February 25, 2016

"Between Two Fires" by Tony Williams

Journalist and author, Tony Williams, the creator of Caribbean Book Blog, has launched his latest novel, Between Two Fires.

Between Two Fires is a gripping read packed with mystery, suspense, and interracial romance and is set on Elysian Island, a fictional retreat for the super-rich in the Caribbean.

The plot revolves around Rudy Philips, a Black British journalist with Caribbean roots and lots of charm who gets ensnared in the age-old emotional trap; becoming romantically entangled with a married woman.

Bridget Tennyson, the woman who has enchanted him, is a gorgeous American stockbroker and she’s married to the world-famous British aristocrat, Lord Edward Tennyson. She’s a smart and sophisticated career woman and runs a highly successful stock-trading firm on Elysian Island, just off the coast of St. Lucia where Rudy was born.

Not only is Rudy out of her league, the two of them come from completely different worlds, but this doesn’t faze Rudy. He’s all too aware that Bridget is crazy over him and her marriage is on the rocks. What’s more, Bridget assures him that she has the perfect plan for getting rid of Edward, permanently.

The big question is, can Rudy who is used to having women eating out of his hand, handle a woman like Bridget who is an independent thinker, calculating, tough and ambitious?

Moreover, they both know that if they slip up and Edward discovers what’s going down, there’s going to be hell to pay.

At its core, Between Two Fires tackles the controversial issue of what often tends to happen to the male ego when a man is confronted with a woman who is independent-minded and empowered,, knows exactly what she wants and is intent on being true to herself and her ideals.

It is also a story of betrayal, revenge and murder.

Between Two Fires is available as an ebook and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Smashwords and other online bookstores. Secure your e-copy today for just US$2.99.

Email: toniwilliams918@gmail.com

Author Website: https://toniwilliamsbooks.wordpress.com/

Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018PPKRLS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Author Interview: https://gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/caribbean-author-toni-williams-tells-about-his-interest-in-crime-fiction/

February 23, 2016

" A Warm December" @ Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater

A Warm December

February 26,  2016

Special Screening at the Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater in The City of North Miami Beach, 7:00PM

Released in 1973 and both starring and directed by Sidney Poitier, "A Warm December" tells the story of Dr. Matt Younger (Sidney Poitier) and his daughter (Yvette Curtis) who arrive for a month-long visit to London for dirt-bike racing and unexpectedly, a new romance for the widowed Dr. Younger. His new love interest is the beautiful and playful dignitary Catherine Oswandu (Esther Anderson). But something is amiss -- strange men seem to be following her wherever she goes, and Younger assumes she's at the center of some political intrigue. His heart sinks when he learns that she has sickle cell anemia, and the men are watchdogs in the employ of her anxious father (Earl Cameron). 

Q & A with co-star, Esther Anderson concluding the film.

In celebration of African-American History Month, the screening will include a special guest film introduction by community leader and grandson of Dr. Maya Angelou, Elliott Jones.  

The screening is FREE of charge, register online for free passes. Space Is Limited. Tickets are available online at  docmiami.org

February 15, 2016

Support the UNIA Sponsored Petition

Geoffrey Philp

For the past eight years, I have been campaigning for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey. Although some of my petitions have had some success, others have not yielded the desired results.

The reasons are varied. Some of my critics have said that Garvey’s message is outdated while others have said that Garvey’s exoneration is a waste of political capital. In the words of Mutty Perkins, the irascible Jamaican journalist, both are examples of “arrant nonsense.”

Africans at home and abroad face the same existential threat in Garvey’s time as they do now: the erasure of black lives. In 1914, Garvey rightly diagnosed the threat and offered solutions to our lack of organization and collective ignorance about our history. Garvey’s intellect and intuition led him to realization that movements would only be successful if they could draw on the shared memories of their people while also making public their grievances against regimes that try to silence their legitimate complaints. Against the despair that had numbed his people into compliance, the UNIA created the Pan-African flag, published a newspaper, founded schools, operated several businesses, including the Black Star Line, and proclaimed the “Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World”: The Principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

This is why I am suspending my current petitions and fully supporting the UNIA sponsored petition because the UNIA has kept alive Garvey’s educational and organizational program while also pursuing legal remedies to alleviate the persecution of Africans at home and abroad.

