May 30, 2013

Now Available: sx salon 12 (May 2013)

Our spring issue of sx salon features a discussion of the volcanic eruption of Mont Pelée in Martinique. This discussion, guest-curated by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, considers the literature, images, and rhetoric surrounding the 1902 eruption and makes connections to other Caribbean natural and manmade disasters. Featuring essays by Elaine Savory, Kevin Meehan, Paulette Richards, Ivette Romero, and Paravisini-Gebert, this discussion of Mont Pelée is inspired in part by the three-year Visual Life of Catastrophic History project in progress in the pages of Small Axe (see “The Visual Life of Catastrophic History: A Small Axe Project Statement” in Small Axe 34 [March 2011] for a full description of the project). Here the discussants consider both the visual and literary life (perhaps even lives?) of Mont Pelée before and after 1902.
This issue also includes: poetry by Kamau Brathwaite, Xavier Navarro, Richard Georges, and Simone Leid; an interview with Elaine Savory; and reviews ofKingston Noir, Diana McCaulay’s Huracan and Wayne Brown’s The Scent of the Past. Please enjoy and share.
sx salon 12 (May 2013)

For more, please follow this link:


May 27, 2013

1 Minute Book Review: Disposable People by Ezekel Alan.

Name of the book: Disposable People: Inspired by true events [Kindle Edition]

Author:   Ezekel Alan

Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

What's the book about?
Disposable People is the coming of age novel about Kenny Lovelace, who grew up in a small village in Jamaica-- "that hateful f**king place."

Why am I reading the book?
Disposable People is the Caribbean regional winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize.

Quote(s)from the book:

"Sometimes he smiled, revealing a set of teeth that a cosmetic dentist looking for a challenge would die for."

"The newly acqired knowledge that ethics was a foreign language that few people spoke turned out to be very enlightening."

"There are some people that, when they smile with the Universe, the Universe smiles back at them, and may even strike up a conversation. There are other people who, when they smile with the Universe, the Universe simply nods a slight acknowledgment. And then there are those people who, when they smile at the Universe, the Universe tells profanity at them like, "What the fuck you smiling at nigga?"

"This is how I came to see, for the first time, not my papa and mama, not my aunts and uncles, not Tommy and Brian and all, but instead just a graveyard full of disposable people, some of whose graves were now being reused to bury the newly dead."

Ezekel Alan is a Jamaican consultant working in Asia. He lives with his wife and kids, and has a good reliable dog. Disposable People is his debut novel which was a Regional Winner for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Ezekel blogs at

Highly Recommended: 4 1/2 out of 5

Mary Hanna's review:


I've modified this format from One Minute Book Reviews:


May 21, 2013

1 Minute Book Review: The Mermaid Escapade

Name of the book: The Mermaid Escapade [Kindle Edition]

Author:  Suzanne Francis-Brown 

Publisher:  SFB Publications

What's the book about? 
The water in Salt Cove is turning brackish and neither humans nor merpeople, know why. Three human children, Elena, Kwame and Abena, team up with two young merpeople, Lula and Susura, from the realm of the River Mumma, to solve the mystery. 

Why am I reading the book? 
I first heard about The Mermaid Escapade on Diane Browne's blog ( and immediately downloaded the book. I was interested in the ebook not only because it's written by a Caribbean author who lives in Jamaica, but also the plot revolves around a central water spirit of Caribbean mythology, River Mumma aka Oshun/ Yemoja/ Erzulie. 

Quote from the book: "Abena's grandmother tightened up her lips and drew together the skin between her eyebrows, until it looked like the furrows in a newly ploughed land. When Mama Sara looked like that, it meant long grumblings between her and her Lord above. And woe be unto any little pass-deh-place grandchild caught giggling or rolling their eyes."

Where to buy:

Suzanne Francis-Brown enjoys bringing words to the party; crafting worlds and pitting her wits against creeps she's dredged from the deep. She has worked in journalism and public relations, and more recently added heritage and history to the mix.


