Of Islands and Other Mothers

“From one woman acting on behalf of a daughter to the next, had maternal fierceness somehow forged a chain to connect us across the divisive waters of race and religion and history? Was this then, at last, our Caribbean archipelago?”

My reported essay about Caribbean New York, “Of Islands and Other Mothers,” appears in the literary atlas Nonstop Metropolis (University of California Press, 2016), edited by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. My piece tells the stories of Caribbean immigrant women across Queens and Brooklyn. It takes readers to temples and churches, introducing them to seers and the heterodox, and reframes Derek Walcott to ask how gender allows us to bridge islands of difference created by race, religion and histories of bondage in the West Indies and its diaspora in New York. Other contributors include Marshall Berman, Garnette Cadogan, Teju Cole, Francisco Goldman, Valeria Luiselli, Margo Jefferson, Suketu Mehta, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.