ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
we are asking whether you have any objections to us using the poem [We Continue]
in a display of a collection of poems from June to September 2012 in the outdoor spaces
around the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The area is one
of Londons most high-profile and visited spaces.
Lasana Sekou Poetry
at Literary Event for London Olympics 2012
Great Bay/Marigot, St. Martin (July 17, 2012)St. Martin poetry is now among what the London Evening Standard called, The pick of the worlds poetry in London for the Olympic Games, set to open in the UK capital on July 27, 2012.
The poem We Continue by Lasana M. Sekou, one of the islands poets, has been printed on a large outdoor banner in London, published in the commemorative poetry book The World Record, and, in a Rain of Poems, dropped as one of 100,000 poems from a helicopter over the south bank of the Thames to open what The Guardian newspaper called, the biggest gathering of poets in history.
Sekou was invited to the gathering, called the Poetry Parnassus. The festival is the main literary event among the cultural activities taking place across Great Britain to celebrate the Olympic Games.
The Poetry Parnassus, hosted by Londons culture-savvy Southbank Centre from June 26 to July 1, brought together poets and spoken-word artists from all over the world with all 204 competing Olympic nations represented, said Natalie Wisdom of the Parnassus permissions department.
The Parnassus selected one poet from each Olympic nation. Among the participating poets were Nobel Laureates Derek Walcott (St. Lucia) and Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Pulitzer Prize Winner and Poet Laureate Kay Ryan (USA), and the multitalented Tishani Doshi (India)
With neither part of St. Martin being an Olympic nation, the organizers placed Sekou to represent the island of his birth, Aruba, a Dutch territory with an Olympic status. But Lasana said that as a St. Martin poet he would only be able to represent his St. Martin nation in this case, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
The Poetry Parnassus organizers would not give up that easy. As Mr. Sekou is not attending the festival, stated Wisdom in a June 11 email to HNP, we are asking whether you have any objections to us using the poem [We Continue] in a display of a collection of poems from June to September 2012 in the outdoor spaces around the Royal Festival Hall and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The area is one of Londons most high-profile and visited spaces.
And that is how We Continue, with its decidedly pan-Caribbean/pan-Latin American themes came to be part of a historic literary event in celebration of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
The Guardian has called the ongoing program of cultural activities in the UK the Cultural Olympiad. In a July 15 article, the Los Angeles Times has called this Olympiad a spectacle of 12,000 cultural events in celebration of the Games that could also help attract future tourists.
As for We Continue, the poem can be viewed at The Guardian website as part of a specially designed interactive map of global poetry. The poem was first published in Maroon Lives (1983), said Sample. It can be found at Van Dorp, and other bookstores, in Pelican Heart (2010), an English-Spanish book of Sekous poems from 1978 to 2010, edited by the Cuban critic Emilio Jorge Rodríguez.
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By Lasana M. Sekou
It is time to continue
And today I greet you here
As if for the first time
Compañeros/Hermanos/Hombres y Mujeres
Gentes del Sol
De América Latina
Gentes de sangre Africana
de sangre Indígena
Living through the blood of a world union
But we have lived in the same house
And danced the same dances,
We have loved each others songs
Without really knowing each others names
Brothers and sisters . . .
Cousins and comrades . . .
Sufferers and fighters . . .
Today we begin
To speak for ourselves/
Unleash our tongues from isolation/
Speak our destiny
As we fight for liberation.
Speak of destiny
Inna one tongue
La lengua de libertad
The language of the brave.
Can the killers of Allende
With the same sweetness and Truth
As our fathers and mothers?
Name them, here
Alive for the Living Struggle
In the eternal flame of Liberty
Duarte y Duruo
Bottom Belly, Biassou and Bishop
Queen Mary and the son of Mariana Grajales, Maceo.
Ramón Betances y Edward Blyden.
Marcus Garvey y Don Albizu Campos.
Caamaño, Cudjoe y Karpata
Sandino y Farabundo.
Walter Rodney and Bob Marley.
Fédon and Fanon.
Tula and José Lake, the patriot
Marryshow, Delgrès, y Che
Limpera y Guillén.
Henrique Dias y Emiliano Zapata.
Names without meaning
If we have no meaning . . .
And the people
Yes, always the people
Where lies the only Truth
Where blood and sweat and laughter
Nourishes the Lands
That feeds this Culture
To forge this wreath of freedom song/
To fight down the dictators, los gorilas/
To turn back los imperialistas
Who else can free us?
Who else can feed us?
Who but ourselves .majestic multitudes .
We have lived in the same house
And danced the same dances . . .
We have loved/
We have loved
Each others songs . . .
© 2010, 1983 Lasana M. Sekou (H.H. Lake).
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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Dorothy Sterlings biography of Robert Smalls is Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958). In most history books, the contributions of Negroes during the Civil War and Reconstructions are ignored. Robert Smalls was one of the heroes who is rarely mentioned. He was a Negro slave who stole a ship from the Confederates, served on it with the Union Army with distinction, and finally served several terms in Congress.
