April 30, 2010

"Red" by Geoffrey Philp @ NCTE's National Poetry Month

The term “red” or “redbone” or “yella” has had a long and dishonorable reputation in the Americas. The name has been applied to personages such as W. E. DuBois, Malcolm X, and Bob Marley. In fact, one of Bob’s earliest teenage romances was ended because the family did not want their daughter to be mixed-up with a “half-caste.” In other words, Bob Marley wasn't black enough for their family.

In literature and politics, “reds” have always been mistrusted on both sides of the racial divide. In The Black Jacobins, C.L.R. James recounts the many attempts of leaders such as Toussaint L’Ouverture to determine the allegiances of the mulattoes. In William Faulkner’s Light in August,” the novel explores the theme of miscegenation through the character of Joe Christmas. Indeed, the history of the “tragic mulatto” has been one of the perennial themes in the literatures of the Americas and in Eroticism, Spirituality, and Resistance in Black Women’s Writing, Donna Aza Weir-Soley traces the history of this idea in the work of writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, and Jessie Fauset.

It is within the context and current narrative that defines all “reds” as “house slaves” that I wrote “Red.” And although it may be argued that the ghazal, “Red” is similar to John Agard’s, “Half Caste,” the speaker in the poem turns away from the extremes of racial conflict and embraces his “red”ness.

Here is the text of the poem, an excerpt from Dub Wise, which will be published by Peepal Tree Press in September 2010.


It burst from those lips that I'd loved, "You're just too red!"
The curse of being apart, neither black nor white, but red

followed me through streets, staining the shadow
of those fires that flared behind my mother's garden: red

ginger towering over anthuriums with their bruised phalloi
straining against the bark of the live oak, stunned red

petals bending in sunlight to the weight of shame,
their pliant skin absorbing yellow and blue to become red

like the way by resisting we become the thing we fear most--
as I now accept this blessing freed from race. Call me Red.


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PEN American Center - Short Stories: Past, Present, and Future

Short Stories: Past, Present, and Future
Friday, April 30
Scandinavia House, 
58 Park Avenue, 
New York City
3:30–5 p.m.

With Preston L. Allen, Alex Epstein, Aleksandar Hemon, Yiyun Li, and Martin Solares; moderated by Deborah Treisman

Free and open to the public. No reservations.

Co-sponsored by The American-Scandinavian Foundation

What virtues and challenges are unique to the short story? How flexible is the form? And why is it that, even now—after Poe, Chekov, Hemingway, O’Connor, Nabokov, and Munro—the short story often gets less respect, in terms of prizes and critical esteem, than the novel? Join acclaimed practitioners of the form from Bosnia, Israel, China, Mexico, and the United States, for a conversation with The New Yorker fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, about the past, present, and future of the short story.


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April 29, 2010

The Vistas of Caribbean Literature@ UWI

The 29th Annual West Indian Literature Conference starts on Friday presented by the Department of Literatures in English, UWI.

Special guests include Lorna Goodison, Shara McCallum, David Chariandy and winners of the Small Axe Literary Competition 2009 : Tanya Shirley, Ashley Rousseau and Monica Minnott.

The conference is open to the public with no cover charge.

Please follow this link for the program: (.pdf format): Caribbean Vistas @ UWI

Via: YardEdge

"A Prayer for my Children" @ Lunch Break: A Poem in your Pocket

My poem, "A Prayer for my Children" @ Lunch Break: A Poem in your Pocket



April 28, 2010

Five Questions With...Joan Cartwright

1. Where were you born? Describe your current family life.

Born in Kew Gardens, NY. My mom is deceased. My dad is 90 and living in West Palm Beach, where my brother lives, too. My son lives in the Bronx, NY, with his wife and 2 daughters, and my daughter lives in Atlanta, where her 3 children live too. I live in single bliss in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

2. What do you do for a living? Why did you choose this vocation?

I am a jazz/blues singer, composer, performer, author, and educator.

I was born to sing! I'm the founder of Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc.

3. Who are your three favorite writers?

Houston Baker, Angela Davis, and Tammy Kernodle.

