September 30, 2010

DUB WISE is Here!

Dub Wise

The poems in Dub Wise have had many beginnings. From the first time I read Uncle Time by Dennis Scott and the poem, “For the Last Time, Fire,” I was intrigued by Scott’s use of the myth of the phoenix to explore the cyclical nature of revolutions. Equally impressive was Scott’s manipulation of the many registers of Caribbean English. After reading the poem, I wanted to write a poem that contemporized myth within a Caribbean setting. But then, after re-reading the poem at least fifty times, I thought, “Forget it, Geoff. You’ll never be a poet.” And it didn’t help that while I was studying for my GCE “A” Level in literature at Jamaica College I was confronted by Scott’s genius. Every day.

Still, I persisted. The desire had already been kindled. Scott’s poem also sparked my interest in the writing of James Baldwin. But more anon.

Fast forward, thirty years (more or less) later. I’ve re-read Uncle Time at least fifty more times and I’ve become a student of myth via Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. Then, I recognize the gift of West African mythology in the poetry of Kamau Brathwaite. The question that the Omowale asks in “The New Ships” from Masks in The Arrivants: “Whose ancestor am I?”  haunts me. Moreover, The Arrivants, leads me to appreciate West African religions in the Caribbean and the distortions that surround them. I soon realize that the lwas of these Yoruba-based religions, which have only been imagined as a source for horror (the most extreme form of Otherness), represent what Jung has dubbed the “collective consciousness.”

All of these disparate ideas, including events in my personal life, came together when I wrote “Erzulie’s Daughter”—the first poem in the Haitian trilogy of “Marassa Jumeaux” and “Limbo. The direct influence of Scott and Brathwaite guided the composition of these poems—Derek Walcott lurks in the background. There is also the indirect influence of Haitian poet/scholar, Felix Morriseau-Leroy and Cuban-American poet/babalawo, Adrian Castro, from whom I’ve have learned so much about Caribbean literature and religions.

Some Caribbean writers still argue whether a Caribbean literary tradition exists. Dub Wise posits the continuation of that tradition—a line of thought that extends across generations, which is either enriched or even if rejected, is nonetheless acknowledged by the inheritors.
Please follow this link to order Dub Wise from Peepal Tree Press:

Dub Wise may be ordered also be pre-ordered @ Amazon:

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September 29, 2010

New Book: The Frock & Other Poems by Laurelle “Yaya” Richards

GREAT BAY, St. Martin (September 29, 2010)—
The Frock & Other Poems by Laurelle “Yaya” Richards has just been released by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

In the book, “Richards grounds her verse in the history and culture of St. Martin,” said the Jamaican/US author Geoffrey Philp.
Yaya Richards had completed working on The Frock with her publisher at the time of her death at age 55, on May 26, 2010, said Jacqueline Sample, president of HNP.
The well known St. Martin folklorist hailed from the village of St. Louis where she organized annual food fairs and promoted knowledge of folk-life, said Sample.
The folk, modern, and personal elements are reflected by Richards in poems such as “Silk cotton grow,” “Value of a woman,” and “Abandoned salt pond,” which is dedicated to the last generations that picked salt in the Grand Case Salt Pond.
Yaya’s poems, like her signature piece, “The Frock,” grew out of her Spoken Word presentations at schools and cultural shows throughout the island. “The poems celebrate the island and the proud heritage captured in the traditions and music of her people,” said Philp, who is also a lecturer at Miami Dade College.
Gracing the book’s cover is a larger-than-life painting of Yaya wearing her colorful folk persona frock. The oil painting is by leading Caribbean impressionist Roland Richardson.
The art link of the collaboration that produced the slim volume of verse inspired art gallery director Laura Richardson to say that, “As an emerging nation, St. Martin’s cultural consciousness is also growing in leaps and bounds.”
“House of Nehesi’s role as a publisher, Roland’s role as an artist, Laurelle’s role as a writer, all work in unison as beacons of light, reaching out to the universal society that hungers for new fresh thoughts from all points on the globe that perpetuates growth and evolution,” said Richardson.
“Miss Yaya serves as an actual and symbolic cultural nexus from the villages of St. Louis, which includes Freetown, and Rambaud, … a depository of the oral tradition and collective memory,” wrote educator Lenny Mussington in the book’s introduction.
The Frock & Other Poems is “At times playful, sometimes stern, the poems do not avoid the conflicts that plague her home and by wider implication the Caribbean,” wrote Philp in his review of the new seminal collection.   
Linguist Rhoda Arrindell was the language editor and Sundiata Lake designed the cover and illustrations for Yaya’s book.
“The Collectivity’s government in Marigot provided a cultural arts sponsorship for the title as another concrete investment in the nation’s literature,” said Sample.
The Frock & Other Poems is available at Roland Richardson Gallery, bookstores, libraries, and
Jacqueline Sample
Tel (599) 554-7089