I've modified this format from One Minute Book Reviews:


May 20, 2013

Truth and Reconciliations: Marcus Garvey

Typically, truth and reconciliations commissions are charged with “tasked with discovering and revealing past wrongdoing by a the hope of resolving conflict left over from the past.” With the exception of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the United States of America has never had national commission to uncover past wrongdoings before or during the Jim Crow era. If such a commission were to be established, the case of Marcus Garvey’s conviction on mail fraud by the Justice Department of the United States of America should be one of the first cases.
It is almost certain that any such commission would be able to provide proof of historical revisionism and human rights abuses against Mr. Garvey, as evidenced by the introduction of H. Con. Res. 24 to the 110th Congress by Representative Charles Rangel: “Expressing the sense of the Congress that the President should grant a pardon to Marcus Mosiah Garvey to clear his name and affirm his innocence of crimes for which he was unjustly prosecuted and convicted.”
This historical injustice committed against Marcus Garvey needs redress. It is for this reason that the Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey has two simultaneous petitions to President Barack Obama ( and Congress (” to make whole” Mr. Garvey’s reputation from the calumnies and slanders that have surrounded his name.
And while the final deliberations of many truth and reconciliations commissions have been stymied because possible criminal prosecutions, in this case, only the restoration of Mr. Garvey’s “good name” is being sought. This is an issue that many conservatives, including the late Senator Jesse Helms who first introduced legislation for the clearing of Garvey’s name, and liberals such as Representative Charles Rangel who oversaw the hearings in the House of Representatives, can agree on. Marcus Garvey was wrongfully convicted and his criminal record, a moral blight on the reputation of the United States can be restored by his exoneration.
The President and the Congress have the power to execute this historically redemptive act: Exonerate Marcus Garvey.


The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey is petitioning Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Frederica Wilson, and the Congress of the United States of America for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey:

We are also petitioning President Barack Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey:

Thank you for your support.

May 14, 2013

Whitewashing Star Trek: Into Darkness.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a trekkie, but I’ve watched every episode of Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and all the movies in the franchise. In fact, I’ve been waiting anxiously for the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness. That is,  until I read this well-written article at about the casting of  one of Star Trek’s most infamous villains, Khan Noonian Singh, and the betrayal of Gene Roddenberry's vision.

Star Trek: Into Whiteness

If there’s one thing that most fans of Star Trek will agree on, it’s the fact that Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the show — and, more optimistically, for human society — was predicated on the idea that all life is valuable, and that the worth of a person should not be judged by their appearance. Much of this was done through the old sci-fi trope of using aliens to stand in for oppressed groups, but Star Trek didn’t rely on the metaphor; it had characters who were part of the ensemble, important and beloved members of the Enterprise crew, who were people of colour. It had background characters who were people of colour. And, here and there, it had anti-heroes and villains who were people of colour … one of whom, Khan Noonian Singh, became well-nigh iconic.

And who is now being played by white actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the new JJ Abrams reboot movie, Star Trek: Into Darkness.


The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey is petitioning Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Frederica Wilson, and the Congress of the United States of America for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey: 

We are also petitioning President Barack Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey: 

Thank you for your support..

Regional Winners: 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize

The Commonwealth Foundation has announced the regional winners for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Representing Africa, Asia, Canada & Europe, Caribbean, and the Pacific regions, these writers will now compete to become the overall winner, to be announced at Hay Festival UK on 31 May.

The Commonwealth Book Prize is awarded for the best first novel, and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize for the best piece of unpublished short fiction.

Part of Commonwealth Writers, the prizes unearth, develop and promote the best of new writing from across the Commonwealth, developing literary connections worldwide and consistently bringing less-heard voices to the fore. The cultural breadth of stories from this year’s regional winners includes Sri Lanka on the eve of independence from British Colonial rule, the Socialist regime of 1970s Jamaica, and a South Africa riven by apartheid.

