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The Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars newsletter
Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars
Adisa, Opal Palmer ( editor )
Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars
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The Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (ACWWS) was formed in 1994 to continue the momentum sparked by the 1988 Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars Conference organized by Prof. Selwyn Cudjoe (then of Wellesley College), and thereby advance creative writing and critical work by and about Caribbean women. ACWWS still celebrates and circulates the literature, orature, and literary scholarship of Caribbean women, but has expanded to include multidisciplinary research about Caribbean women, gender, and sexuality. The organization strives to provide a forum for critical examinations of this wide body of work; increase awareness of the Caribbean diaspora; and foster a climate of cooperation among all linguistic and cultural groups of the Caribbean.

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1 Changing of the ACWWS Guard Rising from the Ash Our Faith Shall See Us Through Issue 4. July 2021 IGDS-RCO & ACWWS Conference Report


1 Dear ACWWS members and stakeholder I hope this nds you well and at peace, despite these turbulent times. It aords me great pleasure to greet you as incoming President for the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. I joined this organization in 2000 when I attended my rst conference in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. I was a newly minted Assistant Professor, and this was to be my rst of many conferences that promoted the scholarly and creative works of our diverse, multi-layered and storied Caribbean communities. e ACWWS centered the works of Caribbean women scholars, writers and creatives and was of special meaning to me as a poet/ performance artist, emerging scholar and former president of a Black Feminist centered organization in New York City, e Audre Lorde Women’s Poetry Center. While I went to several panels, presented my own work, and enjoyed daily excursions around Mayaguez, Rincon and other parts of Puerto Rico, what President’s Remarks e Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (ACWWS) was formed in 1994 to continue the momentum sparked by the 1988 Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars Conference organized by Prof. Selwyn Cudjoe (then of Wellesley College), and thereby advance creative writing and critical work by and about Caribbean women. ACWWS still celebrates and circulates the literature, orature, and literary scholarship of Caribbean women, but has expanded to include multidisciplinary research about Caribbean women, gender, and sexuality. e organization strives to provide a forum for critical examinations of this wide body of work; increase awareness of the Caribbean diaspora; and foster a climate of cooperation among all linguistic and cultural groups of the Caribbean. Please visit our website: Association of Caribbean Women Writers and S cholars ACWWS Newsletter Editor: Opal Palmer Adisa, The University of the West Indies, Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Regional Coordi


2 impacted me the most about the 2000 conference was the camaraderie between the mostly female conference goers from multiple language areas and ethnic groups within the Caribbean and its various diasporas. is sense of sisterhood and support, the sheer joy of being in each other’s presence, the perfect balance between that oen touted “laid back” Caribbean sensibility coupled with rigorous academic discussions and brilliant creative presentations undergirded much of what I took away from my rst experience with the ACWWS. Our incoming treasurer, Dr. Allison Francis from the University of Hawaii, describes her experience of the collaborative virtual conference between ACWWS and IGDS in January 2021, as a kind of “home coming,” mirroring my own feelings about my rst time at ACWWS. It is an experience I would like all rst timers, second timers, and even “old timers” to have with each encounter with our organization. My primary goals as ACWWS President will be to develop partnerships with like-minded stakeholders that will (1) Create more access, visibility and resources for ACWWS; (2) Resurrect our journal, expand its inuence, modernize and democratize its mode of presentation and accessibility through the use of technology (eg. online journal, print on demand paper copies, etc.) (3) Entice younger scholars to contribute to building the legacy of ACWWS by expanding our social media platforms and arming our practice of inclusivity across ethnicity, class, culture, race, gender, religion, and sexuality; (4) Do justice to the ‘writers’ part of our title by creating more forums at ACWWS for creative writers. (eg. ACWWS Poetry Contest and/ or special panels and events focused on writers and other creatives); (5) Institute a virtual platform for the year we do not have a face-to-face conference and/or adopt a model that democratizes the conference going experience for the majority by alternating face to face and virtual conference presentation modalities. I will rely on the advice and wisdom of outgoing board members, especially out-going President, Professor Giselle Anatol, who will remain on our board as per our by-laws, as we strategize to uncover and adapt best practices from the old and the new to expand the vision and advance the mission of the ACWWS. I trust I speak for all of us in extending gratitude, respect and admiration to all of our past presidents for successfully leading this organization and building upon the vision of our founders, Professors Selwyn Cudjoe and Helen Pyne-Timothy. Signicantly, I look forward to working with my esteemed colleagues who comprise the new ACWWS leadership team: Vice-President, Dr. Carole Bailey; secretary, Dr. Diane Bobb; Publications-editor, Dr. Alexandra Cornelius; treasurer: Dr. Allison Francis; Archivist, Dr. Michael Grafals; and social media manager, Dr. Marissel Hernndez Romero. On June 5th at the CARICON Conference, Drs. Cornelius, Grafals and Francis, along with our graduate student member, Ms. Anaridia Molina (who has conducted brilliant archival work on our organization that will be shared with you shortly) joined me in a robust, thoughtful and well-prepared panel discussion on the past, present and future of the ACWWS organization. With the level of committed engagement and support of our new leadership team, I pledge to continue to guide the ACWWS in the vision and for the purpose it was created: to provide a platform to promote and expand the Caribbean literary canon by centering the contributions of Caribbean women intellectuals and creatives, carving out a place of honor for Caribbean intellectuals and communities on the global stage, and augmenting a legacy we can all be proud to call our own. Of course, without you none of this will be possible, and so we ask for your continued support and positive energies. In Solidarity, Aza Weir-Soley Dr. Donna Aza Weir-Soley is the President of the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars. Born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, she immigrated to the United States at the age of 17. Weir-Soley graduated summa cum laude from Hunter College and subsequently earned an MA in English and a PhD in English Literary Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently an Associate Professor of English at Florida International University, she was the Coordinator for the Hispanic Serving Institution Pathways to the Professoriate (Mellon) Fellowship at FIU from 2019-2020. Dr. Weir-Soley held the position of Vice-President of the ACWWS for three years IGDS International Virtual Conference in January 2021. An Andrew W. Mellon, Woodrow Wilson and Social Science Research Council Fellow, Dr. Weir-Soley’s publications include and two books of poetry First Rain and The Woman Who Knew . Her latest release “ can be found on the Poetry Foundation website.


3 Carol Bailey is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Westeld State University in Massachusetts, USA, where she teaches courses in World, Postcolonial, Caribbean and Cross-Cultural, and Women’s Literatures. She is the author of A Poetics of Performance: e Oral-Scribal Aesthetic in Anglophone Caribbean Fiction (UWI Press 2014), and co-editor (with Stephanie McKenzie) of the forthcoming Pamela Mordecai’s Selected Poems. Carol’s current research and teaching center on intersections of long colonization and globalization with a focus on how these phenomena manifest in cities, particularly Black diasporic cities. is is the subject of her current book project, Writing the Black Diasporic City in the age of Globalization. Carol’s interest in the role of academic pursuits in addressing social issues also translates into professional and community-based service such as her role as founding director for Diversity Across the Curriculum at Westeld State University. Changing of the ACWWS Guard ACWWS Carol Bailey VICE PRESIDENT


