The National Stadium, Barbados.  Runners before the starter's pistol.  Photo by Steve "SD" Devonish, 2017.
On This Hideout Faintly, A Beating of Drums

Runners before the starter's pistol.
But where are the drums? 
Photo Copyright © 2017 by SD.


THIS RYHTHM is set before the collapse and closure of the spectator stands at the National Stadium.

Hobby, Profession, Industry: On Being and Becoming a Writer

"The myth of the suffering artist is a myth. Suffering may inspire great art, but nutrition, sleep and security will take it from inspiration to actuality,"  says Karen Lord.  Photo by Ryan Durgasingh.  Copyright © 2016. 

The following was presented as the feature address at the 2016 Frank Collymore Literary Awards ceremony in Barbados January 7, 2017. 


Opening Thoughts

Taisha Carrington: "The Lynching of an Identity"

One young artist's social experiment links lynching, identity and the billion-dollar hair industry

Hair—lots of women see it as their crowning glory. For 23-year-old Taisha Carrington, a Caribbean girl moving to New York for college—hair became the focus of her art and the perfect disguise to run an experiment on her peers.

MASTERS OF THE HYPA-VERSE: Kamau, Lil' Rick and the nation-language evolution

This State of the Art originally appeared in ArtsEtc Issue No. 3, July/August 2003.


KB: One thing about catastrophe, for me, is that it always seems to lead to a kind of magical realism. That moment of utter disaster, the very moment when it seems almost hopeless, too difficult to proceed, you begin to glimpse a kind of radiance on the other end of the maelstrom.

JM: Another way in which Nature rises up to intervene is the sort of experience you’ve had with—I don’t know if I’m pronouncing this right—Namsetoura?


I FIRST MET Edward Kamau Brathwaite in the flesh in Toronto in 2005. I was attending a conference on the Caribbean at Ryerson University. I arrived to see my good friend and mentor Austin Clarke standing and talking to a tall man with a whitish beard, wearing a multicoloured tam.

“Kamau, this is Foster,” Austin said in his imitable Bajan, a way of speaking that never permits Clarkie to ever call me by my first name.  This is a way of familiarity that perhaps only a Bajan high school can instill, where everyone answers only to a surname. “Foster, this is Brathwaite.”


I DOUBT, KAMAU, you will remember this incident that I feel compelled to relate in this small tribute for your 85 years.

Roots, rock revisited

In 1996, Kamau Brathwaite brought a group of students from New York to Barbados for a week to experience first-hand his Mother Poem. ArtsEtc editor Linda M. Deane was at that time an arts and features writer at the Nation newspaper, and was one of two journalists invited to accompany the poet and his students on an island tour. Below is a condensed version of her story that appeared in the Nation’s Sunday Sun of April 28, 1996.


In hot sun they spread their umbrellas
over their heads, sharing it like a faith
making the bright Beausejour heat bearable. 
Black umbrellas spread out like corbeaux
circling the neighbourhood, blocking out
Samedi and the morning. Long lissome skirts
smoothing down their legs, I hear them squawking,
hawking, moving from gate to gate, and then the unfurling
of the name like a talisman: “Christ,” with its vowel
of shining, its over-protective consonants, its resonant

Speaking Caribbean – A Review of Born to Slow Horses

BORN TO SLOW Horses is a complex collection of poems by Kamau Brathwaite that do not conform to poetic conventions at all. Unlike your typical collection of poetry, there is no labelling of the contents page as such; what the reader gets is a list of the poems with the corresponding page numbers.