Commonwealth Book Prize

Regional Winner, Africa
Sterile Sky, E.E. Sule (Nigeria), Pearson Education

Regional Winner, Asia
Island of a Thousand Mirrors, Nayomi Munaweera (Sri Lanka), Perera-Hussein Publishing House

Regional Winner, Canada & Europe
The Death of Bees, Lisa O'Donnell (United Kingdom), William Heinemann

Regional Winner, Caribbean
Disposable People, Ezekel Alan (Jamaica), self-published

Regional Winner, Pacific
The Last Thread, Michael Sala (Australia), Affirm Press

Commenting on the winners, Chair of the Commonwealth Book Prize, Godfrey Smith said, “Choosing the regional winners from among the 21 shortlisted books was a rewarding journey across diverse cultures, through soaring - sometimes shocking - imaginations, movingly connecting us with a fascinating range of human situations. The five regional winners are an impressive mixture of bold, ambitious, powerfully descriptive and emotionally riveting writing that will leave us with a deeper appreciation and understanding of our world.”

Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Regional Winner, Africa
The New Customers, Julian Jackson (South Africa)

Regional Winner, Asia
The Sarong-Man in the Old House, and an Incubus for a Rainy Night, Michael Mendis (Sri Lanka)

Regional Winner, Canada & Europe
We Walked On Water, Eliza Robertson (Canada)

Regional Winner, Caribbean
The Whale House, Sharon Millar (Trinidad and Tobago)

Regional Winner, Pacific
Things with Faces, Zoë Meager (New Zealand)

Chair of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, Razia Iqbal said, “The short story is among the hardest forms to master. The five stories we chose as regional winners all pass the judges' tests of capturing a distinctive tone; creating fulsome characters; always deft in showing, not telling; subject matter both intimate and personal, as well as ranging across political landscapes. Reading them will transport you, as all good literature does, and introduce you to voices we are sure you will hear again.”

Commonwealth Writers has partnered with Granta magazine to give regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize the opportunity to be published by Granta online during the week commencing 27 May. 

John Freeman, Editor of Granta said: “The Commonwealth Short Story Prize searches across a vast territory with relentless curiosity to select the brightest new talent from each region, and this year is stronger than ever. With voices that arrest, affirm, disturb and illuminate, this new crop of writers turn our expectations for what a story can do, and of where they are calling from, inside out. This partnership is an example of what the magazine can be at best – a beacon for those writers we didn’t know we were missing out on – and we salute Commonwealth Writers in their continuing good work.”


For media enquiries please contact Carrie Rees, / +44 (0) 7763 708346 or Claire Turner, Communications Manager at the Commonwealth Foundation, / +44 (0) 20 7747 6522.

Notes to Editors

1. Overall winners of the Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be announced at Hay Festival at 7pm on Friday 31 May 2013.

2. The winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize receives £10,000, with regional winners receiving £2,500. The winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize receives £5,000, with regional winners receiving £1,000. For more information visit

3. Commonwealth Writers

The Commonwealth Book Prize and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize are part of Commonwealth Writers, a cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation. Commonwealth Writers aim is to inspire writers, storytellers and a range of cultural practitioners to work for social change. It builds communities of less heard and emerging voices to influence, directly and indirectly, the decision making processes which affect their lives. The Commonwealth Book and Short Story prizes act as catalysts to target and identify talented writers from different regions who will go on to inspire and inform their local communities.

4. Commonwealth Foundation

The Commonwealth Foundation is a development organisation with an international remit and reach, uniquely situated at the interface between government and civil society. It develops the capacity of civil society to act together and learn from each other to engage with the institutions that shape people’s lives. It strives for more effective, responsive and accountable governance with civil society participation, which contributes to improved development outcomes.

5. Granta

The overall and regional winners of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize will have the opportunity to have their story edited and published by Granta online. Granta is a quarterly literary magazine of new writing. Published in book format, each issue includes stories, essays, memoir, poetry and art centred around a theme. Throughout its long history, Granta has published the most significant writers of our time featuring work by writers including Julian Barnes, Edwidge Danticat, Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie, Santiago Roncagliolo, David Mitchell, Lorrie Moore, Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson and more. In recent years, the magazine has expanded to include foreign editions – in Spain, Italy, Brazil, Norway, China, Finland, Sweden, Portugal and Bulgaria.

