The Voices From Inside event was one of those really nice and hopeful events that make you believe in the potential of us all to do good things. It was a showcase of the prisoners’ poetry, and a reading from Dr. Baz Dresinger’s new book Incarcerated Nations. She had travelled all over, looking at our prison systems. Too many of them are holding cells for people, and do very little to reform or treat their ills. Too many are soul-destroying cages.
It was nice listening to the prisoners’ poetry. It was really nice to see how their fellow inmates responded to the work. One guy was clearly the prison saga boy, with shades and ting. I wish I was able to take a picture, but we had to hand in our cell phones to security.
It was also nice that for Baz’s book, they drafted local celebrities Kees Dieffenthaller, Machel Montano and Anya Ayoung-Chee to read excepts. Kees also performed, and Mohammed Muwakil, singer and well-known spoken word artist, opened the proceedings. It was a great showcase for the prisoners.
As a journalist I knew that I was going to talk to as many people as I could. Since the event was a Bocas Lit Fest event, I decided, let’s ask people what their favourite books were. So that’s what I did, and here are their answers.
Here’s a list of the books mentioned:
Mohammed Muwakil: Seed to Harvest by Octavia Butler
Anya Ayoung-Chee, Kees Dieffenthaller & Machel Montano: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
Kees Diefenthaller: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Machel Montano: The Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Dr. Baz Dresinger: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
If you were to ask me that very same question, my books are The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. And an honourable mention to Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace, because I felt like I was buzzing while reading it. I was simply overcome with the sensation that it was meant to be read aloud.
The new edition was edited by Danielle Delon, whose previous work includes The Letter’s of Margaret Mann. This is a re-publication of the 1907 edition of the book which takes you into the kitchens of named Creole and British immigrants living in Trinidad at the time.
The National Trust is selling the book for $425.00
This imaginative book throws new light on the closing years of Caribbean slavery and the lives of enslaved people of African descent before emancipation in Trinidad in 1834. The book centres on the drawings of plantation life by Richard Bridgens, an English-born artist who became a planter and slaveholder in Trinidad, and examines these in […]
Raymond’s book was launched earlier this year during the Bocas Lit Fest, I missed her launched and readings then. Then the Carnival Institute hosted it’s Emancipation Lecture which featured Raymond talking about Bridgens work as an artist whose drawings of Pre-Emancipation Trinidad are used to illustrate Caribbean Slavery, but how he isn’t respected as an artist, and his work is often used without acknowledging his ownership.
I missed the Carnival Studies lecture, but I sent my cameraman to cover, and was able to watch it after and write a story based on her talk.
I was really taken with Raymond’s belief that we might be able to identify the people in Bridgens drawings, despite his limited skill. He wasn’t drawing imaginary beings, or representations. He was doing portraiture, and a detailed examination of the records may help us identify some of his subjects.
I have long promised not only will I read more, but I will read more books from one author. I have my favourites, like Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I own and have read the entire set, 2 of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novels, plus several of her magazine articles and essays. But I jump around so much, so I’ve only read Zadie’s White Teeth and her article on Jay-Z but On Beauty stands untouched on my bookshelf, and I’m only just introduced myself to Nalo Hopkinson.
I will change, I promise.
As many of you know, I’m trying to read a couple Zora Neale Hurston books to get deeper into her not-insignificant bibliography. But she’s not alone on the list of black women whose work I wish I could read and analyze full-time. Who wants to fund a PhD program for me to spend 100% of my time on the following 20 names?