Honored to curate the VOX Gallery January 2016 Issue. Featured Poets and Writers E.J. Antonio, Jill Austen, Fay Chiang, Edward Currelley, Lorraine Currelley, Jacqueline Johnson, Nella Larsen, Carmel Mawle, Christopha Moreland, Kate Rushin, Alicia Anabel Santos , Margie Shaheed and Julia Stein.. Thanks to Marjorie A. Tesser, Founder & Editor in Chief, Mom Egg Review and featured contributors. Please visit and share widely.
On Thursday August 6, 2015 Barrio Poetic featured poet Ngoma Hill is a dynamic wordsmith and musicologist. His performance was passionate, his words explosions of truth. Words and music tearing through and breaking down strangling societal isms and ills. Turning our collective anger, and outrage into haunting passionate poems and songs of protest. All responding eloquently to the cries of the people for justice, equality, peace, and life. His musicology is superb. “Ngoma’s Not Your Average String Thing -Vocals, Bamboo Flute, Electrik Violin, Acoustic Guitar, Yidaki (Didgeridoo) & Garage Band Tracks. Ngoma Hill performed works from his CD Lessons from the Book of Osayemi and his latest CD release Ngoma Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy. Ngoma Hill’s performance ended with a standing ovation from audience members.
Ngoma, a former member of the SPIRIT HOUSE MOVERS AND PLAYERS with Amiri Baraka and the Contemporary Freedom Song Duo, SERIOUS BIZNESS, Ngoma weaves poetry and song that raises contradictions and searches for a solution for a just and peaceful world. Ngoma was the Prop Slam winner of the 1997 National Poetry Slam Competition in Middletown, CT and was published in AFRICAN VOICES MAGAZINE, LONG SHOT ANTHOLOGY, THE UNDERWOOD REVIEW, SIGNIFYIN’ HARLEM REVIEW,BUM RUSH THE PAGE/DEF POETRY JAM ANTHOLOGY and POEMS ON THE ROAD TO PEACE (Volumes 1,2 & 3)-Yale Press. LET LOOSE ON THE WORLD”(CELEBRATING AMIRI BARAKA at 75) He was most recently published in the 35th Anniversary Issue of Blind Beggar Press and The Understanding Between Foxes and Light. He was also featured in the PBS Spoken Word Documentary, “The Apro-Poets” with Allen Ginsberg. Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival (Yale University-New Haven, CT) for the past 18 years. Ngoma was selected as a participant at the Badilisha Poetry Xchange in Capetown, South Africa in fall of 2009.In December of 2011 he was initiated as a Priest of Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival (Yale University-New Haven, CT) for the past 18 years. Ngoma was selected as a participant at the Badilisha Poetry Xchange in Capetown, South Africa in fall of 2009.In December of 2011 he was initiated as a Priest of Obatala in Ibadan, Nigeria. More recently he returned to Ibadan to be initiated as a Priest of Ifa. – http://www.Ngomazworld.com
Hill’s latest release Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy continues his legacy of producing great music and poetry. Music for My Soldiers, Love Song, Where I Come From and Up South are four of the outstanding poems on Ngoma Hill’s latest release. The authenticity of his poems content resonate with his audiences. There are no lies here, only truth telling. His poems and music is earth and soul grown. His words are love notes to listeners, those seeking truth. There is the presence of unrelenting hunger, thirst and raw passion. His poems had audience members moving and clapping in their seats, leading to a call and response. We became a chorus united in the refrain music for my soldiers, when he performed Music for My Soldiers. Where I Come From, another of Ngoma Hill’s poems is one man’s declaration of his rich heritage and that of a people. All poems are life explosions unabashedly unapologetic and uncompromising.
You can purchase both Lessons from the Book of Osayemi and Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy @
©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author is strictly prohibited.
Frankly, I’m surprised all black persons living in this country have not been diagnosed with PTSD including yours truly! I would expect everyone including yours truly to freely own this diagnosis! Daily we are assaulted with traumatic event after traumatic event. Brutality, murder and assaults to our humanity are our norm. PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is the result of being traumatized. An individual(s) has/have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. Police brutality and murders of civilians, the death of a loved one, pet and experiences as a veteran contribute to PTSD criteria.*If for any reason you cannot cope and you are in need of help please seek out a professional! Sometimes, a good talk with a friend, family member or clergy unless trained is NOT enough!
Please visit Mental Health & Advocacy for information, resources, data etc. on mental health disorders. http://lcinformationandresourcecenter.wordpress.com
©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Here are some other images from the shoot that I haven’t decided will be in the collection yet….I think at least one of them will…
Watch the behind the scenes (in HD)!