4. What was the first book you fell in love with and how have your reading habits changed over the years?

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

5. What are you reading now?
The Parable of the Pipeline by Burke Hedges.

6. What makes you laugh?

Good friends like you. Men who think they can rule me and children who think being disrespectful is cute. LOL, stop your movie!

7. What are your other passions?

Music, social networking, my Internet radio show MUSICWOMAN and my websites: www.joancartwright.com, www.fyicomminc.com, www.wijsf.org, that I design and maintain.

Joan Cartwright has toured 5 continents and 15 countries including U.S.A., eight European countries, Brazil, Mexico, Ghana, Gambia, South Africa, China, and Japan, with her swinging brand of jazz and blues. She is one of the few women in the world with a Jazz/Blues song book. Her memoir, IN PURSUIT OF A MELODY, contains 40 songs and lyrics to standard songs: "A Night in Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie"Blue Bossa" by Kenny Dorham, "Tune Up" by Miles Davis and "Bessie's Blues" by John Coltrane. 

Joan has published two lectures that she's given to thousands of children and adults in the U.S., Switzerland, Sicily, China, and Japan: 
AMAZING MUSICWOMEN and SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? Her workshops, dynamic and educational, highlight the pitfalls and benefits of the music business. Joan contends: "Knowing music theory is a step in the right direction for any singer who truly wants to excel in the world of music!"


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April 27, 2010

Kamau Brathwaite to Host the Best of CaribbeanTales Film Festival


Celebrated Caribbean poet, historian and cultural critic Dr. Kamau Brathwaite; and Frances-Anne Solomon, accomplished filmmaker and founder of The Best of CaribbeanTales Film Festival.

A reception hosted by Dr. Kamau Brathwaite to celebrate the launch of a week of film screenings selected from The Best of CaribbeanTales Film Festival, at New York University.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Starts at 5.30 p.m.

The Institute of African American Affairs at New York University - 41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10003

With a growing international awareness of the Caribbean's burgeoning media industry, The CaribbeanTales Film Festival aims to entertain and educate through screenings and talk back sessions that spotlight exciting new trends in film and television from the Caribbean and its Diaspora.

Government officials from the Caribbean and New York City in attendance.
Caribbean cultural talent to perform.

Bevan Springer, Marketplace Excellence + 1 201 861-2056
Frances-Anne Solomon, CaribbeanTales + 1 347 594-2798

Press Release: Kamau Brathwaite Presents Best of CaribbeanTales at NYU
CaribbeanTales Comes to NYU, Cannes - Jamaica Gleaner
Region's Literary Giants Throw Weight Behind Caribbean Film - Truly Golden Media


April 26, 2010

Book Review: Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten

You can take the writer out of the Caribbean, but you can’s take the Caribbean out of him. Even in the second generation. At least that was my impression after I read Valeria’s Last Stand by Marc Fitten.

Set in post-Communist Hungary, Valeria’s Last Stand, is ostensibly a love triangle involving the main character, Valeria, a potter, and the buxom tavern wench, Ibolya Nagy: “She arranged her top right in front of them. Her pillowy breasts shook while she adjusted her blouse. The men were mesmerized” (33).

Never mind that all of the main characters are over fifty, this is not a geriatric Harlequin romance. Valeria’s Last Stand is a subtle comedy of manners in which the villagers of Zivatar must cope with the change from communism to capitalism with their eager mayor as the midwife of progress: “The villagers liked him immensely. He seemed more cosmopolitan and sophisticated. He had traveled more extensively than any other citizen of the village” (44).

Valeria, however, will not have any of it. Her personal mantra is “Hard living gives life flavor. You should embrace your suffering” (163). She yearns for the good old days of communism, and is particularly incensed with the new fad of public whistling:

“Valeria never whistled. Nor did she approve of people who did. In sixty eight years, what Valeria had learned to be a truth about character was that people who whistled were crass. Whistlers were untrustworthy and irresponsible. They were shiftless. They were common. Butchers whistled. Peasants also…She was certain the queen of England did not whistle. The Hungarian president did not whistle either. She followed a line back through Soviet history: Trotsky may have whistled; Lenin, certainly not; Stalin only whistled in madness” (3).

