Citation
Kyk-over-Al

Material Information

Title:
Kyk-over-Al
Uniform Title:
Bim
Portion of title:
Kyk over Al
Portion of title:
Kyk
Portion of title:
Kykoveral
Creator:
British Guiana Writers' Association
Kykoveral (Guyana)
Place of Publication:
Georgetown Guyana
Publisher:
s.n.
Publication Date:
Frequency:
Two no. a year
semiannual
regular
Language:
English
Physical Description:
v. : ; 23 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Guyanese literature -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Caribbean literature (English) -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Genre:
review ( marcgt )
periodical ( marcgt )
serial ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
Guyana

Notes

Dates or Sequential Designation:
Began in 1945?
Dates or Sequential Designation:
-49/50 (June 2000).
Numbering Peculiarities:
Publication suspended, 19 -1983.
Issuing Body:
Issued by: British Guiana Writers' Association, 1945-19 ; Kykoveral, 1985-
General Note:
Vol. for Apr. 1986 called also golden edition that includes anthology of selections from nos. 1-28 (1945-1961).
General Note:
Description based on: No. 30 (Dec. 1984); title from cover.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
12755014 ( OCLC )
86649830 ( LCCN )
1012-5094 ( ISSN )

UFDC Membership

Aggregations:
Digital Library of the Caribbean

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
raUi AMERICA


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December


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46/47
1995













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46/47


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___________ ____















Friends of Kyk-Over-Al # 46/47



Many individuals and companies have assisted Kyk-Over-Al
since the magazine was relaunched 10 years ago in December 1984.
Indeed without such help Kyk could not possibly have continued. In
Guyana or the West Indies perhaps, indeed, anywhere a literary
magazine can by no means survive thregh sales alone so we are
dependent on sponsoship provided by people and companies with
the imagination to see that a magazine like Kyk is worth keeping
going for the sake of the contribution it makes to cultural and
intellectual life in the country. In the cse of this Special Anniversary
issue, we owe a paticular and very great debt of gratitude to five
organizations which have greatly assisted usin the publication. We hope
that it will be rewaid enough for them to know that their support has
enabled an important part of our cultural tradition in Guyana and the
West Indies to be preserved now and, we hope, well into the future. We
extend our sincere thanks to the following:


Sheli Antilles & Gulanas Limited
National Bank of Industry & Commerce
Bank of Nova Scotia
Barama
Associated Industries
Demeraa Distillers Limited





KYK# 46/47


The cost of printing and distributing literary magazine is very heavy.
Please help us to strengthen Kyk-Over-Al by sending your subscription
to:
IAN McDONALD (Editor), c/o Guysuco, 22 Church Street,
Georgetown, Guyana.
In the U.K. please apply to:
F.H. THOMASSON, 25 Carlton Mews, Wells, Somerset, BA5
1SG.
In Canada and the United States please apply to:
JENNIFER SINGH, 33 Sunburst Square, Scarborough, Ontario
NIB 2R3.



Subscriptions per issue (including postage)

G$800 EC$20 7 US$10 CAN$12



The Editor would welcome the submission of poems, short stories,
articles and reviews to consider for publication. Publication, of course.
cannot be guaranteed and because of expenses it will not be possible to
return manuscripts.

Copyright 1995.

No reproduction by any means, except for short extracts for review
purposes, may be made without the permission of the Editor.

ISSN 1012-5094

Layout & Typesetting of Kyk-Over-Al # 46/47
by
Red Thread Women's Press
62 Hadfield Street, Werk-en-rust,
Georgetown.






