For four years, tongues of the ocean was an online literary magazine that appeared three times a year, in February, June and October. Each issue featured between 20 and 28 poems, published two at a time every Sunday at midnight. The focus was on Caribbean and diaspora writing, written and spoken word alike. For the first several issues the magazine published poetry only, but with the addition of Sonia Farmer as prose editor, prose was also featured.
The magazine met a need in the Caribbean region at the time. I was its founding editor because I myself experienced the challenge of finding homes for my own work, especially if the focus and the language were Caribbean. The idea behind creating an online litmag also stemmed from my sense that Caribbean writers needed to gain experience in submitting work for publication, as the tendency in our region among writers who stayed there (as opposed to choosing to exile themselves for the sake of their art) was to self-publish. While this was indeed an option, it removed from our writers the discipline of working with an editor.
The magazine clearly filled a demand. We were flooded with submissions in those early years, and through the process of editing them, we were introduced to the work of writers such as Shivanee Ramlochan, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, Nicholas Laughlin, Lasana Sekou, Kendel Hippolyte, Joanne Hillhouse, Andre Bagoo and many others too many to name. I was also able to share with the wider world my favourite Bahamian writers, people like Marion Bethel, Ian Strachan, Patrick Rahming, Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, Helen Klonaris, Lynn Sweeting, and Obediah Michael Smith—people whose work stretched and inspired my own. We stopped publishing in 2014, but we’ve archived as many of the posts from that time as we can. Unfortunately, the internet being with it is, too many of the audio-visual files have disappeared into the aether. But we have salvaged what we can.
December 13, 2017