Dear readers:
For our sixth anniversary in May 2010, The Caribbean Review of Books has launched a new website at www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com. Antilles has now moved to www.caribbeanreviewofbooks.com/antilles — please update your bookmarks and RSS feed. If you link to Antilles from your own blog or website, please update that too!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Coming up in the August CRB....

Dear readers, you may have noticed that in the last few weeks posting here at Antilles has been rather light. It's not that we've run out of steam, and not that there hasn't been lots going on in the Caribbean literary scene. Rather, your Antilles blogger, who moonlights as CRB editor, has been hard at work on the August issue of the magazine, which goes to press later this week--and print deadlines ever trump all others.

So what might CRB readers have to look forward to in the August issue (our biggest yet)? Reviews of Leonardo Padura's Havana Quartet novels, of Bahamian art historian Krista Thompson's new book An Eye for the Tropics, of a new anthology of African diaspora poems, of Kwame Dawes's first novel, and of (former St Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister) James Mitchell's memoir. Short reviews of new books about the TaĆ­no of Jamaica and Hispaniola, of poems by a writer from St Martin, of a memoir of Montserrat in the time of the volcano. An essay by David Dabydeen on the long-forgotten poems of the 19th-century Guianese poet Egbert "Leo" Martin. Marlon James on Jean Rhys's women. Garnette Cadogan on why we should pay more attention to V.S. Naipaul's non-fiction. Judy Raymond on the Trinidadian designer Meiling and "the business of selling dreams". A whole portfolio of Georgia Popplewell's photos from Calabash 2007. An interview with Geoffrey Philp. Poems by Vahni Capildeo and Thomas Reiter.

To make sure you don't miss all the above and more, renew your subscription, take out a new one, or give one to a friend!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

"No contradiction between the sensual and the spiritual"

I have always found comfort in the opportunity and permission to be devotional about sensuality and about the wonders of erotic love. The Song of Songs serve as a wonderful purpose in that regard. As a poem of sensuality it is exemplary and instructive. As a poem rooted in the use of metaphor it is a study in how to and how not to do it. As an example of a beautifully shaped narrative poem that employs refrain and counter point to create a dynamic of drama and aural beauty, it is a splendid example. But I have to return to the most critical value for me--that I like it for the permission it gives me to embrace the sensual. How the reggae artists got to that place of seeing no inherent contradiction between the sensual and the spiritual can be traced to many things, not the least of which would be the multiple cultural sources that fed Rastafarianism-—from African to India. However, what I do know is that in many of the great reggae songs, this quality is present. It is a similar spirit that I see in the Song of Songs and it is this quality that I am grateful for each time I read it.

--Kwame Dawes on the biblical Song of Songs.