Saltwater Healing | Angelique V. Nixon | 2013 | 8.5” x 6″ | Limited Edition of 100
In this collection of collage and poetry, Angelique V. Nixon finds the path to healing and empowerment lies in both language and image. In eighteen snapshots, she collages photographs, drawings, and actual pieces from the Bahamian landscape—silk cotton, woman’s tongue pods, dried leaves and seeds—and uses them alongside handwritten poetry to explore and understand difficult stories through the lens of the natural world. Along with a selection of her own poems, the book finds beauty and strength in even the darkest of places. Like letting the ocean’s tide wash your sorrow out to sea, “Saltwater Healing” moves the reader through pain to a refreshing and more inspired place.
These chapbooks are hand bound with a simple pamphlet stitch in letterpress-printed covers with linoleum design. They were created Poinciana Paper Press and bound at Doongalik Studios, where it was launched in the spring of 2013. The book had a second launch that summer at Bluestockings in New York City.
Angelique V. Nixon is a writer, artist, teacher, scholar, activist, and poet — born and raised in Nassau, The Bahamas. She strives through her activism, writing, and art to disrupt silences, challenge systems of oppression, and carve spaces for resistance and desire. Angelique holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida (2008), where she specialized in Caribbean and African diaspora literatures, Caribbean and postcolonial studies, women’s studies and gender research. She is the recipient of a number of awards including a postdoctoral fellowship in Africana studies at New York University (2009) and a Fulbright Scholar Grant for research and teaching at University of the West Indies in Trinidad (2014). Her research, cultural criticism, and poetry has been published widely in academic and literary journals, namely Anthurium, Black Renaissance Noire, Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, MaComere, and small axe salon. Her work has also been featured in ARC Magazine, The Feminist Wire, Groundation Grenada, and Zora Magazine. She is author of the poetry and art collection Saltwater Healing – A Myth Memoir and Poems, published by Poinciana Paper Press (2013). And she is co-editor of the online multi-media collection Theorizing Homophobias in the Caribbean: Complexities of Place, Desire and Belonging. Her scholarly book titled Resisting Paradise: Tourism, Diaspora, and Sexuality in Caribbean Culture, (University of Mississippi Press, October 2015), explores the relationship between culture and sex within the production of “paradise” and investigates the ways in which Caribbean writers, artists, and activists respond to and powerfully resist this production. Angelique is a Lecturer at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago.
Angelique V. Nixon
trained to speak a language
taught to wield its power
told it be the way out,
this language is called proper
english, the correct way to speak
told as a child the way I spoke
was “bad,” “ghetto,” “over da hill talk,”
speaking “that way”
but now, we say our words with humour,
forgetting the shame
our dialect (Nation Language, Bahamian English)
decorating performances in our schools,
dressing plays at the Dundas, “sip sip” and “grape vine” in The Punch.
It was embarrassing,
for chirren gettin’ an education,
talkin’ Bahamian only at ‘appropriate’ times
during lunch an’ happy hours, rat bat nights
but now, our dialect is fun and entertaining, somet’ing to laugh at,
somet’ing dat really Bahamian, cause dis we tings, be a true true Bahamian,
cause if you is Bahamian,
you know the rawness, the rhythm,
the movement of speakin’ Bahamian
it can’t be fully captured
on paper, it gatta be heard
it is fluid in motion and sound,
to hear it, is to see it.
So when you ask me, “Wha’ happen to yuh Bahamian accent?”
my response can never be simple cause I fuh sure ain’ loss it
it was molded and masked through training
paddles on knuckles, uniformed classes, british/american teachers,
serving tourists in bars, working in offshore banking,
and gramma’s insistence on speakin’ right,
cause it would get me far,
but the place I went, was too far,
from her, my truth, my roots.
But come to find out, I slip in an’ out
of languages wit’ ease and discomfort
as I live between worlds of home and e’rry where else
in transition I be, through tongues,
what I was made to speak and what feel, what be, natural.