It is also my hope that members of the Rastafari community, Nation of Islam, #BlackLivesMatter, and other organizations will support this effort. For although there are serious ideological divisions among these organizations, they share a common goal: the redemption of Africans at home and abroad.

Please join me by signing this petition and sharing the petition with at least ten friends. Time is of the essence.

February 9, 2016

Marcus Garvey: A Forerunner of #BlackLivesMatter


Separated by a century of struggle, Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and #BlackLivesMatter (#BLM) share striking similarities. 

During this interactive presentation, Professor Geoffrey Philp will discuss the origin stories of the UNIA and #BLM and the historical significance of these movements in the lives of Africans at home and abroad.

“Marcus Garvey: A Forerunner of #BlackLivesMatter.”
Room 1210
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
10: 00 am to 11:00 am

Miami Dade College
InterAmerican Campus
627 SW 27th Ave
Miami, FL 33135

February 8, 2016

FAU Presents ‘Readings in DIRT’ by South Florida Authors

Six nationally recognized writers will read original works that explore the theme of "dirt," its literal and figurative connotations, in conjunction with the exhibition “DIRT: Yuta Suelo Udongo Tè,” which is currently on view at Florida Atlantic University’s Ritter Gallery, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.  The readings take place on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m., and are free and open to the public. More information can be found at www.fau.edu/galleries.  

Miami writers Michael Hettich, John Dufresne, Elizabeth Jacobson and Geoffrey Philp will join FAU professors Andrew Furman, Ph.D., (English) and Edward Petuch, Ph.D., (geology). The authors will present their works written specifically for the exhibition as well as texts about this fundamental element that they have selected by other authors.

Hettich, an award-winning author, curated the program while contemplating the nature of “dirt” in language: “What is dirt and dirty depends on context as much as material, doesn’t it? And don’t we grow our food in dirt? When it comes right down to it, everything is dirt, though not everything is dirty.” Hettich has published more than a dozen books of poetry, most recently, “Systems of Vanishing (University of Tampa Press, 2014), which won the 2013 Tampa Review Poetry prize. He has worked extensively with artists and musicians and was instrumental in the SWEAT Broadside Portfolios, a collaboration of South Florida book artists, novelists, poets and printmakers. He teaches English and creative writing at Miami-Dade College.  

Dufresne has published novels, short story collections, poetry chapbooks, guides to writing, plays and screenplays. Two of his novels, “Louisiana Power & Light” (Plume, 1994) and “Love Warps the Mind a Little” (W.W. Norton, 2008), have been New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University.

Jacobson has published numerous works of poetry, including a book of poems titled “Her Knees Pulled In” (Tres Chicas Books, 2012). She is the founding director of the WingSpan Poetry Project at Lotus House in Miami and at several locations in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which brings weekly poetry classes to local shelters.

Geoffrey Philp is a Jamaican poet, novelist and playwright. He is author of the novel “Benjamin, My Son” (Peepal Tree, 2003), and five poetry collections. Philp is associate professor in the English department at Miami-Dade College where he teaches creative writing.

Furman has published works of fiction, nonfiction and literary criticism, including “Bitten: My Unexpected Love Affair with Florida” (University Press of Florida, 2014). Furman teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at FAU.

Petuch’s research interests lie in the geology of the Florida peninsula and the Atlantic coastal plain, among other topics. He has authored many works, including “The Geology of the Everglades and Adjacent Areas” (Taylor and Francis, 2007). Petuch teaches in the Department of Geosciences at FAU.

For more information and a full schedule of events, call the University Galleries at 561-297-2661 or visit www.fau.edu/galleries.

The exhibition and programs are made possible by grants from State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; Cultural Council of Palm Beach County; Beatrice Cummings Mayer and R.A. Ritter Foundation. Museum Education and AMP Programs made possible by Kaye Arts Integration Endowment and a grant from the Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties.

February 7, 2016

Eliot Bliss: Jamaica’s Forgotten Mermaid.

Eliot Bliss

Neglected authors fascinate me. While the particulars for their disregard may vary over time and from culture to culture, one thing remains constant: their perseverance despite official recognition. Such is the case of Eliot Bliss, a “white, Creole, and lesbian” Jamaican novelist and poet whose collected poems have been resurrected by Michela A. Calderaro in Spring Evenings in Sterling Street.