6. The Commonwealth Short Story Prize regional winners will be published by Granta online during the week commencing 27 May at the following address:

7. Hay Festival

Hay Festival celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. Hay runs 15 festivals across five continents at which current political thought and the re-imaginings of international writers cross cultural and genre boundaries, and foster the exchange of understanding, mutual respect and ideas.

8. Yardstick Festival

The regional winner for Africa, E. E. Sule, will be appearing at the Yardstick Festival, 27-30 June 2013. The festival promotes the experience of great African Diaspora literature through engaging audiences in Bristol and the South West. Jamaica 50 Cultural Medal of Honour winner Lorna Goodison and Alissandra Cummins, chair of UNESCO’s Executive Board, are patrons. Festival partners this year include the Royal African Society (RAS Africa Writes) and the Commonwealth Foundation (Commonwealth Writers). The festival includes authors from Jamaica, Kenya, Somalia, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the UK.

9. Commonwealth Foundation, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HY United Kingdom; Tel +44 (0)20 7930 3783; Fax +44 (0) 20 7839 8157; Email; Website

May 13, 2013

Small Axe Literary Competition 2013

The Small Axe Literary Competition encourages the production and publication of Caribbean fiction and poetry. The competition focuses on poetry and short stories from emerging writers whose work centers on regional and diasporic Caribbean themes and concerns. This competition is part of the Small Axe Project's ongoing commitment to Caribbean cultural production and our mission to provide a forum for innovative critical and creative explorations of Caribbean reality. With this competition, we hope to encourage and support the region's rich literary heritage, in the tradition of precursors such as Bim, Kyk-over-al, Focus and Savacou.

The competition consists of two categories: poetry and short fiction. Two winners are chosen from each category by a distinguished panel of judges.

First Prize: $750 Second Prize: $500

2013 Competition submission deadline: 31 May, 2013

Winners of the 2012 competition will be published in Small Axe 42 - July 2013.

Writers wishing to compete for a Small Axe Literary Prize must submit the following to

A double-spaced Word document containing: an original, unpublished short story (maximum 7,000 words), or an original selection of poetry (maximum ten poems, not exceeding ten manuscript pages). Manuscripts must be free of any author information.

A separate document with a one-page biography, including previously published works and full contact information (name, email address, mailing address and phone)


The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey is petitioning Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Frederica Wilson, and the Congress of the United States of America for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey:

We are also petitioning President Barack Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey:

Thank you for your support..

May 9, 2013

Haitian Heritage Week 2013

Miami Dade College’s (MDC) North Campus and the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center promises to take you on a journey to the beautiful island of Haiti, the Pearl of the Antilles during Haitian Heritage Week 2013.

It is our distinct honor and pleasure to invite you to our 2013 Haitian Flag Day Celebration themed: “A New Day of Hope” at MDC, North Campus on Friday, May 17, 2013 from 10:25am – 12:40pm at The William and Joan Lehman Theatre (Room 5120) in Building 5. This event will entail history of the Haitian flag, cultural performances, Haitian art displays, music, traditional food and much more. This event will be attended by MDC faculty, students, staff, local high school students, and members of the community.

We would also like to invite you to participate in all of our enriching activities throughout Haitian Heritage Week 2013. For more information, please contact Student Life at (305) 237- 1250 or visit Room 4208.  For social media updates, please visit and “like” our Facebook Page: Haitian Heritage Week 2013 – MDC North.

