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“Caribbean literature is a diasporic, transatlantic, multilinguistic practice. It's the name given to a multitude of literatures that often hardly know each other, for Caribbean literature is written and spoken in Spanish, Papiamentu, Sranan, Dutch, Hindi, Portuguese French, English, or others of the many languages of the Caribbean. Even within one language, Caribbean writers are positioned between many registers, cultures and genres. ”—In Praise of New Travelers: Reading Caribbean Migrant Women’s Writers by Isabel Hoving
“When she spoke again it was of her mother. She was a thin small woman, not possessing her height at all, who raised eleven of them without any male support. That was a constant of in the former slave societies of the "new" world, not only this little island in the Caribbean—the transient male, the stable family head, generations of women, men with many families. A legacy of slavery, a twisted version of the polygamy practiced in parts of Africa. A bastardized hybrid of the two.”—Oh Gad!: A Novel by Joanne C Hillhouse
“I think in many ways the problem that my writing would have with an American reviewer is that Americans find difficulty very hard to take. They are inevitably looking for a happy ending. Perversely, I will not give the happy ending. I think life is difficult and that's that. I am not at all--absolutely not at all--interested in the pursuit of happiness. I am not interested in the pursuit of positivity. I am interested in pursuing truth, and the truth often seems to be not happiness but its opposite.”—Jamaica Kincaid
Trey pored over the small pile of dark green herb in his left palm. Nimbly, he shredded the sticky, soft leaves and brown flowers hidden in the mass, picking out the polished black seeds and putting them inside. When the mix was cleaned to his satisfaction, he reached into the front pocket of his colorful nylon shorts and extracted a balled-up piece of white paper. This he unfolded into a two-inch square and poured the cleaned herb onto it. Behind his ear was a single cigarette. Trey pulled it from its nesting spot and broke off about half an inch. He sprinkled the tobacco onto the herb on the paper, then placed the end of the cigarette on the smoothed-out sheet. Rolling the herb into the shape of the cigarette, he meticulously straightened the emerging cylinder. When it was perfectly flush, we wrapped the paper around it, put it to his lips, and licked the flap shut.
- from “Pot Luck”, by Lisa Allen-Agostini (from Trinidad Noir, Akashic Books, 2008)
“The dungeon was hidden behind more bushes, built of stone and brick and tucked against the hillside. Had she not had a guide, Nikki knew she would never have found it; it being a small dark cave, with two or three steps leading up to the opening. She got a chill when she stepped in – stooped over, as she was not able to stand all the way – and saw the dots of light dancing across the stone face. The place felt alive. “What happened here?” Nikki asked in a hushed voice. “Bakkra would stick them in there as punishment,” Tanty said. “I imagine it feel like being buried alive: all manner of insect, hardly any air, and just the darkness. When I was little, I was afraid to go there; thought ghost was in there. My Tanty, she said the spirit of them that dead there might still be lingering, but I was from their blood and they wouldn’t do me no harm. She said we mus’ respect it and remember. We mustn’ play there. That wasn’t no place for play. It was to stay so, so we could remember how neaga suffer in dis country.” ”—
Page 155, Oh Gad! by Joanne C Hillhouse
JAMAICA JOURNAL 1969 - Cecil Gray
He stands outside the fencing looking in.
Inside, sunbathers relishing their flesh -
some white, some black, and some of other skins -
diving and swimming, feign not to notice him,
fingers of doubt spread wide, gripping holes of mesh.
Some people on the grass are picnicking.
His pants are torn; he does not have a shirt;
his face, a mask of sun-flaked grease and dirt,
too young to understand his day’s events,
dreams mountain-slide of magic dollars and cents
to cancel knowledge of the stomach’s pain;
eyes learning what will later reach his brain.
In time they’ll be afraid to hear his curse
at god’s unholy sunday-school arrangement,
put him inside wire-mesh or worse,
and sunbathe in the same sun on his hearse
or perish if his bullet gets them first.
“When I enlisted in the army during the war... mah best buddy said I was a fool nigger. He said the white man would nevah ketch him toting his gun unless it was to rid the wul' of all the crackers, and I done told him back that the hullabaloo was to make the wul' safe foh democracy and there wouldn't be no crackers when the war was "ovah and ended," as was done said by President Wilson, as crackers didn't belong in democracy. But mah buddy said to me I had a screw loose, for President Wilson wasn't moh'n a cracker. And mah buddy was sure right. For according to my eyesight, and Ise one sure-seeing nigger, the wul' safe for democracy is a wul' safe foh crackerism.”—Banjo by Claude McKay
I just wanted to say thanks so much for following and I hope this blog is as helpful, interesting and enlightening for you to read as it is for me to post. I want as many people as possible to see how rich and dynamic Caribbean culture is…it’s such a tiny place but there’s so much passion and spirit both in our fun-loving and deeper questing natures.
Anyways, I had an idea for a postal club (??) of sorts, where we mail each other something we’ve written, something nice, silly, thoughtful, or sweet, anything really. I was thinking of postal-art but with more writing than visuals. What do you think? Do it once a month or something? There’s a link at the top of the page.
Let me know! And if you find any great lit please submit them :)
Caribbean Literature Action Group (CaribLit)
CaribLitprovides news, information and resources for Caribbean Publishing. The Caribbean Literature Action Group (CALAG) is a working group of Caribbean writers, publishers, academics, festival coordinators and other persons from the literary sphere,…