4 Dr. Allison E. Francis (Paynter) has been a Professor of English for over eighteen years at Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawaii. She teaches and publishes academic papers on a range of topics, which include Victorian and Scottish Literature, eatre and Poetry, Vodou in Haiti, 19th century African American and Caribbean women’s Literature, and Women’s Literature, with a focus on science ction and fantasy. Dr. Francis is an accomplished playwright and performance poet who has been featured at venues in London, Edinburgh, New York and on Zoom. She made her Honolulu poetic debut at “re: Verses” in Chinatown, which she co-hosted with local performance poets, Travis T and Brenda Kwon, for several years. She co-edited South Sea Encounters: Nineteenth-Century Oceania, Britain, and America published with Routledge in 2018, which includes her chapter “Ernest Hogan’s Colored All-Stars Minstrel Show: A Case of Racial Discrimination in the Republic of Hawai’i.” Also, Dr. Francis published a chapter, “Complicating Escape in the Neo-Slave Narratives of Sherley Anne Williams’ Dessa Rose and Octavia Butler’s Kindred,” in Human Contradictions in Octavia E. Butler’s Work (Springer 2020), and her poetry will be featured in Bamboo Ridge Press’ Kipuka: Finding Refuge in Times of Change, in 2021. Currently, she is draing a book manuscript on how community-building operates in popular media cultures that examine Afrofuturism—music, television, and lm, and her rst musical play A Boy’s Life: e Musical, based on a Ray Bradbury short story. Finally, Dr. Francis Paynter is also an actor, director and playwright, who has written several plays, including Chocolate Cake (8:46), archived in thebreathproject2020 to commemorate George Floyd’s death, and a theatrical adaptation of James Weldon Johnson’s novella, e Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, which will be staged in California and Hawaii, in 2021. Dr. Daniele Bobb is an Afro-Caribbean scholar whose work and interest include gender and development, government and social policies, mothering, and women and work. Among her literary work is a Ph.D. thesis which centered on how women negotiate and navigate motherhood and work within the context of neo-liberalism. Dr. Bobb’s teaching portfolio at the undergraduate and graduate levels includes courses such as Women, Leadership and Change in Developing Countries, Gender and Sexuality, eoretical Concepts and Sources of Knowledge in Women’s Studies, Issues in Caribbean Feminism and Gender Relations , among others. In addition to publishing in the area of gender and education, and gender and sexuality, she is presently working on a single author manuscript, and has several publications forthcoming including a co-authored book entitled Marginalized Groups in the Caribbean: Gender, Policy, and Society . She is involved in many outreach and research projects focusing on a myriad of areas including youth empowerment, the marginalization of vulnerable groups, gender and infrastructure, and gender and education. Dr. Bobb sits on several committees and faculty boards. She is steadfast in her devotion to the work for gender equity and enhancing the quality of life for all. Dr. Allison E. Francis (Paynter) TREASURER Dr. Daniele Bobb SECRETARY


5 Dr. Alexandra Cornelius is the Director of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWGS) and Associate Teaching Professor at Florida International University (FIU). Appointed in 2020, she leads the Center in promoting women’s and gender studies research and programming, curricular development, and Miami based community partnerships with feminist organizations. She earned her Ph.D. in American History from Washington University, St. Louis, aer completing an M.A. in American History at Purdue University and a B.A. in History at Hunter College, City University of New York. Dr. Cornelius joined the Department of History and the African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) Program in 2006. Committed to promoting intersectional approaches to the study of health and wellness, Cornelius recently designed and established the Health Humanities Certicate program at FIU. Her research and teaching expertise is in Race, Gender, and Science; Race, Gender, and Health Studies; and African American Women’s Intellectual History. Dr. Alexandra Cornelius PUBLICATIONS MANAGER Michael Grafals is assistant teaching professor in the Department of English at Florida International University. He regularly teaches courses on Caribbean, African and US Latinx literatures and received a 2020 FIU Top Scholar award for his globally-engaged and culturally responsive teaching. He is completing Detoured Island, a manuscript on the way diaspora as an identityin-process is represented in Puerto Rican literature. Michael is interested in phenomenology, hermeneutics and the representation of the African diaspora in Caribbean literature. He has published a chapter on shamanic activism and critical theory in the poetics of Gloria Anzalda and Wilson Harris and an essay on distanciation and utopia in Chicanx ction. He received his PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Marissel Hernndez Romero, a Black Puerto Rican scholar and an Assistant Professor at Alfred University, holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic and PortugueseBrazilian Studies from CUNY. Her research focuses on new representations of the social bandit in contemporary Latin America and the Hispanic Caribbean. Her scholarship investigates how forgotten, marginalized, and excluded groups express themselves in cultural movements and social networks. Her most recent project examines Afrofuturism in Brazil and the Hispanic Caribbean through a comparative lens. Using an ethnographical approach, Dr. Hernndez Romero proposes that current theoretical reections on sound are key to understand social processes and movements. Dr. Hernndez Romero is the coordinator and co-editor of the book in progress titled, De coco y anis: Un proyecto de amor para Rafael Cortijo . Dr. Hernndez Romero writes the column, “Negra acadmica y malcri” [Black Scholar and Misbehaved], for the Puerto Rican newspaper, Peridico Claridad. Her column addresses racism and anti-racism in Puerto Rico, which is also the subject of her forthcoming book, Gua para la lucha antirracista en Puerto Rico. Dr. Hernndez Romero has also collaborated with others to translate works by several Brazilian authors, including Machado de Assis, Roberto de Sousa Causo and Lu Ain Zaila. Dr. Marissel Hernndez Romero SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER & SCHOLARSHIPS Michael Grafals ARCHIVIST


6 ACWWS Archives Project. Conserving Institutional Memory A s archivist for the ACWWS I plan on conserving institutional memory and curating for the public the events, documents, ideas and testimonies that continue to shape our vision for the future. I will be working with Anaridia Molina, designer of the ACWWS’ Conferences Archive Project website , to continue to update this website with documents, images, and videos of previous conferences and recorded oral testimony from leading members of the ACWWS community. As I take inventory of our archive, I will be updating a bi-weekly blog called Sankofa: Notes from the ACWWS Archive to review volumes that have emerged from our conferences and key ideas and debates from our journal MaComre. My goal ultimately is to make more transparent the wealth of our archive to our members—for instance, there is footage of virtually all the proceedings from our rst conference in 1988, and I hope to make this footage and others from future conferences accessible to our members. In his introduction to Caribbean Women Writers: Essays from the First International Conference , Selwyn Cudjoe wrote that the volume was a “very important document that records a very signicant event in the history of Caribbean literature”. rough the Archive Project website and the Sankofa Archive blog, I hope to make the impact our association has had and continues to have on Caribbean literature and scholarship better known and appreciated. Michael Grafals Assistant Teaching Professor Florida International University T he ACWWS Conferences Archive Project is an ongoing endeavor to showcase ACWWS’ conferences archives to students, scholars, and community members. I have begun curating already existing archival materials into a website that provides a capsule history of the major topics covered over the years and the places where the conferences took place. e website’s visitors can view major events for the attendees and local artists from the conferences’ documents, such as past pamphlets, programs, news articles, inventory, and gallery pages. In addition to curating already existing archival materials, I am compiling oral histories of past conferences’ co-organizers. Listening to the compelling testimonials of these Caribbean women writers and scholars exemplies how community is built over the years and how the baton is passed on from one generation to another. To see the website and the beginning stages of the oral histories, please visit Anaridia R. Molina is a Ph.D. student in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She received her B.A. in English Literature Latinx literature and postcolonial studies. She has published Establishing Pathways: A Journal of Humanistic and Social Inquiry.




8 ACWWS Board Tribute to Outgoing President, 2017-2021 Vice President, 2015-2016 Prof. Anatol, Professor of English, University of The Things That Fly in the Night: Female Vampires in Literature of the Circum-Caribbean and African Diaspora


9 Publicatioons Editor, 2015-2021 Director of the Institute for Gender and rf Treasurer, 2016-2021 Feminist Mosaics: The Politics of Embodiment in the English Speaking Caribbean. ACWWS Board Tribute to Outgoing


10 ntb t Archivist, 2000-2021 the Green Library at Florida International to researchers, students, and the general b Secretary, 2004-2021 Professor, English and African & African also served as Director of the African & African author of Coln Man a Come: Mythographies of Panam Canal Migration


