When we founded Moko last year, we envisioned a space where both veteran and novice creators could share their work in the spirit of reciprocity and multiplicity. It is a great pleasure to see this beginning to come to fruition. In Moko Issue 2, readers will find new works by the esteemed poet and educator Kwame Dawes, one of the Caribbean’s most celebrated writers, and also one of the first efforts by a talented high school student from Trinidad, Leigha-Ceres de Roche. The works featured in this issue range from site-specific installation art to pieces of short fiction.
In Moko Issue 2, we are also reminded that the Caribbean as a cultural sensibility extends further than the Antilles island chain and its diaspora. Nancy Anne Miller, a noted poet from the Atlantic island of Bermuda, shares with us poems of loss and bittersweet nostalgia. California-based artist Andrea Chung confronts the history of the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean via installation work that focuses on contemporary issues of post-colonial erasure.
The Caribbean sensibility reaches outwards, expands, but in a way that reverses the totalizing gestures of empire. In Issue 2 Trinidadian writer Andre Bagoo references the life of English-born poet W.H. Auden in “Auden in Iceland.” Jasmine Murrell shares with us sculptures infused with the flavor of Glissant’s rhizomatic humanism. In our very first critical piece, two Jamaicans in the diaspora, Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa and Jacqueline Bishop discuss poems and novels that Bishop has written in the United States, Mexico, and Morocco.
It is our hope that readers will be encouraged to make their own connections between the works displayed in Moko’s March issue. Edward Kamau Brathwaite once famously wrote in reference to the Caribbean that “the unity is submarine.” The phrase carries within it both the weight of the region’s brutal history, and one of the keys to reading its creative energies.
We sincerely hope you enjoy this collection of work and would like to extend our thanks to Moko’s readership and those who have been gracious enough to share these provocative pieces with us!
David and Richard
Sculptures by Jasmine Murrell
“I frequently work within a thematic series that deals with how living things adapt and thrive in atmospheres of annihilation.”
“Bato Disik” by Andrea Chung
“The boats are cast out of sugar. Over time the boats disappear, mirroring the disappearance of the fishing trade in Mauritius.”
Paintings by Angelika Wallace-Whitfield
“Within my practice, the first gesture, instinctive & simple, is what interests me more than intricate details.”
Poems by Kwame Dawes
“We arrived at dusk to the city of ornate kindling/The delicate matchstick homes lit up/by orange lamps, the flow of a bush fire/red on black, the sky swallowing the smoke”
Poems by Nancy Anne Miller
“Sheets/outside the window are the flapping tents for me/to sojourn into a future, or are the wide aprons/under which I can stand still, hide, remain bound”
“Auden in Iceland” by Andre Bagoo
“If I have no children I will adopt/my parents as my own/In our family/the children die before their elders/who are not concerned with generations”
“Fire Builder” by Jaqueline Bishop
“I am the woman in the bright red dress/Looking like a flamboyant tree walking down Front street/The woman who is always ahead of you/The woman whose face you cannot see”
“MadMan” by Leigha-Ceres de Roche
“Tracing deep circles into the carpet with his boots/Forget-me-not knots in his beard hanging low, setting roots”
“Coo Yah!…” by Tammi Browne-Bannister
“Imojen unleashed her fury on top of Penny Hole. Her big mouth opened and her bad breath sent every one of those houses tumbling. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me. So I rubbed them hard to clear my vision.”
“Dogs” by Petra Pierre-Robinson
“Something is wrong here. Why do I get the feeling that the perimeter of the world is narrowing? Why am I suddenly so uneasy?”
“Inside I Always Knew I was a Writer”: an Interview with Jacqueline Bishop by Opal Palmer Adisa
“So when I look at my second collection of poems for example, Snapshots from Istanbul, even though many of the poems are about Ovid, it is also about the condition of being in exile and being sent away to an unfamiliar landscape while all the while missing one’s home. In other words, the book is all about my engagement with Jamaica, even though most of the book is set in New York, Turkey and ancient Rome.”