50th Anniversary Issue


Editors: lan McDonald & Vanda Radzik


Contents


Editorial Comment 6

S Kyk at 50
A.J. SEYMOUR
Biography of a Magazine 14


ELMA SEYMOUR
Message 23

From Kyk-Over-Al # 1
A.J. SEYMOUR
Editorial Notes 27

VERE T. DAL.Y
The Story of Kykoveral 29

ANNA BENJAMIN
Note on Vere T. Daly 36

A.J. SEYMOUR
The Earth is a Woman 38

N.E. CAMERON
Drama in British Guiana 39

Special Contributions
EDWARD BAUGH
A Literary Friendship 44

JOHN WICKHAM
On the 50th Anniversary 51

FRED D'AGUIAR
Bill of Rights 53

JACQUEIINE de WEEVER
In the Beginning 57


Mark McWatt
Beloved Rivers A Fictional
Encounter in 10 poems

GEORGE SIMON talks to
ANNE WALMSLEY
Art Looking Inland


EusI KWAYANA
Kyk at 50


MICHAEL GILKES
Swimmer 78

NIGEL WESTMAAS
Personal Reflection 80

FRANK BIRBALSINGH
Edgar Mittelholzer
(1909-65) 82

RUPERT ROOPNARAINE
In Advance of the Wave 90

JAN Lo SHINEBOURNE
Recollections 94

* Guyana Prize, 1994
DENNIS CRAIG
Opening Remarks 105

EDWARD BAAUGH
KEN RAMCHAND
Judges' Report 109


MARK McWArT
Acceptance Speech


Kyk-Over-Al # 46/47






KYK # 46/47


,- Poetry
DAVID JACKMAN
A Carib Remembers

MICHAEL GILKES
Prospero's Island

IAN MCDONALD
Massa Day Done
Homecoming


KIREN SHOMAN
Once a Week with a Wet Rag 137

LL is POMALES
Concordia Street 138

CECIL GRAY
Spinning Tops 139
Triptych 140
Ole Talk 141
Drums 142

SIDNEY ALLcocK
Missing 145

BRIAN PASTOR
Wellington 147

DENISE GRAY-GOODEN
Generation Trap 149
Measuring 150

STEWART BROWN
Ti-Maru 151

JACQUELINE de WEEVER
Fires 154
Requiem: The Feast of 155
the Holy Innocents


SASENARINE PERSAUD
Postcard to a Sister in
130 South America
STANLEY GREAVES
132 Dream of Demerara
De Profundis
Uncle John


JOHN FIGUEROA
Windows

NICOLA GRIFFITH
The Falling Star


ca Stories
RoY BRUMMELL
The Ugly Child Lives 167
KEITH JARDIM
Sea House 170
PAULINE MELVILLE
The Grasp of the Ant-Eater 179
DAVID JACKMAN
The Dowry 191
HARISCHANDRA KHEMRAJ
The Missionary 197
(from The Magic Mist)
CY GRANT
Blackness and the 200
Dreaming Soul

43 Articles
FRANK BIRBALSINGH
Interview/ Martin Carter 218
DOROTHY ST. AUBYN
Star-World of the 235
Amerindians





KYK # 46/47


ANDREW SALKEY
Here's Thinking of You,
Sam-Sam
CLEM SEECHARAN
History as Autobiography

. Criticism
KErm S. HENRY
An Appreciation of Austin
Clarke
PHIL NANTON
John Figueroa, Anthologist
and Poet

/ Reviews
Eusi KWAYANA
Cosmic Dance
(by Harichandra Khemraj)


AMEENA GAFOOR
Tomorrow is Another Day
(by Narmala Shewcharan)


Walk Good Guyana Boy 292
240 (by Bernard Heydom)
JOYCE JONAS
Sometimes Hard 297
250 Stoning the Wind 299
(by Cyril Dabydeen)

AL CREIGHTON
Resurrection at Sorrow Hill 302
267 (by Wilson Harris)


FRANK BIRBALSINGH
273 Estate People
(by Rooplall Monar)


Illustrations
MARTIN JORDAN
284 Rain Forest Series


MAQUEDA HINDS
Kyk-over-al Cover Sketch


Contributors 313


Note on Illustrations

The four pen and ink Rain Forest drawings featured in
this special edition of Kyk are reproduced from a series
of cards printed with permission from the artist, Martin
Jordan, by Red Thread Press in support of a turtle
conservation project in North West, Guyana. The 'Pine
Cards' awareness initiative was the inspiration of
Trevor Sharples and Julia Liebeschuetz two VSOs who
worked in Guv'ana in 1993.





KYK # 46/47


SEditorial Comment


Kyk-Over-Al's 50th Birthday


We hope this special double issue of Kyk-Over-Al, which
commemorates the 50th anniversary of the magazine's first
appearance in December, 1945, will speak eloquently for itself. It
is a normal, though more ample than usual, issue of the magazine
with a section recalling the first issue of Kyk and including a
number of special contributions for the occasion.
All of us involved in bringing out this issue are grateful to
those who have provided encouragement and made contributions.
For our part we simply feel a sense of satisfaction that fifty years
after the event we are able to celebrate Kyk's birth with another
issue of a magazine which is undeniably an important part of the
literary and cultural history and heritage of Guyana and the wider
West Indies. It must be our endeavour and the endeavour of those
who come after us that this small miracle of continuity is
maintained.

