Sunday May 23, 2021
3pm - 4pm
Natalie Corthésy is a Jamaican poet and the 2020 Winner of The Caribbean Writer’s Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for a new or emerging writer for “The Helper Experiment” published in The Caribbean Writer Volume 34 under the theme, Dignity, Power and Place in the Caribbean Space.
She is also the recipient of many awards in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s National Festival of the Arts Creative Writing Competition.
Natalie’s work has been published in the Daily Gleaner, The Carimac Times, We Are Goodenough Magazine, Interviewing the Caribbean and The Caribbean Writer.
She is a Calabash International Literary Festival Poetry Workshop fellow and a contributor to the anthology: So Much Things to Say 100 Poets from the First Ten Years of the Calabash International Literary Festival, edited by Kwame Dawes and Colin Channer, Akashic Books, (2010).
Sky Juice is Natalie’s second book of poems after her debut collection Fried Green Plantains, Nasara Publishing, (2017).
Natalie lives and works in Kingston as a Lecturer at The University of the West Indies, Mona.
Inspired by her birthplace, Jamaica, the author has assembled a diverse collection poems that recounts familiar stories with a distinctive feminine voice. The title Sky Juice entreats the reader to recall a most treasured delight enjoyed by Jamaican children on hot days, which is every day! The imagery of a push cart vendor, peddling ice and syrup in a plastic bag to a school girl, eager to relish the sweet sip. The narrative is a reminder that telling our own stories is priceless. Evocative cultural memoires from Jamaica’s yesteryear and witty call and answer between the vendor and the school girl personas provoke ire and laughter. The musings that follow are whimsical descriptions of loved ones and love lost. The denouement is picturesque and sincere.
“In these carefully crafted poems, which wittily acknowledge Jamaican privilege and celebrate our popular culture, feminine identity is a central concern. The persona, identified as ‘a browning’, is recalling childhood and later events; reviewing dreams, desire, disappointment, sex and love. Sky Juice is distinctive work, an attractive collection” – Professor Mervyn Morris, former Poet Laureate of Jamaica
“The gaze of these poems are both internal as well as external, sharp as razors; they explore slavery and the colonial legacy, bruises and desires of women, as well as give voice to those iconic characters we encounter on the streets of Jamaica. Natalie Corthésy gifts us the entire tapestry.” Professor Opal Palmer Adisa, founder & editor of Interviewing the Caribbean.
WELCOME and Introduction of Panelists
Christine Randle, Ian Randle Publishers
Opal Palmer Adisa - Launch Address
fabian m thomas
"Sundress" and "Up"
Poetry + Voice by Natalie Corthésy
Movement + Direction + Videography + Editing by
Technical assistance and administrative support
Visit www.chillcreate.com to view the exhilarating contemporary work of this stand out graphic designer from Brixton England
Visit www.williamrichardsphotography.com to view iconic images and videos of notable Jamaican personalities and artistes captured by this talented photographer from Kingston Jamaica
Allybambooks in association with Jamaica National Bank UK are pleased to invite you to an evening with Natalie Corthésy award winning Jamaican poet in celebration of International Women's Day. 6pm-8pm Monday 13 March, 2023. Entry free. Books on sale at the event.
A free man can
see you in his sun burnt ancestors
yet he does not know his kin,
the names of the slaves that boarded the vessels,
nor the legend of their King.
A free woman can
feel you in her tightly knotted cane rows
but she does not know her tribe,
the rituals for babies born in drought
nor the courtship dance for a young bride.
Somehow, I have known you all my life
because the spirits followed me
through the middle passage, from a watery grave
unto island shores. I rise up
in a New World, free, yet still a slave.
But Mother knows best.
The Windrush that anchored me in Brixton
capsized innumerable souls with my own.
This village crippled folkways
silenced the kalimba lilt of colourful voices into a dull monotone.
I walk past generations
firing up Electric Lane with gritty cultural fare
but shops no longer sell that brand of happiness here.
I want to belong, to go home and come back.
But there is no refuge from being born black.
A collaboration between
Natalie Corthésy - “Soon Come”
poetry and narration
and Garfield of London -
“Get out of your box” artwork and installation.
I am the last guava left on the tree,
a lopsided stage hacked mid trunk.
The missing branches turned firewood are smoking
someone’s heaven on top and hell below
but the cornmeal pone in the middle will not bless my soul.
The birds have pecked and pecked and pecked
racing worms to a pulpy centre
where my sweet perfume masks decay and the lament of my seedy core.
I will not be handpicked for jam or flaky tarts.
I will not be stoned by children, nor slightly bruised before being bitten blissfully.
The sun shined my skin for weeks
until I was a reflection of her golden globe.
The rain wept with me, lightly
kissing droplets on my withering cheeks.
Now I stand alone patiently waiting for applause.
My own roots will shake me from this limb
and cast me to the ground into a crowd of ants.
Soldiers will retrieve my remains to nourish one of their own;
Queens are not born
they are made.
If clay is willing and nature is kind,
memories of me shall channel through the earth
to nascent stems and lime green leaves to nurse a seedling.
I am last in death and first in life;
the fruit and the tree dancing in the garden pantomime.
© Natalie Corthésy 2022
The Black Cultural Archives Gift Shop, 1 Windrush Square , London SW2 1EF
The University of the West Indies Book Shop, Mona Campus, Jamaica
The University of the West Indies Bookshop, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
Ian Randle Publishers, 16 Herb Mckenley Drive,
Kingston 6, Jamaica
We are pleased to invite you for an afternoon of poetry and conversation with Dr Natalie Corthésy, award winning Jamaican author, supported by The Black Cultural Archives. 3pm-5pm Saturday, 9th September 2023, Black Cultural Archives, 1 Windrush Square, London SW2 1EF. Entry free. Books on sale from the BCA Gift Shop. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org