“The Jewel of the Caribbean”
Haitian Heritage Cultural & Art Display throughout the Month of May

Miami Dade College, North Campus
Library – Building 2

Human Rights Articles: 1, 2, 19, 26, 27, 29

Miami Dade College, North Campus
The William and Joan Lehman Theatre
Building 5, Room 5120
11380 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33167
10:25 am - 12:40 pm

Human Rights Articles: 1, 2, 19, 26, 27, 29

Day of Service - Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Little Haiti Cultural Center
212 NE 59 Terrace
Miami, FL 33137
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Human Rights Articles: 1, 2, 3, 5, 15, 19, 26, 27, 29

Haitian Heritage Storytelling - Monday, May 20th, 2013

Miami Dade College, North Campus
Exploration Station Preschool
Building 600
11380 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33167
10:00 am - 11:00 am

Human Rights Articles: 1, 2, 19, 26, 29

Haiti: Another Struggle (Documentary) - Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Miami Dade College North Campus
11380 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33167
Room 2147, Building 2
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Produced and Directed By: James Pierre (Miami Dade College Film Student)

Human Rights Articles: 1, 2, 19, 26, 29

Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center
6300 NW 7th Avenue
Miami, FL 33150
Atrium, Building 1
11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Human Rights Articles: 1, 2, 3, 5, 15, 19, 26, 27, 29

Community Health Fair and Haitian Heritage Festival - Friday, May 24th, 2013

Miami Dade College, North Campus
Breezeway, Building 4
11380 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33167
Breezeway, Building 4
9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Human Rights Articles: 24, 27, 29

May 8, 2013

The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature (23-8-2013) | Commonwealth Writers

An exciting global initiative in Young Adult literature is coming to the Caribbean. Established by CODE with the support of Canadian philanthropist William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, in partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest, the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature was launched on April 27, 2013, at the NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain.
The Award will be given annually to three English-language literary works for Young Adults by Caribbean authors. A First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD will be awarded to the winning authors. Publishers of winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of up to 3,000 copies, ensuring the books will get into the hands of young people in schools, libraries and community organisations across the Caribbean.

The Burt Award for Caribbean Literature (23-8-2013) | Commonwealth Writers:


The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey is petitioning Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Frederica Wilson, and the Congress of the United States of America for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey:

We are also petitioning President Barack Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey:

Thank you for your support..

May 6, 2013

The Four Tribes of Anglophone Caribbean Literature

There's an old saying about your children keeping you young, and for the past week, I've seen the wisdom of that adage. My children love comics and frequently send me links to interesting stories about superhero movies or TED talks. One TED talk that caught my attention was Scott McCloud on Comics.

In his TED talk, McCloud developed a theory about comics and artists based on Jung's theory of the four basic functions of the psyche: sensation, intuition, thinking, and feeling.

According to Jung, the psyche is an apparatus for adaptation and orientation, and consists of a number of different psychic functions. Among these he distinguishes four basic functions:

Sensation—perception by means of the sense organs
Intuition—perceiving in unconscious way or perception of unconscious contents
Thinking—function of intellectual cognition; the forming of logical conclusions
Feeling—function of subjective estimation

From these four types, McCloud has extrapolated four types of artists, Classicists, Animists, Formalists, and Iconoclasts, which he divided into four quadrants representing different attitudes toward beauty and truth; life and art; content and style; tradition and revolution.

The Classicists admire craftsmanship and mastery of the art form. Their goals include creating lasting works of art which adhere to traditional aesthetic principles. Perfection is impossible, but that doesn't mean they can't try for it. According to McCloud, their catch-word is beauty, and they are an extension of Jung's sensation archetype.

The Animists are interested in content. They aim for the clearest presentation of their story or ideas. To some extent the medium must always interfere with the message, but the animist's focus on the content means they try to make the form as transparent as they possibly can. Their catch-word is content, and McCloud considers them an extension of Jung's intuition archetype.

The Formalists are fascinated with their chosen medium's form. They create their art to explore its boundaries and contours, to learn what it can be capable of and how it works internally. Their works of art incorporate experiments, and they often double as analytical critics. Their catch-word is form, and in McCloud's scheme they correspond to Jung's thinking archetype.

The Iconoclasts value truth and experience in art. To them art must be authentic, must show life as it is. They take aim at artistic conventions that gloss over the imperfections and disappointments at life. Artists who speak of "honesty" or "rawness" are voicing iconoclastic ideas. Their catch-word is truth, and they are Jung's feeling archetype.

