Creating theatre in Nassau, Bahamas

For those of you who may not know, I do theatre in my spare time.

“Spare” may be a misnomer. “Unassigned” may be a better way of putting it. See, I work for a living because I have to; I need that regular income, and most of all I need that health insurance. I’m a college professor. I’m not dissing that. In fact, I happen to think it’s one of the best jobs in the world. It’s the only job in this country that will pay me to do half of what I love to do, which is write and talk, and that will even include that writing and talking when it comes time for promotion, and at the same time also allow me the flexibility and space to do the other half of what I love to do. I bless the people who dreamed up the College of The Bahamas and I bless those people who made it do all these things.

But if I had my druthers, I’d be working in theatre too.

OK, for those of you who do know me, you’re probably saying to yourself: “But she does work in theatre.”

And you’d be right, after a fashion. After all, I am one of the founders of Ringplay Productions, a theatre company that’s been around for the past 13 years, and I’m the founding director of the Shakespeare in Paradise theatre festival.

But nobody pays me to do either. And so I have to do it in spare, or unassigned, or off, time.

Before you ask me, the answer is, yes, I do have a problem with this. I didn’t twenty-five years ago when I started working in Bahamian theatre. In the 1980s, the Bahamas was in its second decade of independence, and had much bigger things to worry about than about providing careers for young artists. I wasn’t raised to pursue such a career, anyway. Even though my father had studied what might well have been the most esoteric thing for a young Bahamian to study at the end of the 1950s—classical piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music, London—my parents brought me up to be employable (my father wasn’t, not in the Bahamas, so a teacher he became). So I did not go to school to study theatre, even though I liked being on stage. I grew up “knowing” that the theatre was something one did for the love of it, despite all odds, and not something one did to make money from. Even though I wanted to write plays I never thought of doing it for a living.

But times change, and people change, and the world changes. In the 1980s we weren’t welcoming five million tourists to the Bahamas and wondering what on earth there was for them to do onshore here. In the 1980s, there were still some things for them to do (although that was the decade when things started to change). There were still cabaret shows in casinos which provided regular jobs for dancers; there were still nightclubs here and there which provided regular jobs for musicians; and there were record stores that bought musicians’ music. Maybe I’m painting too rosy a picture here, but it seems to me that in the 1980s Bahamians liked Bahamian culture.

But we’re not in the 1980s anymore.

It’s the twenty-first century. And if there were every a century in which creativity could flourish, this is it. We live in a time of revolution; publishing and production and filmmaking and composing and making music are in the hands of the creative artists, rather than locked up in boardrooms thousands of miles away in somebody else’s country. And tourism is also changing to reflect this new century. Tourists are not travelling merely for sun, sand and casino winnings. They are looking for unforgettable, unique experiences, and they’re paying premium prices for them. It’s never been a better time to be a creative artist anywhere—except the Bahamas.

Those of you who know me well may remember that ten years ago this October I took on the position of Director of Cultural Affairs for the Bahamas government. Those of you who know me very well may remember what I was like when I took on that job. I am a happier person now, they tell me. I am not so angry all the time. Not so driven. (I would dispute the second, but WTH). I wasn’t always angry and driven. I took on the job believing, as one does, that I could make a difference. I took on the job to help bring back some focus to the Bahamas and to revive a sense of pride in Bahamian culture. It’s important, I believe, to for individuals to have some things done by the collective around them that they can be proud of, but in 2003 too many Bahamians were behaving as though they were ashamed.

I had no idea I was embarking on a wild and crazy ride that would take me through wildernesses and woodlands, across oceans to different continents, to high heights and even lower depths and bring me back right to where I started.

When I worked out that I had gone full circle, or maybe had made a spiral which brought me back to the same point as I’d started from, only maybe further away from where we wanted to be, I left. And started the theatre festival you see me working with today.

Shakespeare in Paradise is now five years old. We have survived by the grace of God and our own hard, hard work. We have grown and done some work that we’re proud of, and because it’s our fifth year and the fortieth anniversary of independence for this country, we’re taking a big, big risk.