P.O. Box 460
Philipsburg, St. Martin
Tel (599) 554-7089


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Review of DUB WISE @ Digital Calabash

"Geoffrey Philp is arguably among the most talented and versatile of contemporary Caribbean writers. His works have spanned the spectrum from children's literature to novel. His latest literary endeavor is "Dub Wise", a collection of poetry published by Peepal Tree Press."
For more, please follow this link to Digital Calabash:


"A Poem for My Children": Reading @ USpeak

Reading from DUB WISE  @ USpeak, Oasis Deli at the Whitten University Center, University of Miami on Friday, September 24, 2010.

About USpeak:

The Creative Writing program begins its second year of USpeak, a series of eight literary events at the Oasis Deli in the Whitten University Center of the Coral Gables Campus. The Sept. 24 event will feature UM alum Geoffrey Philp. Doors open at 6 p.m. and programs begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please visit 

Each evening features a local writer from the University of Miami or greater Miami literary community. Audience members are also invited to step up and share their poems, stories, and music at the Open Mic. USpeak is recorded and available to listeners on iTunes, and is sponsored, in part, by the U. of Miami's Creative Writing Program, English Department, and Auxiliary Services. Light refreshments will be served.


September 27, 2010

A Conversation With...Charmaine Valere

Where were you born? Describe current family life.

I was born in Guyana and I currently live in New Jersey with my husband and three children.     

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

I am a teacher and a freelance writer. The former helps pay the bills, and the latter makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than the things that seem to control most of my days--bigger than the forms to be filled out for every little turn I make (seemingly), and bigger than bills.

Who are your three favorite writers? Why?

These days (because I read to review mostly), I don’t have the luxury of reading more than one work by a writer to declare anyone a “favourite,” but when I was able to do so, I loved (still do) James Baldwin’s fire and bravery,

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

Little Women was my first love (not sure how young I was). I read it several times and to this day my first love (reading-wise) is a novel with an engaging saga.

What are you reading now?

I’m currently reading Maryse Condé’s I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem (translated by Richard Philcox, copyright 1992) for my Caribbean Women Writers blog series. First lines: Abena, my mother, was raped by an English sailor on the deck of Christ the King one day in the year 16** while the ship was sailing for Barbados. I was born from the act of aggression. From this act of hatred and contempt.

Sounds Caribbean, right?

About Charmaine Valere

Charmaine Valere is a literature adjunct professor in New Jersey, a freelance writer on education and parenting topics, and  she writes about Guyanese and Caribbean literature at

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September 24, 2010

Still Singing LoveSongs

I just found this old  newspaper clipping from Friday, September 24, 1982, and it seems as if I am back to where I started twenty-eight years ago when I read from my first book of poems, Exodus and Other Poems,at the Ruth Stanford Lounge at the University of Miami.

Talk about synchronicity! Tonight at 6:30 p.m. I'll be reading from Dub Wise, my tenth book, at Oasis Deli at the Whitten University Center, University of Miami as part of the USpeak Series.

Give thanks to all the Idren and Sistren who have walked with me from those times and those whom I have just met in this trod through Babylon. It has been a long journey, but well worth the trip.

Friday, September 24 · 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Oasis Deli at the Whitten University Center
University of Miami,
Coral Gables, FL 33124
The Creative Writing program begins its second year of USpeak, a series of eight literary events at the Oasis Deli in the Whitten University Center of the Coral Gables Campus. The Sept. 24 event will feature UM alum Geoffrey Philp. Doors open at 6 p.m. and programs begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please visit

Each evening features a local writer from the University of Miami or greater Miami literary community. Audience members are also invited to step up and share their poems, stories, and music at the Open Mic. USpeak is recorded and available to listeners on iTunes, and is sponsored, in part, by the U. of Miami's Creative Writing Program, English Department, and Auxiliary Services. Light refreshments will be served.

