CROSSROADS: My Story and Survival Guide A memoir of a Jamaican’s journey throughout America
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The carved calabash brought from Africa became a means of communication, literally transporting memory from one land to another across the sea; and so the Middle Passage was recorded together with stories of magical beings and ancestral beliefs, on fruits decorated with beautiful mermaids.
The interpretation and the memory of this journey took on different nuances, but in the works of Caribbean women writers they seem almost inextricably linked to the figure of the siren and the use of the calabash as a receptacle of memory. Three Kingston born writers, Lorna Goodison,6 6 Considered one of the most accomplished Caribbean women writers, Lorna Goodison is actually one of the finest artists in contemporary world literature, her works defying reductive categorizing. Goodison currently divides her time between Toronto and the United States, where she teaches.
She began her artistic career as a painter, still paints most of the covers for her books and actually some of her first paintings were of mermaids personal conversation with Goodison. Calderaro Jacqueline Bishop7 and Shara McCallum,8 best represent the depiction of the siren as embodiment of the same duality Caribbean people experienced: taken away from home, brought to foreign and hostile islands, they had to adjust and change, while trying to preserve memory and language for posterity and trying to understand where they belonged, the Old or the New World, above or below the sea.
Now living in New York, she spent her early years in Jamaica surrounded by a coterie of grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles — who would return, in fictionalized form, together with the fauna and flora of the island, in her writing. The recipient of many awards, she was also granted scholarships from the Oral History Association, which allowed her to develop her project of giving a print form to oral histories of Jamaican women living in New York City.
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In she published her first collection of poems, Fauna, followed in by a novel and in by another collection of poems. In , still in college, she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. She published four collections of poetry. It does not offer an out of time story to be discerned by the poet, nor is it a mere art object. Rather, it reports the untold history of Afro-Caribbean slavery, giving voice to the voiceless and telling a story that is painfully current.
Calderaro Where I come from, old women bind living words across their flat chests, inscribe them on their foreheads, and in the palms of the hands. She did not sign her work.
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New and Selected Poems, Manchester: Carcanet, , p. A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters. The poem appears on both the introductory page and the back cover, encompassing Cover of the Journal Calabash the contents of the volume. The reason behind the choice of the cover art, the title of the journal, and of course the poem, is that the journal was to be for Caribbean arts, both visual and written, what the calabash had been for African slaves, the means of communicating across countries and oceans; a container of meaning to be shared and passed on to the future.
Flowers, plants, trees are given a voice, morph before our eyes and become living creatures who share pain, sorrow, or 13 The first issue of the journal was published in September , thanks to the Graduate Program in Creative Writing, New York University. It is now an on-line publication. Bishop, herself a daughter of multicultural families, black Africans and Europeans, herself divided between worlds, blends flowers and women, birds and women, fish and women, to give us the true essence of Jamaica, an island whose double nature is an enriching quality — an island that can be described as a Garden of Eden, but one where beauty and horror reign together, where haunting and relentless violence is what women experience on their skin, against a background of breathless beauty.
The first line of W. Michela A. Their stories bring to the fore the violence and the abuse they suffered, first at the hands of slave traders and masters, then at those of their own fathers, grandfathers and uncles. As did marauders, who buccaneered her fertile brown body, razed the landscape. Mother tallied the injustices, cracked into an earthquake — the year was Calderaro She stepped from behind a tree, small dark woman, chain of teeth around her neck, locked hair, webbed hands and feet.
Both are dominated by opposing passions and desires, knowing all too well that whatever road they take, they will long for the other. We travel through history and memory, and each poem, in each collection, tells both a personal and a collective story, and themes such as motherhood, Jamaican landscape, Jamaican mythology, family and ancestry, all come together to represent the immense mosaic that is the Caribbean.
The voyage Goodison has set as the center of her work, the voyage of ancestors away from freedom and into slavery, comes to symbolize many other voyages, as it also becomes our voyage towards awareness and through the collective artistic memory of humankind.
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The memory of the middle passage and the uprooting and dispossession of a whole people will be with me until I die. I know that, there is no way of forgetting something like that. I believe that the remembering of it is part of the equipment I have been given as a writer. I also celebrate the thinking that has gained greater currency in recent years: that several cultures encountered each other, a great struggle took place and something new was created as a result.
I much prefer that to the victor and the vanquished version that I grew up with. The mermaid, so far portrayed as the emblem of exile, is also the one creature who can bring together the many souls of the Caribbean people: she is both our guide through the maze of their quest, and the very embodiment of the quest itself.
Once an alluring temptress, now an old mermaid, She sits with her back to us, her teased hair is now bleached platinum. Calderaro paillettes of rhinestones and sequins over her shimmering scaled skin here we have a perfect example of how to gild a lily. She wants to be Big Mumma, dancehall queen of the greater Caribbean. Inspire To Act. Jennifer A. Racing Forward. Mica Mosbacher. Sharon Hiebing. Redefining the American Dream. Thomas Felder. Richard A. Jodi-Ann Francis. Unfinished Business. Mignon Brown. Second Chances. Erin McHugh. Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths.
Divorced Virgin Mother of Two. Marie Duncan-Wagers. Victoria Althea Morgan. Brad Shirley.
Signature of a Leader. Grant Norlin. A Mustard Seed Faith. MA Truth. Lord, What Next? Ralph Andrea. Cynthia Ceesay. Kenneth G. Marie Pizano. Island Girl 2Nd Edition. Patricia Virgo.
Mikea Osei. Creating Sustainable Customer Value.
Martin D. Pallante Ph. Tyron Barrington. Linda Carol Everett. The Journey. Aneesa Sankar. Tiah N. Robert W. Linda Lee Vidi. I May Be Damaged Joi Jordan. Ladies That Rock 2. Lynn Delaney. The Youngest Child.
Aretha D. Bet on Black. Kenrya Rankin Naasel. Charlene Diane Mitchell. I Should Have Worn Heels. Christine Renae Charles. Saint Francis University Jillian Swisher. Geography Is Destiny.
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