All this was accomplished against the handicaps first of slavery, then of the prejudice of the Union Army, and finally of the Jim Crow laws, which eventually conquered him. Besides its value in contradicting the history book insinuation that the Negro was incapable of political enterprise and that the South was right in imposing Jim Crow laws, Captain of the Planter is an exciting adventure story. Captain Smalls escape from slavery and his battle exploits make interesting reading, and the style is fast moving.Barbara Dodds /
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GREAT BAY, St. Martin (July 31, 2011)Its official. Its a bestseller! From Yvettes Kitchen To Your Table A Treasury of St. Martins Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine by Yvette Hyman has sold out, according to House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). In a record seven weeks after its June 2011 release here, less than 80 copies of the cookbook are left in bookstores and with the authors family representatives charged with distribution, said Jacqueline Sample, HNP president. The decision on whether to reprint a new batch of From Yvettes Kitchen lies with the family of the late award-winning chef, said the publisher.We are very thankful to the people of St. Martin for embracing Yvettes cookbook. The visitors to our island also bought many copies of this beautifully designed book of the nations cuisine, said Sample.From Yvettes Kitchen is made up of 13 chapters, including Appetizers, Soups, Poultry, Fish and Shellfish, Meat, Salads, Dumplings, Rice and Fungi, Breads, and Desserts.
The 312-page full color book includes recipes for Souse, the ever-popular Johnny cake, and Conch Yvettes. Lamb stew, coconut tart, guavaberry, and soursop drink are also among the over 200 recipes à la Yvette in this Treasury of St. Martins Traditional & Contemporary Cuisine, said Sample.We hope that this cookbooks success also adds to the indicator of the performance and importance of books published in the Caribbean, said Sample.The other HNP book that sold out in such a short time was the 1989 poetry collection Golden Voices of Smaatin. That first title by Ruby Bute had sold out in about three months and has since been reprinted, said Sample.
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Edited by Emio Jorge Rodriguez
Passion for the Nation is what comes out of Sekous poems at a first glance and at a deeper reading. The book is a selection gathered from eleven of Sekous poetry collections between 1978 and 2010. Rodríguez is an independent Cuban academic, writer, and essayist. He has been a researcher at Casa de las Américass Literary Research Center and founded the literary journal Anales del Caribe (1981-2000). María Teresa Ortega translated the poems from the original English to Spanish. A critical introduction, detailed footnotes, and a useful glossary by Rodríguez are also found in the book of 428 pages. The collection has been launched at conferences in Barbados, Cuba, and Mexico.
Rodriguezs introduction to Pelican Heart refers to Dr. Howard Ferguss Love Labor Liberation in Lasana Sekou, which is the critical commentary to Sekous work that identifies three cardinal points in his poetics.
I would add as cardinal points: Belief or Driving Force of people in political processes, like his political commitment to make St. Martin independent, as the southern part of the Caribbean island is a territory of the Netherlands, while the northern part is a French Collectivité doutre-mer; Excitement over his literary passions, which led him to found House of Nehesi Publishers at age 23; co-found the book festival of St. Martin, organized with Conscious Lyrics Foundation and to expand his culture considerably; Enthusiasm, which springs out of his eyes and words when you listen to his poetry being performed or when you speak to Sekou in person.Sara Florian
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
“Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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By Wole Soyinka
Aké: The Years of Childhood is a memoir of stunning beauty, humor, and perception
a lyrical account of one boy’s attempt to grasp the often irrational and hypocritical world of adults that equally repels and seduces him. Soyinka elevates brief anecdotes into history lessons, conversations into morality plays, memories into awakenings. Various cultures, religions, and languages mingled freely in the Aké of his youth, fostering endless contradictions and personalized hybrids, particularly when it comes to religion. Christian teachings, the wisdom of the ogboni, or ruling elders, and the power of ancestral spirits
who alternately terrify and inspire him
all carried equal metaphysical weight. Surrounded by such a collage, he notes that “God had a habit of either not answering one’s prayers at all, or answering them in a way that was not straightforward.” In writing from a child’s perspective, Soyinka expresses youthful idealism and unfiltered honesty while escaping the adult snares of cynicism and intolerance. His stinging indictment of colonialism takes on added power owing to the elegance of his attack.
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By Laurelle Yaya Richards
The use of the nations mother language, the way we speak naturally on both parts of our island, is the sweetness to the ear and the heart of Miss Yayas spoken word, storytelling, and talks about St. Martins folkways, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). Richards had completed working on The Frock with HNP at the time of her death at age 55, on May 26, 2010 about four months before the book was published. The plan to launch the book on the UNESCO-declared day in 2011 came out of meetings between the culture department, the publisher, and Yayas family representatives Priscille Figaro, Adrienne Richards, and Laurellye Benjamin.
We need to recognize our artists like Yaya who are working so hard for our people and our identity, said Dormoy. Its an honor to be involved with this book as part of Yayas legacy that can live on, and to launch The Frock in connection with the International Mother Language Day, said Dormoy.
* * * * *
By Lasana M. Sekou
The hard cover book, a primer about St. Martins culture, historical personalities and natural environment, is listed on the US government departments Bureau of Administration website. We think this is a good thing to share with the St. Martin people, said Sekou. In fact, House of Nehesi is firstly thankful to the St. Martin people for continuing to read, enjoy and study this book. Having National Symbols listed as recommended reading in the IPS section of the US State Department adds to the venues where folks abroad can be put in touch with original material about St. Martin and the St. Martin people. The material from the book continues to be used for popular events such as carnival, for research by scholars, as teaching material in schools, and for presentations by government and tourism departments, churches and civic groups.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 19 July 2012