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Read my blog: observations, discoveries, complaints, questions, obsessions, textes trouvés



On art and artists

Night and the city
On Marlon Griffith’s POSITIONS + POWER, a mas performance created in Port of Spain during Carnival 2014

First published in the catalogue for En Mas: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean, an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Centre, New Orleans, 2015

How to be here
An essay on Alice Yard as a space for play and a mechanism for engineering generosity

First published in You Are Here — Rethinking Residencies, an e-book and website published in 2015 by the Factory of Art and Design, Copenhagen, following on from a seminar on the same topic in June 2013

A fine balance
On Into the Mix, an exhibition at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, 2012

First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, November 2013

The shape of a name
A profile of Sandra Brewster

First published in Caribbean Beat, May/June 2013

Work in process [PDF download]
On recent works by Christopher Cozier
First published in the catalogue for Christopher Cozier: In Development, an exhibition at David Krut Projects NY, January 2013

Making progress
On
Christopher Cozier: In Development, an exhibition at David Krut Projects NY
First published in Caribbean Beat, January/February 2013

Mas by other means
A profile of Marlon Griffith
First published in Caribbean Beat, January/February 2013

Let it come down
On Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip . . . Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings, 1973–8, an exhibition at Tate Britain, April 2012 to April 2013
First published in Caribbean Beat, November/December 2012

All the right moves
A profile of Ebony G. Patterson
First published in Caribbean Beat, September/October 2012

Body counts
On Ebony G. Patterson’s 9 of 219, a public performance in Port of Spain, 2011
First published in the online catalogue for Patterson’s Cheap and Clean: Interrogating Masculinities Project, 2012

Portrait of the artist
On recent work by Dhiradj Ramsamoedj
First published in ARC no. 2, April 2011

That is mas
On the influence of Trinidad’s mas traditions on contemporary artists
First published in the catalogue for Rockstone and Bootheel: Contemporary West Indian Art, 2011

Moving pictures
On the painted minibuses of Paramaribo
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, July 2010

Still from “The Life Movie”
On Christopher Cozier’s Now Showing
First published in Antilles, the Caribbean Review of Books blog, 20 July, 2010

A place to stand
On artist Dhiradj Ramsamoedj’s Adjie Gilas
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2010

Guiana dreams
On literary and visual images of the Guianas in the Western imagination, and their continuing relevance to the region’s contemporary artists
First published in Paramaribo SPAN, a book on art and visual culture in Suriname, coinciding with an exhibition of works by Surinamese and Dutch contemporary artists, 2010

Diary: visiting Soeki Irodikromo
Conjunction: G-Star/WI STAR
Diary: in Ellen Ligteringen’s studio
Diary: meeting Pierre Bong A Jan
Conjunction: street posters/Ravi Rajcoomar
Conjunction: classical details
Diary: looking for the red lights
Project: Een Lekkers, by Ellen Ligteringen
Project: Ingiwinti, by Sri Irodikromo
Notes and short essays on contemporary art and visual culture in Suriname
From the Paramaribo SPAN blog, 2009–2010

Between a fantasy and a hard place
On La Fantasie, a public installation by Marlon Griffith, Jaime Lee Loy, and Nikolai Noel
Written in August 2009

Herd instincts
On T’in Cow Fat Cow and mas as protest art
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, February 2009


Paradise™
On adapting Christopher Cozier’s
Available at All Leading Stores for a J’Ouvert performance
First published in the Available at All Leading Stores e-catalogue, for the 2009 Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan

Riotous assemblage
On The Kingdom of the Blind, an exhibition by Hew Locke at the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), London, 2008
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, November 2008

Working notes: On Christopher Cozier’s Tropical Night drawings
First published in the catalogue of Little Gestures: From the Tropical Night Series, an exhibition at Dartmouth College, 2007

On the map
On the contemporary art scene in Trinidad and the presence of Peter Doig and Chris Ofili
A version of this piece was published in Culture + Travel, January/February 2008

The dream of Cuba
On
Mi Querida Patria, a solo exhibition by Sabrina Marques at Real Art Ways, April to May 2007
First published in the exhibition catalogue

An island is a world
On
Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art, an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, November 2007

As we forgive
On artist Nikolai Noel
’s Forgiveness
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, August 2007

Make a space
A dialogue with artist Christopher Cozier on the significance of the 2006 Galvanize contemporary arts programme
First published in the Trinidad and Tobago Review, November 2006

Taking note
On Christopher Cozier
’s Tropical Night drawings
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, August 2006

Discomfort zone
On Christopher Cozier, his Tropical Night drawings, and Richard Fung’s documentary Uncomfortable
First published in Modern Painters, June 2006