And I have no idea where we’ll be by the end of October. In all honesty, it looks like we’ll be tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

The reason?

We dream too damn big.

We’re reviving Sammie Swain, the folk opera that should be my father’s legacy but is dying because it hasn’t been performed for too long.

Why it hasn’t been performed is a long story which I’m proposing to tell here on this blog. There are some villains in this story, and some heroes too, and the villains and the heroes might not be who you think they are. And it’s all part of a much bigger story, which is still being written, but which so far is shaping up to be a tragedy. I want to tell that story too.

So I called this “creating theatre in Nassau, Bahamas” because I had hoped to get to the theatre part of the story. What you have is just the setting and the backstory. Bad storytelling, but live with it.

We’ll get where we’re going if you stay with the ride.

Happy Easter

Here is a poem.It is not new, but it is Eastery.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Long Island, Bahamas: An Easter Meditation (two of the 5 parts)liruins44. Easter Sunday: RemembranceThe congregation’s young and old; few in between.A young man shakes my hand. His palm is hard—a worker’s palm—and hopeful for a wife.We honour woman-courage on this day:an empty tomb before Black Mary’s gaze.The women who aren’t girls all let themselves wear fatthat cloaks hard muscle, big hearts, brass voices.Their eyes are soft. Their green-eyed childreninhabit skins the shades of sand, of soil,of treebark, eggshell, cedar, earth, red loam.The braveheart women weep, and laugh.The rain falls with the Gospel.Christ is gone, the angel sings,and the silver rain falls down.linorthside5. Easter Monday: The North SideThis Atlantic: bluer than sacrament, brighter than pain,supplier of buoy-pots, candlewax, quilt-scraps, wrecks,ballastbricks for chimneystoves, old tyres for shoes,string and winecasks and even, maybe, bones—the things ships cast off when passing byor sinking down.The resurrection side.A blue hole swallows the unwary, offers upits perfect mystery. A thousand feet from shorea shelf dives undersea a thousand fathoms deep.The North Side ridge looks down. The water’s stripesbleed turquoise, blue, and indigo.You stare into the risen sun until you know.lishore5

6 Ways To Raise A Rebel Or Future Woman Leader - Forbes

Lisa-Marie is a friend, a former expat in the Bahamas, who was one of our most dedicated volunteers at Shakespeare in Paradise, the woman who got our Facebook page to log more than 1000 likes, an entrepreneur and a woman with boundless energy to give. She's been published on Not too shabby. And the article is worth reading, so go read it.

Once upon a time you went to school, did exactly what your teachers told you, memorized a lot of information, learned how to equate algebraically (which you never did again). You conformed. You dressed like everyone else, got good grades, studied for your SAT so that you could get a good score, so that you could get in to a good University, so that you could get a good job, so that you could dress like everyone else, so that you could conform, so that you could end up being exactly who were told you were supposed to be. So that you could work for someone else who won’t give a damn about you, so you could do exactly as you were told, so you could earn good money… so you could get laid off. So you could rail against authority, question the status quo, reject conformity and search for your own unique identity.

6 Ways To Raise A Rebel Or Future Woman Leader -Lisa-Marie Cabrelli @ Forbes.

Lent/Elegies and the Nanopress

Some time ago now, the announcement went out that I had published another book. When people began to congratulate me on this, I wasn't sure what they were talking about. Then I realized they were referring to the chapbook Lent / Elegies, a collection of poems that I wrote after the death of my mother. A chapbook is a little different from a book book in that it is smaller, generally comprised of poetry, and it's often done by very small presses, or by the poet herself. My book was a bit of both.Nic Sebastian, an online fellow-poet, created the idea of what she calls the nanopress as a way of publishing collections of poetry. This idea grew out of a number of meditations on the state of publishing, the purpose of poetry, the role of the internet, and the liberation of the word from the page. Here is her description of the nanopress:

The nanopress is a single-publication, purpose-formed poetry press that brings together, on a one-time basis, an independent editor’s judgment and gravitas and a poet’s manuscript. The combination effectively by-passes both the poetry-contest gamble and the dwindling opportunities offered by existing poetry presses, while still applying credible ‘quality control’ measures to the published work.