As Jon Aquino states, "playing around with this, it's interesting to deduce that":

Tradition = Sensation + Intuition
Revolution = Thinking + Feeling
Art = Sensation + Thinking
Life = Intuition + Feeling
Revolution + Art = Form
Tradition + Life = Content
Art + Tradition = Beauty
Life + Revolution = Truth

As Mr. Trombley notes: "Each of these have specific reservations about the mediocre works of other three:

1. The Classicist accuses the animist of simplicity, the formalist of meaninglessness, and the iconoclast of ugliness
2. The Animist accuses the classicist of pointless overdrawing, the formalist of unnecessary density, and the iconoclast of pretentiousness
3. The Formalist accuses the classicist of artistic conservatism, the animist of pointlessness, and the iconoclast of self-absorption
4. The Iconoclast accuses the classicist of soullessness, the animist of dullness, and the formalist of meaningless abstraction

Damien G Walter continues with his observations:

Animists are the first artists, the shamen dancing around the tribal fire who drag raw emotion from their soul and give it to the audience. They are the instinctual artists, concerned above all with content.

Classicists worship at the altar of beauty, and yearn to create art that achieves greatness. They believe in objective standards of good and bad, and establish the canon of great artists who embody those ideals.

Iconoclasts are either the first against the wall when the revolution comes, or at the front leading the charge. They use art as a means of personal and political expression, and when asked will say that they value truth over all else.

Formalists love talking about art almost as much as they enjoy creating it. They are the experimenters of any given art, obsessing about details of style and technique in their own work and the work of others.

The real fun begins when you start to look at synergies and conflicts that exist between the tribes. Between the Classicists and Animists is the shared belief that tradition is important, a belief which both the Formalists and Iconoclasts give the finger to in favour of revolution and change. However, the Formalists and Classicists both believe first and foremost in the value of art, whereas Animists and Iconoclasts both make art secondary to life.

These might seem fairly arbitrary distinctions, until you relate them to those unending arguments in the arts, which start to look like ongoing territorial squabbles between competing tribes. What is the age-old debate between truth and beauty, if not a fight between the Classicists and the Iconoclasts? Who is more passionate about style v content than Formalists and Animists?

But every tribe has weaknesses to balance their strengths. For all their ability to move an audience, Animists are often the most colloquial and narrow-minded artists. Classicists might know what is great, but in constantly repeating it can easily become boring. While style-conscious Formalists can be so concerned with experimentation that their creations lack heart and soul. And the Iconoclasts, determined to change the world, risk making art consumed by negativity and anger.

From McCloud's formulations, I've realized that many Anglophone Caribbean poets fall into these quadrants:

Classicists: John Figueroa, Louis Simpson, Ralph Thompson
Animists: Jean Binta Breeze, Mutabaruka, Malachi Smith, Linton Kwesi Johnson
Formalists: Derek Walcott, Edward Baugh, Mervyn Morris, Dennis Scott
Iconoclasts: Kamau Brathwaite, Lorna Goodison, Tony McNeill

One of the startling revelations of this typology is that both Walcott and Brathwaite are revolutionaries, but in different ways. Walcott, "the mulatto of style" has shown a preference for art over the raw details of life. And as far as race and ethnicity are concerned, it wasn't that Walcott didn't think that he was black, he simply didn't have a form to express the horrors of the Atlantic Holocaust. It took him over thirty years to realize a form that could encompass his vision. The result was his magnificent work, Omeros.

The classification also helped me to see why many formalists are not viewed as "authentic" Caribbean writers. Caribbean literature and publishing is dominated by the Animists. In the popular mind, dub poetry and the "raw" stories of Caribbean life (content over form; truth over beauty) have become the de facto definitions of Caribbean literature.

Finally, I've also come to appreciate the catholic tastes of Jeremy Poynting and Peepal Tree Press, who have been publishing writers from all four tribes--an achievement that not many publishers, main stream and independent have been able to accomplish.

It will be interesting to see how far down the rabbit hole I will be heading with these new insights. But then, again, what did you expect from a magpie?