Bronx Book Fair 2016


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The Currelley Literary Journal congratulates the Bronx Book Fair for a successful weekend of literary programming. This was the fourth year for the annual Bronx Book Fair. This year’s book fair  took place on May 7th -8th, 2016 at the Bronx Library Center. The Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the community of poets and writers in the Bronx and to connecting to readers and book lovers of all ages. Annually a coalition of committed literary, educational and cultural organizations and individuals come together to plan this annual event, now in its fourth year.The past three years have met with a great response from  Bronx residents and the larger New York City community, representing all five boroughs.

On Saturday May 7, the kickoff to the fair featured workshops, performances and readings from prominent writers throughout the New York City area. Local vendors will feature book-related items. And engaging family activities took place throughout the day. On Sunday May 8, Small presses gathered from around the city to create a pop-up bookstore. Publishers and editors from NYC area presses and journals were on hand to give talks and workshops. Local vendors, small presses and publishers tabled. Both days hosted children’s activities.

This year’s features included Carmen D. Lucca, LaTanya DeVaughn, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Bronx Librarians, lively Latin Jazz by Papo Pepin, Rebecca Brooks, Purvi Shah, Alison Roh Park, Mercy Tullis-Bukhari, Jonterri Gadson, Edward Currelley, Daphne Carter McKnight, Nkosi Nkululeko, Women in Comics, Ray Felix, Carolyn Butts, Carlos Aguasaco, Ulises Gonzales, Rachel Ansong, Jose Olivarez, Erik Maldonado, Yesenia Montilla, Kevin Sabio, Charlie Vazquez, Word Up Community Book Shop, Sisters Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center, Astoria Bookshop, Giovanni Ortiz, Ashley N. Ortiz, Jean Carlos Soto, Stephanie Trinidad, Ariana DiLorenzo, Yolanda Rodriguez, BxArts ‪Factory, and Natalie N. Caro.

13087668_470875996453671_7593162115298684518_n (1)Some of this year’s highlights and huge successes were A Conversation: Women, Arts Activism, Creativity and Social Responsibility moderated by Lorraine Currelley. Thanks to panel members Rebecca Brooks, Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari, Jonterri Gadson, Alison Parks and Purvi Shah for your powerful, inspiring and thought provoking words.

Bravo Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari, Edward Currelley, Daphne Carter McKnight and Nkosi Nkululeko. A Weaving of Voices: An Intergenerational Poetry Reading was spectacular!
Clap Snap: A Youth Poetry Reading, facilitated by Bronx Book Fair committee member Peggy Robles-Alvarado was inspiring and powerful!

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved

Ryan Lochte, Entitled & Privileged

I set in front of my television outraged by the prejudicial spins on the Ryan Lochte robbery fabrication. Listening as journalists tried their best to justify his behaviors and worse his lies. Behaviors and an arrogance deeply rooted in an American history of White entitlement and privilege. Journalists looked into cameras urging us to excuse Lochte and his buds behaviors. We were asked to give them a break. Afterall, they’re kids and kids make mistakes. Life goes on. This was followed by praising Lochte’s athletic abilities. Give me a fukking break! What does his athletic abilities have to do with anything? This is not about some young folk getting drunk at a party. This is about entitled and privileged White men drunkards pissing on gas station floors, destroying property, trying to escape and making false accusations of being robbed, robbed by an armed person of color. No innocent children in this scenario, no boys will be boys. Lochte is thirty two years of age.

What makes Lochte’s behavior extremely frightening is his belief that he would be believed. A belief based on the color of his skin. It’s the accusing Black men of kidnapping White babies, only to discover their mother strapped them in car seats and pushed the car into the river. It’s the belief his whiteness would exempt him from laws the rest of us follow. The racism embedded in his psyche. He believed the same American rules would play themselves out in Brazil. Black sons and daughters don’t get the same understanding, compassion, love, empathy and forgiveness. Yet Blacks are demonized for speaking truthfully about systems of oppression. We’re said to be privileged and entitled for having the audacity to do so. We’re called out for not placing our hands over our heart during the American national anthem.

His lies nearly caused an international incident. Brazilians have every right to protest the audacity of Lochte, to come to their country and behave badly. The Brazilian government could have initiated a manhunt for Lochte’s fabricated perps. I’m horrified by what could have resulted. Innocent lives could have died because of his lies. The facts are Brazil has a history of being racist and abusive to her Black people. His actions could have fed this monster. I have no doubt Blacks in the poor favas of Brazil and worldwide understood the unspoken realities entrenched in his lies. For me, I saw America.

