Bajo El Sol Gallery at Mongoose Junction will be hosting a book launch for the debut poetry collection of BVI writer, lecturer and editor Richard Georges on Saturday, March 25.
Georges’ book, “Make Us All Islands,” was recently listed by the Trinidad Guardian as one of four Caribbean books to look out for in 2017.
The event starts at 6 pm. The author will be present to talk about his work. Copies of the book will be available for sale and to be signed. Refreshments will be served.
Georges grew up between Trinidad and the British Virgin Islands and graduated from both the BVI High School and H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
He holds a BA in English Literature from Texas Christian University, an MA in Creative Writing from the Aberystwyth University, and a PhD in Critical and Creative Writing from the University of Sussex. His areas of interest include the amnesic qualities of the sea, the rediscovering of lost or fading narratives, and the role the sea plays in the formation of Caribbean identities and subjectivities.
Georges’ poetry has appeared in Prelude, Smartish Pace, The Puritan, WILDNESS, Wasafiri, The Rusty Toque, The Caribbean Writer and other magazines and anthologies in the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In 2015, he won the Marvin E. Williams Prize for literature from The Caribbean Writer and he has been shortlisted for several international prizes.
In 2013, he co-founded Moko magazine with USVI writer David Knight Jr. in an effort to facilitate the publication of art, literature, and critical essays from emerging and established artists and writers from, living in, or writing about the Caribbean.
As a college lecturer, Richard has taught literature and composition at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) since 2004 and guest lectured at Presbyterian College and the University of Sussex. He is currently the Head of the Humanities Department at HLSCC. He serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at Cedar International School, a private IB school on Tortola.
Praise for ‘Make Us All Islands’:
“Singing ‘light into bleakness,’ in vivid poetic language that shakes us out of apathy, Georges’ harsh and lyrical hymns portray the painful beauty of the Virgin Islands and Caribbean archipelago. Searching wherever indelible traces of history may be found, in the undersea abyss of multiple shipwrecks, cholera coasts, accounts of disaster and cruel murder, hillside ruins, heaps of stones, and shifting sands, the poet brings us ancestral stories of the women of the slave ships, fishermen, migrant seasonal workers, cane cutters, cocolos, coal burners, domino players and family members who at great cost and risk have endured. If history divides us, these poems of the past and present, as strong as boiling bush and as honest as jumbie truths, have the power to revive, and, perhaps, even, connect us.”
—Loretta Collins Klobah
“In these pages all roads lead to the sea. The poet never plots a route. Gods fall, forgotten paths return, poetry books break and glasses of water kill. Though the sea divides, it brings redemption. Georges shows all mankind to be one author. His beauteous poems rise like coral islands. Justice is done.”
“Richard Georges’ poems enters Caribbean literature like the sea rolling up sotto voce on the sand after the last of the small fuss of waves in the shallows. The voice is placid, and leaves no print of self-conscious style and ego but rather the poems themselves, rolling softly up the beach and then sucking us into a greater history of the sea and our only and sometimes lonely selves— our i-lands. The poems are quiet and textured as the senses themselves; senses arrested by and made constantly to face the sea. That history-carrying sea which is not the cortège of teleological time, not the dreaded flotilla of another world, but a sea that carries history, now and later in an eternal present that makes them immediate, unfinished, and perhaps more so than in other historical conventions, more capable of redemption.
Miraculously, the heart of the poems are not fleeting metaphors that praise the poet’s eye, but are born out of growing and deep-down connections between the senses of the personae and the land and manscape that surround them—the wild sewing and stitching and darning of a determined apprehension of—or rather inhabiting of—sensibility. It is that meeting point of self and something larger from which inspiration springs and sparks like welding. What emerges from this is a depth of trust in the intuition, that gives us lines like these:
‘Death come as clear
as a glass of water,
brimming the rim,
wetting the lips with life.’ (‘Tidings’, 43)
At points, disturbing with the loneliness of the figures in the poems—who many times are named as if in a fable: the Fisherman; the old woman—at others, comforted by the sea and other natural things, Make Us All Islands is as filled with strange, peopled loneliness as it is with an ardent self-examination through not merely probing the self, but all the things around us that make us/ ourselves. Just as the sea around them is what makes islands islands.”