And here's what she says about the genesis of it:

my personal perspective is that there is no money in poetry and that poetry sits very uneasily in the traditional commercial publishing paradigm. I envision the nanopress as a completely no-profit, non-financial undertaking, with the editor providing editing services on a volunteer basis, the published book sold at cost-price only, and the poetry also delivered free via the web. In the case of Lordly Dish Nanopress, we published book, CD, e-reader and website versions of Nic’s collection. The book and CD are available at no-profit cost-price from the print-on-demand publisher, the e-book is a free download, and the poems (both text and audio) are available free on the website.Be clear why you are doing this: are you trying to make money by selling your poems, or are you trying to get your poems read as widely as possible?

Almost a year ago, Nic put out an invitation for people to submit concepts for nanopress publications to her. She would oversee their production, and she would help get them into print. I spoke to Sonia Farmer, my editor from Poinciana Paper Press, and she came on board, and we submitted the project to Nic. I wrote the poems and sent them to Sonia. She arranged them, discussed titles with me, sourced the cover image (Stan Burnside's fabulous "Age Ain Nuttin But a Number"), corresponded with Nic, looked over proofs, did everything an editor is supposed to do. Lent / Elegies is the result.Nic did all the formatting for us, and even began to work on the audio for me. She has published two of her own chapbooks by nanopress, Forever Will End On Thursday, collection edited by Jill Alexander Essbaum, published by Lordly Dish Nanopress, and Dark And Like A Web, chapbook edited by Beth Adams, published by Broiled Fish & Honeycomb Nanopress. The audio didn't make it yet; Nic had to abandon a lot of her poetry work owing to the interference of what other people might call real life, and I had real problems finding a space quiet enough for me to make recordings that passed Nic's high standards. I'm still working on recording all the poems so that eventually they will all have audio recordings attached and be downloadable as an MP3 file and burnable on a CD. But that will come in time.So here's the thing. Yes, I've published another book. It's called Lent / Elegies and it's a nanopress chapbook. That means you can read the poems for free online, here, or you can download the collection free in ebook form from Smashwords here, or you can order a hard copy from, ($7 + shipping, stamp tax, and 10% duty) here, or buy it from me, which will cost you a flat $3 more per book, as I have to cover the cost of shipping, landing, duty, and delivery, and because I don't like dealing with dollar bills for change.I just love the concept. The book's apparently not too awful either.

