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Antonio Martorell, Las Antillas Letradas, 2013, mural, 4’ 4” x 9’; woodcut and digital impression on papel (30 prints). Detail shows Kamau Brathwaite section of mural.
Las Antillas Letradas


ON A RECENT trip to Puerto Rico, Robert Hill, a professor at UCLA, chanced upon an artwork by Antonio Martorell on display in the Museo de Arte at the Universidad de Puerto Rico en Cayey.  It was a mural entitled Las Antillas Letradas, and was composed of portraits of some of the region's authors layered over maps and fragments of text to form a literary A-Z—28 portraits in all to reflect a bygone Spanish alphabet.

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Martina Pilé, Ayizan's Asson, 2013, painted calabash
THE MAKING OF THINGS


ACCORDING TO YORUBA tradition, Ayizan, a root Loa, controls the Marketplace and Commerce.  Regarded as the first archetypal Mambo Priestess, she is associated with priestly knowledge and initiation. As a spiritual parent of priesthood, she gives the tool of priesthood, a sacred rattle—Ayizan's Asson—to the initiated future Mambo priest/ess.

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JAMAL J. IFILL, Green Energy, 2014, Glass lamp
VISUALIZING THE RESPONSE

ACROSS THIS WEBSITE is a wealth of evidence of the literary response to Kamau Brathwaite. The visual and multi-artistic community has reacted to his writings, too—directly and indirectly—resulting in extended dialogues, repeated waves of call and response. His poem "The Making of the Drum" in particular has been a leaping off point of Barbadian visual artists.

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KAMAU 85 – EDITORS' NOTE

EXCERPTS FROM AN 85TH -BIRTHDAY EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE

Quoting "John R. Lee" December 23, 2014:
> Hi Rob
> Your copy of Sent Lisi mailed this morning.
> Could something similar, an anthology of poetry and art (and prose?) be
> done in Bdos to celebrate Kamau's 85th next year?
> Best for the season,
> R.
 

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SOUL ROASTED LIKE CASHEWS...

“Bim(shire’s) best,” someone said. “Madness!” said the rest.  The level lands of Barbados hide no one. You must take a stand. You forgot the good fight at CowPastor though the planes rain down their tourists in the national interests on your head. You remain the one, the living fighting "I"; they counted you as no more. A life lived in the trenches. A soul roasted like cashews upon a pan resting on the blackened stones. A mind without rest, tested at every turn and pressured to buckle for titled rewards.

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FOREWORD TO KAMAU 85, AN ARTSETC SPECIAL

Poet
is a craftsperson, oral or literary, ideally both, who deals in metrical and/or rhythmical—sometimes riddmical—wordsongs, wordsounds, wordwounds & meanings, within a certain code of order or dis/order—what Antonio Benítez-Rojo calls creative chaos These word/sound/meanings are caught out of the mind or moment’s sky as it were & etched into the ground and underdrones of the poet’s/of the artist’s culture. And from the ground of that culture is he/ she grown// is he/ she known// is he .she be/ come

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FINGER IN OUR EYE QUOTATION

“‘Barbados education is the best?/Then why, why so many expert in de town?’

…It reminds me of the same question, but clothed in the accusatory language of a statement, a sentiment of political condemnation, that another of our poets put to us [in ‘Negus’], at a time when, like the one Bruce St John talked about, we were going through the first phase of political independence.  Kamau Brathwaite pushed his finger in our eye, blinding us to the accusation of our profound misunderstanding of freedom and of ourselves, as that self is placed in history.”

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ALL CLEAR FOR PRODUCTION

CLIVE WAGNER CHECKS the light levels in the carpenter’s workshop while Matt Gray adjusts the tracks for his dolly.

Sound engineer Robert Green stands by, listening, and Jacqui Doughty, the producer, looks on, a black pen and a red plastic folder in hand.

Lights and camera are in position.  Kamau Brathwaite, Barbados’ leading poet, is expected to arrive any minute.

The BBC crew flew into Barbados Sunday on BWIA just for this.

Not for a first ministers’ meeting or a major sporting event or a big concert.

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GOLOQUATIE FOR KAMAU


“No woman no cry….”  Song
itches unhearing ears
and laughter disconnects
the murmuring breeze.
Bob Marley sings, “Do you remember…?”
And we do.

The eight of morning “talks” that twinned
our midnight mares,
cold, library corners where we lost our ease,
and sleepless struggles behind borrowed
masks.
Who, who

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BOCAS LITFEST 2015 ON BRATHWAITE

On May 6, 2015 3:46 AM, "Vladimir Lucien" wrote:

For Kamau and all: a little rundown of those who weren't there about the Brathwaite tribute and the Walcott VS Brathwaite panel [last week at Bocas]:

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