Yes, I know it’s been months…

… but I’m surfacing to share a little good news for a change. New publication in sx salon, a literary platform for Small Axe:

To balance our emphasis on nonfiction in this issue, we have new poems from Fred D’Aguiar, Kemar Cummings, Nicolette Bethel, Yannick Giovanni Marshall, and dub poet Malachi Smith with an audio sample of Smith performing “Papine”. We are also happy to announce in this issue the winners of the 2011 Small Axe Literary Competition:

via Discussions » Blog Archive » sx salon, issue 7 December 2011.


I’m also working, with Sonia Farmer and Nic Sebastian, on a nanopress project. We’re calling it Lent/Elegies, and it’ll be ready to go soon. But more on that later.

10 Questions on Poets & Technology: Cati Porter

Nic’s interview this week: Cati Porter.

The internet, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, iPad, iPod, podcasts, digital video and who knows what else. What do they all mean for the poet qua poet? For Poetry? Is it still pretty much where the Gutenberg press left it? Is Poetry technology-proof? In our fearless ongoing quest to exploit other people’s wisdom on poetry-related subjects, we are posing ten questions to a group of illustrious contemporary poets on this topic. This week’s responder is Cati Porter.

via Very Like A Whale.

Tongues of the Ocean Issue 5

tongues of the oceanThe June 2010 issue of tongues of the ocean went live at midnight today.

This one’s a little different. We’ve taken a cross-disciplinary exhibition and put it into cyberspace. Instead the customary two pieces of writing a week, we’ve got a literary piece and a piece of visual art. This is how the exhibition—”A Sudden and Violent Change”, created for The Hub in Nassau for the Transforming Spaces Art Tour—was set up: writers creating pieces that artists used as inspiration for other pieces.

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10 Questions on Poets & Technology: Chris Hamilton-Emery

Nic’s got a new interview up: Chris Hamilton-Emery.

The internet, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, iPad, iPod, podcasts, digital video and who knows what else. What do they all mean for the poet qua poet? For Poetry? Is it still pretty much where the Gutenberg press left it? Is Poetry technology-proof? In our fearless ongoing quest to exploit other people’s wisdom on poetry-related subjects, we are posing ten questions to a group of illustrious contemporary poets on this topic. This week’s responder, bringing us a UK perspective, is Chris Hamilton-Emery.

via Very Like A Whale.

Discovered a new journal today

I blink emerald.
I blink sea glass green.

Saeed Jones, via THE COLLAGIST.

One of the things I like about blogging here on (don’t worry, there are some things I don’t like too) is that sometimes I come across really cool blogs that I like to follow. Saeed Jones’ is one of them, and today, when checking the blogs I surf, I found this reference. Followed it, and ended up at The Collagist, a journal I’d never heard of before.

Worth reading. And while you’re at it, visit some of my online favourites too: Anti-, qarrtsiluni, and, of course, tongues of the ocean.

**edited to fix the man name.

Two more poems on tongues

This week, two womanish poems again. C. S. Bhagya, from India, and yours truly (aka Nicolette Bethel) are featured, sharing the voices of two oddly similar and yet infinitely different women. Bhagya’s “fishmonger’s wife” speaks to an invisible man (not her husband, clearly):

Because I am a fishmonger’s wife
you thought you could visit me at night,

on summer mornings
I smell of conches, their smooth
white glide and sound of sea.

— C. S. Bhagya

“Island Girl”, meanwhile, explains how to get blood out of cotton:

… you need a lime, some salt, and sun.
Don’t wash it first, cause blood will set, and stain
and give the thing away. So cut the lime
and rub it on the blood, and cover that
with salt and lay it flat, and let the sun
shine on it.

— Nicolette Bethel

Intrigued? Want more? Go to tongues of the ocean.

An interlude: two new pieces on tongues of the ocean

Spoken word by Anku Sa Ra (Bahamas) and prose by Paul Hadden (Trinidad and Tobago/France).

Spoken Tone (Anku Sa Ra) – you need to watch/listen to the piece

Me. Writing (Paul Hadden):




Blackbirds sit on electric wires, and the distant mountains are dotted with bright pink and yellow Poui trees. The grass, wet with morning dew, is teeming with sugar ants and grasshoppers.

Yellow breasted Kiskadees sing out their morning salutations.

Kis-kee-dee, Kis-kee-dee, Kis-kee-dee,

The old folks say they sing in French.

Qu’est-ce qu’il dit? Qu’est-ce qu’il dit? Qu’est-ce qu’il dit?

tongues of the ocean » current issue.

tongues of the ocean: new poems

In honour of Valentine’s Day and of love, two new poems: “Oboe” by Nic Sebastian and “Opaque” by Nancy Devine.