Goodbye, Telcine

Woman Take Two by Telcine Turner-RolleYesterday, Arien Rolle, my former student and always friend, posted on Facebook that his mother, Telcine Turner-Rolle, Bahamian playwright, poet, storyteller, teacher and friend, had succumbed to the cancer she has been fighting for years.I cannot begin to express my sorrow at the news. I can't imagine a world without Telcine in it. I have known her, and of her, it seems all my life. She was my mother's friend and colleague in the early years of the College of The Bahamas. She was my colleague when I got my first adjunct appointment at the College to teach literature in 1986; she, like me, taught luminous young Bahamian intellectuals such as Ian Strachan and Tony Bethell—otherwise known by his professional intellectual name, Ian A. Bethell-Bennett. She alone, of Dr. Strachan's admiring teachers—he was an outstanding student, and his brain and his heart made him universally loved—dared to flunk him for not doing his work, which meant that, he couldn't give the valedictorian speech he had planned to give at graduation. He challenged the grade; she won. She was uncompromising, unrelenting, a hard taskmaster, not content to let talent languish untrained or untested. I am sure she pushed Ian because she knew just how brilliant he was, and she was not afraid to do so. She frightened me.Later, when I took over teaching full time, I had the pleasure of teaching Telcine's only child and son Arien in a class of people almost as brilliant as the first class I ever taught, which was at COB when I met Ian and Tony  for the first time. Meeting Telcine the mother was an entirely new experience. Telcine the uncompromising, the brilliant, the prize-winning playwright, regarded Arien as her greatest work, and he was a work in progress. She raised him as she saw fit—which didn't necessarily mesh with what anyone else thought, not even the redoubtable Sammie Bethell at St. Anne's. When Telcine judged Arien was not well enough to go to school, she kept him home, and would send him later with expertly written notes on memorable paper—tinted sometimes, scented sometimes, always incontestable. Arien, for his part, was the most well-balanced, self-contained, even-tempered student I had yet met, who tolerated his mother's attentions without ever complaining.I knew and worked with Telcine's husband and widower, James. He had worked with my father before me, and had charge of the art that went through the Cultural Affairs Division, and was in charge of Jumbey Village before its destruction in the late 1980s. He was one of the senior civil servants who took over as acting Director of Cultural Affairs in the seven years that passed between my father's death and the appointment of Cleophas Adderley to that post. He, like Telcine, invested his own brand of excellence into Arien, and he also invested himself into Telcine, who was always uncompromising and often considered "difficult".There is a reason that her masterpiece, Woman Take Two, was not performed for many years after it won the Commonwealth Prize for literature. This was because she was as uncompromising about its direction as she had been about writing it. She should have directed the play herself; but she wanted it handled by someone else. Not until 1994, when David Burrows began his local directing career, did she find someone who would be as accommodating of her views of the play as he was enthusiastic about the play itself, and so it was David Burrows—David Jonathan, as Telcine insisted on calling him—who had the honour of staging Woman Take Two for the first time, almost twenty years after it was written. The bond he developed with Telcine lasted for the rest of her life, as she was as loyal to her friends and allies as she was uncompromising, unconventional, and perfectionist.I think that as I write this, I am expressing the deep admiration, and, I admit it, the little bit of fear, that I had for and of Telcine. I respected her craft, which was as rigourous as her talent was great. In our country, where talented people often simply let their talent run wild, Telcine was a hard taskmaster. I got the sense that she let nothing leave her desk until she was completely finished with it. She had a mind like a razor, and if she ever offered criticism you'd better take it and follow it. She was one of our greatest playwrights, and one of our best known and beloved. She was an unconventional mother, but a successful one; her son Arien is a gentleman and a scholar. I happen to agree with Telcine that he has not yet achieved his full potential—he is a young man who is brimming over with talent—but he is her greatest work.This week I grieve with Arien and James, and with the rest of the cultural community of The Bahamas. We have lost one of our greatest stars. May Telcine Turner-Rolle rest in peace, and may we honour her lifelong commitment to excellence with excellence of our own.

Nassau, What Happened?

Check this out:

Nassau, What Happened? Is a group project that anyone can contribute to by adding his or her own line to a collective poem about the city of Nassau. It will be part of Transforming Spaces 2012 under the theme of “Fibre”.Inspired by an exercise by the poetry festival O, Miami, this exercise is designed to bring many voices together at once in order to hint at a larger, complex voice.via Nassau, What Happened?.

An oldie but goodie: Kei deconstructs dichotomies

Reading round the web in search of wisdom on/by Kei Miller (for this review that Nicholas has surely contracted hitmen to squeeze out of me), I found this,

A description of the successful “page” or “sit-down” poet is, perhaps, someone who has typically published poems in a few major journals, who has a couple books published by a well-respected press, who preferably knows how to hob-nob with the best of them, and is invited to give readings by the National Poetry Society of America. In all likelihood he is, like most sit-down poets, a bitch, and probably, as a day job, holds a faculty position at some stuffy 500 year-old university. In other words – me.The “stage” or “stand-up” poet, on the other hand, has probably won a couple slams and is invited to give performances on BET. He is youngish—not yet thirty—and has funky hair. He would ideally like hip-hop and reggae and fit into that strange demographic America has invented to describe all things non-middle-class and non-white: in other words, he would be “urban.” He is completely social – gregarious even. If he went to university at all, he didn’t finish; he dropped out at the same time the university asked him to leave, and decided then he would become a poet, ranting against the system and all kinds of oppression. In other words – me.That these two descriptions should inhabit one body is perhaps the source of my schizophrenia, because typically I’ve learnt only to embrace the first. So consider this: although I almost never need to look at a book or a printed page to recite any of my poems, I have begun to take blank sheets of paper up with me to podiums, to shuffle through and glance down occasionally at their emptiness, all to give the illusion that I am reading – to remind the audience that I am not performing, or slamming, and that literature is coming, only inconveniently at that moment, from where I stand. Really, at my essence (I’m trying to declare) I am a sit-down poet.via Kei Miller: 91st Meridian V6 #2 International Writing Program, The University of Iowa.