Blacks and people of color live daily with these historical and present day realities. Whether in America or Brazil. We have a history of paying the price for America’s sons entitlement, privilege, ignorance, intention and stupidity. Innocent Black bodies swinging from trees, beaten to death, imprisoned, crosses burning on the lawns of Black people, threats, dragged from their homes, communities bombed, set on fire and men falsely accused of rape by America’s daughters. America continues to coddle her White sons, while she justifies the murders of Black mothers sons and daughters. Lochte? Lochte is not deserving of anyone’s forgiveness, nor a second chance. I give less than a damn about his future and endorsements, and believe all corporations that employ him should be boycotted.

No America, your sons will not be held nor suckle at the breast of my compassion. Your poisoned womb gave birth to this liar. My arms and heart remain heavy with the blood of my murdered Black sons and daughters.

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

PEN Celebrates Authors

Harlem Fine Arts Show Honors Congressman Charles Rangel and Author and Entrepreneur B.Smith

The Annual Harlem Fine Arts Show celebrates its seventh year at New York City’s Riverside Church. The opening reception honored Congressman Charles Rangel and Author and Entrepreneur B. Smith. The annual exhibition features a group nationally and internationally acclaimed black artists. Among the many guests on hand to celebrate the honorees were Hosts Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Poet Nella Larsen, Journalist Ann Tripp, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Playwright Vy Higginson, Visual Artist Shimoda Donna Emanuel, Poet Patricia Arthur and Aleathia Brown/ Unveiled Unlocked.

Some highlights of Harlem Fine Arts Show were dynamic female Pastor Wright. She delivered the opening prayer and welcome. Lovingly referring to those present as beloved. Journalist & radio personality Ann Tripp introduced B. Smith and Dan Gasby co-authors of ‘Before I Forget’. Dan Gasby utilized this as an opportunity to educate about the devastating disease Alzheimers. He said,”It’s also about understanding that Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects 5.2 million people. Almost two-thirds of Americans with the disease are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and older African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to have the disease than older whites are.”

There was an unveiling of a portrait of the Congressman Charles B. Rangel. He thanked everyone for attending and delivered a powerful message about the importance of community involvement. His lovely wife thanked those in attendance as well for honoring her husband. Congressman Rangel shared even though this would be his last year in congress, he would continue to be actively engaged in the life of the Harlem community.

Thanks to the gracious and welcoming LaZette McCants and volunteer Divas and Divos for a job well done!

Harlem Fine Arts Show, Riverside Church New York City until Sunday
February 8, 2016.

Harlem Fine Arts Show Gallery




(Photos Lorraine Currelley unless noted otherwise.)


Lorraine Currelley Curates Mom Egg VOX January 2016 Issue

Poets Network & Exchange, Inc.

Honored to curate  the VOX Gallery January 2016 Issue. Featured Poets and Writers E.J. Antonio, Jill Austen, Fay Chiang, Edward Currelley, Lorraine Currelley, Jacqueline Johnson, Nella Larsen, Carmel Mawle, Christopha Moreland, Kate Rushin, Alicia Anabel Santos , Margie Shaheed and Julia Stein.. Thanks to Marjorie A. Tesser, Founder & Editor in Chief, Mom Egg Review and featured contributors. Please visit and share widely.

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Ngoma’s Not Your Average String Thing

12654304_124513931265131_8021431466017120202_nOn Thursday August 6, 2015 Barrio Poetic featured poet Ngoma Hill is a dynamic wordsmith and musicologist. His performance was passionate, his words explosions of truth. Words and music tearing through and breaking down strangling societal isms and ills. Turning our collective anger,  and outrage into haunting passionate poems and songs of protest. All responding eloquently to the cries of the people for justice, equality, peace, and life. His musicology is  superb. “Ngoma’s Not Your Average String Thing -Vocals, Bamboo Flute, Electrik Violin, Acoustic Guitar, Yidaki (Didgeridoo) & Garage Band Tracks. Ngoma Hill performed works from his CD Lessons from the Book of Osayemi and his latest CD release Ngoma Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy. Ngoma Hill’s performance ended with a standing ovation from audience members.

