Saturday, December 22, 2007

Journals and palenques

Some very good news from Barbados. The literary magazine, BIM, has been revived as BIM: ARTS FOR THE 21st CENTURY. The first edition, "Celebrating Lamming," was launched on December 10, 2007. The Prime Minister noted in his feature address that he was committed to ensuring the longevity of BIM, which will continue to be, as it always was, Barbadian in name but Caribbean in content. Subscription rates are: BD$50/US$25 for CARICOM individuals; BDS$65/US$33 international individuals; BD$150/US$70 for international institutions. Correspondence should be sent to BIM: ARTS FOR THE 21st CENTURY, Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, P.O. Box 64, Bridgetown BB11000, Barbados. Also noteworthy are the latest issues of KUNAPIPI and the THE CARIBBEAN REVIEW OF BOOKS. Yours truly contributes a remembrance of Miss Lou to KUNAPIPI, an important journal with strong Caribbean connections edited by Anne Collett and published in Australia. There's an Australian link in this issue of CRB, as well – an article by Ralph de Boissière, who has lived in Australia since 1947. (While we are in Australia, Annie Greet, if you are out there, I'd love to be in touch!) Other goodies in CRB: an article by Jonathan Ali on our very good friend and colleague, the late George John; a review of Kamau Brathwaite's amazing MIDDLE PASSAGES CD, with an introduction by Elaine Savory; a review by Lisa Allen-Agostini of Tobias Buckell's RAGAMUFFIN, and a review by Glyne Griffiths of Mervyn Morris's new collection of poetry, I BEEN THERE, SORT OF. BTW, a question: do folks know (without looking it up on the net) what a palenque (aka palenke, palink and palenquero) is? Actually, the hunt on the net reveals Palenke as a place in Caribbean Colmbia, and a music group – the latter first, of course! Palenques are important to us as marronnage peoples... Wonder if they make it to the high school curricula? In the Caribbean? Here in Toronto?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Back pon spot...

Naw, jdid, me nebba fire de blog. See me ya! Large as life and twice as ugly, as we say in Jamdown. I was away, visiting my granddaughter, who is growing like a weed. Good of you and Fragano to hang in here with me. A lot of things to write about... The conference in Bali. Did it accomplish anything? Or are jdid and fsjl correct in thinking these people nebba gwine face what clock a strike? There's the issue of schools for black students in Toronto that focus on black culture, history, literature, languages, etc., etc. Is it a good idea? Is it segregation? There's the issue my doctor raised today, that I bit my lip and steered clear of... Is health care something for which private citizens should pay or is it the government's responsibility? There's the recent (2000) stats for Toronto that reveal that there are more of the very rich, while the middle class has diminished and the poor and very poor have seen big increases in their ranks. Environment first, because it must be. I have to hope the Bali conference achieved something, though I don't know how getting together in 2009 to talk about a new treaty answers the clear mandate of "Act NOW, or it will be too late!" As an aside, I was utterly ashamed of the performance of the Canadian Government. Me shame, me shame, me shame, me shame, me shame. And the Prime Minister has young children. Does he not want them to grow up into healthy adults? As for the schools for black kids: we do need them, and now. Flip through school books and see who are represented there. Examine the existing curricula and see to what extent it addresses the contributions of black people to the disciplines. There's an imbalance that needs redressing. Now. Matter closed. I'm not sure how come we keep talking about health care as some kind of vexed question. Governments must pay for health care and education in civilized societies, before they pay for roads and buses, otherwise there's no one to use teh transport infrastructure. That's why we pay taxes. What they could also do is be proactive where the cost of drugs and the cost of administration are concerned. As for poor Toronto... I need to think hard about that one, given that the incumbent Conservative Government is not a fan of this conurbation. A great city – maybe because it IS full of poor people? Have a great Christmas, or enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate. Hopefully, I won't stay away so long next time.