Yeah. One day when I've dented my to-do list satisfactorily, I'll say something about it. But if not, or till then, this is worth some thought, if not a real hard read.

The Caribbean Review of Books • A bimonthly review of Caribbean literature, art, and culture

Just to remind people who may have forgotten, the Caribbean Review of Books flourishes online. Check out the year-end posts!

The 2010 CRB books of the year . . .Eleven standout books published last year, as chosen by the CRB’s editors: four books of fiction, three of poems, a biography, a book of literary essays, works of anthropology and cultural studies, and an album of photographs.via The Caribbean Review of Books • A bimonthly review of Caribbean literature, art, and culture.

New year, new challenges

The semester began this week, and as usual it's like getting on a skateboard at the top of a really long hill that starts with a fairly gentle downhill slope that turns into a steep drop as you round the midterm corner. So you start with the knowledge that before you know it, the wind will be making your cheeks shiver and your eyes brim with tears, and you'll be heading towards a landing that could be harder than you expected.I will try being a better blogger, but the same situation that held me back in the second half of last year still obtains: my mother is suffering from cancer and we are spending all of our energies helping her fight, or live with, it. The operative word is "live". Some days are better than others; some months have been better than others. I'm happy to say that the year began much better than we expected, and Mummy is holding her own, with grace.A little word about what I'm teaching this semester. Besides the requisite introductory courses, there are two others that have not yet failed to excite me when I take them on: a course in social research methods, and a course in advanced English skills. What I like about both of them is the fact that they are courses that teach skills rather than content, and so there is room for a variety of interesting approaches.Here are my approaches, then. In the Social Research course, my students take part in a long-term ongoing piece of research about the economics of Junkanoo. Junkanoo is a well-researched topic in The Bahamas, but what is missing from the canon is a discussion about the economic impact of the festival. It's not cheap! Plenty money is spent on it -- but what is the return? (Please note I'm not assuming that there isn't any return. On the contrary; I'm supposing that there is a large return, but that we haven't worked out yet what that might be.) The students who enrol in my course engage in research projects that add to this study. Every semester I get excited about what they will discover.In Advanced English, the skills of writing and reading critically are developed while students engage in studies about Bahamian culture and society. Last year I decided to design a set of readings and discussions about democracy and The Bahamas, and the last time I taught the course, a year ago, it worked out really well. Once again, I'm excited about where we'll go this semester with it.I hope that I'll be able to contribute to these discussions from time to time here on this blog. Keep your eyes open. Assuming I will find the balance between the personal and the professional challenges, this year on this blog should be interesting.Finally, I'm also working on another book of poetry. Poinciana Paper Press's publication of Mama Lily and the Dead will soon be accompanied by a much less illustrious collection of my early writings, this one self-published (via Lulu). No promises about the greatness of the collection, but it'll be around for anyone who (like Obediah Michael Smith, who inspired it) wants to know what I was writing twenty-odd years ago.So! there it is. Happy new year to all.

Woo-hoo! I'm in the Caribbean Review of Books!

What's the big deal?Well, if you have to ask, you haven't been seen the CRB. And you really don't have any excuse; I've blogged about it, twice (or more). It's not just that I finally finished the review that Nicholas invited me to do lo these many months ago. It's also that I'm really stoked about who's in the CRB today with me: Mark Dow, who's got publication credits up the wazoo, the kind of credits that you have to don sunglasses to read.And it's a review of Sidney Mintz's work, which makes me proud. Mintz made my anthropology -- and my thought, and my national and regional pride too -- what they are today.So go on over and check it out. And while you're at it, spend some time on the site. It's worth it.

