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’”
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)
Thanks. Sounds like the love fest it probably was. And thanks for the links, too (eg Charmaine's poem) and snaps. It's nice to put faces to names.
It was good to finally meet you, Geoffrey. You are so comfortable in your skin as a reader and educator; undoubtedly your domain. There was such great energy in the room brought on by spirited discussions. I admire your candor in framing the discourse around Caribbean writers taking agency of our literary works and each other. As you rightly stated, “we have to love our own.” I was especially delighted to meet Mervyn Taylor whose work I first discovered on your blog in 2008 when he wrote "Let No Harm Come For Barack." I am certainly enjoying his book of poetry "Gone Away" that is so brilliantly endorsed by Kamau Brathwaite. Again, thanks for blogging—one poem at a time, one story at a time, and one author at a time. Walk good.
Andrene Bonner (Olympic Gardens)
Andrene, it was great to meet you and to share some good vibes.
I'm hoping to see you soon
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