Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Monday, March 07, 2005  

The latest issue of the Trinidad and Tobago Review is out. The paper is finally available online (though this month's issue isn't, as yet). Among the March offerings is an interview with Derek Walcott. An excerpt:

Caribbean culture is—since it was permitted to be articulate—is just about two-hundred years old. And that is "babyhood", compared to any other culture. Right? But as I’ve said before, there has never been a place that has had such a concentration in a tight space of all the cultures of the world—in places like Trinidad and Jamaica. It is actually a more interesting place than ancient Greece. Because—I mean: How many tribes are there, now? And how many cultures were fed into ancient Greece—Egypt or whatever?

We can’t tell how deep this dispossession, or apparent dispossession, seems to go. And, right now, we see the preponderance of the peoples writing in the Caribbean—it’s African and Indian. But we have a lot of Chinese. We have a lot of Lebanese. When these people, out of a generation whose fathers are not merchants, or whatever—who came after slavery and indenture—when they begin to articulate themselves—we don’t know who our really great poet is going to be—what he’s going to look like. He’s not necessarily going to be African—or Indian. He may be Chinese. He may be Lebanese. He may be white. He may be anything.

(He may even be a she, I'm sure Walcott would agree.)

posted by Jonathan | 1:52 PM 0 comments


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