In the introduction to the collection, Calderaro pays tribute to Patricia Allan-Burns, Bliss’s “faithful companion for about 60 years,” and places Bliss within the context of Caribbean herstory: “The story of Eliot Bliss is the story of a mermaid, as Creole women from the Caribbean often envision themselves. Indeed they are mermaids – half something, half something else.” Calderaro also provides a brief biography, which traces Bliss’s troubled life from her birth in Jamaica to England where she died.
We’ll try to follow Eileen Bliss in her journey to become herself, to witness her struggle to cast off the white British colonizer’s daughter persona and take on that of the Creole expatriate, not feeling comfortable in either. We’ll see her transformation from the perfectly educated daughter of a British army officer to the acclaimed new voice of 1930s London applauded by the elite literary circles and the scandal of lesser-known lesbian clubs in that city. And, finally, witness how in her later years she found herself exiled and forgotten.

Eliot Bliss was the author of two novels, Saraband and Luminous Isle and “very few poems in various journals in the 1920s.” Her poems, however, were never published in a single volume and Calderaro provides the details of her discovery:
The poems in this collection were found in 2004 in the little apartment where Eliot Bliss spent the last years of her life. There were two almost ready collections, Selection of Poems: 1922-1931 and The Wild Heart: Poems 1922-1929, and then a considerable number of loose poems – originals and edited versions – in various places around the house, piled on dusty shelves, inside drawers, inside old cocktail-bags, some folded in books, others in envelopes. These uncollected poems are grouped under “Miscellaneous Poems” in this book.

Many of the poems in Spring Evenings in Sterling Street display Bliss’s “rich and sophisticated” language. And while poems such as “The Green Tree,” “If I Write With My Blood,” and “The Chameleon” from Selection of Poems: 1922-1931 and “Rain During the Night” and “The Departing Amorists” from The Wild Heart: Poems 1922-1929 demonstrate Bliss’s commitment to her craft and mastery of a carefully wrought line, it is the poems in the “Miscellaneous Poems”--the poems that she chose not to reveal to the world--that interest me.

In “Transubstantiation” and “Introibo ad Altare Dei,” Calderaro points out that despite their seemingly pious titles, the poems “subvert religious evocations and transform them into sexual allusions.” I will not attempt to paraphrase Calderaro’s insightful exegesis of these poems. Instead, I focus on “The Confession,” where Bliss pursues a similar strategy.

In “The Confession,” originally titled “The Thief,” the reader is offered a glimpse of the “inventiveness with words” that Bliss employed in “Transubstantiation” and “Introibo ad Altare Dei.” However, in “The Confession,” the sonnet form restrains her choice of rhyme, yet frees her to explore the theme of unrequited love.

In the first four lines, the speaker provides the context for her seeming act of penitence:
Shall I confess to you I am a thief,
And do your gracious absolution ask?
Would you Confessor, promise me relief
If I should set myself to this silly task?
The use of the word “silly” undermines the supposed piety of the confessor and signals the unrepentant tone of the poem:
How sweet would perils be, if you but were
My judge, to weigh the balance of my crimes,
And to impose a punishment severe,
To hear your voice I’d sin a thousand times!
Then, at the volta, Bliss introduces the motive for the “confession”:
Yes, I will risk your high and dread displeasure,
Last night I lay beside you in a dream
And stole your love, and broke into your treasure
Of hidden wealth; and strangely it did seem
That your delight nigh equalled mine! I know
I only dreamt it – do not tell me so!

What intrigues me is the clever subterfuge of dream that Bliss uses for the speaker’s desire for the consummation of love: “Last night I lay beside you in a dream/And stole your love, and broke into your treasure/Of hidden wealth,” and then, in a plea of recognition asserts, “and strangely it did seem/That your delight nigh equalled mine! I know/I only dreamt it – do not tell me so!”

According to the American poet Robert Frost, “Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another.” The tension of paradoxical utterance is the source of poetic complexity and rewards with repeated readings. Eliot Bliss’s work embodies this principle and Calderaro is to be congratulated for recovering these poems from obscurity, and for bringing them back to our attention.

Kindle Edition

About the Author
Michela A. Calderaro an Associate Editor of Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters, teaches English and Postcolonial Literature at the University of Trieste (Italy). Dr. Calderaro's critical works include a book on Ford Madox Ford and numerous articles on British, American and Anglophone Caribbean writers.