11 As the University Director of e Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), and as a former president of the Association of Caribbean Women Writer & Scholars (ACWWS), I was doubly thrilled, despite the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, to be able to host this conference, and I was triply delighted to be co-hosting it with Dr. Donna “Aza” Weir-Soley, a long-time mentee, friend and co-editor, of the groundbreaking anthology Caribbean Erotic , now celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Although I had co-hosted two other conferences ( Binding Ties: Transnationalism – e Caribbean and its Diaspora , with Linda M. Rodriquez Giglielmoni, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagez Puerto, 2000 and Unveiling the Caribbean: From Diversity to Coherence with Hanetha Vete-Congolo, GRELCA and UAG, Martinique 2002, during my tenure as Vice President and President of the ACWWS), to be able to host this conference at e University of the West Indies (e UWI), Mona, in Kingston, Jamaica, my home, was a dream come true. e only regret is that it was not on-site due to COVID-19. Still, the virtual platform worked eectively, and I believe we achieved our objective – to explore literature through the lens of social justice, fusing an multi-disciplinary, integrative approach. is two-day jam-packed conference, went from 9 am to 9 pm on both days, and featured 11 academic panels, each with four presenters, and ve very diverse creative workshop panels that were held in the evenings aer dinner. Much to our surprise and delight, all were well-attended. e conference was opened by Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of e UWI, who spoke of his commitment to Gender Justice as the basis to “get the work done to build our ideal university”. Sir Hilary emphasised that our ideal university “was not only excellent, but also ethical, and that it cannot be ethical if there are injustices that are palpable and obnoxious”. Beckles’s remarks were followed by those of Professor Giselle Anatol, president of the ACWWS, and by co-chairs, Dr. Weir-Soley and myself. e tone of the conference moved into high gear with the rst panel (see Carol Bailey’s report on the panels following). Patricia Powell, a literary Caribbean female-esteemed writer, was the keynote speaker, whose presentation was entitled: Obeah, Spiritual Technologies and Social Justice . On day two, one of the founding members and past president of the ACWWS and literary critic, Professor Carole Boyce Davies, opened the conference with her presentation, Advancing New Leadership Paradigm for Caribbean Women. She was followed by Joan Andrea Hutchinson, cultural activist, poet and gender specialist, who spoke about acceptance and cultural norms. In addition, we were very pleased to host this special session, Gender, Sexuality, and Mother Nature: A Conversation with Jamaican LiteraryActivists organised by Dr. Isis Semaj-Hall, and featuring stellar writers, Diana McCaulay, who is also an environmental activist, and Nicole Dennis-Benn, a young Jamaican who writes about colour and class and sexual identity. Also on day two, participants were fed by the spoken word performance: Mulatta: Not So Tragic from Karla Brundage Allison Francis. Excerpts and summary of each of these presentations follow. ere were participants from England, Denmark, various parts of North America, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Hawaii and Jamaica, and the proceedings came to an end with longtime ACWWS member, Linda Rodriguez Guglielmoni, who closed out the nal creative performance with a puppet performance and storytelling. I extend special thanks and gratitude to Dr. Weir-Soley THE INSTITUTE FOR GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT STUDIES-REGIONAL COORDINATING OFFICE AND THE ASSOCIATION OF CARIBBEAN WOMEN WRITERS & SCHOLARS CONFERENCE: WRITING ABOUT CARIBBEAN GENDER AND SOCIAL JUSTICE JANUARY 15 AND 16 ,2021 by Opal Palmer Adisa ACWWS Publications Editor & 2021 Conference Co-Chair [Continued on page 24 ] • • • • • • • • •


12 Like others, the ACWWS was faced with the choice of either canceling our 2021 collaborative ACWWS-IGDS conference or moving to a virtual platform because of the global pandemic. We chose the latter. is new development simultaneously presented us with a steep learning curve for the virtual conference modality, foreclosed the immediacy and tactility of the way we were accustomed to conferencing, and democratized the conference going experience for many who may not have been able to aord the time or the money to travel. In other words, it was a challenge, but we made it work. Our conference theme “Writing About Caribbean Gender and Social Justice” was both timely and urgent, given the awakening in 2020 of the global community to issues of social injustices against Blacks and other marginalized groups in the USA, the Caribbean and elsewhere. Day one begun auspiciously with Patricia Powell’s powerful keynote address on African spiritual practices in the Caribbean and their potential for individual and collective agency, despite what we have been taught by our colonial masters. Day two was equally empowering with Carole Boyce Davies’ address on the new directions of Caribbean feminist theories and practices reminding us that our work should be grounded in activist empowerment for all, not just for the privileged few, regardless of gender and/or other identiers. We owe the inspiration for our ier to ajilah A. Oaliya’s paper “Remembering the Queens of the Former Danish West Indies.” However, from our rst scholarly panel on “Caribbean Women’s Poetics: Challenging and Transforming the Culture” which presented trenchant scholarly work by Barbara Gfllner, Odette Corts London and Carol Bailey, to Jallicia Jolly’s paper “Women and HIV in Jamaica,” and equally cogent and timely discussions led by Ccile Accilien and Santa Arias on the eects of the pandemic and other natural and/or made-made disasters on our Caribbean communities, all of the scholarly panels were engaging and inspiring. Challenging though it was on a virtual platform, our panelists kept the attention of conference attendees for both days. Kudos to them and to my Co-Chair Opal who instituted small breaks into our programming and kept us alert with light exercises and armations. Similarly, creative writing workshops led by Angelique Nixon and Warren Harding, a roundtable discussion with Isis Semaj-Hall, Diana McCaulay and Nicole Dennis-Benn, a spoken word performance by Karla Brundage and Allison Francis, and a panel on social justice advocacy through poetry and translation work by Loretta Collins-Klobah, Maria Grau Perejoan, Dorothea Smartt, Tanya Shirley and Joan Andrea Hutchinson’s riveting performance of her poem, “Dat Bumpy Head Gal,” were some of the highlights of our creative oerings which held the attention of conference goers until way into the late evening hours for two consecutive twelve hour days. It was an exhausting and exhilarating experience. Fortunately, we had the full support of the dedicated ACWWS leadership of the past decade and a wonderful planning team comprised of my FIU colleagues, Drs. Alexandra Cornelius and Michaels Grafals, and volunteers, Anaridia Molina, Saniorah Edouard, Johanna Piard and Chenjerai Weir, as well as sta and faculty members from the Institute of Gender and Development Studies (I do not name them here only to avoid duplicating Opal’s statement), all of whom worked assiduously to ensure that all the little details that make a conference successful were carefully and professionally orchestrated. I take this opportunity to publicly thank them all for the essential role they played in making the virtual conference the success that it was, as conrmed by the exuberance and satisfaction expressed in our post-conference polling. Lastly, and signicantly, my sincere thanks to our keynote speakers, Patricia Powell and Carole Boyce Davies and all of our panelists, moderators, workshop leaders, creative writers, conference goers, artists, technical support personnel, and the dedicated members of the ACWWS, for their unstinting commitment to the development of Caribbean women’s writerly and scholarly initiatives and to everyone at the IGDS and UWI campuses whose support made our rst virtual conference an outstanding scholarly and creative enterprise. rffntb bf by Donna Aza Weir-Soley, ACWWS President & 2021 Conference Co-Chair • • • • • • • • •