AJS: A Tribute by lan McDonald

In large part we look upon this special issue as a tribute to the
memory of AJS, father of Kyk and editor of that first, seminal
sequence of 28 issues which he produced between 1945 and 61.
The life A.J Seymour lived you would not have thought that
he would have had the time, the nervous energy, the mental
inclination, or the emotional space to fashion anything more than
the gleaming vestige of a poetic career. Yet he has been prolific
.in his output of poems and he will surely be considered when
cultural historians stand back far enough in time an important
West Indian poet both in terms of what he achieved intrinsically
and in terms of his seminal influence on the region's poetry in the





KYK # 46/47


period of transition from colonial status to independent stature.
His life was so full of other things that the urge to write poetry
must have been extraordinarily powerful to enable him to
achieve so much in this one demanding endeavour out of so
many others.
It is not just that AJS had any number of irons in the cultural
fire. Those alone would have taken up a few worthwhile life-times
for most men. Perhaps even more remarkable to observe, and
wonder how he found the time and energy to write his poems, is
that he was a conscientious, full-time civil servant dutifully
pursuing an arduous career and also a devoted husband and
father and God-fearing man whose life very much revolved
around family, friends, and Church. There never seems to have
been a question of wanting to break the bonds of convention,
kick over the traces, overturn all, escape to the South Seas, in order
to write his poems. Poetry had to take its place among other
activities in a hard-working administrative career and within an
ordered and self-consuming family circle. AJS seems to have
accepted this as a controlling fact of life, a "given", a way of
looking at things that was not to be, and was not, questioned. His
many volumes of autobiography "Growing Up in Guyana",
"Pilgrim Memories", "Family Impromptu". "30 Years a Civil
Servant", "The Years in Puerto Rico and Mackenzie" indicate
this clearly enough. His life in poetry and poetry's deep
significance for him is certainly vividly portrayed. At the age of
22 he writes his first poem and:

...suddenly the discovery of this gift acted as a focusing of
the latent energies of my life, both at that time
and later on in life. I had discovered the central citadel of
my inner life and was to link that gift to the unrolling of
revelation in religion, especially in the phrase 'the image
ofthe likeness of God'.

But poetry does not by any means dominate nor even take





KYK# 46/47


pride of place in the story of his life as AJS tells it. If
anything, family and religion play much the most important part
in his life. At any rate there was never any doubt in his mind that
first and foremost he must apply himself to earning a living so
that he could marry and raise a family and provide worthily for
them. There is perhaps a faint note of regret when he relates at
one point how the writing of poetry retreated into the background
of his life from 1945 for some 25 years:

From 1936 to around 1944 1 had been conscious of a
continuous flow of poetry from my pen and I had
published by 1945 Verse, More Poems, Over Guiana,
Clouds, and Sun's in My Blood...But these three jobs-
Government broadcasting, editing Kyk-Over-Al and being
the executive officer of a cultural union absorbed those
emotional tensions that had previously expressed
themselves in my poetry, and so the main tide of my
creativity was diverted. It was not until 1970 with the
great change in my duties and with the evolution of my
country that I recovered my personal voice in poetry
and my second creative phase emerged

Regret, perhaps, but regret voiced with no doubt at all that
what he was doing with his life was both inevitable and right.
His Muse, though strong and insisting to be heard, never
threatened to be so fierce and jealous as to divert him from that
conscientiously chosen path in life.
What he was doing with his life, apart from working
assiduously at his Government job and helping raise a large
family was of vital importance to the cultural development of
Guyana and, indeed, the Caribbean region. He was turning
himself into a one man cultural task force.
It has to be remembered especially by those who think of
him first as a poet that AJS made an incalculable impact on
life and letters in Guyana simply by his active presence and





