Issue 13 – May 2018




Johanna Gibson
Death in the Islands

Jerome Teelucksingh
One Goal to Glory


The thing about Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, poster nation for what Caribbean Carnival looks like, is that it is simply not cut to be—to stretch the metaphor—a template. For such a thing to be workable, it must be one thing: one shape, one shared idea, one animus. But it is not. Do not dwell overmuch on the thousands-strong masquerade bands, nor think only of traditions dead or dying. Consider instead the most honest spirit, that of the individual.

In this issue, Moko has done Carnival the honour of allowing it to show many faces. Carnival is a celebration, but it can also brood, fear, calm, reflect and break your heart. In this Carnival Suite, we looked for what and how it inspires other art forms. Shalini Seereram’s “Cut-finger Bustier”, a mosaic sculpture of glass fragments, is as beautiful as it is agonizing. How much do we suffer for one magnificent, ephemeral moment the day before Ash Wednesday? Lisa Allen-Agostini does not merely play her mas in “playing Dragon”, she becomes it. KF Frank’s “Beat” feels like poem carved out of history and music.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that from Guyana up the chain of islands and into the diaspora, Carnival has its own, very real, not-enough-revered art forms. But just for this issue, we wanted to thank it for being a muse to poets, visual artists, photographers, fiction writers and essayists.

– Anu Lakhan


K.F. Frank

Joe O’Neill
Carnem Levare

Lisa Allen-Agostini
playing Dragon

Gilberte O’Sullivan
Carnival Charvari

Kwasi Shade
We Will Be Fire
She Ghosts Like Machines

Steve Whittaker
Carnival Sunday



Barbara Jenkins
When Alla Making Costume for Sally

Paula Lindo
J’Ouvert Again


Soyini Forde
On Wining and Becoming

Joanne C. Hillhouse
A Life in Mas

Steve Whittaker
The Ongoing Death of December Carnival

Visual Art & Multimedia

Gomo George
Dominica Traditional Carnival

Maria Nunes
Paramin Blue Devils

Mark Ramsay & Danielle Blaize
Someone Else’s Carnival

Shalini Seereeran
Cut-finger Bustier