BWSI 2010

BWSI 2010!Bahamas Writers' Summer Workshop 2010. First public meeting/discussion @ the Hub is ongoing. First - what? Panel? Reclaiming the Bahamian imaginal. Discussion about where we situate ourselves and how and how writing must be situated in the imagination of a nation.Commodification of the self - of the national and the personal self - the colonization of the imagination. The separation of the self from the earth. So much to say and more.Who? Lynn Sweeting, poet; Patti Glinton-Meicholas, writer; Keisha Ellis, writer; Christi Cartwright, writer, interviewed by Helen Klonaris.Saturday, July 17th, 7pm @ The HubRestorying the Bahamian Imaginal LandscapeKeisha Ellis, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Lynn Sweeting, Christi Cartwright (Interviewer: Helen Klonaris)

This is just to say

that I have been silent for the past couple of weeks largely because, well, I have a job and commitments and the kinds of things I want to write on this blog take Time and Effort and Thought.And I've got myself in well-justified trouble by posting off the top of my head recently. By doing what? Posting half-digested half-rumours on a fellow blogger's blog.Specifically that Pierre Dupuch had the same issues with citizenship as Ryan Pinder (on the basis of the fact that they both have American mothers) but served in the Cabinet nevertheless. I have been roundly criticized and thoroughly corrected on that score!So as a result I have determined to think before I write. Which means that you will not hear from me in any serious capacity unless I have had the time to do my research and blog responsibly. Which means in turn that you will probably have to wait till after April 19 for that -- April 16 being the end of the semester.In the meantime, though, I think I'll be vaguely frivolous and post some (very old) poems for general comment, if people who read this blog are so inclined. If you're not, I'll cease and desist.But in the meantime, y'all, content yourselves with my weekly twitter digest.Cheers.

Recessing and Vacating

The last post generated some discussion over on Facebook, where I import posts from Blogworld, and where a lot of discussion takes place. Here's some of what was said:

Dennis Jones: Got to say I am not impressed. Starts with a good false premise about locals and conch fritters, then...'seeks to educate' those who presumably dont know the island either. Suggestion: why not offer an equally well written view of The Bahamas as seen by Bahamians and see if the FT publish it. I will wager they don't.

Ishmael Smith: hmmmmmn. creations of alternative authenticies in liminal spaces? chuckle

More was said, but I haven't got permission yet to quote everybody. The point is that Dennis is on to something, and I think I'm going to have to try and take him up on the challenge. Don't know if I'll go as far as sending it to the FT, but who knows?Off to ponder ... and to consider this little morsel:

[Bahamas] Ministry of Tourism denying Bahamian filmmakers opportunity while using Bahamian money to launch the careers of 14 UK filmmakers? Winner gets $20k cash, Red Carpet Premiere at BAFTA (UK Oscars) etc.

That will be the topic of discussion on GEMS tomorrow, so it's worth listening in. Don't know the ins, outs, truths, or fictions of it but it's worth checking.

Bahamas Summer Writers' Institute

Right. So. BWSI came to an end on Friday, which was when the participants got to present to us all, rather than the other way round.

The event took place at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, with the sun setting behind the building. Thirty-odd student readers read to their friends, family, and teachers, and some of them blogged about it.

Two such blogs: Lotus Rose Sightings & Tings Mash.

Here are some photos to give you an idea of the evening.

Interview - Antilles: the weblog of the CRB

I count Nicholas Laughlin as one of my cyberfriends, though I think we really met over the telephone during the last CARIFESTA (such arts festivals are always, truly, such a waste of time, are they not? They make no connections, advance no careers, clearly, and they are so much a waste of money that we prefer to spend our millions on, oh, Miss Universe. But I digress.) Since then we've been communicating and collaborating online, and he has been a champion of tongues of the ocean.Anyhow, Nicholas is the valiant editor of the Caribbean Review of Books, which he continues to publish in the face of opposition, failing finances, exhaustion, fed-upness, etc.In the spirit of massive support that he'd already established, he recently interviewed me about tongues. Go check it out.And then, if you like it, go subscribe to the Caribbean Review of Books.Antilles: the weblog of the CRB.

