“Rhapsody: epic poem or singer of epic poems. A literary work written in an exalted or impassioned style.” ……Webster’s dictionary
The heroic figure from Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus, and his painful but triumphant return to Ithaca, his home, was my inspiration for the title of our blog, Rapsodia Antillana. Since we started the blog back in January of 2007, I have been somewhat consumed with attempting to convey my passion and my joy in expressing the spirit of my people, the Panamanian West Indians and their story.
On May 3, 2013, the University Press of the University of Panama finished printing the long awaited book of poetry, Rapsodia Antillana: Selección Bilingüe de Poesía Afro-Antillana de Panamá. I couldn’t help but collaborate with it’s main editor and compiler, Dr. Luis Wong Vega when I gave him permission to use the title Rapsodia Antillana this one time in the title of this momentous effort.
The book includes works by 40 West Indian Panamanian poets, both those living in Panama and those of the diaspora, mostly in the United States and it includes two of my own poems. It is a selection of poetry of the highest quality and its publication is unprecedented in the country and the region. Its literary, cultural, historical and bibliographical value is unquestionable and significant as a testimonial to the work of the authors and their unique experiences as West Indian Panamanians or, Afro Antillanos, as we are known in Panama. The collection spans different social and historical contexts covered within Panama.
The following list of poets are included in this book:
Ephraim Alphonse, Joseph Dixon , Juan G. Faguette, Earl V. Newland, Wilfred Methusiel Berry Gonin (Lord Cobra), John W. Evans, Alberto Smith Fernandez, Carlos Russell, Alfred Rowe Tutú, Walter E. Smith, Inés V. Sealy, Carlos Guillermo Wilson (Cubena), Gerardo Maloney, Roberto A. Reid, Luis Carlos Phillios Edwards, Luis A. Greenidge Barker, Antonio Alfonso Cox Campbell, Juanita Mitil, Raul Houlstan, Melvin Brown, Winston Churchill James, Orlando Segura-Johnson, Ernesto Holder, Yvette Modestín, Melanie Taylor, Uva Coles, Marta L. Sanchez, Zico Garibaldi-Roberts, George C. Campbell, Félix Andrew Salkey, Lorenzo Thomas, Julliet Christie Murray, E. Ethelbert Miller, Arnold J. Kemp, Roberto Harrison, Lisa Teasley, Delia Adassa McDonald, Su’ad Abdul Khabeer, José James, Tatyana Marisol Ali.