Masman
A profile of Peter Minshall
First published in Caribbean Beat, May/June 2006

Artists of the streets
Profiles of thirteen designers from the “Golden Age” of Trinidad Carnival, co-written with Dylan Kerrigan
First published in Caribbean Beat, January/February 2004

Interrupting the conversation: Trinidad’s StudioFilmClub
Essay from the catalogue of Peter Doig’s StudioFilmClub exhibition at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and the Zurich Kunsthalle, 2005
First published in StudioFilmClub, 2005

Other profiles and essays

Naipaul’s letters between a father and son (and mother and sister) [PDF download]
An essay on re-editing V.S. Naipaul’s family correspondence
First published in Caribbean Quarterly: A Journal of Caribbean Culture, vol. 62, nos. 3 and 4, September–December 2016, special issue on Caribbean Literary Archives, ed. Alison Donnell

Literary confessions and festival contradiction
On the contradictions of running a literary festival; a “provocation” commissioned for the International Literary Showcase and published in October 2016

V.S. Naipaul: the writer as “last free man”
An essay on Naipaul’s critical stance
First published in The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature, ed. Michael A. Bucknor and Alison Donnell, 2011

Understanding ourselves
An essay on the mission and motives of The Caribbean Review of Books
First published in sx salon 7, December 2011, as part of a discussion of Caribbean book reviewing

Tomorrow and the world
An essay on reading Martin Carter while following the January revolution in Egypt
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, January 2011

Could you be loved
A review of Children of God, a feature film directed by Kareem Mortimer
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, September 2010

“Reading list” essays from The Caribbean Review of Books (originally published unsigned):
Art ancestors (books on Schouten, Belisario, Cazabon), May 2009
Browsing the ether (Caribbean literary journals online), February 2009
Frankly speaking (books of interviews with Caribbean writers), November 2008
Yours etc. (collections of Caribbean writers’ correspondence), August 2008
For the birds (field guides to birds of the Caribbean region), May 2008
Into the wild (early travellers’ accounts of the Guianas), February 2008
From the life (Caribbean biographical reference works), November 2007
Shadowing Sir Vidia (books with biographical information on V.S. Naipaul), August 2007

The man with the butterfly tattoo
A profile of the French bagnard and writer Henri Charrière, a.k.a. Papillon
First published in Caribbean Beat, November/December 2009

The caterpillar lover
A profile of the seventeenth-century German artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian
First published in Caribbean Beat, March/April 2009

The distraction of Walcott vs. Naipaul
First published in the guardian.co.uk Books blog, 5 June, 2008


On Lloyd Best (1934-2007): a personal note
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2007

Undiscovered countries
A short profile of Trinidadian poet Vahni Capildeo
First published in Caribbean Beat, March/April 2004

His way in the world
A short profile of Guyanese writer Ruel Johnson
First published in Caribbean Beat, May/June 2003

What
“Caribbean” can mean
An essay on Caribbean Beat and a magazine
s role in shaping cultural identity
First published in the Guyana Arts Journal, volume 2, number 2, March 2006

Still news
A short essay on Trinidad’s crônistas
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, February 2006

Imaginary islands
A short essay on the imaginary territories of West Indian literature
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2006


Reportage, commentary, travel

Amours de voyage; or, notes from an occasional traveller
Notes, anecdotes, and observations, mostly from my blog

Kaieteur dreaming
On travelling up the Potaro River to Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
First published in Caribbean Beat, March/April 2015

Beyond the beyond
On visiting the Shetland Islands, Scotland
First published in Caribbean Beat, November/December 2014

Finding the centre
On Mexico City
First published in Caribbean Beat, July/August 2014

Green days by the river
On visiting Marajó Island, Brazil
First published in Caribbean Beat, November/December 2013

“With you giving them the real stuff”
On my grandfather’s letters and the link between archiving and epistemic autonomy
From my blog, 10 August, 2010

The view from Mt Scenery
On visiting Saba
First published in Caribbean Beat, January/February 2010

The day they “beautified” Hope
On the fate of Patrick Chu Foon’s public sculpture Hope
From my blog, 21 October, 2009

Native island
On visiting the West Indian community in San Andrés, Colombia
First published in Caribbean Beat, November/December 2008

A fort with a view
On visiting Kyk-over-Al, the ruined Dutch fort near Bartica, Guyana
First published in Caribbean Beat, March/April 2007

Fire next time
On the Keith Noel 136 Committee’s “death march”, Port of Spain, 22 October, 2005
First published in the Trinidad and Tobago Review, November 2005

Looking for love on a Saturday night: jointpop, Saturday 5 November, 2005, Port of Spain
(A version of this piece appeared in the Trinidad and Tobago Review, December 2005)