Many Antilles readers are familiar with tongues of the ocean, an online poetry journal based in the Bahamas, which was launched in February 2009. Edited by poet and playwright Nicolette Bethel, and focused on poetry from the Caribbean and its diasporas, tongues plans to publish three issues per year, with the contents of each issue appearing gradually week by week.Soon after the second issue of tongues — dated June 2009 — began appearing, Bethel answered some questions via email about the journal’s background, influences, and modus operandi.

"On the Wreck of the Henrietta Marie"

Accepted by The Caribbean Writer.Now this is a poem that has been hanging around my Writing folder for four years or so. Inspired by a conjunction between the travelling exhibition of the slave ship that re-opened the Pompey Museum after the 2001 Market Fire and an in-depth poetry workshop session over at the Poetry Free-For-All, it made the rounds of the appropriate journals. I thought -- wrongly -- that it might get picked up two years ago, when commemorating slavery and its detritus was a year-long affair, but it didn't. I'd almost given up on its being published, not being too sure what was not-right about it and not knowing what to do about it. I'm a big one for letting a poem be, of knowing when something's finished (or ought to be finished), of letting the time pass when it ought to, and after several years of honing and tweaking it seemed to me that "Henrietta Marie" was finished. This year, I pulled it back out, dusted it off and polished it a bit, and then sent it off with four others to The Caribbean Writer. And last month, managing editor Quilin Mars let me know they wanted to publish it.Well, yay, I say. And to others inclined to see rejection slips as always being about the quality of the work (sometimes they are, but not always; sometimes the work doesn't fit the publication), I pass on the writer's advice: never give up, never. The one that publishes you is almost always the last one you try.Here's a bit of it:

I.  Vendue House/Pompey Museum, Nassau, BahamasCome. Stand in a place to sell slaves where planters, farmers, businessmenbought planters, farmers, businessmen.  Just there, a crier stoodbefore a block.  An African stood upon it.  Shackles and lockstrammelled black legs that ached from the straightening.

Go buy The Caribbean Writer Vol 23 if you want to read more.

R.I.P. Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter, 2007, (AP Photo/Carl de Souza) How Pinteresque, to die on Christmas Eve.

LONDON (AP) — Harold Pinter, praised as the most influential British playwright of his generation and a longtime voice of political protest, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 78.Pinter, whose distinctive contribution to the stage was recognized with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, died on Wednesday, according to his second wife, Lady Antonia Fraser."Pinter restored theater to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretense crumbles," the Nobel Academy said when it announced Pinter's award. "With a minimum of plot, drama emerges from the power struggle and hide-and-seek of interlocution."

Announcing tongues of the ocean

 tongues of the ocean is an online literary journal of Bahamian, Caribbean and related poetry. We’re an affiliate of the Bahamas International Literary Festival, but BILF isn’t responsible for what we decide to do (so don’t blame them!). We publish three times a year - in February, June, and October. We reserve the right to be picky about what we publish. For now we’re focussing on poems and poem-related material, but that could change. Interested in submitting? Read here for more details.Here’s some of the stuff we’ll be including in tongues:writers on writers - writers talk about the work of another writer. Like a review, only hotter. Bahamians & residents only, to begin with, but we’ll get friendlier as we go on. We’d like to start with a focus on Bahamian and Caribbean greats.bredren and sistren - section for Caribbean and Southern US writers, for West Africans - for our siblings and cousins in the diaspora, and for our spiritual kin around the world. We reserve the right.catch a fire - in every issue we’ll include a section inspired by word prompts, which we’ll post with the call for submissions.  For now, this is the only place we’ll accept fiction, and only flash fiction (for our purposes, fiction under 300 words). Prose poems are welcome. Transgress boundaries. Push.Editor-in-chief: Nicolette BethelSpoken Word: Nadine Thomas-Brown(Blurb taken from the "about us" page of the journal. Logo photograph by Eric Rose.)