Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal - Volume 3, Issue 2 - Fall 2005Our own Lelawattee is the featured poet in this very cool journal published by the Caribbean Literature Studies Department at the University of Miami. And yes, she is indeed Our Own prizewinning writer, Bahamas. She came into her Voice after moving here with her Bahamian husband. She gave her poems and her presence to our little writing circles in the 1980s and 90s, not to mention her friendship and sisterhood. Her first collection of poems was published by London's People Tree Press some years back, and when she won First Prize in the esteemed BBC Short Fiction Competition, headlines around the world read: Bahamas Wins Literary Prize. Lelawattee, Asha, she is an important voice in Caribbean literature today, and especially for those of us who are feminist women. Her poems and stories are always feminist, tho never about feminism, and they are always political, tho never about politics, and as she would say, What else can they be? The list of bona fide published writers from our country is a short one, the list of noted feminist writers is even shorter, and Asha is prominant on both lists.
So why is it that Lelawattee Manoo Rahming was not selected to be among the contingent of writers to the recent CARIFESTA events? They selected one self-published man after another, a whole slew of them, with the exception of a few like Ian Strachan and Christian Campbell who were deservedly there, threw in a couple of token women "writers" I never heard of, but not Asha, and not prizewinning feminist writer Marion Bethel either, and not outspoken feminist writer Helen Klonaris either. Nor did anyone ask me to participate. But that might be understood somewhat since the blogs are all the writings I'm publishing these days. Still, why have we all been excluded? Is it ignorance? Or discrimination? Or censorship? For certain, it is a shame. And CARIFESTA's loss.
In the meantime, we get to enjoy Lelawattee's poems in Anthurium and as usual she is in esteemed company.