But love is in the air: “the citizens of the tiny hamlet sensed that some strange gravity was tugging at them, tugging at that spot in the chest where the solar plexus resides. Tugging like they were being fished out of their habitat and pulled into space on a string of desire, only to be left dangling. Dangling there, unfulfilled, in that heavy orbit of pheromones and springtime yearning. For something. Anything” (63).

And in this hothouse of passion known as Zivatar, a scandalous rivalry between Valeria and Ibolya begins. Standing between both these formidable women is the unnamed potter, who confesses to his apprentice, “One’s a volcano, the other is an ocean. It’s a difficult choice to make. You can see my predicament” (99).

Yet falling in love changes the three main characters. Ibolya becomes even more flirtatious with her customers and a travelling Chimney sweeper: "Ibolya also noticed that he was staring at her breasts, but unlike her regulars he wasn’t shy about letting her know it. She felt a buzz in her head and straightened her back. Go ahead she thought. Get a good look. Take it all in.” (132).

Valeria, one of the most likable curmudgeons in recent memory, softens her contempt for the villagers and there is a visible change in her countenance: “Whispers tore through the market and out into the street. After a few more days passed like this even the mayor heard: Valeria was ill. Probably insane. Her normally stark face had become tinged, slightly sun kissed. Her lumbering gait had diminished, and she was almost gliding” (90). And the potter is transformed for a mere artisan into an artist:

“He was godlike, though, and that was no blasphemy. He was godlike, and that was not hubris. In a single moment, the potter understood that he had reached a level in his craft where all the fear, anxiety, and depression in his life could be sublimated into art. He recognized this. The potter recognized that there was nothing better for a man to do—to reflect his godlike image—than create something lasting” (83).

It still is a mystery to me why Caribbean writers such as V.S. Naipaul, Anthony Winkler, Kevin Baldeosingh, and now, Marc Fitten (his parents are from Panama) should be attracted to comedies of manners. But that’s my preoccupation, and it should not stop anyone from enjoying this remarkable novel.


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April 24, 2010

New Book: Only West Indians by Fragano Ledgister

Contrary to popular belief, the ideology of empire in the nineteenth-century British resulted in a number of West Indian Creoles who took the language and values of Britain’s supposedly liberal empire and turned them upside down. Where nineteenth-century British men of letters, Thomas Carlyle, Anthony Trollope, Charles Kingsley and James Anthony Froude, defined the West Indies in terms of British imperial destiny coupled with a sometimes open, sometimes cloaked negrophobia, J.J. Thomas of Trinidad asserted that West Indians, black, white, and biracial were equal members of Victorian civilization and entitled to share in their government.

This definition was taken up in the twentieth century, first by the Trinidadian C.L.R. James who argued in terms similar to Thomas’s for an expanded role for West Indians in their own governance, and against the racist presumption of British imperialism. Shortly thereafter, Norman Manley of Jamaica, and James’s student Eric Williams of Trinidad not only argued for political and cultural autonomy but led their nations to independence, and in Williams’s case through the struggles of the post-independence period. The first objective of these men, a West Indian nation, failed to materialize, and the form of liberal-democratic nationalism they espoused has been criticized, and even rejected in the years since independence was achieved in the separate nation-states that came into existence starting in the 1960s. Nonetheless, their political vision retains creative possibilities including that of a more humane world.

Inverting the racist hierarchy of nineteenth-century British imperial thought, twentieth-century political activists in the British West Indies used the concepts of liberal ideology to claim that the subject people of the West Indies constituted a Creole nation that deserved the right to govern itself. This study of the origins and major figures of Creole nationalism considers both its limitations and its possibilities.


F.S.J. Ledgister teaches political science at Clark Atlanta University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, and was also educated at New York University, and the University of the West Indies, Mona. He is the author of Class Alliances and the Liberal-Authoritarian State (Africa World Press, 1998).


April 23, 2010

"Anancy Song" by Geoffrey Philp

Best Anancy

Anancy Song

Me name Anancy, watch me dance and sing,
With my words, I make something out of nothing.
When me laugh, “Kya, kya,” is not for no reason
I will survive no matter what the season.