(Please note that if you click on the above link after February 21, it’ll take you to two more poems — the content of that link doesn’t remain static.)

He wants to kiss
her arch:
“the tip of the tongue
taking a trip of three steps…”,
use it as his cup
for coddled cream.

“Opaque” by Nancy Devine (USA)

you are the beauty of bound
reed or better
numen’s breath passing
through reed into African

blackwood or better

“Oboe” by Nic Sebastian (USA)

A little encouragement goes a long way

And flattery goes even further. Thanks to Harry and Aditi, I’ve been encouraged to keep writing on this blog. So I will.

Today I’ve got two things I want to share with you all. The first is that round here we’ve been sleeping with the Canadian covers. When I tell you why you will all want to move here, but I caution you: what you think of as balmy round here is a little different for two main reasons. (1) We are (literally) Hemingway’s (Bahama) islands in the (Gulf) stream, which means that all temperatures here must be imagined in terms of wetness — wet and cool in the winter, wet and hot in the summer. and (2) WE HAVE NO HEATING SYSTEMS. Except in our cars.

That said, this past week’s average temperature at night has been about 60 degrees F (16 C). (I can hear you now: that’s nothing!! I’d kill for 60!!) Fine, but then add the wind chill (our cold fronts are not still, but arrive on the backs of northern winds), dewpoint and humidity, and then remember: *no heat*. And for most people, no woolly sweaters — just cotton hoodies, unless you’ve been living, like me, in the far far north. All my Canuck friends and transplants are freezing. So think again.

I love it!! The tourists, not so much.
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Via Geoffrey Philp – Copyrights and Wrongs

Geoffrey Philp has a cautionary tale on the dangers of unregistered creative property:

… a few years ago, my son and I were walking through Blockbuster and we saw this movie, XYZ, that was set on a Caribbean island, so we decided to rent it.

As we settled back in our seats, a sickening feeling overcame me. This was my movie. A few changes had been made, but it was my movie. I’d been ripped off.

I called all my friends and then we contacted a lawyer, who after reviewing the case told me that because we couldn’t prove a “material connection” between he agent and the production company, we couldn’t bring a law suit. Plus, he added with the costs of expert witnesses, etc, the costs made it impossible to win.

I asked him about “Poor Man’s Copyright.”

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Flood Warnings and Steam Baths – the De-Cabbage Yourself experience flies south for summer

This week, Rob‘s in The Bahamas with me, Scavella, aka Nicolette Bethel. He hasn’t picked the best day for it — the birds are singing, they always do, but it’s overcast and going to pour. Still, the nice thing about rain in the sub-tropics (which isn’t like rain in Scotland, which I experienced one chilly day in Edinburgh on my way back from a conference in St. Andrews round the turn of the century) is that it’s drama at its best. And it’s warm. So hold on for flood warnings and steam baths.

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Online Literary Journals: Coming of Age

Edward Byrne, editor of Valpariso Poetry Review, notes that the most recent issue of Poets & Writers Magazine includes a discussion of online journals, which excites me.

One Poet’s Notes: Online Literary Journals: Coming of Age

The current issue May/June 2009 of Poets & Writers Magazine contains “a special section on the here and now of literary journals” devoted to information about the process of submission, editing, and publication of literary magazines. Sandra Beasley contributes a timely and insightful essay, “From Pages to Pixels: The Evolution of Online Journals,” among the articles included in the “Lit Mag Moment” feature.

The fact that online publications are growing in reputation, and are even being accepted as credentials for funding and for university tenure, is a happy one. The quality of online journals isn’t lost on me — the pool of submissions is larger, as is the pool of editors — which has a happy effect on the results that I’ve seen.  My most recent experience with print journals has been stuffier and less moving than my experience with online ones. Of course, in my country, the availability of print journals is entirely dependent on the post and the depth of one’s subscription-fee-paying pocket (in my case not so deep, believe me), and so my access to such journals is limited at best. I’m there are those out there that are different. But I know that what I have seen tends towards the conservative (in the sense of conserving, not in the sense of being close-minded), the cliquish, and the controlled, not towards (as with the online variety) the exciting, the fresh, and the unusual.

Maybe it’s just me, but maybe it isn’t. Any comments?

New poems on tongues of the ocean

“For the Trees” by Vladimir Lucien, from St Lucia:

The trees have always been our brothers.
The silk cotton tree that was forced to lynch us,
In those gardens that our mothers stooped to nurse
That grew with us, were our brothers.

