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.)

The Role of the Writer in Society

On Thursday past, the organizers of the Bahamas International Literary Festival (BILF), a new-brand entity, so new it don't even have itself a webspace yet, held a literary forum that served as a precursor to the festival. Six Bahamian writers were invited to present on the topic The Role of the Writer in Society. I was privileged to be among them. The others were: Keith RussellObediah Michael SmithAlex MorleyIan Strachan... Who?  who'm I forgetting? Or can't I count? ... I don't think I can count ... there were only five of us!  Gah!Well, anyhow.  The evening was memorable for a couple of reasons.  The first was the size of the audience.  It filled almost the entire length of the upper floor of Chapter One Bookstore, much to my amazement.   Now I know it's entirely possible, even likely, that a good chunk of the attendees were students who had no choice in the matter, whose classes were meeting there, who might even have an assignment about the topic later on.  But that didn't stop the fact that there were, oh, maybe fifty or sixty people in attendance from making me hold the event in awe.  Writers in this country are not used to such interest.  At least I'm not.Just for posterity's sake, and because it might be of interest, and because I've been toying with the concept of podcasting for some time and thought this is on the way to creating one, below's an updated version of the presentation I gave.  It's not exactly the same because Thursday was a runaround day and I wasn't able to get all the quotations I wanted for the presentation, but it's 90% similar.  The comment box is on, for feedback's sake, if people are so inclined.[youtube=]So I'm not an purist when it comes to writing.  Art for art's sake, as Achebe said, being somewhat of a myth.  I don't necessarily believe that all art has to have a function, a purpose; the kind of art that does isn't really art, as it puts emotions and empathy second to function.  But on the other hand, as Ian Strachan, who spoke last, said of writing -- whatever you think about it, the act of writing is always a political act.  One needn't be a socialist (as Alex Morley is) for that to be true; you just need to write, and to share your writing with people beyond yourself.  In fact, each of us spoke about agency and writing and change and revolution of some kind.  Revelation, said one of us (don't remember which one -- if you're reading this, own it, Keith or Ian or Obie or Alex!) is revolution.  If you don't know my name, said Obie, channelling Baldwin, you don't know your own.  (Obie read an essay which meandered through various meditations about writers and society and kept coming back to just that -- if you don't know my name, you don't know your own.)  Write for change, said Alex.  Write to tell the truth.  Write to show ourselves ourselves. Write to make a difference, said Keith.  Write to tell the truth.We talked a lot about truth and difference and change among us, each of us in our own particular way.  So it's no coincidence that I'm going to post the next video here now.  Chris Abani talked about story and the power of telling a tale, the power of telling the truth, and somebody filmed him doing so.  Watch the video below to see what he said.  It's akin to what we said, only (forgive me, colleagues) better.