13 Creative and Intellectual Nourishment in the Time of COVID: The ACWWS/IGDS-RCO Bi-Annual Conference Carol Bailey e ACWWS conference is always a source of rejuvenation for me as well as an intellectual family reunion. e Centre for Gender and Development Studies, RCO, leaves us no doubt that even in the midst of a pandemic the conference still fullls and exceeds this expectation. e opening panel on Day 1, “Literary/ Critical: Caribbean Women’s Poetics: Challenging and Transforming the Culture” launched the academic presentations. Panelists, Barbara Gf llner, Odette Cort s London, and Carol Bailey, presented on poetry by established and emerging Caribbean women poets. Attentive to the conference theme, “Writing about Caribbean Gender and Social Justice”, the presenters explored the aesthetic elements that dene the poems they addressed, while also elucidating the thematic concerns of the conference’s focus on the transformative possibilities of creative and scholarly writing that challenge colonial-patriarchal orthodoxies. Using Sylvia Wynter’s foundational writing for its theoretical frame, Gf llner’s paper, entitled “Limiting and Liberating Forms of Im/Mobility in Staceyann Chin’s Poetry Collection Crossre” explored how Chin’s poetry calls attention to the control of space and movement, and drew awareness to new ways of conceptualizing justice. London’s “e Poet, Her Art and Surrounding in M. Nourbese Phillip’s Discourse’ was engaged with the literary features, particularly the “blanks and silences,” of Phillip’s poetry to demonstrate how Phillip allows “undoing [of injustices] to take place --a useful illustration of how formal creative choices engages social justice work. Bailey’s paper illustrated how the writings of Pamela Mordecai and Tanya Shirley, separated by decades, instantiate a genealogy of activism across generations of Caribbean women writers. e inter and multi-disciplinary orientations of the presentations continued in Panel 2, “Transnational Perspectives on Black Women’s Health” focused on Black women’s navigation of health care systems in Jamaica and Canada, as well as Motherhood in Barbados. Presentations on Panel 3: “Talking Back: Patriarchy, Gender, Sexuality and Violence in the Caribbean” took up urgent concerns, including sexual harassment on public transportation, and tracking. Illustrating the conference’s sustained interest in recurring themes, two literary panels on Day 1 examined the current topic of Caribbean responses to COVID-19, and the diverse approaches to resistance from a range of disciplinary perspectives. Day 2 presentations integrated social justice issues with conversations about Afro-spirituality, which brought fresh insights through an exploration of Yoruba-derived storytelling. Similarly, while revisiting one of the stock themes of gender discourses, the panel, “Dismantling Patriarchy,” engaged a diversity of contemporary concerns specic to Haitian and Puerto Rican creative renditions. Violence was addressed with a focus on the experiences of queer subjects, as well as a feminist Caribbean critique of tourism. Even within the context of a pandemic that prevented gathering in person, this virtual feast demonstrated the continued relevance of e ACWWS Conference as the place for creative, intellectual, socio-cultural, and indeed emotional refreshment for anyone interested in Caribbean Women’s literary, scholarly, and social justice work.


14 rfntbfnft bfrnbt tr rft tnft Our African religions, our spiritual practices, our drums, our rituals, our ceremonies, our songs, the way we communicate with the earth, with the soil, with the trees, everything we practiced was taken away, demonized, made ugly and returned to us as something wicked and scary, when in fact there was nothing bad about it at all. Obeah was our sacred connection to ourselves, to the earth, to all of nature, to the spirit of the trees, and the spirit of the animals, and to the spirit of the soil and the winds. Obeah, and our various earth-based practices, kept us alive and whole during the darkest periods of slavery. ese practices healed us, gave us strength, enabled us to carry on and keep ghting. And because the colonizers were the ones afraid, they curtailed, they outlawed all our practices, or tried to. ey knew those rituals were a source of our power. ey knew that if we were empowered, we could not be slaves. And so, the moment I realized that this is what Obeah was, it was our great spirit, it was our divine source, it was our natural mystic, my resistance to Obeah died. Suddenly I was on my knees. I felt enormous gratitude for our ancestors who fought for their survival, for my survival, and the survival of these technologies that would continue to save our lives. I am grateful to my ancestors who found ways to turn the Christian religions they were fed into religions that also served them and their beliefs. I felt enormous gratitude for their ingeniousness and their many gis to us. It was clear to me that a lot of the fears I had about Obeah belonged to the colonizers. ey were the ones afraid, and now it was time to return the fear to where it rightfully belonged. I do not call myself an Obeah practitioner. I did not study Obeah. But for the last two decades, I’ve studied and trained and practiced hands on energy healing. I’ve studied and apprenticed with the master plant teachers, and I study and practice shamanism which, like Obeah, is an earth based indigenous practice that shares some similarities to Obeah. Earth-based spirituality honors the interconnection of all life on earth and in the cosmos. Nothing is separate. Everything is a part of the web of life. Earth-based spirituality honors the God in everything. Everything in nature is alive with spirit, every plant, animal, rock, body of water, tree, etc., and should be treated as the sacred alive thing that it is. Shamans believe that the spirit world is right here alongside us, and that the rules of engagement with the spirit world are rigorous but necessary for our survival, and that there is so much we can learn that will assist us in our personal, community, world and planetary healing. Patricia Powell is the author of Me Dying Trial, A Small Gathering of Bones, The Pagoda, The Fullness of Everything and Balm Yard Obeah , Our Sacred Connection to Ourselves by Patricia Powell “ Obeah, and our various earthbased practices, kept us alive and whole during the darkest periods of slavery. ”


15 Creative Writing Roundtable Writing about Caribbean Gender and Social Justice Dr Isis Semaj-Hall


16 Organizing the ACWWS Roundtable titled Gender, Sexuality and Mother Nature: Writing About Caribbean Gender and Social Justice was important to me because of the dangerous crossroads at which we Caribbean women have once again arrived. I invited Diana McCaulay and Nicole Dennis-Benn to join me because as literary activists we could discuss both the reality we are currently facing and, importantly, we could propose paths towards a more stable tomorrow. As an educator and activist myself, I see literature as providing a ctional space to consider possibilities and change. is roundtable was timely because, in many ways, our country (Jamaica) and our Caribbean region continues to exploit women in much the same way that the colonials and contemporary neo-colonials have exploited the environment. With equality, empowerment, and the environment as some of our key challenges as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), I feel that if we are unwilling to take climate change seriously and unwilling to tackle gender-based violence (GBV) or gender inequalities legislatively, we will only be advancing our demise. Having written two novels, Patsy (2019) and Here Comes the Sun (2016), Nicole Dennis-Benn is a multi-award winning Jamaican author. Nicole has created characters and stories that have given voice and interiority to some of Jamaica’s most vulnerable citizens: black working class women. And Diana McCaulay, is an environmental activist and an award-winning writer. She was born, raised, and has lived all but a bit of school years in Jamaica. Diana has placed women in the eye of the climate change storm in her h novel Daylight Come (2020), where she empathetically writes about women who care intensely about ending class inequality, righting the wrongs of our colonial past, and preserving the indigenous past into the future. I put this roundtable together in order to put possible solutions for the country’s/ region’s social and environmental injustices on the table, because we all recognize that ction authors have the gi of being able to fully imagine worlds worth living in. Nicole Dennis-Benn Diana McCaulay Isis Semaj-Hall


17 is year, the Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars (ACWWS) hosted their rst virtual conference: Writing About Caribbean Gender and Social Justice 2021 . One of the unique elements of this conference was the inclusion of creative workshops, interspersed between traditional academic panels. One of the creative panels was a Spoken Word performance, entitled Mulatta—Not So Tragic?, which featured activist-poet Karla Brundage from Oakland, California, and Dr. Allison E. Francis from Chaminade University of Honolulu in Hawaii. Brundage and Francis performed their original renshi poetry that examines the liminal spaces women of color occupy under the provocative and controversial label mulatta—traditionally a term used to signify progeny of African and European parents. rough the use of the renshi format which is a collaborative form of poetry-writing that links poems by repeating the last line of one poem to the rst line of a new poem, Brundage and Francis explored the sometimes devastating and celebratory dynamics of being bi-racial women in the 21st century, through their dynamic and inspiring performance. ey are excited to announce that the rst collection of their poetic works, Mulatta—Not So Tragic: Trans-Pacic Renshi Poetry Exchange, which includes poems from their ACWWS performance, will be published in the Fall of 2021. Poetry Exchange


18 (Dedicated to Zora & Lorraine) by Allison e. Francis She arms: “I was born black and female.” Never forget it. We love her when she’s laughing en again, when she’s not. You, charcoal gray brownin cacao-nut woman, spill thunder song from full lips And souls of black folk will listen. (Also dedicated to Zora & Lorraine) by Karla Brundage And souls of Black folk will listen nally to the black brown tragic girl see that she is all the ocean the coral and the sh below not just the star or the paper bag but plastic and showing out glitter sequins, popped balloons debris and college degrees Allison E. Francis is a Professor of South Sea Encounters: NineteenthCentury Oceania, Britain, and America . The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man . Floyd, Chocolate Cake, to The Breath Karla Brundage is a Bay Area based poet, she developed a deep love of nature. She “Alabama Dirt” found at and