The paper gown…my oh my, that paper gown…I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll start with where I got the idea. I’ve always wanted to make the beautiful gowns I grew up seeing in the old master paintings. Once, I even priced what it would cost to purchase the fabric and other supplies to make one. I quickly came to the conclusion that it would be much too expensive for me – especially if I wanted to make a few of them for a collection. It…
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On May 4th, 2015 The Currelley Literary Journal’s Editor Lorraine Currelley was present for Opening Night: The Future Is Now at Cooper Union’s Great Hall. The Great Hall was filled to capacity with all tickets sold out. Interested in attending? You’ll have to add your name to a wait list for remaining festival events. I arrived early and after a brief wait for my ticket I entered the Great Hall. Arriving early at these events is a sound practice, one I recommend. Cooper Union’s Great hall filled quickly, leaving arrivals searching anxiously for available seating.
There needs to be balance. No, we’re not one of the so-called leading traditional publications. We’re the peoples online publication (blog). We’re authentically on the ground giving you the insights not reported and folk often not photographed. We don’t run over anyone’s grandma to get to so-termed celebrities. For those unable to attend PEN, The Currelley Literary Journal is bringing events to the doors of our readers. We’re sharing an overview of events and the scenarios unfolding around them, through our lens. Our readers demand the best and we’re committed to asking their call. Become a part of this important conversation and discussion and if having, feel free to ask questions.
Opening Night: The Future Is Now featured writers Mona Eltahawy, Richard Flanagan, Aminata Forna, Yahya Hassan, Zaneke Muholi, Lola Shoneyin, Tom Stoppard, Nguigi wa Thiaong’o, Binyavanga Wainaina and Jackie Wang. Featured writers from around the globe were asked to present their worst and best-case scenarios for where the world may be in the year 2050. Audience members had an opportunity to hear insights they haven’t yet published, and an the opportunity to consider how our future is intimately connected to our present. Each writer in their unique way shared their visions for 2050. Here are some of those visions.
Zanele Muholi co-founder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and the founder of Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual (activist) media. Muholi’s self proclaimed mission is “to rewrite a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in South Africa and beyond.” Zanele Muholi’s presentation started with a short film of a group of young people walking to and at a graveyard. This image was powerful and the music haunting, consisting of crying, moaning, groaning and screams. When the film ended she stepped forward and proceeded to speak of Queer Africa, denouncing all forms of homophobia, isms and all discriminatory practices. Practices which denie freedom, equality and self-realization. She envisions the world of 2050 one in which all are free and inequality no longer exist. I’m inspired by her courage to speak truth. She used this opportunity wisely to speak out loudly about LGBTI oppression specifically and oppression worldwide on a world stage.
Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian American freelance journalist and commentator’s 2050 imagined a world of women who rejected historically assigned gender roles. Intergenerational women who were in leadership positions. A world free of inequality for future generations of women and girls. Her predictions and hopes brought rousing audience applause and voices of approval. Her powerful words speak to the atrocities being committed against African lesbian women and LBGTI communities in Africa. Read her photo essay Faces and Phases, in Passages Africa, Contemporary Writing from the Continent, Pen America publisher.
Jackie Wang’s addressed racism and oppression, and referenced Trayvon Martin. She writes about queer sexuality, race, gender, the politics of of writing, mixed race identity, prisons and politics, the politics of safety and innocence, and revolutionary struggle. Kudos to Jackie Wang for calling out audience members vacating in mass after Tom Stoppard spoke. Jackie Wang was the evening’s event last speaker.
It is my hope the words of guests will spark an interest in community and world affairs. It is my hope everyone will become constructively engaged in creating needed change. It is not enough to listen to power words, we must hear them. Did opening night lay the foundation for the rest of the festival? I don’t know, it depends on what each attendee expects. I do know we have opportunities to engage on a world stage. We can ill afford to minimize their depth and breath.
Audience members included essayist, poet and playwright Rashidah Ismali, Carolyn Butts, editor of African Voices Magazine, and poet Jacqueline Johnson.
Link to PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature Videos
©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. (photo credit Lorraine Currelley, lead photo credit Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center)
PEN History and Mission Statement: Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is a community of 3,600 American writers seeking working to break down barriers to free expression worldwide. It is the largest of 146 independent centers under the umbrella PEN International, a global network of writers founded in the aftermath of the First World War to advance the power of literature to foster greater understanding between people, communities, and societies.
Our strength is in our membership-a nationwide community of novelists, journalists, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, and literary agents-and an even larger network or devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN’s mission and work.
PEN Programming: Acting as both a literary coalition and a human rights advocacy group, PEN American Center develops programming with the aim to both spread a love of reading and writing and to defend freedom of expression wherever this is threatened. Our programs reflect this dual nature of the organization, and have an impact locally in New York City, nationally through an extensive network of American writers, and and globally wherever there are writers on our caseload.
