Showing posts from January, 2015

Photography: Snowing

-- Jane

Poetry: Nigerian Pastoral by Inua Ellams

Nigerian Pastoral
by Inua Ellams
After Gregory Djanikian.

If Adamu were leaning against a wall
mouth flush with fresh coconut
when trucks screeched to a halt

and Adewunmi were writing her name
in sand, dragging the small stick
when the magazine clicked

and Afoaka were hushing her twins
waving the straw fan back and forth
when the first shots rang out

if Aliyu barefoot by the oranges
were squeezing each fruit for ripeness
when the bullet shattered his cheek

if Akarachi refusing to run
were praying in his room
when the rocket struck the roof

and Azuba in her new hand-stitched hijab
were tucking away stray wisps
when the blast ate her skin

How long would it have to go on then
beginning with A and spilling over
into all the alphabets

before mother sister father child
could bear the same weight
in any faith, in any race,

be mourned with the same tongue.

via Okayafrica
Listen to my reading of "Nigerian Pastoral" below:

Meet Esi of Akatasia

Jane: A little about yourself

Esi: My name is Henrietta-Esi and I am the founder and curator of I was born and raised in the south east of England to Ghanaian parents. I am a mum and a full time web developer.

J: When and why did you start your website?

E: I started at the end of 2012. As a product of the diaspora, it was initially a way for me to document and get reacquainted with my culture through creative arts (a personal passion of mine). The site has since grown to become a hub for readers to discover interesting talent from Africans all over the word.

J: Why the name Akatasia?

E: Akatasia means lady in Twi (Akan) which pertained to me and is the main premise for what I tend to focus the posts on. I like to showcase female creatives from Africa and the diaspora, as well as men and non africans that embark on creative projects that help to put African culture in a positive light.

J: What motivates you to keep Aketesia going?

E: My motivation stems from…

Opinion: Stop and Taste the Tea

From a tea shop I once worked at, I picked the habit of mixing teas.  I love the preparation as much as the surprise of the first taste. When it is good I feel clever and when it is bad I say, "oh well." To celebrate, review, contemplate, and define 2014 I wanted a drink to sip along.  I found a promising bag in a favorite shop and the price lit me up.  It was an 8 ounce bag of organic earl grey black tea. I brought it home in a hurry and brought the water to boil. The taste was rich, but not overwhelming; the bergamot is prominent. I enjoyed it with my thoughts on the old year and found it to be also very good at waking one's energy.

Before the black tea, my daily go to was my jasmine green tea. A couple of mornings ago as I was about to make a cup, I thought it would be clever to blend the green and the black teas for a new taste.  It was not until the next day that I realized I did not know the taste of my new blend. I tried again, but  having developed a habit of dr…

Personal Style: Textures And Stripes

Headband - Mawusi Handmade Necklace - IKKX Sweater - Daffy's Turtleneck - Forever 21 Dress - H&M Jacket - Gift Hand Knitted Scarf (I made it!) - Find a similar one at Mawusi Boots - Dr. Martens Tights and Bag - Marshalls Location - Corona, Queens

Music: Benjamin Clementine - Condolence

The last page of My Ántoniawas turned on Sunday. I am now between the pages of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.  I hoped to share some thoughts on the novel here today but run out of time to do a good job of it.  Instead, I am sharing my new favorite singer and song with you.

My cousin referred me to Benjamin Clementine's "Cornerstone," late last year. I loved his deep confiding voice, the minimal use of instruments, and the refreshing poetic lyrics. I meant to find him again as I was then in the middle of things. I forgot. A few days ago, my wonderful Parisian client turned friend mentioned him, and in the middle of crocheting orders I tuned in and got hooked fast; especially to "Condolence." His voice is soulful, encouraging, understanding, borderline melancholia, and the lyrics very insightful and beautiful.

I swear that you've seen me Yes you've seen me here before Before And so don't tell it Don't tell it otherwise This voice This …

Poetry: Meru by William Butler Yeats

by William Butler Yeats

Civilisation is hooped together, brought
Under a rule, under the semblance of peace
By manifold illusion; but man’s life is thought,
And he, despite his terror, cannot cease
Ravening through century after century,
Ravening, raging, and uprooting that he may come
Into the desolation of reality:
Egypt and Greece, good-bye, and good-bye, Rome!
Hermits upon Mount Meru or Everest,
Caverned in night under the drifted snow,
Or where that snow and winter’s dreadful blast
Beat down upon their naked bodies, know
That day bring round the night, that before dawn
His glory and his monuments are gone.

Listen to my reading of "Meru" below:

Opinion: Becoming Black

In places where the majority is either a little lighter, darker, or the same color as you, no one calls you "color." You are often something else: Akan, Ga-Adangbe, Ewe, Hausa, etc.  Growing up I was a silly child and my friends knew me as such.  My brothers still tell stories of how I would bite anyone who pissed me off.  My Nana and her friends called me Akwɛ (monkey).  It was a compliment and I loved it; I still do.  When I went to school I used to run with the boys and fight with them, too. Then one day I became the girl who spoke funny, walked funny, and read too much.  I was fitted for glasses and became Four Eyes.  In boarding school I was Jane Strange, then Animal Dancer.  I had never been black.  I have always been  phases or versions of myself.

They say––subtly or not, in books, on the TV, in music, on the radio, on the streets, in looks, and body languages––that black people (those outside the African continent, but in particular, African Americans) cannot be trus…

Poetry: The Maltreatment of Meaning by Hiromi Ito

The Maltreatment of Meaning
by Hiromi Ito | Translated by Jeffrey Angles

Can you speak Japanese?
No, I cannot speak
Yes, I can speak
Yes, I can speak but cannot read
Yes, I can speak and read but cannot write
Yes, I can speak and write but cannot understand
I was a good child
You were a good child
We were good children
That is good
I was a bad child
You were a bad child
We were bad children
That is bad
To learn a language you must replace and repeat
I was an ugly child
You were an ugly child
We were ugly children
That is ugly
I am bored
You are bored
We are bored
That is boring
I am hateful
You are hateful
We are hateful
That is hatred
I will eat
You will eat
We will eat
That is a good appetite
I won’t eat
You won’t eat
We won’t eat
That is a bad appetite
I will make meaning
You will make meaning
We will make meaning
That is conveying language
I will use Japanese
You will use Japanese
We will use Japanese
That is Japanese
I want to rip off meaning
You want to rip off meaning
We want …