KYK # 46/47


leading role in the country's cultural and educational life. Month
by month, through his editing of Kyk-Over-Al, his dedicated
work in broadcasting,his secretaryship of the Union of Cultural
Clubs (until it broke up in the early 1950s), his indefatigable
writing of essays and articles in local magazines and newspaper,
his enthusiastic encouragement of young writers and production
of their publications, his devotion to the vital importance of
literature in the life of an emerging nation which he communicated
to all around him and the society at large, his explanation of the
West Indian dimension to our cultural life through this
multitudinous attention to intellectual and cultural awareness
among all sections of the community, he dramatically advanced
the cause of Guyanese and West Indian literature in a
particularly formative stage in its history. In the book produced in
honour of his 70th birthday, I wrote about his contribution in the
following terms:

His life at one very important level is a record of 50
years of dedicated work in literature. He began in an era
when everything was still to be done. Indeed, it may be that
pioneers have to attempt too much. When young Seymour
in the early 1930s seriously began to think what
contribution he might make to life and letters in his home
land, consider how much needed to be done, how many
moulds required breaking, how many initiatives needed
to be taken. The Empire had not yet begun to fade. The
status of his country was colonial, the mentality
dependent, the heritage imperial, the culture derivative.
Think of the varied challenges that must have faced a
young man's sense and sensibility in those times. It must
have almost seemed too much. There were poems to write
whose themes were Guyanese and Caribbean not
metropolitan and whose imagery was tropical and
experienced, not temperate and second-hand. There was
a whole new world of deeply felt historical experience to





KYK # 46/47


open up. There was new thinking to be done in half a
dozen fields. Critical work had to be informed by
different themes and original perspectives. So many fresh
starts had to be made. A whole new context had to be
prepared for the coming generations. The work that is
done at the beginning of anything, like the foundations of
a great building sunk beneath the earth, is least seen but
is the most important part. Seymour as designer and
architect of post-colonial structures of thought and art
and writing in Guyana and the Caribbean is still to be
filly assessed and properly acclaimed.

And in Kvk-Over-Al, # 39, in a tribute to mark his 75th
birthday, I tried to give some idea of the scope of work he
accomplished:

...his overall contribution to the cultural tradition of
Guyana and the Caribbean is truly astonishing. I do not
think the younger writers and academics grasp it fully.
The AJS bibliography compiled by the National Library
in 1974 was already 100 pages long and since then must
have doubled in length. This amazing man's work
contains poems, historical publications, reviews,
broadcasts, essays, addresses, entries in anthologies,
forewords, lectures, talks, pamphlets, memoirs, sermons,
eulogies, magazine work, and books in such profusion
that one would be excused for thinking this was the
record of a school, not one man alone.

"So much to do, so little time to spare" though when it
came to spreading the word about literature he always made the
time. Yet for me AJS is preeminently AJS the poet. I have a great
regret that more of his life was not devoted to poetry, devoted to
perfecting the craft and art poetry, devoted to expanding the
frontiers of poetry in the West Indies when he was in the full





KYK # 4647


vigour of his most creative years. God knows that in his poetry he
achieved great things. But I simply have the feeling that he had
the capacity, the genius in him, to create and sustain more
complex, more challenging, more innovative, more deeply
searching and questioning poetry than he ever did succeed in
writing. He never quite had the time left over in a very full and
satisfying life to explore the outer limits or the innermost reaches
of language as he himself, I think, would have wished to do.
Nevertheless he is a West Indian poet who will always be
read. The mass of poems he wrote represents a magnificent
achievement. Many of the poems will be remembered as long as
forever ever lasts in the West Indies. Some of the poems -Sun is
a Shapely Fire; Name Poem; For Christopher Columbus;
Tomorrow Belongs to the People; Amalivaca; Legend of
Kaieteur; Over Guiana; Clouds; There Runs a Dream; I Heard
a Rooster Call; to name an essential handful have deservedly
become classics and will be read in the text books generation
after generation.
In this special issue of his brain-child, therefore, I believe
AJS would have wanted us to remember him not only as inspired
founder and editor of what will always in a real sense be "his"
magazine, but also by the simple name of poet. And so we praise
him now for all he did, for the gift of Kyk, and for the poetry he
loved so deeply and wrote so well".















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Photograph of Kykoveral, by Robin Pieters,
courtesy of 'Stabroek News'.