Throughout the year, PEN American Center hosts events of all sizes for professional members, associates members, and the general public, including readings, rallies, translation slams, and industry networking events.Each spring, the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature showcases writers from around the world in a cross-cultural celebration of the written word. The festival brought over 1500 writers and artists from 78 countries to New York since its founding by Salman Rushdie in 2005.
New York Times, The Opinion Pages
An organization that champions dissidents must embrace dissent in its ranks. Over the last week, PEN American Center has been criticized by many writers, including some of our members, over our decision to present our PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Free Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that was the target of murderous attack in January. The heated debate proves the relevance of groups devoted to freedom of expression. It also demonstrates that in an open society, well-intentioned people with shared values can interpret and weigh principles differently.
Decisions are often problematic. Often, there’s a political, social and economic tight rope being walked. These are rarely black and white. PEN’s position remained: New York’s literati will gather in defense of freedom of expression at the annual PEN American Center Literary Gala.
There was a heavy security presence at the American Museum of Natural History on May 5th, 2015 for the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature Gala. No one was allowed admittance until the Museum had been swept and cleared of any and all possible danger, by plainclothes members of the New York City Police Department. The awarding of Charlie Hebdo Magazine with the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression was the impetus. There were no visible protestors with picket signs, verbal interchanges, chants, nor marchers. The heavily secured environment was controlled and quiet.
PEN honored the Paris-based satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo Magazine with the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award, to be received by the publication’s recently appointed editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard, and critic Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who survived the attack that killed eight of their co-workers and four others. The consensus was freedom of speech comes with allowing language and views we don’t necessarily agree on.
©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. (photo credit Lorraine Currelley)
Congratulations Poets & Writers, Inc. on your Sixth Annual Connecting Cultures: Cross Cultural Reading! On April 23rd, 2015 I had the privilege and honor to participate in this yearly event. My organization Poets Network & Exchange, Inc. was one of four organizations selected. We were acknowledged for our service to our literary community. Representing a diversity of organizations funded by Poets & Writers. Funding which enables our respective organizations to offer payment to our featured poets and writers. Individually we thanked Poets & Writers, Inc. for helping to make our programming possible.
Poets representing each organization had to introduce via brief biography and read a poem or prose piece by an ancestor poet.
I arrived early at La Casa Azul Bookstore with featured reading Edward D. Currelley. We were both met with welcoming greetings by Founder and Owner of La Casa Azul Aurora Anaya-Cerda and staff. La Casa Azul is a reader and lover of books dream. It’s filled with colorful books and its walls are adorned with beautiful art. Books are in Spanish and English. My favorite artwork is that of the beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. While exploring the La Casa Azul I found myself happily engaged in conversation with patrons and Raul K. Rios, Latinos NYC one of the four selected organizations. Soon others joined in and we took photographs.
Groups selected represented a diverse community of poets and writers. They were Brooklyn Community Pride Center with featured readers Arhm Choi and Marshall Thomas introduced by Bianca Garcia. Kundiman featured readers Sahra Vang Nguyen and Monica Sok were introduced by Vikas Menon. Raul K. Rios, Latinos NYC introduced featured readers and Poets Network & Exchange, Inc. , Inc. featured readers Heather Archibald and Edward D. Currelley were introduced by Lorraine Currelley.
Connecting Cultures: Cross Cultural Featured Readers
Bonnie Rose Marcus, Director, Readings & Workshops (East) and the Writers Exchange welcomed guests and introduced Elliot Figman, Executive Director of Poets & Writers, Inc. She then turned the program over to Wo Chan, Program Assistant, Readings & Workshops (East) who introduced selected groups. It was a fun, wonderful and inspiring evening of incredible poets and writers and passionate readings. Audience members interacting with readers. There were shouts of approval as each organization representative read.
Poets Network & Exchange, Inc. is proud of the wonderful readings of our member representatives Heather Archibald and Edward D. Currelley. Heather Archibald’s ancestor poet was former professor and friend the late Virginia Ruth Scott who died in 2014 after a short bout with cancer. Heather Archibald read Virginia Ruth Scott’s poem Snow. Edward D. Currelley’s ancestor poet was Pablo Neruda and he read Neruda’s poem Poetry.
Connecting Cultures: Cross Cultural Audience Celebrants
Thank you, Poets & Writers, Inc., Aurora Anaya-Cerda, Founder and Owner, La Casa Azul Bookstore and Elliot Figman, Executive Director, Poets & Writers, Inc. and our fellow literary community, family and friends who came out to celebrate and support.
To learn more about La Casa Azul Bookstore
Read more about Poets & Writers, Inc. Readings/Workshops program www.pw.org/funding.
©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. (Photo Credit Lorraine Currelley)