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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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.

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)

tongues of the ocean issue 4 goes live

Or went live on Sunday past. Featuring entry art by Steve Cartwright, and beginning the issue with two very cool and contrasting poems: “In the Bay” by Changming Yuan (China, USA), and “12 Notes for a Light Song of Light” by Kei Miller (Jamaica, UK).

A taste:

the waves surging towards the seashore
not unlike my spirits

the seashore embracing the waves
not unlike your arms

–Changming Yuan


A light song of light will summon daffodils,
bluebells and strawberries, humming birds;
will summon silver, the shine of sequins,
the gold of rings—and the dreadful luminosity
of everything we had been told to close
our eyes to

— Kei Miller

Theatre Festivals and Other Things

Here’s the thing. A year ago I was still beginning the vacation that marked the end of my indentureship for the Government of The Bahamas. It was all new for me. I’d forgotten what it was like to control one’s own daytimes — to not have to engage in the absurdity of rush hour traffic if one could choose, to be able to sit in a coffee shop (we shall not say the name b/c I’m mad at them) and write for as long as one liked, to be able to finish a thought without having to answer a telephone with someone panicking at the other end because they had no clue what working for government meant, and they’d encountered The Wall and wanted to know what to do about it.

Life was better, but I was afraid I was going to be bored.

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Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Scavella’s Turn « Very Like A Whale

Nic Sebastian over at Very Like A Whale invited me to respond to her Ten Questions for Poetry Editors. You can read the result this week here:

What goes on inside poetry editors’ heads? is a burning question for publishing and wannabe-publishing poets everywhere. With this third Ten Questions series, we are showcasing weekly answers from a diverse group of poetry editors to Ten Questions for Poetry Editors. Each editor’s responses will appear as a separate blog post and all posts will be linked back to the series’ standing page.

Our responder this week is Nicolette Bethel [aka Scavella], editor of Tongues of the Ocean.

Ten Questions for Poetry Editors – Nicolette Bethel « Very Like A Whale

hearts are clouds « Very Like A Whale

Over on Very Like a Whale, Nic gives a headsup to tongues of the ocean.

I’m so glad someone’s noticed the power of Muhammad Muwakil’s work. The more I read that poem the more it grows on me — specially the bit Nic quotes.

Thanks, Nic!

And this week’s posts are up — a second poem by Ian Gregory Strachan, and an interview with Derek Walcott. No, I didn’t carry it out. It’s actually a link to an interview carried out in 2006 by Canadian litblogger Nigel Beale. Thanks, Nigel, for allowing us access to the interview!

And as for Strachan’s “National Anthem”, here’s a taste of it:

one hundred years ago
from this spot
a painter with a poet’s name
caught a coconut frond
in the wind and
brushed the white lighthouse

tongues of the ocean: why stop now?

Two more poems are up for the week:

The West Indies Haiku (#1) by Tim Tomlinson

heat lightning—
pages scattered

on an empty bed


The joy of planting banana suckers in your own land by Ward Minnis

I only want me own garden
a little patch where I can dig till I silly.
Plant banana morning, noon and night,
Open the hole and put in me fertilize,
fill it with sap
from nighttime ritual and early morning dance.

Two more poems on tongues

Seems that all I do is advertise the journal! Swing on over to check it out. And when I get some ideas beyond it I’ll jot them down.

This week’s offerings:

“Passing” by Sonia Farmer

The doctor knows the heart and all
its chambered petals. He is versed in
vestigial organs, but not the art of hidden


“(untitled)” by Sheila Brooke

cedar floats liquid down my throat
in extract of red, pooled in cliffside fissures
opened by roots
whose hunger cracks stone

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.