From before time, I see the beginning of earth,
Call me father of all mysteries, creator of mirth.
I measure the oceans, know every man’s worth,
I live at the crossroads between death and birth.

Some people say I only live for me pleasure,
But every Jack man must look in him heart for treasure.
Only when you have you own, you can pull up a chair,
Then call those who you love to your table to share.

I will spin my song to my children who are afar
Living in all kind of trouble, sickness, and war.
Mark my words; know how to touch a strand,
and make the universe tremble with your hands.

Tell all the giants in the world, Massa day done!
Anancy is here and him going have some fun.
Him nah bring no knife, him nah bring nuh gun
Only him brains—Jack Mandora me no choose none!


April 22, 2010

The 10th anniversary of Calabash: Video

Calabash 2010 will be May 28-30th at Jakes in Treasure Beach. Here is the link to the first Calabash video on YouTube. The video is constructed around an amazing poem written by the incomparable Dr. Kwame Dawes in celebration of year 10.


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Cyril Dabydeen Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award

The Guyana Awards Council (Canada) is very pleased to announce the winners of the prestigious Guyana Awards (Canada) which will be presented at the 10th Guyana Awards Gala on Saturday, May 29, 2010 at On the Park Centennial Ballroom, 1095 Leslie Street, Toronto, Ontario.

An independent panel of eminent judges selected the 2010 Award recipients from the many nominations submitted. The panel was composed of the Honourable Justice Vibert Lampkin, retired Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice; Gale Lee, Program Manager for Asia and the Caribbean, CESO and former Acting Ambassador to Brussels; and Ken Singh, President, Atlas Cargo and member of the Advisory Council, York University.

The Guyana Awards (Canada) recognize the outstanding achievements of distinguished individuals and organizations in the Guyanese-Canadian community, and their sterling contributions toward the promotion and development of Guyana, Guyanese heritage and culture. The high calibre of this year’s awardees will instill a greater sense of pride in the Guyanese-Canadian community and provide positive role models for our youth.

The premier event in the Guyanese community in Toronto, this year’s Guyana Awards Gala commences at 6.00 p.m. on Saturday, May 29 with a Cocktail Reception, followed by dinner and presentation of the Awards and Scholarships.

The Guyana Awards Council invites you to celebrate with the “Who’s Who” in the Guyanese and wider Toronto communities on Saturday, May 29th. The Guyana Awards Gala is the official kick-off of the annual Guyana Independence Celebrations, initiating a host of events across Canada that culminates in the Guyana Festival from June 19-20.

Tickets for the Gala are available at $100 each and may also be purchased by tables of ten. For tickets and information, contact Felicia Kwang, Guyana Consulate, 416-494-6040 X23, or Bert Bacchus at 905-770-3785.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: MR. CYRIL DABYDEEN: Author, Educator and Race Relations Practitioner

Berbice-born, Mr. Cyril Dabydeen is a distinguished, and the most prolific, Guyanese-born writer—poet, novelist, short story writer, literary critic—in Canada, as well as an educator and noted race relations practitioner

Mr. Dabydeen’s work has been published for over 30 years. His 20 books include two signal anthologies of Black- and Asian-Caribbean-born writers, and he has appeared in prestigious literary magazines and anthologies in a dozen countries. He has written over 100 book reviews, numerous op-ed articles and essays, and has done hundreds of public readings across Canada and worldwide.

Cyril Dabydeen was appointed official Poet Laureate of Ottawa (1984-87). His novel, Drums of My Flesh, won the Guyana Prize for Literature 2006/7, and was nominated for the prestigious IMPAC/Dublin Literary Prize and the City of Ottawa Book Prize. He achieved Ottawa's First Heritage Award for Writing and Publishing (2000) and the Canada Council of the Arts Award, among others.

His work is studied in universities, and scholarly papers on Cyril Dabydeen have been presented in Canada, USA, UK/Europe, Australia, India, and the Caribbean. He is the only Guyanese to have twice juried for Canada's prestigious Governor General's Award, and he also adjudicated the renowned Neustadt International Prize for Literature (U/Oklahoma).