KYK # 46/47


leading role in the country's cultural and educational life. Month
by month, through his editing of Kyk-Over-Al, his dedicated
work in broadcasting,his secretaryship of the Union of Cultural
Clubs (until it broke up in the early 1950s), his indefatigable
writing of essays and articles in local magazines and newspaper,
his enthusiastic encouragement of young writers and production
of their publications, his devotion to the vital importance of
literature in the life of an emerging nation which he communicated
to all around him and the society at large, his explanation of the
West Indian dimension to our cultural life through this
multitudinous attention to intellectual and cultural awareness
among all sections of the community, he dramatically advanced
the cause of Guyanese and West Indian literature in a
particularly formative stage in its history. In the book produced in
honour of his 70th birthday, I wrote about his contribution in the
following terms:

His life at one very important level is a record of 50
years of dedicated work in literature. He began in an era
when everything was still to be done. Indeed, it may be that
pioneers have to attempt too much. When young Seymour
in the early 1930s seriously began to think what
contribution he might make to life and letters in his home
land, consider how much needed to be done, how many
moulds required breaking, how many initiatives needed
to be taken. The Empire had not yet begun to fade. The
status of his country was colonial, the mentality
dependent, the heritage imperial, the culture derivative.
Think of the varied challenges that must have faced a
yowig man's sense and sensibility in those times. It must
have almost seemed too much. There were poems to write
whose themes were Guyanese and Caribbean not
metropolitan and whose imagery was tropical and
experienced, not temperate and second-hand. There was
a whole new world of deeply felt historical experience to





KYK # 4647


open up. There was new thinking to be done in half a
dozen fields. Critical work had to be informed by
different themes and original perspectives. So many fresh
starts had to be made. A whole new context had to be
prepared for the coming generations. The work that is
done at the beginning of anything, like the foundations of
a great building sunk beneath the earth, is least seen but
is the most important part. Seymour as designer and
architect of post-colonial structures of thought and art
and writing in Guyana and the Caribbean is still to be
fidly assessed and properly acclaimed.

And in Kvk-Over-Al, # 39, in a tribute to mark his 75th
birthday, I tried to give some idea of the scope of work he
accomplished:

...his overall contribution to the cultural tradition of
Guyana and the Caribbean is tndy astonishing. I do not
think the younger writers and academics grasp it filly.
The AJS bibliography compiled by the National Library
in 1974 was already 100 pages long and since then must
have doubled in length. This amazing man's work
contains poems, historical publications, reviews,
broadcasts, essays, addresses, entries in anthologies,
forewords, lectures, talks, pamphlets, memoirs, sermons,
eulogies, magazine work, and books in such profusion
that one would be excused for thinking this was the
record of a school, not one man alone.

"So much to do, so little time to spare" though when it
came to spreading the word about literature he always made the
time. Yet for me AJS is preeminently AJS the poet. I have a great
regret that more of his life was not devoted to poetry, devoted to
perfecting the craft and art poetry, devoted to expanding the
frontiers of poetry in the West Indies when he was in the full





KYK # 46/47


vigour of his most creative years. God knows that in his poetry he
achieved great things. But I simply have the feeling that he had
the capacity, the genius in him, to create and sustain more
complex, more challenging, more innovative, more deeply
searching and questioning poetry than he ever did succeed in
writing. He never quite had the time left over in a very full and
satisfying life to explore the outer limits or the innermost reaches
of language as he himself, I think, would have wished to do.
Nevertheless he is a West Indian poet who will always be
read. The mass of poems he wrote represents a magnificent
achievement. Many of the poems will be remembered as long as
forever ever lasts in the West Indies. Some of the poems -Sun is
a Shapely Fire; Name Poem; For Christopher Columbus;
Tomorrow Belongs to the People; Amalivaca; Legend of
Kaieteur; Over Guiana; Clouds; There Runs a Dream; I Heard
a Rooster Call; to name an essential handful have deservedly
become classics and will be read in the text books generation
after generation.
In this special issue of his brain-child, therefore, I believe
AJS would have wanted us to remember him not only as inspired
founder and editor of what will always in a real sense be "his"
magazine, but also by the simple name of poet. And so we praise
him now for all he did, for the gift of Kyk. and for the poetry he
loved so deeply and wrote so well".



















































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Photograph of Kykoverat, by Rabin Pieers,

courtesy of 'Stabroek News'.


