RETENTIONS (A Tuk Verse Poem fuh Kamau)

Fingers cap ’e head an’
den interweave
minus knowledge ah wuh it mean.

“Boy, wha’ wrong wid you? Some-
body in you flat
dead?” De neighbuh remain tuh chat.

One night wid Nolly1 on
de scene reborn:
fingers lock in a moaning dread.

He smile real long and slow,
suh glad tuh store
one more gem fuh de griot book.

1 Nollywood: Nigerian film industry.


KAMAU BRATHWAITE'S CORPUS has been concerned with articulating a Caribbean cultural theory whose root conceptualization lies in history. His remapping of colonial history in his literary and scholarly work reveals a concern with redressing history’s tyrannies, and with refuting the assumption that New World Africans were irrevocably dissevered from their roots of African spirituality as a result of colonial slavery.

With Eyes Turned Skyward

I SAW this formation (Clouds; 2010) by chance across Bay Street’s Esplanade. Majestic and heavenly are what I thought, but I also felt anticipation, like something awesome was about to happen. When I look at the picture, I can't help but think of God, to be honest.

There is a quote I read once by Joyce Meyer about happiness that I have twisted so it applies to freedom: Freedom is not about getting everything you want, but being able to be happy even when you don’t have everything.

Unobscured freedom?

I have type 2 bipolar disorder. This means that I am subject to at times thoughts and moods that have nothing to do with the external, and everything to do with warped brain chemistry. It also means that at any given moment my behaviour is governed not by how I feel, but by how I "should" feel. It means that every interaction I have with those who are not aware of my situation takes place on multiple levels, that thoughts and opinions expressed by others often offend or annoy, even without any malice intended.

Cry freedom

AROUND Independence each year, I pelt this quotation at my Research Paper students in the Division of Fine Arts (Graphic Design) at Barbados Community College:

“Elitism is a good thing and highly democratic, if rightly used on behalf of the majority.  Democracy was not achieved to make us all mediocre, but to make us free and superior, each in his own way.” — Louis Dudek

What is freedom?

The ArtsEtc Freedom series.

What is freedom?
Are we free?
What does it mean to be free?

We welcome poetry, essays, short stories and statements in response.
See Call for submissions and Submission guidelines for details.

The Caribbean short story: influences and traditions

Barbadian-born writer Austin Clarke is a seminal voice of the Caribbean short story, and when I recently edited Beyond Sangre Grande: Caribbean Writing Today (TSAR Publications, 2011), I felt the anthology would be incomplete without Clarke’s work. I had had the same sentiment when editing A Shapely Fire: Changing the Literary Landscape (Mosaic Press, 1987); then his Canadian publisher, Jack McClelland, called me on the phone to grant permission, and I was delighted. 

Geoffrey Drayton
Lifting the lid on Geoffrey Drayton and his outsider role in Barbadian Literature

How important is it that a man born in Barbados, whose family goes back over three hundred years on the island and who wrote a novel that is among the best of Barbadian writing, is largely forgotten by his fellow countrymen?

The novel I refer to is Christopher, and the man who wrote it is Geoffrey Drayton.