Join Robert and Linda, the editors of ArtsEtc, as they offer personal takes and twists on culture in Barbados and beyond... Stage Right, Stage Left continues a journey started seven years ago in ArtsEtc: The Premier Cultural Guide to Barbados, their groundbreaking print newsletter. Follow the rest of the adventure online at www.artsetcbarbados.com.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When I need to escape,
I always think of lying
flat on my stomach
near the edge of the
cliff at River Bay in
St Lucy. There is no
noise there (but the
waves’), and the view
and experience of the
ocean spray are beyond
words. It is perfection.
I’ve lost the courage to
physically return there
now, but that mental
journey to the solace
and peace it once
provided me is almost
as gratifying.

As a boy growing up in

Six Men’s, I used to enjoy taking in the view of

sunsets from the location that is now being destroyed to make way for the rich and famous. Of course, I am speaking about the new

marina under construction just south of Six Men’s. This spot has remained my green spot for all these years ... the real memories will

always live on in my heart as I watch the daily destruction and ponder the price of progress.

My green space ...

my green oasis looks blue until it is evening and then, just when the birds go in

it startles softly,

revealing new beauty

and thoughts

go quiet then.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One way of relating to the environment is to understand it as a relationship between what a person sees and what a person hears...My recent poem “Barbados Night” started with the close observation of the way that the waves break at Batts Rock Beach day and night. This led me to think of the nearby urban features of Bridgetown as I sat in a cafĂ© there one evening. What was I seeing? What sounds could I hear from where I sat? What were other people doing in the town at that moment?
(Picture courtesy Jane Bryce)
Frank Collymore wrote, “I shall always be remembering the sea,” a line that resonates with me, for the sea (not the beach!) is where I go for regular renewal. ... I am also much influenced by the other elements—earth, air, fire. And by concrete.
My oasis
is actually
an area of
rugged rock,
lush greenery
and bush
which I pass
when I go on
my frequent
morning jogs.
This scene
takes me back
to boyhood
days when I
often traversed
such areas. It
always instills
a sense of
peace and
in me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Green Readings 2010 — Where's your oasis?

ArtsEtc asked six writers to reveal their oasis, to share with us how the Barbadian environment influences and inspires them. Tell us about your Green spot, we said.

Well, Saturday, June 13, at the Boardwalk, Hastings, with the waves crashing behind them, Philip Nanton, Dorhonda Smith and Nailah Imoja (l-r above) not only shared, but startled and seduced the audience with their responses. As well as explaining their oases, the trio's works also dealt with the sights and sounds of our urban environment, concrete and even how our health is impacted by fogging.

If you were there to catch the words and to enjoy the ambience of the Boardwalk as the sun went down, to sip wine and sample the delicious fare of Chef Creig Greenidge afterward, then excellent. If you missed it, there was only one way to catch up: The very next Saturday, at the Esplanade, Speightstown, when Frank Gilkes, folk singer-songwriter Johnny Koeiman and Kenneth “Jack” Lewis
launched a stern northern response for Green Readings part two.

Rich on humour, political statement and muscular, nature-based imagery, all three performances were well received; Frank and Jack’s biting words and Johnny’s haunting folk song rewarding an audience that had braved bad weather to be there. Who would have thought that, after a day of dark skies and heavy rain, the Esplanade would end up bathed in glorious, late afternoon sunlight?

Clearly, not enough of us, that’s who. In the Q&A session that followed, calls were made to find ways to spread word of future Green Readings much farther afield to boost not only audience attendance but awareness of the environmental issues affecting all Barbadians.

ArtsEtc's Green Readings, now in its third year, is staged each June in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources & Drainage as part of the ministry’s activities for Environment Month. It's all about challenging ourselves, the way we regard and relate to our Barbadian surroundings. You can read about past Green Readings at artsetcbarbados.com.

And you can be a part of Green Readings 2010 by joining us in Speightstown on Saturday, and by posting a comment right here, right now, telling us where your Bajan oasis is.