Just completed teaching my Autumn 2023 Memoir Writing course. I thoroughly enjoyed the spirited discourse and willingness of participants to mine their memories for compelling stories to write about. I want to take the time to thank all participants for crafting their first draft. Stay tuned for more memoir writing opportunities.
Photo Credit: Thought Catalog, Unsplash
"In Woman in the Wind, Andrene Bonner honors the African Praise Poem tradition to uplift and celebrate the lives of influential women across cultures, including Michelle Obama, Wangari Maathai, Michelle Obama, Greta Thunberg, and Louise Bennett-Coverley. Blending Caribbean rhythms and African aesthetics with the communal power of an ancestral griot, Bonner’s collection offers a bold, poetic resistance to the erasure of women's stories."
Geoffrey Philp, author of Archipelagos
"Those who name have Power. Andrene Bonner. In Woman in the Wind, Bonner evokes the spirit of Oya in the praise poem for Reggae icons, the I-Three, and names African American Former First Lady of New York, as Oya, goddess of the wind, goddess of the hurricane, goddess of sudden change. This righteous naming inspirits these women with the ashe of transformation so necessary in this era. We need new definitions to help us navigate the changing terrain of textualities, gender identities, and geo-political complexities. Oya’s energies demand quick thinking and adaptation to instant and dramatic change if we are to survive the chaos and uncertainty that a hurricane brings. Bonner’s Praisesongs to these powerful diverse women―whose very presence in the space they occupy so elegantly embodies radical transformation―is as courageous and beautiful as the women whose praises they sing. Her poems ensure that their legacy will live on for generations to come. In centering our African traditions, in centering woman, Andrene Bonner centers liberational poetics, centers diversity, centers the power of women to sustain and build each other against all odds. This is how we honor our ancestral traditions. This is how we honor the power of the feminine. This is how we show radical love to our own, to ourselves."
Donna Aza Weir-Soley, author of The Woman Who Knew (Finishing Line Press), First Rain (Peepal Tree Press), Eroticism, Spirituality and Resistance in Black Women’s Writings (University Press of Florida) and Co-editor (with Opal Palmer Adisa) of the anthology, Caribbean Erotic (Peepal Tree Press).
I was invited to participate in a conversation with Musgrave Award winning poet and academic, Geoffrey Philp, on Thursday, October 26, 2023 @ 5:30 p.m. EST. Founder of Strong in Broken Places, Dr. Marva McLean, shared that Geoffrey will be focusing his presentation on "Chanting Down Babylon in the Anthropocene." Geoffrey's latest work, Archipelagos, published by Peepal Tree Press, will be the center of the discourse. Poet, Monica Minott, will join in the conversation. Can't wait.
On Friday, September 22, 2023, a group of Jamaican storyteller and Special Guest, Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Pan African icon, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, gathered in New York City to celebrate Jamaica's rich heritage. The event was co-produced by a consortium of authors and the American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI). Whos Who from the Caribbean community was in attendance to include but not limited to Sheryn Hylton Parker, Christine Reynolds, Hon. Monte Alexander, Mrs. Constance Garvey, wife of Dr. Julius Garvey. My Social Media friends whom I never met, longtime friends, schoolmates, theatre friends, family, came out to celebrate. Too risky to remember the names here. You know who you are. Thank you very much for your presence.
Thanks to all the storytellers who dropped everything to share their talents: Faith P. Nelson, Dawn Forrester Price, Lynda R. Edwards, Lorel G. Morrison, Burnett Coburn, Dale Mahfood (who supported us in the spirit of one love).
Summer is almost over but you can still enjoy a good read in Long Walk to Cherry Gardens by me, Andrene Bonner. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever books are sold. Please remember to share link with others, and leave a review at the online bookstore.
BUY BOOK: Click Cover or link below.
Working on new ideas to advance the ideas started in this book. The working title for book and podcast is: "Trauma In The Classroom: How To Help Parents, Teachers and Students To Cope."
the naked pine tree
scorched, awaits funeral rites
in the red forest
wind-tossed over barren land
where sunflowers grew
freezing snow crack lips,
sting of hunger sinks the eyes,
tanks crush skulls and dreams
the keloid forest’s
trenches, stacked with dead; others
pray for peace, again
rufous turtle doves’
four-syllable call response
echo war sirens
Ukraine’s sun will rise
Its moon hack the surging tides
settles them once more
“And the earth was without form, and void;
and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
they say you don’t choose your parents,
you don’t get to choose your name at birth,
so they named me “Inhospitable”—harsh
and ratched, no home training, difficult to navigate,
visibility in society, lower than a hound dog’s belly,
because I hang out with a tribe of inhospitable savages.
You dumped and clogged my pristine waters
with your shyt, your ships, the hydrogen sulfide
miles deep, closed my eyes to blues skies, clouds
and swallows. I had very little oxygen,
I can’t breathe,
nothing lived or thrived in my ecosystem.
One day, a tribe known as the Greeks,
attributed to be most civilized and wiser
than my so called savage friends, decided
to clean me up for commerce, civilize me,
change my name to “Hospitable”--
say I am polite to tourists, bring prosperity
to countries along my borders: Russia,
Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.
Ghosts of dead pirates told me that the Turks named me Black.
I can’t blame them. After all, I was black from the beginning,
as darkness was upon the face of the deep
until I was separated from the firmament--
revealing my waters full of life.
Now, you are killing each other over my curvaceous
oval black body, the birth canal for your prosperity
Give me a damn break, what breach, what breach you say.
Did nobody ask me who I belongs to
before you start this cantankerous cantakering
of nations about who owns me?
what do the rivers, her estuaries,
my bountiful supply, have to say about this?
River Danube, River Sakarya, River Supsa,
the whole lot of you!
Do you hear me?
Black Sea Matters!
something about snowflakes gently falling
amidst the hostile trajectory of air-to-surface missiles,
ballistic fingerprints of war mongers
unleashed on humanity to institute a barbaric empire.
something about snowflakes gently falling,
packing mounds like cotton shrouds,
soaking up blood of the dead,
a coolant delaying decay,
suspending disbelief for denial to ease this grief.
something about snowflakes gently falling
amidst the agony of bloated guts and privation,
for it soon warms, melts life-giving water;
the people, the animals and larks returning, will drink.
Photo Credit: Hasi Elmas from Unsplash
Imagine with me if you will, 2040, Jamaica is leading the world in Agronomy, Medicine, and Space Exploration. How are we going to meet the demands of the future, 20 years from today? How are we going to get there?
For the organization to expand, the youth arm has to be extraordinary. This means training them for 2040—serious examination of Futurology—study of the future; technological advancement, development of humanity in Jamaica and the world.
Excerpt from Talk at the Kiwanis Event
Photo Credit: Erika Giraud - Unsplash
Award Winning Author, educator, and artivist.