Interviews

With

A strange conversation
NL interviewed by Anu Lakhan, discussing The Strange Years of My Life
First published in sx salon, February 2016

The democracy of ideas
NL interviewed by Kelly Baker Josephs, covering Caribbean art, culture, and publishing online
First published in sx salon, February 2011

Economy of attention
NL interviewed by Scott McLemee, covering the intellectual state of the Caribbean in the aftermath of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake
First published in Inside Higher Ed, 27 January, 2010

By

Douen Islands and the art of collaboration
Poet Andre Bagoo and designer Kriston Chen interviewed by NL
First published in Antilles, the Caribbean Review of Books blog, 4 November, 2013

The liberty of the imagination
[PDF download]
Poet Vahni Capildeo interviewed by NL
First published in MaComère, vol. 13, nos. 1 and 2, 2011–2012

Hungry for words
Artist Karyn Olivier interviewed by NL about her ACA Foods Free Library project
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, July 2010, and reprinted
in the catalogue for Rockstone and Bootheel: Contemporary West Indian Art, 2011

Writing worth keeping alive
Peepal Tree Press founder Jeremy Poynting interviewed by NL
First published in The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2010
 


Book reviews

[At some point in the future I’ll attempt a brief essay on the nature of book reviewing and the importance of that art. No doubt I’ll quote Martin Amis on the reviewer’s true ideals (“talent, and the canon, and the body of knowledge we call literature”), and perhaps I’ll say something wry about the common reader. This space is where that little essay will appear.]


From The Caribbean Review of Books

Lagahoo Poems, by James Christopher Aboud, and No Traveller Returns, by Vahni Capildeo
November 2004

Prehistoric Guiana, by Denis Williams
August 2005
(A shorter version of this review appeared in the Stabroek News, Sunday 25 September, 2005)

The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse, ed. Stewart Brown and Mark McWatt
November 2005

The Nobbie Stories for Children and Adults, by C.L.R. James, ed. Constance Webb
November 2007

Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds, ed. Tim Barringer, Gillian Forrester, and Barbaro Martinez-Ruiz
February 2008


Cuba: Art and History from 1868 to Today, ed. Nathalie Bondil
August 2008


From the Trinidad and Tobago Review

C.L.R. James: Cricket, the Caribbean and World Revolution, by Farrukh Dhondy
April 2002

Collected Poems, 1937–1989, by A.J. Seymour
May 2002

A Rough Climate, by E.A. Markham
June 2002

A New World Order: Selected Essays, by Caryl Phillips
July 2002

The Writer and the World: Essays, by V.S. Naipaul
October 2002

The Autograph Man, by Zadie Smith
November 2002

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
December 2002

Sketches of Amerindian Tribes, 1841–1843, by Edward A. Goodall
February 2003

Abandoning Dead Metaphors: The Caribbean Phase of Derek Walcott’s Poetry, by Patricia Ismond
March 2003

Primacy of the Eye: The Art of Stanley Greaves, by Rupert Roopnaraine
February 2006
(A shorter version of this review appeared in the February 2006 issue of The Caribbean Review of Books)


(Mostly short) reviews from Caribbean Beat

Half a Life, by V.S. Naipaul
November/December 2001

Sugar and Slate, by Charlotte Williams
September/October 2002

The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes
January/February 2003

Waiting for Snow in Havana, by Carlos Eire
May/June 2003

Bethany Bettany, by Fred D’Aguiar
July/August 2003

In the Kingdom of Light: Collected Poems, by M.G. Smith
November/December 2003

The Mask of the Beggar, by Wilson Harris
January/February 2004

Between Silence and Silence, by Ian McDonald
May/June 2004

Lagahoo Poems, by James Christopher Aboud
January/February 2005

The Prodigal, by Derek Walcott
March/April 2005

Thank God It’s Friday, by B.C. Pires
November/December 2005

Dancing in the Dark, by Caryl Phillips
March/April 2006

University of Hunger: Collected Poems and Selected Prose, by Martin Carter, ed. Gemma Robinson
July/August 2006



Jeux d’esprit

Various dangers
First published in McSweeney’s Quarterly No. 4, 2000

The arrival of insects
First published in the Jamaica Observer Arts Magazine, 2000

Verge
First published in Code 1 and 2, 2001

News from Rome
From my blog, 31 October, 2005

An unwritten story by Kafka
From my blog, 16 October, 2005

Formicae
From my blog, 8 October, 2005

A brief note on the music of Bach
From my blog, 23 September, 2005

No poem
From my blog, 17 September, 2005

Everything went wrong
From my blog, 30 April, 2007

Almost writing
A short essay on writer
’s block
Published in The Caribbean Review of Books, November 2006