Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace: Beverly Donofrio at the Miami Book Fair

One of the authors who gave us a great blurb for BADASS, Beverly Donofrio, is presenting at the Book Fair on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. Donofrio is the author of RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS, a best-selling memoir that was turned into a movie starring Drew Barrymore in 2001. When she was 55, Donofrio was attacked at knifepoint by a serial rapist.  In her new book, ASTONISHED, she writes about that experience and how it led her on a spiritual quest that changed her life. “It’s a beautiful story,” says Nicholas Garnett, editor at Sliver of Stone Magazine. “Beverly is presenting with two other wonderful and accomplished writers, Janet Burroway and John…

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Nobody go run me, an interview with Joanne C. Hillhouse

I had a little chat with Antiguan and Barbudan author, Joanne C. Hillhouse. We talked about her exciting new book, Musical Youth, and a little bit about Joanne’s own journey. Joanne’s writing has been described as “honest,” “real,” “poetic,” and “lyrical.” Her culture is at the heart of her writing: “Obvious is the ‘writer’s ear’ for effective characterization and narrative that stays true to Caribbean island experience” (Island Where, St. Lucia). So, Joanne, Musical Youth… What is the book about? Okay, the book is about a girl who is a loner, a girl who plays guitar, a girl who doesn’t believe in herself, who kind of wants to…

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Dariel Suarez in Search of Genuine Thought and Emotion

Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. He lived there until 1997, when he immigrated to the United States. He’s the author of the chapbook In the Land of Tropical Martyrs, upcoming from Backbone Press. It is available for pre-order until November 20th. You should get it. Writer Michael Hettich notes, “Though In the Land of Tropical Martyrs is a chapbook, it has the heft and authority of a full volume of poetry. Each of these poems is rich with the ache of urgent memory, living memory, memory that sings as the opposite of nostalgia and wakes us more fully to our own lives.”   “With sure, unassuming…

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Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Where the Saints are Canonized

I’ve fallen in love with the craft of his writing. His ability to get into the head of his characters and stay glued there, is impeccable. I found myself going back to the same chapters—as if these narratives were musical compositions that one could never tire of. I’m about to meet a great man—a man who’s won several prestigious literary prizes in Bolivia, Mexico, and the United States. He’s now the president of Fundación Cultural Banco Central de Bolivia (FCBCB), the cultural institution in charge of the country’s main repositories. He’s agreed to meet me at Alexander’s Café on Monseñor Rivero, a popular strip for both locals and…

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Haitian Recipe: Blanc-manger coco

I made a delicious blanc-manger coco when Mother visited for Christmas last year, and I thought I’d share the recipe. I learned to make the dessert in Port-au-Prince, but it’s also very popular in other French Caribbean countries such as Guadeloupe and Martinique. You will need: One (1) tsp pure vanilla extract One (1) 12 oz can evaporated milk One (1) can condensed milk Two (2) 12 oz. can coconut milk One (1) 12 oz. can fruit cocktail 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder 3 pks gelatin 1 inch lime zest Sugar Completely dissolve the gelatin in 3/4 cup of boiled water. Place evaporated and condensed milk in a large saucepan. Add…

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Nayeli Fanfan: The Art of Being a Diva

Modern chic. Sophisticated classic. Fashion model Nayeli Fanfan is a total babe! Born and raised in Port-au-Price, Haiti, Nayeli started modeling in her teens. She was crowned Miss Inter-College in 2000, Miss Florida in 2003, and also won First Place at the Miss Haiti International pageant in Paris, France, in 2004. She is now the owner of the Caribbean Dance Team and an active member of HANNA, the Haitian American Nurse Association. Yup, Nayeli is beauty AND brains—a real diva! How does she do it? INTERVIEW WITH NAYELI FANFAN Nayeli, how did you start modeling?  As I was growing up in Port-au-Prince, people who met me often commented…

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The Wee Hours, by Diane Allerdyce

They say that in 1803 all Haitian roosters lost their ability to tell time—or at least to admit they knew how—when Toussaint L’Ouverture was betrayed at the hands of one of his own. It was the beginning of a new day, a new era, for Haiti. But as if to cry out against the coming of that day at the advent of many betrayals that were about to keep the Perle of the Antilles under siege for the next couple of centuries at least, all Haitian roosters began the practice of crowing in the middle of the night instead of at dawn, as if to confuse the enemy.…