A committed educator since in Guyana, Mr. Dabydeen has taught in Canada for about 20 years and won the 2007 Part-time Professor of the Year Award from the University of Ottawa.

From 1990-99, Cyril Dabydeen managed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Race Relations Program, travelling to over 30 towns/cities to liaise with communities. He coordinated FCM's National Action Committee on Race Relations, and administered the City of Ottawa's Advisory Committee on Visible Minorities to City Council (1984-89), fostering racial equality.

Included in Canada's Who's Who, Cyril Dabydeen was recently nominated for an Order of Canada.

For further information, please contact:

Danny Doobay, Honorary Consul General of Guyana, 416-494-6040 Ext. 29

Felicia Kwang, Consulate Assistant, 416-494-6040, Ext. 23.

April 19, 2010


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New Web Site: Ras Michael of Guyana

I like to walk the streets at night. I always have. I walk the streets at night to meditate the secrets of the day. In the night all things are revealed and even that which was hidden from the wise and the prudent is now revealed to the babes and sucklings. Walk with me. Walk with me through the city of Brooklyn in the cold and loneliness of night.

In the dark and silence of a cold winter’s night I meet no one familiar of those memories of home, the nostalgic cerebral pictures painted on the canvas of the lonely mind reaching out across the ether for the sad familiar faces and places of a land three feet below the level of sea and sand where there is no hope, no joyful tomorrow.

More @ http://www.gtrasmichael.com/index.php/People/


10th Annual Calabash International Literary Festival

Jamaica comes to life with the sights and sounds of local and international literary works at the 10th Annual Calabash International Literary Festival. This year’s event will bring together an extraordinary mix of new and established writers from around the world for the most anticipated annual literary event in the Caribbean region.

The three-day festival, free and open to the public, will take place over Memorial Day weekend, May 28 – 30, 2010 at Jake’s, in Treasure Beach, on Jamaica’s South Coast. In honor of its 10th anniversary, Festival organizers have collaborated to produce So Much Things to Say, an anthology of the works of renowned poets who have performed at the festival over the years.

“For visitors looking to be romanced by powerful prose, the Calabash Literary Festival is the event that will appease their literary craving,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “Hosting some of the world’s greatest literary talent exposes the depth of Jamaica’s culture, which transcends the cuisine and music. At the core of our culture are the people who stimulate thought-provoking discussions and encourage the love of self and country, and the Calabash Literary Festival provides an avenue for expression.”

Global Participation

Truly international, Calabash has grown dramatically since its inception ten years ago, attracting writers from around the globe. Calabash has consistently delivered inspirational performances by both well-known and new writers, and by great musicians, in programs of spoken poetry, readings from novels, stimulating discussion, and music.

The selection of authors and performers for Calabash 2010 includes Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Russell Banks, Sharon Olds, Geoff Dyer, Nami Mun and Colson Whitehead. The opening night will feature a rare screening of the late Jamaican director Trevor Rhone’s 1976 comedy classic Smile Orange, the story of a roguish waiter at a beachside hotel. Reggae superstar Freddie McGregor and the soulful Etana, will treat the audience to the invigorating rhythms of live reggae music at a late night concert. The festival culminates with an acoustic exploration of the lyrics of Bob Marley’s final studio album Uprising, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Commemorative Book 

The milestone of Calabash 2010 will also be marked by the release of the anthology So Much Things to Say, a collection of works by 100 poets who have appeared at the festival since its inception. The anthology was edited by Jamaican novelist Colin Channer and award-winning poet and playwright Dr. Kwame Dawes, and published by Akashic Books in New York. So Much Things to Say, which is a beautiful and affordable soft cover original with elegant French flaps, features works from Li Young Lee, Derek Walcott, Elizabeth Alexander, Martin Espada, Michael Ondaatje and a host of other distinguished poets.


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April 21, 2010


Accepting short fiction and poetry, creative nonfiction, interviews, social justice concerns, spoken word recordings for the 10th issue of GINOSKO LITERARY JOURNAL.

Editorial lead time 1-2 months; accept simultaneous submissions and reprints; length flexible, accept excerpts. Receives postal submissions and by email—prefer email submissions as attachments in Microsoft Works Word Processor or Rich Text Format. 