Ngoma,  a former member of the SPIRIT HOUSE MOVERS AND PLAYERS with Amiri Baraka and the Contemporary Freedom Song Duo, SERIOUS BIZNESS, Ngoma weaves poetry and song that raises contradictions and searches for a solution for a just and peaceful world. Ngoma was the Prop Slam winner of the 1997 National Poetry Slam Competition in Middletown, CT and was published in AFRICAN VOICES MAGAZINE, LONG SHOT ANTHOLOGY, THE UNDERWOOD REVIEW, SIGNIFYIN’ HARLEM REVIEW,BUM RUSH THE PAGE/DEF POETRY JAM ANTHOLOGY and POEMS ON THE ROAD TO PEACE (Volumes 1,2 & 3)-Yale Press. LET LOOSE ON THE WORLD”(CELEBRATING AMIRI BARAKA at 75) He was most recently published in the 35th Anniversary Issue of Blind Beggar Press and The Understanding Between Foxes and Light. He was also featured in the PBS Spoken Word Documentary, “The Apro-Poets” with Allen Ginsberg. Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival (Yale University-New Haven, CT) for the past 18 years. Ngoma was selected as a participant at the Badilisha Poetry Xchange in Capetown, South Africa in fall of 2009.In December of 2011 he was initiated as a Priest of  Ngoma has hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival (Yale University-New Haven, CT) for the past 18 years. Ngoma was selected as a participant at the Badilisha Poetry Xchange in Capetown, South Africa in fall of 2009.In December of 2011 he was initiated as a Priest of Obatala in Ibadan, Nigeria. More recently he returned to Ibadan to be initiated as a Priest of Ifa. –

Hill’s latest release Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy continues his legacy of producing great music and poetry. Music for My Soldiers, Love Song, Where I Come From and Up South are four of the outstanding poems on Ngoma Hill’s  latest release. The authenticity of his poems content resonate with his audiences. There are no lies here, only truth telling. His poems and music is earth and soul grown. His words are love notes to listeners, those seeking truth. There is the presence of unrelenting hunger, thirst and raw passion. His poems had audience members moving and clapping in their seats, leading to a call and response. We became a chorus united in the refrain music for my soldiers, when he performed Music for My Soldiers. Where I Come From, another of Ngoma Hill’s poems is one man’s declaration of his rich heritage and that of a people. All poems are life explosions unabashedly unapologetic and uncompromising.

You can purchase both Lessons from the Book of Osayemi and Lessons from the Book of Osayemi (Chapter ll) Spirit/Blues/Prophecy @

iTunes,Amazon and Bandcamp

©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author is strictly prohibited.

The Death of Sandra Bland, The Manufacturing of a Case for Suicide

Stories of Sandra Bland’s alleged suicide continue to flood the airwaves non stop! Lets be clear! The stories being fed by media and coming out of Texas are manufactured to support the state’s case of suicide. Story after story created to seduce, distract and dismantle the truth of what happened to Sandra Bland. I urge everyone to stop digesting b.s. and creating scenarios surrounding her alleged suicide. They’re lies and campaigns created to free those responsible for her death! Your actions do not support justice for Sandra Bland! In actuality they support Texas in building their case against Sandra Bland!
Sandra Bland did NOT pack her belongings, drive to Texas to start a job she was excited about, enjoy a wonderful visit with family and friends with plans to commit SUICIDE BY COP! A real term used in the mental health profession. Her actions do NOT meet the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic Criteria from DSM – IV TR nor DSM -V- TR criteria for Suicide Ideation!
Feelings of depression are real! *Everyone experiences depression at some point. Mild Depression is often expressed as sadness. Manic Depression on the other hand leaves a person unable to perform normal daily functions. For example, the individual finds himself/herself unable to get out of bed, eat, dress and go to work. They’re overcome with a sadness that remains for a period of time. Mental health disorders are diagnosed by professionals! Usually when a person states they feel depressed they’re saying they feel sad, unless the words and behaviors expressed meet specific criteria.

Frankly, I’m surprised all black persons living in this country have not been diagnosed with PTSD including yours truly! I would expect everyone including yours truly to freely own this diagnosis! Daily we are assaulted with traumatic event after traumatic event. Brutality, murder and assaults to our humanity are our norm. PTSD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is the result of being traumatized. An individual(s) has/have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. Police brutality and murders of civilians, the death of a loved one, pet and experiences as a veteran contribute to PTSD criteria.*If for any reason you cannot cope and you are in need of help please seek out a professional! Sometimes, a good talk with a friend, family member or clergy unless trained is NOT enough!