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Fayola Nicaisse: The Art of Beautiful

Fayola Nicaisse is a business woman and a bit of a philanthropist. She is the creator of Ebene, a truly natural line of products made with ingredients in their purest form–no need to get a dictionary when reading the labels. Fayola puts her heart and soul into every formula. In fact, each product has a story behind it. Baby products were created for her daughter and the line grew with her son. Pregnancy products were created when she was pregnant, hair products through her journey of natural hair. Home Spa products were for Fayola to relax after a long day’s work and later became gifts for friends. Her…

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Vague in Conversation (an excerpt), by Mahalia Solages

(This story appeared in Fall: A Collection of Short Stories, published by Almond Press) The pockmarked walls that enclosed the mass of faded women was no place for someone like me. The bell rang. I trudged out of the Haitian prison with the other inmates for the hour-long airing allowed in the guarded courtyard, the only highlight of the day. They had been glaring at me, the newcomer. The one where time and circumstance hadn’t imprinted its outrages. The cycles of anxiety, however, were staggered in dried rings from the armpits of my blouse. I had endured four sweaty nights; the moaning women had cued my tossing. Now…

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The World Crashes All the Time, by Kent Annan

Three weeks after the earthquake, Enel and I are both amazed he’s alive as we step through the sharp smell of decaying bodies coming up from under the rubble of his university. [He had been inside the university building when the earthquake shook and the building collapsed.] Rebars are twisted like flimsy spaghetti. Textbooks, emblems of a promising future, are strewn across the rubble, unclaimed by either the dead or the narrowly escaped. They’re emblems now of crushed dreams. We walk past a charred skull. Bodies that were close enough to the surface to find but too buried to extract had to be burned. Gasoline was poured down…

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MJ’s Legim ak Sirik: A Haitian Recipe

Crabs and vegetables… This is one of my husband’s favorite dishes. I don’t often play house but sometimes, hey, I’ll put on a cute bib and cook with my high heels on. You will need: 6 Chayote Squash, peeled, cored, and chopped Eggplants, peeled and chopped 1 Bunch of Watercress, chopped 2 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped 4 Scallions, chopped 1 Onion, diced 1 Large Red Bell Pepper, diced 1 Large Green Bell Pepper, diced 1/2 Head Cabbage, chopped Ribs and pork legs (seasoned the night before) and crabs For the seasoning: 3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced 1 tsp Clove, ground 1 Bouillon Cube Spoonful Tomato Paste Directions 1.…

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Lost in Translation, by Leita Kaldi

Leita Kaldi’s Five Favorite Fiascos in Haiti, part 5: Lost in Translation (from Kaldi’s memoir, In the Valley of Atibon) Walking through the hospital one day I passed the isolation ward, where people with contagious diseases like TB and AIDS stayed. I was dismayed to see well people in there. I found Miguel, who was in charge of housekeeping, and asked him to paint signs — “DANJE: ISOLASYO WOD” – Danger, Isolation Ward. He smiled, “Oui, Miss Leita.” Miguel was a humble, friendly man, almost sixty, handsome with a moustache and a Spanish look about him. A tenacious worker, he took pride in every task, even to the…

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Zombies, by Leita Kaldi

Leita Kaldi’s Five Favorite Fiascos in Haiti, part 4: Zombies (from Kaldi’s memoir, In the Valley of Atibon) Antoine Veus, the retired morgue attendant, told me a zombie story I’d never forget.  Antoine was very tall, heavy-shouldered and slightly bent with age.  He moved slowly and spoke in a low-voiced even rhythm; a soft smile never left his face.  Dr. Mellon had trained him to do autopsies and bury unclaimed bodies. I asked Antoine about zombies. “Ah, of course there are zombies.  I saw zombies in the morgue.  One time I was about to do an autopsy on a man who suddenly sat up and opened his eyes.  ‘Don’t…

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46 People who made you care about Poetry in 2013

Check these out: 23 People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry in 2013 By Jason Diamond Inspired by Patricia Lockwood’s poem “Rape Joke,” Jason Diamond produced for Flavorwire the list “23 People who will make you care about poetry in 2013,” a list of poets that he believes dispels the notion that “poetry is dead.” A response and counter-list to “23 people who will make you care about poetry in 2013” “It is this impulse to exclude, as exhibited by Diamond and Vendler and company, that compelled me to create my own list, a list of 23 poets that will not only make you care about poetry,…

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