19 New Books by Caribbean Women Writers from Peepal Tree Press Witness in Stone Esther Phillips Peepal Tree Press is collection explores the fragile territory between remembering and forgetting, both as an individual experience and in the life of a society. If in the end all is subject to “time’s slow bleed”, these poems enact the capacity of the imagination “to pass through ancient walls” and to reorder failures long gone in time into more hopeful connections. Poems recreate those childhood moments when physical presences, such as the “great house” at Drax Hall provoke the “beginning of poetry”, the searching for what is “hidden in the dark”, and thence to a grasp of the history that society would rather forget. For while forgetting is human, the collection also explores how amnesia can be cultivated in society as a means of hiding the sources of contemporary privilege and economic power. Poems such as “Canvas” (about the images from English and American magazines that patch up the hangings in an old woman’s “tumbledown dwelling”) not only picture children “tiptoe at the rim of the world” but, without needing to say it, show those children as far more familiar with Garbo’s “bright blue eyes/ and shiny red lipstick” than with the history and meaning of Drax Hall. If there are echoes of Walcott’s poem where “all in compassion ends”, Phillips is no less compassionate, but much readier to see “History’s wound still bleeding / to its last drop” – a wound extending down to a powerful poem in memory of George Floyd. If the collection calls out “Speak, stones, bear witness!”, poems also pay tribute to those who in the rural village memorialised the lives of the unconsidered poor, who, like the village historian, Miss Lewis, speaks across the years into contemporary urban life “to remind me who I am”. Esther Phillips’ poems are always lucid and musical; they gain a rewarding complexity from being part of the collection’s careful architecture that oers a richly nuanced inner dialogue about the meaning of experience in time. Not least powerful in this conversation are the sequence of poems about Barbadian childhoods, poems of grace, humour and insight. When Barbados chose Esther Phillips as its rst poet laureate it knew what it was doing: electing a poet who could speak truth, who could challenge and console her nation – and all of us. Esther Phillips’ works include (UWI), When Ground Doves Fly (Ian Randle Publishers), Atlantis and Witness in Stone (Peepal Tree Press). She is founder and director of Writers Ink Inc. as well as the Bim Literary Festival &


20 Fortune Amanda Smyth Peepal Tree Press Eddie Wade has recently returned from the US oilelds. He is determined to sink his own well and make his fortune in the 1920s Trinidad oil-rush. His sights are set on Sonny Chatterjee’s failing cocoa estate, Kushi, where the ground is so full of oil you can put a stick in the ground and see it bubble up. When a fortuitous meeting with businessman Tito Fernandez brings Eddie the investor he desperately needs, the three men enter into a partnership. A friendship between Tito and Eddie begins that will change their lives forever, not least when the oil starts gushing. But their partnership also brings Eddie into contact with Ada, Tito’s beautiful wife, and as much as they try, they cannot avoid the attraction they feel for each other. Fortune, based on true events, catches Trinidad at a moment of historical change whose consequences reverberate down to present concerns with climate change and environmental destruction. As a story of love and ambition, its focus is on individuals so enmeshed in their desires that they blindly enter the territory of classic Greek tragedy where actions always have consequences. Amanda Smyth Zion Roses Monica Minott Peepal Tree Press In Zion Roses, her second collection, Monica Minott’s poems grasp the reader’s attention with a voice that is distinctively personal, both taut and musical – and tender and muscular when the occasion demands. Her language moves seamlessly and always appropriately between standard and Jamaican patwa, a reection of a vision that encompasses a Black modernity still very much in touch with its aphoristic folk roots, where the ancestral meets Skype or a Jonkonnu band is stuck in a Kingston trac jam. It is possible to see Minott’s poems as being in a constant dialogue between four quadrants of engagement: with history, with landscape, with personal and family experience and with the worlds of literature, music and art. Minott’s sense of history is deeply informed by a knowledge of the brutalities of commercial empire and of slavery and Black people’s struggles against injustice and for selood. ere is scarcely a poem that does not have some precisely described sense of the materiality of its circumstance and the interactions between the physical world and human feelings. You sense that what sustains a certain bravery of self-exposure and of risk is a sense of belonging to family histories that have taught endurance, of knowing that loss can be gain (and this is certainly a world into which tragedy intrudes) and the experience of “running from extremity to extremity, to glory”. In literature and the arts, books are “bright lamps to light away dark hours”, and the examples of musicians like Don Drummond and Rico Rodriquez, artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and dancer Barry Moncriee point to the possibilities of the transcendent arising out of the everyday. Literature is a way of seeing that connects “Telemachus,/ original rasta and broomseller” of the Kingston streets to the Ulyssean world of voyaging and of seeking a home. Monica Minott Poet Winsome Monica Minott has received two awards in the Jamaican National Book Development been published in . Her debut, Kumina Queen , was published by Peepal Tree Press .


21 The Gift of Music and Song Jacqueline Bishop Peepal Tree Press In this collection of interviews, Jacqueline Bishop is in conversation with eighteen female Jamaican writers, some of whom have emigrated from the island. is deeply intimate and personal encounter between the writer and artist, Bishop, and those she admires touches on the tensions, reections and memories one has when writing about one’s birthplace. Beginning at childhood, each interviewee narrates their fond memories of the Caribbean country with a nostalgia and yearning for a place that is complex and freighted with political, social and racial diculties. e Gi of Music & Song is a space for these writers to talk deeply about writing back to their homeland; about being female voices from Jamaica, how one should represent the country, its rhythms and cadences, and what it means to be a female writer in the world today. So much of this collection deals with the duality and questioning of identity that movement and migration fosters. By interviewing many dierent writers, this book is also about the duties of being a creative individual and the act of writing. How and when does one realise they are a writer, storyteller, poet or artist? Bringing the book full-circle, Bishop invites her interviewees to interview her, and thus it becomes as much about the art of interviewing and conversation as it is about the content of the interviews. In e Gi of Music & Song are lessons and meditations on writing and making for women and men, old and young, Jamaican and non-Jamaican alike. What unites the voices in this book is not their country of birth or gender but an unfaltering belief in the power of poetry and poetics. Each writer is faithful to the act of storytelling and the power stories have to promote change. Jacqueline Bishop is the author of a novel, The River’s Song, two collections of poems, Fauna and Snapshots from Istanbul, an art book, Writers Who Paint... Three Jamaican Artists, and most recently, The Gymnast and other Positions, a collection of short stories, essays and interviews, which won the nonLiterature. Blast from the Past GRENADA, 2008 (From le to right) Meredith Gadbsy, Eva Hortone, Merle Collins, Antonia McDonaldSmythe and Opal Palmer Adisa


22 Methodologies in Caribbean Research on Gender and Sexuality Kamala Kemapadoo and Halimah A.F. DeShong Peepal Tree Press Following a series of guest lectures delivered by Professor Kamala Kempadoo in Halimah A.F. DeShong’s graduate course on Feminist Methodology and Epistemology, over a course of a few academic years, – when Kempadoo was a visiting Professor at e UWI, Cave Hill Campus – they began to think about how they might curate a collection that traces and examines methodological approaches to the study of gender and sexuality in the Caribbean. Methodologies in Caribbean Research on Gender and Sexuality is a hybrid collection of previously published and new essays on approaches to the research process by feminists and other researchers who study gender and sexuality in the Caribbean. As noted by Kempadoo and DeShong, Caribbean feminists have always reected on the connections across the ontological, epistemological and methodological, in the process of generating knowledge about gender and sexuality. As feminist social scientists, these concerns remain central to their praxis. e process of curating such a collection involved reviewing a large archive of existing works on researching gender and sexuality, as well as soliciting new essays that address both the need to amplify certain themes and new directions in feminist methodologies in the Caribbean. e anti-colonial intellectual tradition for which Caribbean (feminist) activist/intellectual/movements have become known, gure prominently in many of the essays featured in Methodologies in Caribbean Research on Gender and Sexuality. Kamala Kempadoo is Professor of Social Science at York University in Toronto, Canada. Halimah A. F. DeShong is the 2020-2021 Ambassador/Second Deputy Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations (UN) and a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.