Please visit Mental Health & Advocacy for information, resources, data etc. on mental health disorders.

©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Rewriting History “The Crowning of Amina II” and “Amina’s Child” – Bhs Video

"Rewriting History"

The Crowning of Amina II The Crowning of Amina II

The Crowning of Amina II , image 2 The Crowning of Amina II , image 2

The Crowning of Amina, image 3 The Crowning of Amina, image 3


Here are some other images from the shoot that I haven’t decided will be in the collection yet….I think at least one of them will…

I love how she's blurred and the color surrounding her. I love how she’s blurred and the color surrounding her.

Image 9

Image 7

Image 8

Watch the behind the scenes (in HD)!

The paper gown…my oh my, that paper gown…I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll start with where I got the idea. I’ve always wanted to make the beautiful gowns I grew up seeing in the old master paintings. Once, I even priced what it would cost to purchase the fabric and other supplies to make one. I quickly came to the conclusion that it would be much too expensive for me – especially if I wanted to make a few of them for a collection. It…

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PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature on Africa 4 May Opening Night Part One

17380416025_3489b5a300_cOn May 4th, 2015 The Currelley Literary Journal’s Editor Lorraine Currelley was present for Opening Night: The Future Is Now at Cooper Union’s Great Hall. The Great Hall was filled to capacity with all tickets sold out. Interested in attending? You’ll have to add your name to a wait list for remaining festival events. I arrived early and after a brief wait for my ticket I entered the Great Hall. Arriving early at these events is a sound practice, one I recommend. Cooper Union’s Great hall filled quickly, leaving arrivals searching anxiously for available seating.

There needs to be balance. No, we’re not one of the so-called leading traditional publications. We’re the peoples online publication (blog). We’re authentically on the ground giving you the insights not reported and folk often not photographed. We don’t run over anyone’s grandma to get to so-termed celebrities. For those unable to attend PEN, The Currelley Literary Journal is bringing events to the doors of our readers. We’re sharing an overview of events and the scenarios unfolding around them, through our lens. Our readers demand the best and we’re committed to asking their call. Become a part of this important conversation and discussion and if having, feel free to ask questions.


featured guests Mona Eltahawy, Richard Flanagan, Yahya Hassan, Lola Shoneyin, Tom Stoppard, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Binyavanga Wainaina and Jackie Wang.


featured guests Mona Eltahawy, Richard Flanagan, Yahya Hassan, Lola Shoneyin, Tom Stoppard, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Binyavanga Wainaina and Jackie Wang.

Opening Night: The Future Is Now featured writers Mona Eltahawy, Richard Flanagan, Aminata Forna, Yahya Hassan, Zaneke Muholi, Lola Shoneyin, Tom Stoppard, Nguigi wa Thiaong’o, Binyavanga Wainaina and Jackie Wang. Featured writers from around the globe were asked to present their worst and best-case scenarios for where the world may be in the year 2050. Audience members had an opportunity to hear insights they haven’t yet published, and an the opportunity to consider how our future is intimately connected to our present. Each writer in their unique way shared their visions for 2050. Here are some of those visions.

Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna

Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina

Zanele Muholi co-founder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW) and the founder of Inkanyiso, a forum for queer and visual (activist) media. Muholi’s self proclaimed mission is “to rewrite a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in South Africa and beyond.” Zanele Muholi’s presentation started with a short film of a group of young people walking to and at a graveyard. This image was powerful and the music haunting, consisting of crying, moaning, groaning and screams. When the film ended she stepped forward and proceeded to speak of Queer Africa, denouncing all forms of homophobia, isms and all discriminatory practices. Practices which denie freedom, equality and self-realization. She envisions the world of 2050 one in which all are free and inequality no longer exist. I’m inspired by her courage to speak truth. She used this opportunity wisely to speak out loudly about LGBTI oppression specifically and oppression worldwide on a world stage.


Ngugi wa Thiong

Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian American freelance journalist and commentator’s 2050 imagined a world of women who rejected historically assigned gender roles. Intergenerational women who were in leadership positions. A world free of inequality for future generations of women and girls. Her predictions and hopes brought rousing audience applause and voices of approval. Her powerful words speak to the atrocities being committed against African lesbian women and LBGTI communities in Africa. Read her photo essay Faces and Phases, in Passages Africa, Contemporary Writing from the Continent, Pen America publisher.