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KYK # 46/47


Kyk at 50





KYK # 46/47


g Kykat50


AJ SEYMOUR

The Biography of a Magazine

In 1956, in introducing The Golden Kyk, an anthology
of selections from Kyks 1 to 28, AJS wrote an article
which can appropriately serve as Preface to this special
section honoring Kyk on the 50th anniversary of its
birth. AJS called his article: "Literature in the Making
The Contribution of Kyk-Over-Al".

The biography of a magazine includes the consideration of the
part it played in the making of a national literature which is still
incomplete although it has some considerable body.
First the basic narrative. Kyk started in 1945 as the organ of
the British Guiana Writers Association, and gradually assumed
the responsibility for printing the more important lectures and
discussions of the British Guiana Union of Cultural Clubs. This
was possible because the editor was also the honorary secretary
of the Union of Clubs. Then the Writers Association ceased to
meet, and later the Union of Cultural of Clubs fell apart, leaving
the editor to pursue the development of the magazine without
clients of any sort. The editor was himself at first staff member and
then the head of the Government Information Services and there-
fore committed to providing facts and information to all. He was
himself a poet and looking back, it appears that without his being
very conscious of it, he was seeking to make a distinction in his
poetry of a public voice and a private voice. So here is the editor
as a primary resource.
A word now about the function of a Little Review or literary
magazine since this type of magazine has a history of its own.
The little review is important in the world of literature and





KYK # 46/47


particular in the English language as a contemporary record of
trends in new writing, that would otherwise receive little
attention. In the 1945 Little Review Anthology, the English poet
Denys Val Barker points out that over the pass two centuries in
England, there is a long story of writers, later to become famous,
making their first appearance in print among small and unknown
magazines. The little review is valuable and important since it can
print new forms of writing which are too revolutionary for the
popular press to notice except in a glancing fashion. For example,
the novel Ulysses by James Joyce had to come out in the little
reviews before conditions for book publications could be created.
A little review is also produced by a writer who finds that he has
something to say of an unorthodox, controversial or visionary
nature. D.H. Lawrence published his own magazine Signature in
this way.
In the regional sense, the Little Review is important, to
express a growing nationalism. Huges MacDiarmid, one of
Scotland's leading national poets, unpopular with other editors
because of his strong nationalistic and socialistic approach,
found it necessary to bring out his own magazine Voice of
Scotland and we have magazines with the names of Wales and
Welsh Review to cater for regional ambitions.
During the 1939/45 war, we also had Little Reviews devoted
to the literature of countries overrun by enemy forces Free
France, Belgian Message, Czech Review, Greek Hellas and so on.
There is also a special type of review which developed -
the book anthology or book magazine. These looked like
magazines but were books. Men and Women in the British
Military Services brought out anthologies Bulge Blast, Khaki
and Blue, and Air Force Poetry. The same was true of short
stories, published in little review collections.
Looking back after many years, the editor was only vaguely
conscious of some of these events, in England, a far away centre
of Empire. The editor was only vaguely conscious also of many
of the social forces operating in Guyana in the 1940's although





KYK# 46/47


looking back, it is evident what has taken place.
In the first place, national health had become much better; it
was in 1946, at the end of the war, that Dr. Giglioli and D.D.T. had
come together to brake the scourge of malaria, and people no
longer had to suffer from crippling fevers. There was new
American money coming into the country from the construction of
the Air Base at Atkinson and at the Naval Base at Makouria.
People were eating more meat so the diet had. improved. Harold
Stannard had come to Guyana and encouraged intellectual
curiosity and had put creative intelligence in touch with one
another in the Caribbean region especially with Trinidad,
Barbados and Jamaica. The Union of Culture Clubs that he had
encouraged was focussing attention on the development of the
arts and discussions of cultural values in a planned deliberate and
sustained fashion. This meant a gathering of interest and support
that unified the native elite in the country, and a possible
leadership in the country was coming into existence to discuss the
intellectual material written by their peers. By chance there were
at least three poets important by national standards who had
begun to write in Guyana and to maintain a fellowship of poetic
and critical imagination in the 1940's.
At the end of the war, there were suddenly available good
inexpensive paperback books in the Penguin Series, making a
revolution at that time in reading in England and America. So
the community was open to influences from abroad in a liberal
way. Linkages with groups in the West Indies began to appear
with the little review Focus in Jamaica edited by Edna Manley.
with Bim in Barbados edited by Frank Collymore and Therold
Barnes.
There were also deeper social forces at work, now that one can
look back and analyse. In the small community of like minded
people, a strong contact was being forged between the magazine
and the society, and a shape, a character of being Guyanese was
being given to the society. The free play of mind upon ideas
helped a blossoming of what we call literature, and the