But before they fell to the earth,
I grieved when they cried in autumn

and “I Am”, spoken word poetry by Amielle Major, from The Bahamas:

I am not the first to have had my heart broken by a white man I
probably shouldn’t have loved
I am not the first to have had my heart broken by a black
man I probably shouldn’t have loved
I am not the first to have not been loved because I was too black
I am not the first to have had sex in this darkness my blackness I hate it.

I am not the first ugly person.

Soundzine now live

The new issue of Soundzine is now live.

It’s a fabulous issue. Looks great!

My poems are here:

Other PFFAers:

M E Hope

There is a weariness that radiates
from the marrow

a butterfly that wishes to be

    Jee Leong Koh

    when he calls her bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh,
    what does he greet
    his need to eat?

      Mike Lane

      Sometimes they skip stones across the tops
      of thunderheads and resurrect dead snails
      and bumper kissed bugs.

          Howard Miller

          As the spasms fade and salt
          dries, you fold, withdrawing,
          into yourself, a consumed
          blood orange restored
          in a film reversed

          The art is fabulous.

          The changing face of literature

          Having work accepted to places like qarrtsiluni and Anti- has had the effect of my paying closer attention to the way literary journals work, especially online. The above two make some use of the technology at hand, qarrtsiluni publishing a piece a day, and Anti alternating between issues and featured poet series.

          The possibilities are endless, spreading before one like a sea. The lure of the internet as a space for publication sends up the kind of thrill that frontiers must have when they were frontiers.

          So here’s the thing. If you were starting up an online literary journal, what features might you include?

          Publication in qarrtsiluni

          (ai, it’s hard to post in the middle of the day from here … traffic is high and the connection gets very slow, and weird things happen.  Where’s here?  Why, Georgetown, Guyana, at CARIFESTA X, and you can follow the story of my/our experiences here, but anyway, we soldier on)


          I wanted to say that in checking one of my email accounts the other day, I realized, belatedly, that two of my pieces had been accepted for publication in the Transformation issue of qarrtsiluni.

          The pieces?  

          Sevenling:  Life is a drying

          The Granddaughter Sings Lily Home (1994)

          They’ll even be accompanied by sound files.  Fabulous!

          Thanks, guys.  Look for the first one soon.

          Acceptance from Anti-

          *ahem* Edited to make the actual announcement.

          I’ve heard from Steve Schroeder over at Anti- that two of my Lily poems were accepted for publication. Which ones? “The Preacher Man Saves Lily’s Soul (1914)” and “The Carpenter Seals Lily’s Widowhood (1943)”. I can’t begin to explain my elation. Both are favourites of mine. “Preacher Man” has been in progress for years and years (pace Julie), while “Carpenter” came almost complete, and needed only a few tweaks here and there for wording, clarity, and semi-form (it wants to masquerade as a sonnet, which it really isn’t, and so I made some concessions). Woo-hoo!!

          Couple of months ago, when Anti- was launched, I posted this on my blog. At that time, I said

          Found this interesting:


          I agree poetry should improve the bare page — or the bare screen, in most of the cases I’m familiar with these days. (Is there such a thing as a bare screen?) Three problems, though.

          1. Be sure you read contemporary poetry.”
          2. “Posting drafts to an online workshop or blog is not previously published provided they’re removed prior to submission.”
          3. “Anything the editor can Google is previously published.”

          Hm. Pretty well everything I consider worth publishing has been workshopped online, and not all workshops purge.

          And today, when I thought I’d trawl through my caught spams, I discovered this response to that post:

          Hi Scavella:

          Sorry I wasn’t aware of this post earlier. I think workshops not purging old posts is a terrible idea, which was one of two key reasons I quit posting at PFFA long ago. I think you’ll find me much more accommodating of online workshopping than a lot of editors.

          Steve S
          Friday, January 25, 2008

          Thanks Steve, thanks Julie, thanks all!

          Oh, and I figured out what I was anti- as well.

          Avatar Review 10

          The issue’s live, and it’s lovely to look at.

          It’s exciting to be a part of it.  It’s even more exciting to see what’s in it.  It’s worth a good, long wallow, I think.

          People I know/have workshopped with whose work is in it:

          Nic Sebastian

          Howard Miller

          David Anthony

          Graham Burchell

          and our very own

          Julie Carter

          is the featured poet.  Yay!

          Congratulations to the editorial board, which features even more of the people I’ve met through workshops — and to Paula Grenside in particular, who accepted my poem and edited me — though we both missed one small detail, which I’ll leave you all to figure out.