Copyright reverts to author. Read year around.  Publishing as semiannual ezine. Est. 2003.

Check downloadable issues on website for tone & style:

Use latest version of Adobe Reader.

ezine circulation 4500+. Website traffic 750-1000 hits/month.
Also looking for artwork, photography, music to post on website and links to exchange.

Ginosko Short Fiction Contest: Best Rendering of a Spiritual Awakening. Deadline September 1st, decision October 1st. $1000 prize, $12 entry fee; write money order or check out to “Ginosko”.
Winner posted on website.

Ginosko (ghin-océ-koe)
To perceive, understand, realize, come to know; knowledge that has an inception, a progress, an attainment. The recognition of truth by experience.

Member CLMP. Listed in Best of the Web 2008.

Ginosko Literary Journal
Robert Paul Cesaretti, Editor
PO Box 246
Fairfax, CA 94978


Accepting Submissions: Smories.com

We are offering US$1,500 worth of prize money for the 5 best stories submitted each month.

The current competition closes 30 April 2010.
You can submit from anywhere in the world.
Submission is free.


A shortlist of the 50 stories we like best will be announced on 05 May.
These 50 stories will then get narrated by kids, which we film.
The 50 films will then appear on smories.com on 01 June.
To remove bias, film positioning on the channel will be randomised every time the page is opened.
Viewers will be able to rate the stories .
After a month, 5 winners will be announced based on the number of views they receive.
This cycle will be repeated every month. Yay!


First Prize: US$500
Second Prize: US$400
Third Prize: US$300
Fourth Prize: US$200
Fifth Prize: US$100

We are receiving submissions from all over the world.
If you are a winner outside the US, the prize money will be converted into your local currency.


Not be longer than 750 (seven hundred and fifty) words.
Text only, in English.
Must be fiction for children from 3 to 8 years old.
Poetry & rhyming stories may also be submitted.
You must be the writer or owner of the copyright.
A maximum of two stories per writer per month can be submitted.
Typos, syntax and grammatical errors will prejudice your chances of selection.
No redrafts accepted. Final versions only.


05 May 2010: Shortlist of the 50 stories announced.
01 June 2010: The completed films will simultaneously appear on the smories online channel.
30 June 2010: The 5 stories receiving the highest traffic & ratings over the preceding 30 days will win the prizes.


Stories will appear online on the smories channel only (www.smories.com).
Full credit and copyright will be attributed to the writer.
All rights will remain with the writer.
Stories can be removed from the smories channel at any time at the behest of the writer.
Smories.com will hold no claim to the story in any form.

See our FAQ page (accessed via the menu bar above) for more detailed explanation of Rights.



April 19, 2010

Accepting Submissions: Small Axe

Small Axe Online Caribbean Literary Salon

The Small Axe Project is developing a section of the Small Axe website (www.smallaxe.net) which will be dedicated to literary discussions, interviews with Caribbean writers, reviews of new publications (creative and scholarly) related to the Caribbean, and short pieces by emerging and established Caribbean writers.  The Small Axe literary salon is intended primarily to provide a wide variety of up-to-date information for those with an interest in Caribbean literature in particular and Caribbean Studies in general. The platform is expected to be completed and launched by the end of June 2010. 

Small Axe has a respected reputation amongst Caribbean scholars and artists.  Initiated in 1997 as an independent journal of Caribbean studies, Small Axe publishes scholarly articles, interviews, short fiction, poetry, book discussions, and visual art projects. Most recently, the Small Axe Project has been recognized by grants from the Ford Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation. 

We invite submissions of:
  • short reviews of recent creative literary works by Caribbean authors (750-1,000 words)
  • short reviews of recent scholarly works related to Caribbean literary studies (750-1,000 words)
  • short interviews with Caribbean authors and/or literary scholars (2,000-2,500 words)

We will be accepting submissions on a rolling basis. To avoid duplication, please send review/interview queries to kbj@smallaxe.net

Contact information:
Kelly Baker Josephs
Managing Editor, Small Axe
Assistant Professor
York College/CUNY

April 16, 2010

Who's Your Daddy? in Brooklyn (Deux)

I could give readings in NYC and especially at the Caribbean Cultural Theatre for the rest of my life! Not only were the hosts E. Wayne McDonald and Anton Nimblett supportive, but the audience members were equally inquisitive and gracious. Toward the end of the reading, it felt like a love fest.