KYK # 46/47


description of areas of cultural values and an inventory of the
condition of the arts helped the focussing of common concern and
openness to ideas. The symposia ( many of them came later
rather than earlier in the biography of the magazine) encouraged
progressive thinking, even though contributors held diverse views
in social and religious matters. But the very clash was important.
In the creation of literary and intellectual leadership, there
was an unconscious groping towards a position in which the
community wanted to maintain the tradition mediated from
England to the British West Indies by our colonial past and to see
how it could be married to all the cultural elements in the
community that were quickening to birth. We did not have a
name for it then, but it was what is called the process of cultural
pluralism and national unity.
What was this tradition that was inherited? It was part of the
European heritage leading back to the Greeks, the Romans and
the Hebrews, and came as part of our educational patrimony. With
the English language came standards in literature and criticism.
We had laid great store by this legacy and consciousness, and
we wanted it included in the new Guyana to be born, since we
would continue to use the English language. The question in our
minds perhaps unasked, was how we could take this old colonial
world and remake it into our nation. We were conscious also that
many of our members had religions and therefore cultural values
based upon their links with India and others on links with Africa.
We ask the question, what is there in our past as Guyanese to
which we could give common pride? what were the things that
united us rather than the things that divided us? We wanted to
move away from this old world to make a new world. The old
world was still alive and the new world was not yet born.
We were not without some roots. There were the Dutch
historical past, the mythologically valuable Amerindian present,
and in some vague way all of us felt that we could somehow
claim those roots and bring them into literary and cultural
production. Vaguely too, we felt that linkage with the West Indies





KYK # 46/47


and others there thinking like ourselves would help to make this
new world be realized.
Remember that the editor is speaking from a web of reflection
and memory that looks backwards to see the roads travelled by
thinking and articulate people in Guyana over the pass 40 years.
We did not know it then, but we were placing an intellectual
and cultural apex on the traditional colonial pyramid. There was
no university, but the University College of.the West Indies,
especially through its Extra Mural Department, was beginning to
make its influence felt in Guyana. It was the inner necessity and
urge to freedom that we were paying attention to. So we focused
on the human condition in Guyana, the here and now of our world.
The value of a magazine like Kyk lies not in its age, but its
purpose. The responsibility and duty of a third world magazine is
to name the here and now, to summon up the values of the past
that are embedded in the soil and its history, and to point to the future
from today's discernible trends. One aspect of the urge to freedom
is the ability to choose from among several possibilities. An editor
can request the prose writings to put in his pages and they will be the
fruit of the conscious mind, but we must remember that the poetry
he prints is the expression of what is secret and internal, since the
age is about to make its statements and announce its values through
the poets.
Early in its pages in 1945 and 1948, Kyk declared its aims -"an
instrument to help forge a Guyanese people, make them conscious
of their intellectual and spiritual possibilities build some
achievement of common pride in the literary world make an act
oftpossession of our environment ... We so desperately want to
be rooted in the European soil, that is the Caribbean has isolated
us to the impact of a dying civilization so that we can pass on some
flaming torch higher up the line."
L.E Braithwaite reviewing Kyk in 1966 against these aims
felt that the magazine had not been radical or revolutionary
enough, that there had not been disagreement with the editor's
concept and point of view. He notes the magazine moves from a