23 Rough Riding: Tanya Stephens and the Power of Music to Transform Society Tanya Stephens UWI Press Rough Riding: Tanya Stephens and the Power of Music to Transform Society is a groundbreaking collection of articles that explore the contribution of the cultural worker, feminist organic intellectual, and controversial reggae and dancehall artiste Tanya Stephens. An accomplished lyricist on par with the genre’s celebrated male performers, Stephens has been producing socially conscious and transformative music that is associated with revolutionary reggae music of the 1970s and 1980s. e contributors to this anthology – a diverse group of scholars, activists and reggae professionals – explore the range of ideas and issues raised in Stephens’s extensive body of work and examine the important role cultural workers play in inspiring shis in consciousness and, ultimately, the social order. Adowa Onuora , author of ( The UWI Press , 2020) You May Have the Suitcase Now Beaudalaine Pierre New Rivers Press e Red Cross raises half a billion to build six homes. e Youwn refutes claims they are responsible for the cholera outbreak. It’s been a decade since the 2010 earthquake. IMF insists, Haitian ocials shall increase gas prices, the National Police kills 30, and six children in La Saline are dismembered. COVID-19 is hardly felt. And the children can’t go to school, women are detained in their home, and workers killed on their way to work. My daughter dances away the turmoil: this is surreal. I write alongside everyday lockdowns and overthrows and pleas to (let) live. And a few blocks from where I write to live, a white Minneapolis police ocer pins to the ground with his knee, for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, the neck of George Floyd, as he pleads “I can’t breathe.” And I write as the world witnesses the dying of the African American man under the weight of Justice. And I write as the Donald Trump’s administration hunts for evidence of crimes committed by Haitian immigrants Temporary Protection Status holders. I Live Under TPS. I write as I yearn to ground down the thirst, the anger, the memories, the wars, the peoples, the languages, all the things I carry. But how to pin down the everyday wars of the everyday life from a poetic of urgency where writings and wrists and bones and everyday plea to breath tremble with the whole wide world? From goudougoudou to Floyd to Youwn immunity, the line between the past and the present, between the self and the other, between the human and the non-human, between the near and the far, between the buried and the living is an absence. In centering the quakes and wrists and vibrio of bodies seen too oen as forever dispossessed and marginalized, You May Have the Suitcase Now makes a valuable contribution in Literary Nonction, Decolonial Studies, Haitian Studies, Critical Race Studies, Narrative Inquiry, Women’s Studies, Haitian Earthquake Narratives. Beaudalaine Pierre the author of Testaman (Bon Nouvl, 2002). New Scholarship by Members


24 and her team members, Dr. Alexandra Cornelius, Saniorah Lynn Edouard, Dr. Michael Grafals and Anaridia R. Molina; and to my team members, Dr. Dalea Bean, Dr. Maziki ame, Dr. Adwoa Onuora, Dr. Bronty Liverpool-Williams, Shawna Kae Burns and Kadine Marshall-Williams and Margaret RoweHunter, and I extend special thanks to e UWI IT team, and everyone else who contributed to making this conference a success. Last but not least, I must give a shout out and oer nu respect to Chenjerai “Jedhi” Weir, who designed the energised conference cover artwork, entitled Fireburn Queens based on the three queens of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the historical re burn for better wages and conditions that took place on October 1, 1878. Chenjerai “Jedhi” Weir is a digital multi-media artist with a background in traditional art, lm and classical theatre. During the pandemic, Jedhi has taken on art commissions, voiceover work, and a fantasyadventure passion project Lone Saga that was released on YouTube in January 2021. I encourage all of you to check out, and support this gied young artist. e ACWWS extends sympathy and blessings to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines on the devastation caused by the La Soufrire volcano, which began April 9, 2021, resulting in wide-scale displacement. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, located in the southeast Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, main island is Saint Vincent and, the northern part of the Grenadines, comprises a chain of 32 smaller islands. Kingstown is the capital and main port, and its population is estimated at 110,589. Its closest neighbours are Saint Lucia, Barbados to the east, and Grenada to the south. A former British Colony, Saint Vincent is now part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, CARICOM, then Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). It gained independence, October 27, 1979. Its main exports are bananas, packaged our and rice, and root crops such as dasheens and eddoes, exported mainly to Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Antigua and Barbuda. Inga Rhonda King and Phyllis Joyce McClean Punnett are two female writers from St Vincent; Gamal “Skinny Fabulous” Doyle, soca artiste and 2019 Road March champion in Trinidad and Tobago; Halimah DeShong, academic and netball player; and Nzingha Prescod, the American Olympic foil fencer, are perhaps the most contemporary notable persons from that country. Prepared by Source: G a Rin a gu a Rise Saint Vincent and the Grenadines A Perfect Collaboration: [Continued from page 11 ]


25 1. Actualizing the creative leadership of Paule Marshall and Kamau Brathwaite (fellow Barbadians) in political decisions. In 2019, Barbados signed agreements with Ghana, West Africa establishing more direct African diasporic relationships “with the expressed purpose of opening up more direct transportation and communication. 2. Challenging in practice and policy the question of sexuality which lingered even if not discussed publicly. Newspaper items such as “Barbados Elects pro-LGBT female prime minister” from a pro LGBT Newspaper – e Bay Area Reporter, indicates that “Mottley won despite a homophobic smear campaign in which the ruling Democratic Labour Party questioned her sexual orientation. 3. Advancing a new decolonial paradigm though was the recent decision by Barbados under Prime Minister Mottley’s leadership to take Barbados into Republican status. Overseeing the taking down of the statue of Lord Nelson following international postGeorge Floyd Black Lives Matter protests. 4. Being armative about reparative justice claims. e need for a new “vulnerability index” which the Commonwealth Secretariat had developed 30 years before and suggests the need for a new version that recognizes the absence of development plans from former colonizers once colonialism ended. Women’s leadership, we conclude in accordance with most assessments, then, has a direct relationship to the world’s continued well-being for the fact is that more than 70% of the world population living in poverty are female We are at the stage where we can scrutinize, analyze and also criticize the nature of women and Black political leadership. Carole Boyce-Davies is the H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters and Professor of Africana Studies and English at Cornell University. She is the author of the prize-winning Left of story Walking/An Avan. Latollozca, Creative Commons Mia Amor Advancing New Leadership Paradigms for Caribbean Women Excerpts from her forthcoming collection Alternative Presidents: Black Women’s Rights to Political Leadership (Lexington Books -Rowman and Littleeld, 2022)


26 Joan Andrea Hutchinson is an internationally known poet, author, actress and storyteller, who has authored and self-published three books and produced seven CDs of original work, focusing on aspects of Jamaican culture. She is also a well-respected multi-faceted communications professional whose diverse skill set includes speech and advertising copywriting, designing communications campaigns, writing and editing books, and producing features for radio and television. An adult woman’s outlook is oen shaped by her lived experiences, and more importantly, the narrative fed to her in childhood, which she internalized and now feeds herself and her daughter. Condence is autosuggestive it feeds on itself. If you tell yourself you’re a winner, you win. Have you ever observed a woman who doesn’t t society’s standards of beauty, charm, intelligence and success, yet she is condent and happy? By contrast, you see a woman who, by society’s standards has it all, yet she is insecure, lacking in condence and miserable? e dierence is the narrative which was fed to them early in life. I had the privilege of being raised by two awesome Jamaican parents who armed me and made me know that I was born to win. So when in 1996 I was chastised and berated and called “dat bumpy head gal”, for wearing an afro-centric hairstyle (Nubian Knots aka chiney bumps) to host a television programme, it did not faze me. With aplomb and chutzpah, I wore my hairstyle with pride. I adopted the name ‘Dat Bumpyhead Gal’, and wrote a poem about it – the title track for my rst audio cassette as a performance poet. Buoyed by my parents’ early armation, in the mirror I saw an amazing, wonderful, winning woman. I also knew that part of my role was to be the voice of every voiceless girl or boy, ostracized and berated because of their natural black hairstyles. DAT BUMPY HEAD GAL (Excerpt) Joan Andrea Hutchinson 1996 Tell me that I am not good enough for your TV screen How I oend your eyesight Tell me that I am a black, ugly, bumpyhead gal And I tell you I feeling right You say my hairstyle is disgusting, chaka chaka and look bad And look something on the street And say I should be ashamed to leave my house like that And I smile cause I feeling sweet You see, the truth is, I not ashamed of my own self I am not afraid of me When I look into the mirror, I like the somebody at I see looking back at me So galang, call me black and bumpyhead if you want But make sure that you say it loud Because the Creator loves me and I feel good To be BUMPYHEAD, BLACK and PROUD Change the Narrative We Feed Our Girls (written with condence and self-love, aer being vitriolically chastised for wearing the afrocentric hairstyle, Nubian Knots, to host a television pogramme in Jamaica in 1996)


