A Week of Poetry Posts

So as you can see from the last post, which featured a dear friend of mine, author Vanessa Salazar, this week is the Bocas Lit Fest. This is the festival’s fifth year. It is a wonderful event where you can meet many authors, both international and from the wider Caribbean region. You can also participate in workshops and mingle with other people who just like you, happen to love books.

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So, I’ll be away most of the week, instead of prompts, I’ll be uploading some of my poetry.

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Not to fear, the prompts will resume next week. Feel free to use my work as a jumping off point for your work. Besides communicating our thoughts and ideas, I think writing is our way to enter and contribute to the discussion of Art (be it someone else’s work).

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Look out tomorrow for Poetry of Place: focal point, India.

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Google Search Image, Taj Mahal, India.

And as always keep reading, writing and sharing your work!

Author Interview: Vanessa Salazar

Today, I will feature the work of Vanessa Salazar, a Trinidadian author who published her first novel, Selima and the Merfolk in 2014. A friend and fellow writer who I met a few years ago at Writers Union, she will be featured on the DIY panel at this year’s Bocas Lit Fest. Read on to learn more about Selima, and Vanessa.

Selima and the Merfolk

Selima and the Merfolk

1. Who are you and what do you do?

I am an easy-going blogger and first time author. If I had my way all I would do is write, read and hang out with my family.

Vanessa Salazar

Vanessa Salazar

2. Who designed the cover?

The painting was done by Jason Jarvis and Derick Smith did the graphics. I am extremely pleased with the cover.

3. Tell us more about the story…

The story begins with Selima going to live in Las Cuevas Bay with her estranged father, after her mother unexpectedly dies. Though her father is well known in the small community, no one knew he had a daughter except for his wife and mother-in-law. Selima feels terribly out of place and spends most of her time avoiding her perky stepmother, running away to the beach and eventually the forest. In the forest, she stumbles upon an extraordinary secret that has been hidden for hundreds of years…there is a mystical river, inhabited by merfolk.

Then, her adventure begins.

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Las Cuevas (North, Trinidad)

Las Cuevas (North, Trinidad)

4. How did you come up with Selima and the Merfolk, and why is it set in Las Cuevas?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and to write about mermaids. I am fascinated with them. When I was about six years old my grandfather convinced me that there were mermaids living in ‘The Fairy’ which is a river at the end of Las Cuevas Bay. That’s why the story is based in Las Cuevas.

This link gives more details as to why I wrote this book:  http://vanessasalazar.com/2013/01/15/whats-up-with-me-and-mermaids/

5. Who is your favourite character, and why?

Mrs. Clearwater. She is modelled after my grandmother who I like to call the black Sophia Petrillo (The Golden Girls).

6. What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing the novel?

Actually, I’ve had the story in my head for so long, it kind of wrote itself. My biggest challenge was finding time to write and edit.

7. What advice would you give to new writers?

Don’t rush. Your story is your own; tell it the way you want to tell it. However, never underestimate the value of good advice. Listen, learn and edit.

8. Where can readers find you?

I have a blog, www.vanessasalazar.com, and all my social media links can be found there.

9. Where can readers pick up a copy of Selima and the Merfolk?

If you are in Trinidad, copies can be purchased at:

Paper Based Bookshop – Hotel Normandie, 10 Nook Avenue, St. Anns

Deltex Art Shop – 66 Pembroke Street, Port of Spain.

Hardcover, paperback and e-book copies can be purchased online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. You can also send me a message on my blog’s contact page.

10. What’s next for you?

On Saturday 2nd May 2015 I will be featured on the DIY Lit Panel at the Bocas Lit Fest.

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Location: NALIS POS, 1st Floor, Seminar Room 1

Times: The DIY Lit Panel – 1:00pm-2:00pm.

Check Out the link below for the list of authors:

Bocas Lit Fest 2015 Authors

Thanks for stopping by Vanessa. It was a pleasure having you here. I enjoyed reading Selima and the Merfolk and look forward to hearing you read on Saturday.

For those of you who live in Trinidad, do stop by and check out Vanessa on the DIY Lit Panel, and for others abroad go to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com to purchase the book and post your reviews. It’s a really good read especially for young adults.

Show Your Work!

show your work    show your work 2


A fan of Austin Kleon work (Show Your Work & Steal Like an Artist) because they always appear at the right time, with pertinent advice, I am daring myself to go one step further and share some poetry in this space that I have already chosen to use mostly for writing about fiction. Hopefully, you will forgive me if I have overstepped my bounds, but I believe, as writers, we should be open to tackling other types of writing. It is because of this that I am putting this out there to share with you.

Truth be told, I fell into reading ghazal’s because I went to a writer’s conference (Bocas Lit Fest) which featured the work of Shara McCallum, a Jamaican born poet who lives in the U.S. At the event she read a few pieces from This Strange Land, including a ghazal. Besides this, I have also read poems by Agha Shahid Ali from his book of poems called, The Country Without a Post Office. He too has quite a few ghazals and both books are fascinating. (And for anyone who isn’t in the know: A ghazal in Middle Eastern and Indian literature and music is a lyric poem with a fixed number of verses and a repeated rhyme, typically on the theme of love, and normally set to music.)


aliphoto      The-Country-Without-a-Post-Office-9780393317619

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the poem and as always, thanks for reading!



How do we arrive into the future?
Is duty our burden? Or is it honor?

O Father, every day you moan, belaboring my profession.
But how can I watch things, and not express doubt?

When Shahid wrote to the world:
Hope extinguished, now nothing else remains.

Our nation too is being torn asunder.
As unrest rolls in on the clouds.

Yet there is no great leader.
No one capable of filling those shoes.

So, every day I listen for the news.
Hoping a caucasus will create change.

Then they ask, “What does Melissa mean?”
Honey bee, I say, in Greek.