-shrug, chest-pump, hip-sway, hop”

"shoulder-shrug, chest-pump, hip-sway, hop"  ... think you can do it? Ms. Airall can!

“shoulder-shrug, chest-pump, hip-sway, hop”
… think you can do it? Ms. Airall can!

I normally sign books for young readers with something like “dream”, “keep striving”, “Aspire!” while adult readers tend to get an “Enjoy” and a “Thanks for the support”. Talking to someone today about the power of high expectations in the lives of young people (in our own lives where our parents expected us to push beyond mediocrity to our personal best), I got a sense of where this impulse is coming from. We need to let our youths know that we believe in them, encourage them to believe in themselves, challenge them to resist settling…knowing that we’ll have their backs either way but we love to see them replace can’t with try …(*awkward segue ahead*) as the ones who stood before the entire auditorium to give Zahara and Shaka’s dance in Musical Youth did; try, that is…yes, they tried it…and for daring, they got copies of Burt Award winning titles All Over Again by A-dZiko Gegele, Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis, and (not a Burt title) my own Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, contributed, respectively by Burt Award sponsors CODE and my schools tour partner the Best of Books bookstore.

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I was thinking afterwards as well about my answer to the question about planning/outlining (my stories, pre-emptive to writing them) which I admitted I don’t do a lot of – not in a methodical way – when it comes to writing; explaining that I like to discover the story as I write it; that’s what keeps pulling me back to the page. I should have explained though about the multiple rounds of redrafts and edits that that first draft goes through…it’s not all write blind, then publish; there is craft and purpose involved in this crafting. Hopefully, they read between the lines.

I tell the truth because, in addition to the moral issues, like Zahara in Musical Youth , I don’t have the energy to remember lies and I’m not good at it anyway, but these kids challenged my best intentions with some of their questions… do you make money as a writer? Not nearly as much as I’d like to but God usually opens up a way for me to make what I need (*fingers crossed for a best seller or Oprah book club selection some day*)… have you ever thought about giving up writing? I would except I don’t have writing, it has me… I just can’t quit it #BrokebackMountainreference … what inspires you? … what doesn’t? … Who inspired the character of Vere in The Boy from Willow Bend?… Vere was his own unique, patch-worked creation who stepped in to what was to me a familiar world, as my world of first memory, a dead end willow tree lined alley… Was the character of the grandfather based on anyone? … sigh, now why’d they have to go and ask that…

I want to shout out the girls of Antigua Girls High School who, under the guidance of drama coach and their teacher, Zahra Airall, won the local secondary schools drama festival; happy to give them copies of Musical Youth as congratulations and encouragement…

Winners ...and #MusicalYouths in their own right ... members of the AGHS winning cast from the secondary schools drama festival collecting copies of Musical Youth.

Winners …and #MusicalYouths in their own right … members of the AGHS winning cast from the secondary schools drama festival collecting copies of Musical Youth.

look forward to them bringing home the prize from the Caribbean leg of the competition… and even if they don’t proud of them for doing what the kids in Musical Youth do: do something they love, meet the challenges that come with that, dare, and surprise themselves.

Thanks, Ms. Airall and AGHS for hosting us (me and the Best of Books) – it was a blast!

****

Previous stops on my February Schools Tour with the Best of Books: Clare Hall Secondary School & St. Mary’s Secondary. Also this month, an interview on Good Morning Antigua Barbuda Teen Edition on ABS:

with interviewer, Cuthbert.

with interviewer, Cuthbert.

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!

Arbitrary Listing

I hate doing lists like this. But sometime in the early days after the 2012 release of Oh Gad! I did this one…published some months later on Page 81 of Caribbean Hot Property. I’m not unhappy with it but I can’t help thinking of all the other books I like that are not on it. Ah well, take it for what it’s worth, one woman’s arbitrary listing of essential Antiguan and Barbudan reads…as it stood at one random moment in time.

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