27 Strains of ‘Vincy Power’, a soulful collaboration produced by e Hub Collective in the wake of the April volcanic eruptions in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) blast from my headset daily. A constant reminder that while the majority of just over twenty thousand (20,000) persons and approximately one thousand, four hundred and y (1450) families displaced by the explosive eruptions of the La Soufriere volcano, and who had been housed in approximately eighty-ve (85) shelters (UN Stands in Deep Solidarity with Saint Vincent aer Devastating, 2021) across the island have been returning home that ‘Vincy Power’s’ “Gimme the power, Gimme the Vincy power” (Vincy Power 2021 Volcano Tribute Song for St. Vincent & the Grenadines (Ocial Video), 2021) is a summoning of the spirit of resilience and unity among Vincentians both at home and in the diaspora. is spirit of resilience and unity is critical if SVG is to rise from the devastation le in the wake of Soufriere’s wrath. Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves estimated that the volcanic eruptions could cost SVG up to 50% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with over 5000 buildings damaged, approximately $175 million in losses to the agricultural sector alone, as well as infrastructural and other damages (News Admin, 2021). e psychological and associated impact, family displacement are yet to be studied and assessed. Even more heart-breaking, when it rains, the Dr Bronty Liverpool Williams The University of West Indies Rising Ash Our Faith will See Us Through from the


28 already vulnerable communities are being hammered by devastating oods and more recently Hurricane Elsa damaged approximately two hundred (200) houses. Yet, scenes of Vincentians helping each other to clean and repair roofs and buildings damaged by the eruptions, as well as Hurricane Elsa, volunteers donating and preparing food and assisting at the shelters, families opening their doors to strangers, containers being o-loaded at the wharf with supplies donated by Vincentians abroad, our CARICOM and international neighbours and the sound of a steel pan, its practiced player serenading mothers on Mother’s Day at the St. Joseph Convent shelter are but reminders that even with a triple whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic; the eects of the devastating volcanic eruptions; and a predicted active hurricane season, that with ‘Vincy Power’, a spirit of resilience and unity, faith in our God and assistance from our neighbours, SVG will rise from the ashes. In the words of our National Anthem “What e’re the future brings, Our faith will see us through.” For information on how to assist National Emergency Organisation (NEMO) Kingstown, St. Vincent & The Grenadines Telephone number: 1 784 456-2975 Email: Dr Bronty Liverpool Williams The University of West Indies


29 As the lead judge for the 2021 BOCAS Poetry prize, I had the good fortune of reading 14 books written by a diverse and talented group of Caribbean writers, but it was clear from the rst few pages of Canisia Lubrin’s e Dyzgraphxst, (McClelland & Stewart), 2020, that this was the winner. Reading e Dyzgraphxst, reminded me of when I rst read Aim Csaire’s Return to My Native Land, with its unexpected swells and burst of language; the lines that made me pause and turn inwards; the circularity and the leaps, the feeling of being lost, yet delighted about the adventure, the espial. e Dyzgraphxst is a journey of discovery that you will need to read over and over again, and I am condent that each time you do, you will come away amazed and feeling rewarded. Canisia Lubrin is the under 40 year-old St Lucian poet, critic, professor and editor, who lives in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, and earned a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Guelph. Lubrin’s very rst collection, Voodoo Hypothesis (2017), had already showcased her talent and was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, and shortlisted for the Raymond Souster Award. Voodoo Hypothesis explores black life and culture in the context of colonialism and domination, and Lubrin continues this thesis in e Dyzgraphxst, weaving history and mythology and forging a new aesthetic that draws the lines from the Caribbean region, to the Diaspora, to Africa, and most importantly, the work presents black life, then, now and in the future, not merely as victims, but as searchers for truth and ways to be ourselves as individuals as well as a people who have been robbed. I believe these lines aptly locate Canisia Lubrin’s agenda: I know what begins the act of saying things, what is lodged there a promise of some life, not unlike this coal-grey sky, not unlike the not-good marching band a street away throwing madness (p.15) Winner of the 2021 OCM BOCAS prize, e Windham Campbell Prize and the Grin Poetry Prize, Canisia Lubrin is denitely a voice of now and of the future, and she joins the ranks of other important Caribbean– Canadian writers, Dionne Brand, NourbeSe Philip and Afua Cooper, et al. Canisia Lubrin: Pushing Boundaries by Opal Palmer Adisa “I was the speck in the multiplier of myself” (.162)


30 Womanish Ways, Freedom, Human Rights and Democracy The Women’s Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas: 1948 1962 Five Bahamian women – Mary Ingraham, Georgiana Symonette, Mabel Walker, Eugenia Lockhart, and Doris Johnson – led the Women’s Surage Movement in e Bahamas. e journey to women’s enfranchisement spanned more than a decade. It took place against the dramatic backdrop of the Burma Road Riots of 1942 and the Contract of 1945 gaining momentum during the General Strike of 1958 and the struggle for Majority Rule in e Bahamas. e suragists were greatly inuenced by the Declaration of the Atlantic Charter, Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech and the UN Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. e documentary narrates the story of the surage Movement with special attention to the ve leaders and the women and men who supported the surage for women. Bahamian women worked tirelessly to resist and redress the racial discrimination and the social, economic and political inequalities, a legacy of colonialism and slavery, that permeated Bahamian society. Women from all walks of life played a signicant role in helping to advance civil, political and human rights for all Bahamians and, thereby, deepened the understanding of freedom and democracy in e Bahamas. Bahamian women voted for the rst time on November 26, 1962. rff r fntb ntnf fr rffntbbb


31 Women’s Suffrage Movement Bahamas “Mr. Speaker and Members of the Assembly, putting aside our grievances, we women raise our hearts and heads to loier things, our willingness to participate as full citizens in the aairs of our country. We women are ready, willing and able. You must no longer deny us our rights.” Speech to the Members of the House of Assembly, January 1959 DR. DORIS JOHNSON President of the Senate (1973-1982) GEORGIANA KATHLEEN SYMONETTE Member of Parliament “e privilege to vote carries with it an important duty – the duty to be informed. In fact, this is one of the most important ways of building a democracy. [] If we are to be well-informed, we must show a keen and lively interest in our human resources, our people, as well as our natural resources [] e Woman Surage Movement is dedicated to the task of informing all women of the needs of our country, and showing how each citizen must do his part to make our country strong.” Excerpt from the booklet “The Next Step – VOTES for Bahamian Women.” Part of the Education for Citizenship series published by the Bahamian Women’s Suffrage Movement.