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September 23, 2010

Googling for Natives @ Horror Unlimited: Cuban Horror Films

"Furthermore, since horror is essentially, at its core, the relation between one and a perilous and often transmogrified other, the only other that is deemed worthy of discussion in Cuba is the capitalist imperialism of the United States. The yanquís, the Castro government’s demonic appellation for the inhabitants of the country ninety miles west of Cuba, are the lone evil in the Cuban psyche. Since billboards about them are already everywhere on the island, making a film about their sinister intentions seems an utterly redundant act."

For more information, please follow this link:

About the Author:

Rafael Miguel Montes is a Cultural Studies professor in the Department of English at St. Thomas University in Miami, FL. He is the author of the book-length study Making Places: Generational Traumas in Contemporary Cuban-American Literature. His academic work has often attempted to dissect the correlation between popular culture and Caribbean cinema and literature. Working in the fields of memory studies, oral history, videogame studies, fashion history and horror, he brings together disparate avenues of interrogation in order to better understand Cuba and the Caribbean outside of the usual contexts of history and literature.

Juan of the Dead:
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September 22, 2010


C.L.R. James
. . . it is appalling to learn that the C.L.R. James Library in Hackney (a borough of London) is going to be renamed the Dalston Library and Archives, after the neighborhood in which it is located. James was there when the library was christened in his honour in 1985. The authorities insist that, in spite of the proposed change, they will continue to honour James. But this seems half-hearted and unsatisfying . . .
— Scott McLemee on the campaign to stop the renaming of the C.L.R. James Library in London. He includes a link to an online petition, which your Antilles blogger has already signed. 

I have also signed the online petition.



The Arrivants through Trench Town Rock to Born to Slow Horses, Kamau Brathwaite has lamented that we live in an "Age of Dis": "By now the Age of Dis. Distress Dispair & Disrespect. Distrust Disrupt Distruction."


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Hosted by Lorna Owens, And the Women Gather, is an info-tainment program-- the first of its kind--targeting the larger Caribbean market.Tangy and topical, it’s the premier destination for viewers seeking the latest in news, lifestyle trends and current events that matter to its primary audience. If it’s happenin’ in the islands, it’s going to be happenin’ on And the Women Gather.

Driven by the underlying theme of “Dreams…Passion…Purpose.” each show will reflect the five pillars of Lorna Owens’ successful platform:
● Health/Wellness
● Business /Money
● Spirituality
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A core element of the show will feature “the gathering circle”, a group of guests chatting about current issues, newsmakers and celebrities making a difference in the Caribbean. The show will also feature the following news and lifestyle segments:
  • “True or False”--a short segment which demystifies current Caribbean issues and trends
  • The Hot Spot--video profiles on travel destinations and info on Lorna’s travels/events
  • Delectable Delights--food segments, restaurant reviews and chef profiles from ATWG events and show tapings
  • Global Village--Skype segments featuring women who are members of the ATWG global online community
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Extraordinarily blessed with a wealth of talents, Lorna Owens, the host of And the Women Gather, is a widely sought after international speaker and life strategist. Hailed as the “Caribbean Oprah,” The Miami Herald calls her “a pioneer,” and media outlets around the world agree. She has been interviewed on NBC, TBN, and Court TV among others. Casting her net wide to spread her empowering message of hope, she has been booked to speak in several countries around the world. Her mission is a simple one: to transform the planet, one workshop, one speech, and now, one TV show at a time. Lorna is the author of Daily Sustenance and Everyday Grace and the inspired founder of  And the Women Gather.

The executive producer on this project, LeGrande Green, is the founder/CEO of Spirit MediaWorks, a media management and broadcast consulting firm based in New York City. A four-time Emmy winner and recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary, Green is a seasoned TV veteran who has supervised several teams of producers at the Oprah Winfrey Show and other nationally syndicated programs. In his eight years at Oprah, he rose from his initial position as associate producer to Supervising Senior Producer.

And the Women Gather will be aired daily 4pm-5pm on Teleamerica Channel 88 covering the Florida Keys to The Palm Beaches.


Lorna Owens Inc.
4000 Ponce Deleon Blvd. Ste 470   
Miami  FL 33146
Tel: 305- 860-8059
Fax: 305-854-2980
Listen to us every Saturday at 6pm EST on Blogtalk Radio

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