John Wickham and Ian McDonald (eds.), Bim & Kyk-Over-Al. NULLJune 1990.
The joint issue of Bim
and Kyk-Over-Al is a happy marriage
of two important magazines which have done so much to provide outlets
for aspiring writers in the Caribbean over many years with 73 issues of
Bim and 41 of Kyk-Over-Al.
John Wickham, editor of Bim states that it may not be desirable to make this union permanent. This is undoubtedly true; literary magazines are usually, and perhaps should be, small. This is doubly so in the Caribbean with its tiny and poor populations. But as a one-shot experiment, it is pleasing, showing the similarities in the region.
Unfortunately, the "region," as exhibited in the joint issue, excludes Jamaica with the exception of poet Jean Goulbourne with four contributions in Bim; and businessman/poet Ralph Thompson and veteran artist/poet Gloria Escoffery in Kyk-Over-Al. This is not a reflection on editorial policy but evidence that Jamaicans pay little attention to good writing and do not concern themselves with literary magazines. Kyk-Over-Al's subscription rates do not include Jamaica while they are given in Guyanese, Eastern Caribbean, U.K. and U.S. currency. Jamaica has yet to produce a Frank Collymore, an A.J. Seymour or an Anson Gonzales (as in Trinidad) so that a literary magazine can be kept going.
Perhaps most striking about this joint issue is the ability of Ian McDonald to provide so much material, and very interesting material at that, in "Across the Editor's Desk." Seymour has clearly left a good heir in him.
Of note, too, is the fact that no fewer than three Caribbean "greats" in the field of the arts are remembered, A.J. Seymour with several tributes to him; Frank Collymore, with comments both on his prose and poetry; and Aubrey Williams, the famous Guyanese artist with Stanley Greaves telling about him.
As a footnote to Greaves's comments, it should be noticed that there is an omission to the list of countries where Aubrey Williams's paintings were exhibited, an omission which Aubrey himself would have been quick to rectify. The missing country is the Republic of Ireland. His paintings had been exhibited in a Dublin Gallery before he became famous. Maybe that exposure helped to launch him on the road to fame as Aubrey referred to it with gratitude. Of interest is that the Dublin Gallery was owned and managed by a Jamaican, David Hendricks.
Another thing to notice about the contributions is the very effective short story, "Pork Eater" by Rooplall Monar which is told in dialect.
A joint issue of great merit.
Copyright © John Wickham and Ian McDonald