32 “e Bahamian women need to get together and ght for a franchise. We don’t have enough ghting women. We need women of iron, women who are neither afraid nor ashamed to stand up in public and let the Bahamas Government know what they want. Women who will take part in the march of progress.” Sylvia Laramore, letter to the Editor of the Tribune, 1954. MABEL WALKER Founding President Bahamas Union of Teachers MARY INGRAHAM Founding President Bahamas Women’s Surage Movement EUGENIA LOCKHART Secretary Bahamas Women’s Surage Movement


33 ALEXANDRIA MILLER b rfntbrfntn nttrn Abstract: “Note to Self” engages the ACWWS’s mission to analyze Caribbean women’s art and cultural production. rough close readings of women’s reggae music, I reect on the importance of care as a foundational intellectual theme within reggae and its potential for discussions of Caribbean women’s care work and emotional wellness. Caribbean literature is how I rst learned about Caribbean history. It is because of the oral stories and tales told to me by my grandmothers and mother that rst captivated my love for reading and has since inspired my career goals. Caribbean literature is important because it marks a historical lineage of Caribbean culture, time, and space that we can pass down for generations. By writing and memorializing the thoughts and experiences of Caribbean folk in the region and across the diaspora, Caribbean literature ensures our culture and our stories are documented, preserved, and will not be forgotten. GRADUATE STUDENTS’ CORNER GRADUATE STUDENTS’ CORNER Excerpts of the Judges’ Comments e article situates analysis within an extensive corpus of scholarship on reggae, Rastafari, Caribbean families, and Black feminist theory. I found this to be a very important topic. e author demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of the place of Black women in Caribbean families. “ “ “ “




35 On June 29, Haiti witnessed the double murder of journalist Diego Charlesand activist Marie Antoinette Duclair. A week later, on July 7, HaitianPresident Jovenel Mosewas assassinated. On March 2, deline Mentor, a nurse, is murdered two days aer pediatrician Ernst Pady was shot dead on Feb. 28. e same month, the body of ve-year-old girlOlsmina Jean Mus is foundwith a rope around her neck at Pont Breya, Martissant, aer she had been kidnapped.My parents and sisters who live in the district of Carrefour and with whom I speak every week, describe a machine of death and destruction ruling Haiti for at least the last two years. e most disenfranchised and marginalized are the ones at work every day xing and redressing and imagining less violent tomorrows for themselves and for their children. And You May Have the Suitcase Now stands from this place where the unocial, the fallen, the unwanted, and the not political enough are living breathing stories that display the multilayered dimension of violence in Haitian lives. e slow, persistent, continuous, and steady labor of people standing up to keep breathing and sending kids to school is the vast Haitian landscape in its contradictions, multiplicity, and aliveness. I remember, right aer the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Haitian American teacher and activist Marie Lily Cerat wrote in Rethinking Schools: “We cry, we wail, but we never lose hope; we know our day will come;” Crat’s plea also resonates with James Baldwin’s 1970 letter to Angela Davis: “if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night”; or with General Toussaint Louverture declaring at the time of his capture by French soldiers, “In overthrowing me, you have cut only the trunk of the tree of liberty. It will spring up again for its roots are numerous and deep!” e stories in You May Have the Suitcase Now echo the depth and multiplicity and power of the shared humanity and interconnectedness we hold together. It makes a valuable contribution in Literary Nonction, Decolonial Studies, Haitian Studies, Critical Race Studies, Narrative Inquiry, Women’s Studies, Haitian Earthquake Narratives. It is from that place of collective everyday resurgence that I re/engage with my people each day. Contradiction, Multiplicity and Aliveness of Haiti Jovenel Moise, president of Haiti, was assassinated on 7 July 2021. The First Lady, Martine Mose, survives her husband after being by Beaudalaine Pierre


36 e ACWWS is profoundly saddened by the assassination of President Jovenel Mose and the attack on First Lady Martine Mose of Haiti on July 7, 2021. We deem this act as a violent assault on all our humanity and it shatters our sense of safety, and equally important, disrupts our small-island Developing States (SIDs) agenda. We are arming the speedy and full recovery of First Lady Martine Mose and have faith that Haiti will have sustained peace, and its people will enjoy again a sense of security and well-being. For many of us Ayiti, the original Taino name, will remain a beacon of what is possible, when in 1804 it became the rst liberated country from slavery. Since then the powers that be, France, other European nations and the USA, have imposed embargos and other sanctions that have disempowered the goals of that sovereign nation. Saint-Domingue, as the French named it, “was the most protable French colony in the world” with sugarcane, coee, cocoa and indigo plant being extracted. Ayiti was regarded as one of the “most protable of all the European colonies in the 18th century.” e key leaders of the Haitian Revolution were Boukman from Jamaica, Toussaint Louverture, and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Haitian are descendants of primarily Nigerian such as the Yoruba and Fon, but there is also lineage from the Congo and Angola nations. An enormously creative and resourceful people, their survival has been maintained through their African practices, such as Vodun and their connections to the Loa, which is oen maligned. Dancing and Carnival are also intrinsic to the Haitian culture and they serve as vehicles of liberation. Although Haiti has many minerals such as bauxite, copper, calcium carbonate, gold, and marble that are extracted and enriches the USA and Europe, it is oen cited as one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. Located in the city of Cap-Hatien, La Citadelle Laferrire, built by Henry Christophe, began construction in 1804 and took 13 years with a work force of over 200000 newly freed enslaved persons to complete; it was designated UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1982. An amazing piece of architecture, well worth seeing and experiencing, I encourage you to put it on your bucket-list. Some of Haiti/Ayiti most notable female authors are, Gina Athena Ulysse, Roxane Gay; Lenelle Moise, Kettly Mars, velyne Trouillot, Yanick Lahens, Myriam J.A. Chancy, Michle-Jessica Fivre, and Edwidge Danticat. Opal Palmer Adisa In SOLIDARITY with HAITI Mami Wata Public Domain


37 Angelique V. Nixon, Ph.D. and art collection titled Saltwater Healing: A Myth Memoir and Poems Resisting Paradise: Tourism, Diaspora, and Sexuality in Caribbean Culture ( e anthology Caribbean Erotic edited by Opal Palmer Adisa and Donna Aza WierSoley published in 2010 by Peepal Tree Press remains as powerful and compelling as it was decade ago. e collection (through poetry, ction, creative nonction and essays) reveals a complex landscape of Caribbean desires and sexualities that are still as relevant and striking. e notion of Caribbean Erotic and arming its existence continues to be necessary in the face of religious and cultural conservativism and a politics of respectability that seeks to control and even contain sexuality. Nonetheless and in spite controlling forces, cultural norms or respectability politics, as Caribbean people have always done, we rebel and claim spaces for ourselves, our bodies, our imaginations, and our desires. Certainly, in the past ten years, we have seen extraordinary changes in our cultural and political landscape, especially within and because of regional (and global) movements for gender and sexual justice (especially within women’s and LGBTI movement building and organising). Moreover, the eld of Caribbean Sexuality Studies has grown building upon pioneering scholars such as M. Jacqui Alexander, omas Glave, Kamala Kempadoo, Frances NegrnMuntaner, Mark Padilla, and Gloria Wekker, among others. Since 2010, dozens of books and special collections on Caribbean sexuality reveal the momentum and importance of the eld – scholars such as Rosamond S. King, Lawrence La-Fountain Stokes, Jafari Allen, Vanessa Agard-Jones, Omise’eke Tinsley, Carlos Decena, Nadia Ellis, Lyndon Gill, Ana Maurine Lara, Krystal Nandini Ghisyawan, Nikoli Attai, and myself, among others, are expanding complex understandings of Caribbean erotic subjectivities and diverse genders and sexualities. A number of these scholars are also creative writers which is infused in their scholarship and research. Caribbean literature in the past decade continues to demand space for ‘Caribbean Erotic’ and erotic subjectivies. e literary landscape of the Caribbean remains bold in representing the complexities of our lived experiences across the Caribbean and its diaspora. Caribbean literature has been the site of so many of our thinkers, scholars, writers, poets, and artists to claim space and decolonise our consciousness. Creativity and our creative imaginations have made it possible for us to understand ourselves and our bodies more fully. We have dared to imagine ourselves outside colonialism as we have struggled against its lingering eects. Caribbean sexuality studies for me can be seen as part of the continued calling from the Caribbean Erotic – to arm the creative and sexual parts of our being. I celebrate ten years of Caribbean Erotic and welcome volume two so that we can continue to show the world how complex, vibrant, and powerful we are. Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Caribbean Erotic ACWWS Newsletter Editor: