In January, Richard flew to Georgetown, Guyana to take part in CaribLit’s Fiction Editing Workshop with experienced editors and supporters of Caribbean literature Jeremy Poynting (Peepal Tree Press) and Johnny Temple (Akashic Books). The week’s curriculum focused on publishing, marketing, as well as macro and micro editing for fiction. Also attending were Nailah Imoja (Barbados), Felene Cayetano (Belize), Jane King (St. Lucia), Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua), Kim Dismont-Robinson (Bermuda), Ruel Johnson (Guyana), Shivanee Ramlochan (Trinidad and Tobago), and Tanya Batson-Savage (Jamaica) all working editors and accomplished writers. As usual, the opportunity to network with editors/writers, the facilitators, and the co-ordinators was invaluable and all emerged from the workshop as thankful for the valuable skills learned as they were for the connections and relationships forged.
That collection of literati from various islands and countries reminds us of the striking image that we have chosen for our eighth cover comes from Nadia Huggins’ The Fishermen series, which is also included in this issue’s visual art section. Her study of boats and their hulls calls to mind the trope of boats as they appear in Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic (1993), symbols of the mass forced and voluntary migrations of peoples, religions, languages, and cultures to the Caribbean region over the course of centuries. As has become our custom in Moko, this issue we celebrate art and literature from across the diaspora from Anglophone, Hispanophone, and Francophone spaces with writers and artists based in Europe, North America, and the archipelago.
This issue, in addition to Huggins, we welcome Cuban painter Armando Mariño whose paintings seek to create a kind of ‘neo-historicism’. We have a robust poetry section full of beginnings and endings from poets new and old. Noel Quiñones presents a series of poems that struggle through the identities and histories of Puerto Rico, while Moko alum Andre Bagoo fresh off being longlisted for the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for his last collection BURN (Shearsman), treats us to a preview of his forthcoming Pitch Lake. Rounding out this section this issue is a selection by Anaïs Duplan from her forthcoming collection Take this Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press), as well as work from April Roach, Ronnel Nurse, Nia Andino, Arnulfo Kantun, and Althea Romeo-Mark.
We have the pleasure of publishing some exceptional fiction by H. K. Williams, Commonwealth Short Story Prize Winner Kevin Jared Hosein, and jennifer jazz. Lastly, we present an excerpt of M. J. Fievre’s A Sky the Color of Chaos in our Non-Fiction section. Issue 8 is also where we welcome our expanded editorial staff. Marsha Pearce, Shivanee Ramlochan, and Ayanna Gillian-Lloyd join us as Consulting Editors in Art, Non-Fiction, and Fiction respectively. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we do putting it together.
– Richard and David.
Photographs by Nadia Huggins
“This series of photographs explores the form of fishing boats as objects, both through their design and daily use. By documenting these boats within the context of their environment, they are meant to have both a sculptural and a human quality.”
Paintings by Armando Mariño
“Chromatic treatment –bright pigments and fluorescent colors in tune with these times – leaves us with a visual residue that is hedonistic, even perverse. In short, these paintings should not only be seen, but felt in all their fragmentation.”
Poems by Noel Quiñones
“Before the beginning / God got colonized / so / The beginning was basura.”
Poems by Andre Bagoo
“Black like a mind at night / swallowing a canary and / white dove mid-flight”
Poems by April Roach
“Dear Piper Man, / I’m not angry when I write you / though my fingers are bleeding”
Poems by Anaïs Duplan
“one finger two / finger three / fingers four and / with the fifth there / is a hand.”
“In thinking about Magic” by Ronnel Nurse
“she pins her hair upward / if not it falls free & lengths itself to the mid of her back / her skin is a faint brown light is jealous of”
“I Have Blood Oil Memories” by Nia Andino
“Of how abuelo unlatched my skin / Carried me in pockets of guayaberas / And planted me under a flamboyant”
“The Cenotes of Cara Blanca” by Arnulfo Kantun
“The cenotes are satisfied / Having immersed / A maiden already heavy / With the burden of her fate”
“Camp” by Althea Romeo-Mark
“We read menacing messages in the scowls / of passers-by. Some circle around, / mark the territory with treads of footprints, / count down days to our departure.”
“Celeste” by H. K. Williams
“She walked to the window and listened without interrupting. As he relayed the news, she surveyed the uneven stacks of ochre containers along the port. The water looked dead. Not the Photoshopped azure ripples seen on the official tourist websites, but an expanse of murky stillness. The glass shielded her from the stench of fermented rot, which rose from the stagnant waters. It welcomed visitors and natives to the façade of high-rise development of the capital city; her city, Port of Spain.”
“Midnight in Raintown” by Kevin Jared Hosein
“Tomorrow gon mark day fifty of rain in La Leña. First five days in, the village was crackin jokes. People blaming the Government for the downpour, saying, Mr. Honorable PrimeMinister, this whole time we scruntin for a drop in the tap, but now you givin we water up to we waist! The weatherman was the biggest comedian for a while—every night, forecasting that we smack right in the middle of the dry season, the sun blazing hot like a scorpion pepper.”
“My First Apartment” by jennifer jazz
“As a kid, I spent hours staring out the stained glass panel in our front door.When I return to our former house decades later and it’s been renovated, the schizophrenic view that nourished my inconsistencies won’t be there, and I’ll just be left with its syllabus: Amber is the sphere of the Antiguan elders whose colonial anachronisms dominate me. Red is the neon signs that wink as if they know but will keep my secrets.”
“The Streets are Still Askew” by M. J. Fievre
“How pretty was Port-au-Prince on Saturdays, the streets still askew but drained of the crowds. No masses of people rubbing against each other. Port-au-Prince was not tremulous with busloads of school children. The shoeshine men huddled in front of the bakery, which smelled sweetly of pen rale, French bread, and beef patties behind its closed doors. Hands slapped knees when laughter erupted—volcanic, stretching the cheeks under straw hats.”