And in a way it was. I reunited with my cousin, Jennifer Lumley (Mind Shaper), Jabez, Andrene Bonner (Olympic Gardens, Mevyn Taylor (An Island of His Own) and Richard Grayson, (With Hitler in New York), who has written a generous review of the event:

“Geoffrey is as skillful a public reader as he is a writer, and he kept things moving, reading only three recent poems from his forthcoming poetry book, including the fine "A Prayer for My Children" and a wonderful poem ‘in memory of the New York firefighters’”

Another highlight of my visit was meeting Charmaine Hamilton-Valere of Signifying Guyana. As a preview of the event, Charmaine had written a review of Who’s Your Daddy? (which I only read today), and it was a big relief when I found her to be as charming as her online persona. It’s always very uncomfortable when I meet a writer whose work I admire, but in real life they are spiritually draining. The exchange of ideas between us and the audience was truly gratifying. Charmaine shared her ideas about Caribbean writing and ended the program with a poem (I hope she publishes it--she did!) about her experience as a reader and blogger.

Give thanks (again) to E. Wayne, Anton and the Caribbean Cultural team for hosting the event and for the invitation, which gave me the opportunity on the following day to reunite my old teacher, friend, mentor, and Caribbean griot, Kamau Brathwaite at NYU.

Photo Source: Geoffrey Philp and Charmaine Hamilton Valere (Who Will Kiss the Pig)

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April 12, 2010

Who's Your Daddy? in Brooklyn

On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, I'll be reading with Charmaine Hamilton-Valere of Signifyin’ Guyana  @ St Francis College – Callahan Center, 182 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11210 for the Poets & Passion: Writers on Writing series. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. 

Charmaine Hamilton-Valere

This creator and curator of Signifyin’ Guyana, an internet blog that celebrates Caribbean literature. In fact Signifyin’ Guyana, often at the vanguard in championing new work, facilitates discourse on terms, words, and ideas that concern many in the Guyanese (and wider Caribbean) Diaspora, exploring questions of culture, quality and art. Widely quoted across the blogosphere, she modestly states that she relies on her own significant though unpublished, unpolished opinions. Hamilton-Valere is a “Better Hope” gyal, who attended Bishops High School, and now lives with her family in the US.

Geoffrey Philp

This Jamaica Collage alumnus is the author of a novel, Benjamin, My Son; two collections of short stories, five poetry collections and a children’s book. His work has been anthologized in both the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and the Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Florida Arts Council, the Sauza Stay Pure Award, James Michener fellowship at the University of Miami, and an artist-in-residence at the Seaside Institute. Philp is the creator of a literary blog that reports on Caribbean and South Florida authors.

Who’s Your Daddy? And Other Stories

Whether set in the Jamaican past or the Miami present, whether dealing wittily with sexual errantry or inventively with manifestations of the uncanny (when Brother Belnavis tangles with a vampire), Geoffrey Philp’s second collection displays again the gold stamp of the born story-teller. But beyond their capacity to engage and entertain the reader, these are the multi-layered stories of a perceptive and humane observer of contemporary life. In particular, an acute empathy with troubled childhoods and adolescence offers adult readers a rewarding reconnection with the turbulence of earlier selves.

Time: April 13, 2010 
7pm to 9:30pm

St Francis College – Callahan Center
  182 Remsen Street (Clinton & Court Sts)
Brooklyn, NY 11210


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April 11, 2010

Interview : Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’ @ BBC World Service: Arts and Culture:

Listen to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’ speaking about his  family, work, education, and the effects of British colonialism on his life.

BBC World Service: Arts and Culture:


Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Chenjerai Hove – Dreams in a Time of War

April 14, 2010

 7:00 p.m.
265 Aragon Avenue,
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Tel: (305) 442-4408

This event is presented in collaboration with the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami-Dade College and the University of Miami.

Photo source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C5%A9g%C4%A9_wa_Thiong%27o