Jackie Wang, featured guest

Jackie Wang, featured guest

Jackie Wang’s addressed racism and oppression, and referenced Trayvon Martin. She writes about queer sexuality, race, gender, the politics of of writing, mixed race identity, prisons and politics, the politics of safety and innocence, and revolutionary struggle. Kudos to Jackie Wang for calling out audience members vacating in mass after Tom Stoppard spoke.  Jackie Wang was the evening’s event last speaker.

It is my hope the words of guests will spark an interest in community and world affairs. It is my hope everyone will become constructively engaged in creating needed change. It is not enough to listen to power words, we must hear them. Did opening night lay the foundation for the rest of the festival? I don’t know, it depends on what each attendee expects. I do know we have opportunities to engage on a world stage. We can ill afford to minimize their depth and breath.

                                                                Festival  Gallery


featured guests Mona Eltahawy, Richard Flanagan, Yahya Hassan, Lola Shoneyin, Tom Stoppard, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Binyavanga Wainaina and Jackie Wang.

(letf to right) Lorraine Currelley, editor The Currelley Literary Journal and Carolyn Butts, editor African Voices Magazine

(left to right) Lorraine Currelley, editor The Currelley Literary Journal and Carolyn Butts, editor African Voices Magazine


Audience members included essayist, poet and playwright Rashidah Ismali, Carolyn Butts, editor of  African Voices Magazine, and poet Jacqueline Johnson.

Link to PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature Videos

©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. (photo credit Lorraine Currelley, lead photo credit Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center)

PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature Part Two 05 May 2015 Gala

Susan Nossel, PEN Executive Director
Susan Nossel, PEN Executive Director

PEN History and Mission Statement: Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is a community of 3,600 American writers seeking working to break down barriers to free expression worldwide. It is the largest of 146 independent centers under the umbrella PEN International, a global network of writers founded in the aftermath of the First World War to advance the power of literature to foster greater understanding between people, communities, and societies.

Our strength is in our membership-a nationwide community of novelists, journalists, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, and literary agents-and an even larger network or devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN’s mission and work.

PEN Programming: Acting as both a literary coalition and a human rights advocacy group, PEN American Center develops programming with the aim to both spread a love of reading and writing and to defend freedom of expression wherever this is threatened. Our programs reflect this dual nature of the organization, and have an impact locally in New York City, nationally through an extensive network of American writers, and and globally wherever there are writers on our caseload.

Throughout the year, PEN American Center hosts events of all sizes for professional members, associates members, and the general public, including readings, rallies, translation slams, and industry networking events.Each spring, the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature showcases writers from around the world in a cross-cultural celebration of the written word. The festival brought over 1500 writers and artists from 78 countries to New York since its founding by Salman Rushdie in 2005.

New York Times, The Opinion Pages
An organization that champions dissidents must embrace dissent in its ranks. Over the last week, PEN American Center has been criticized by many writers, including some of our members, over our decision to present our PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Free Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that was the target of murderous attack in January. The heated debate proves the relevance of groups devoted to freedom of expression. It also demonstrates that in an open society, well-intentioned people with shared values can interpret and weigh principles differently.

Decisions are often problematic. Often, there’s a political, social and economic tight rope being walked. These are rarely black and white. PEN’s position remained: New York’s literati will gather in defense of freedom of expression at the annual PEN American Center Literary Gala.

There was a heavy security presence at the American Museum of Natural History on May 5th, 2015 for the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature Gala. No one was allowed admittance until the Museum had been swept and cleared of any and all possible danger, by plainclothes members of the New York City Police Department. The awarding of Charlie Hebdo Magazine with the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression was the impetus. There were no visible protestors with picket signs, verbal interchanges, chants, nor marchers. The heavily secured environment was controlled and quiet.

PEN honored the Paris-based satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo Magazine with the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award, to be received by the publication’s recently appointed editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard, and critic Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who survived the attack that killed eight of their co-workers and four others. The consensus was freedom of speech comes with allowing language and views we don’t necessarily agree on.

Honoree Tom Stoppard with wife Sabrina Guinness

Unspoken Heroes and Sheroes: It takes a village and all labor is important. Thanks to all event personnel from event support staff, coat check, wait staff delivering prime service and guest check in staff.
PEN staff

©Lorraine Currelley 2015. All Rights Reserved. (photo credit Lorraine Currelley)