Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
"The kept-in girl in the painting is the artist, writer, or dreamer, forced to grow in a different light. But it's a situation that will bring rich rewards. "She's a very intelligent person," Kincaid told us. "She's plotting a new way to be. She's plotting her own light. I find her a revolutionary figure. She's a philosopher. She's trapped in with knowledge. She doesn't know what to do with it, but will." (Jamaica Kincaid) May 5, 2009
Eye Level: Jamaica Kincaid on Being Kept-in
A Painting That Inspires:
Each speaker chooses a single powerful image and investigates its meanings, revealing how artworks reflect American identity and inspire creativity in many different fields. (Smithonian Featured Writer)
Kincaid selected Kept In by Edward Lamson Henry 1889
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
CMC News Release (web page) October 2009
American Academy of Arts and Sciences Inductee
"I am very flattered," Kincaid says. "This honor came from out of the blue. I’m particularly touched by the number of people in the Academy, especially the number of scientists, which I think of as very thrilling.""Jamaica's induction into the Academy is a well-deserved honor," noted President Pamela Gann. "Claremont McKenna College is pleased that the accomplishments of a member of our distinguished faculty are being recognized by such a prestigious organization."
Faculty Profile at Claremont McKinna College California
The University of York, Department of English and Related Literature.
(Heslington, York, UK)
UK Image of Kincaid visiting the American South , Sewanee, Tennessee 1991
Writer Jamaica Kincaid (Antigua/US)
in a photograph taken in 1991 in Sewanee, Tennessee near a Confederate Memorial Site.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Vermont's Big Three
By Jules Older, Albany, Vermont
Who is Vermont's leading adult fiction author? Let's define leading as most renowned, most acclaimed, most internationally known and respected.
So here's my answer: three writers share the glory spot, the top step on the podium. All three are women. None are native to Vermont. And two are from islands in the Caribbean. The third is from closer, geographically, but so distant in most other ways, it might as well be a tropical island.
My picks for Vermont's leading adult fiction author are: Jamaica Kincaid from Antigua, Julia Alvarez from the Dominican Republic, and Grace Paley from de Bronx.
Jamaica Kincaid is the darkest of the three, and I don't mean skin color. Many of her characters are without illusion, without mirth, without optimism. Here's how the title character of LUCY describes herself: I did not have position, I did not have money at my disposal. I had memory, I had anger, I had despair."
Julia Alvarez paints from a broader emotional palette. Her characters fight and moan and despair, but they also love and laugh and meet life head-on. In her novel, YO, here's how Yo's mother describes her American experience: To tell you the truth, the hardest thing coming to this country wasn't the winter everyone warned me about it was the language. If you had to choose the most tongue-twisting way of saying you love somebody, then say it in English. For the longest time I thought Americans must be smarter than us Latins because how else could they speak such a difficult language. After a while, it struck me the other way. Given the choice of languages, only a fool would choose to speak English on purpose.
And here, in a story called THE LOUDEST VOICE, Grace Paley's young lead character describes her voice and her surroundings: There is a certain place where dumb-waiters boom, doors slam, dishes crash; every window is a mother s mouth bidding the street shut up, go skate somewhere else, come home. My voice is the loudest.
So what does it say about them that these three star writers chose to live in Vermont, far from palm trees and loud city streets? To me it says that they were bold enough, ruthless enough, curious enough to leave family and the familiar to create a new life for themselves. That boldness is brilliantly reflected in their writing.
And what does it say about Vermont? To me it says several things. That, despite our cold climate, we are a desirable resting place for writers. That we accept the unusual, the different, the creative, and make them feel something approximating at home. It says that we appreciate accomplishment but give the accomplisher enough room to go to the store and grow her garden in peace.
Our reward is living next door to some of the world's finest writers.
This is Jules Older in Albany, Vermont, the Soul of the Kingdom.
Another Vermont site about the number of writers living in Vermont: Moving to the Write
Aquarius: "Famous Female Aquarius:
Jamaica Kincaid (born May 25, 1949) is an American writer, although she was born in Antigua. When she was a teen, she got a job in the United States as an au pair (nanny). Instead of sending the money home to her parents, whose morals she disagreed with, she worked odd jobs to stay in New York City, all the while writing notes for stories. One day, a good friend got ahold of some her notes and published them! To be an author, she changed her name to Jamaica Kincaid, which allowed her a break from the past and let her feel comfortable referencing that past for her work. She has published several works of fiction and even some nonfiction. We love Jamaica Kincaid because she is a strong woman who was not afraid to stand up for what she knew was right, even if it meant taking an uncertain path and going against her family. She used writing as a therapeutic way to deal with a dissatisfying and difficult past. Because she made the hard decision to follow her dreams with all her heart, she is now very happy with her life. She teaches in beautiful Vermont, where she now has a loving and supportive family with her husband and two children.
Blogger Claire Go on
A Small Place
"You are right, my reaction was purely a reader's response. I'm afraid I'm a terrible critic, as my pleasure in reading relies heavily on the aesthetic, i.e. the beauty of language, and what moves me emotionally, etc. As I do not remember much of what I had read before, just basing on the most recent, which was A Small Place, I do not think she was overly angry, but I do sense some bitterness. Her resentment towards the British capitalists was evident throughout the book. It was even the whole point of the book, I think, and not really Antigua itself. I have no biases against so-called angry authors, however. And yes, I do think her anger is justifiable. How can one not be angry with that history? What's great about her is that she is able to transform her anger into something truly beautiful and worth reading, and still able to send out the message. I believe I had read Girl before. If I'm not mistaken, it's one of the stories in At the Bottom of the River. I'll check my shelf later. I didn't know you were a blogger, I'll have to check it right away!
By the way, my last name is Go. Yes, you may use it, although I doubt I would have anything worthwhile to say. Haha. :)"
Question: (Jamaican reader emails question)
Where is Jamaica Kincaid?
Answer: "Jamaica Kincaid is not a location-a very very very common misunderstanding."
"Her real name is Cynthia Potter Richardson."
"Lucy is a description of her (Kincaid's) adulthood in coming to America."
"Go to Amazon.com and you can find... An Autobiography of her Mother"
Interesting (mis)-information from Jamaican news source http://www.getjamaica.com/