KYK # 46/47


purely Guyanese to a West Indian position with the setting up of
the University College of the West Indies, and became aware
towards the end, of the importance of African Culture in the
region. He saw as valuable the translated poems of French West
Indian and African poets and the special issues on West Indian
Literature, Pen Portraits of important West Indians, anthologies
of Guyanese and West Indian poetry, the Cities of the
Caribbean, Guyanese Christmas, the Theatre in British Guiana
and the Artist Society. He felt that the poetry of the main
Guyanese poets and the introduction of a radical and critical
element were valuable.
I wish to add certain personal points of view. There were
many problems facing the Editor of Kykoveral. Appointed by
his peers in the Writer's Association to take charge of the
magazine, he had to conduct the business of the publication in
accordance with the agreed aims and with his own standards of
excellence developing these as he went along, following his vision
of the future in the formulation of his plans for successive issues,
weighing the ability and the willingness of his possible
contributors, expressing the spirit of the contents in his leading
articles, gauging the relationship between the periodical and his
developing audiences at home and aboard, moving out from a
limited Guyanese writing core to the wider regional contribution
and discussion of ideas by fellow writers of quality in the West
Indies, making possible the circulation of these ideas while they
were still fresh, articulating always as best he could the spirit of
the times in thought and sensibility, and with growing support and
confidence playing a creative part in the literary, intellectual and
cultural growth of the country and the region.
As this development of editorial philosophy tool place other
problems arose. As noted already, the British Guiana Writers'
Association ceased to exist; then the British Guiana Union of
Cultural Clubs ceased to meet. As I became the editor of a
magazine without bases, my own responsibilities as a Senior Civil
Servant deepened, various difficulties arose in securing





KYK # 46/47


advertisements, the climate of opinion among the ablest minds in
the country changed imperceptibly from tolerance to internal
divisions and to commitments and pre-possessions on the political
scene, in the region the Federation of the West Indies began to
falter and fail in its stride, horizons everywhere began to narrow
and there was a gradual closing of mental frontiers to the
circulation and influence of those ideas of breath and richness of
which I had been a champion. I feel sure that there always exists a
regional fraternity of men of letters within the Caribbean -
indeed I was to experience contact with that fraternity during my
years with the Caribbean Organisation and to sample this
curiosity and openness of mind to new ideas without hostility -
but with the beginning of the 1960's it was clear that national
loyalties and differences of political philosophy were affecting the
existence of periodicals such as Kykoveral.
There is a special relationship between a magazine and an
editor. In Australia, for example, the critic H. M. Green, pointed
out that overthe period 1099-1950 in three instances, The Bookfellow
edited by Stephens, The Lone Hand by Archibald and the little
review The Triad dealing with literary, artistic and musical
matters which migrated from New Zealand to Australia, -
these magazines were kept alive only by the vision and
perserverance of the editors. This would be true also of Kyk.
Contributors had to be coaxed, cajoled, and reminded in many
instances, and they still did not produce the promised
contribution, in which case the editor has to decide whether or not
he will write the piece himself so that the magazine will come
out as planned. The relationship eventually can become that of an
anxious mother and a child.
So in 1962 when the editor moved from Guyana to Puerto
Rico as a political casualty, the magazine went to sleep. Since
1945 there has been a great change in the climate of literary
opinion and in Guyana and the West Indies talents that had been
active in the 1940's had moved into politics. There was that
disillusionment also in the wake of the breakup of the West





KYK # 46/47


Indian Federation.
Who had been the main readers and supporters of Kyk in its
17 years of existence? Writers themselves, the middle class,
middle-brow people in the city like clergymen, teachers, doctors,
musicians, lawyers, merchants and clerks. The contributors had
been involved in a numbers of symposia on themes like the
spirit of man, the responsibility of the artist to the Community,
remembrance of Christmas from the view-points of living in
London, New York, Jamaica; the arts in Guyana, children and their
values, is there a West Indian way of life, greatness and bitterness,
standards of criticism and several on reading meaning into a poem.
These brought readers into involvement and made them into
contributors.
There was a strong section on book reviews. Books that
could make any contribution to the Guyanese way of life were
made the subject of reviews and there was a wide net of persons
who responded with a personal reaction to the books which found
a place in the magazine.
Some years ago, a German Literature student prepared an
index to Kykoveral over the period 1945-1961 under eight
sections Fiction, Drama, Poetry, articles on literature and
language, articles on history and culture. Miscellaneous articles.
Symposia Colloquia, and editorial notes. It was published in the
magazine World Literature Written in English, Nov. 1977. The
Editor went through the pages, 40 in all and realized that this was
the distillation of several years of creative life. The 16 pages of
the names of poets and poems, eptiomised his relationships with
many men and women, some of whom he had never seen.
For example, it was a letter from Miriam Koshland in
California that brought translations of the poetry of Senghor,
Cesaire, Lero and Rabearivelo. Meeting Philip Sherlock, Clare
McFarlane and his sons in Jamaica brought an imput of
Jamaican poets. The St. Vincent star soloists. Kean, Campbell and
Williams, Telemaque of Trinidad, E. M. Roach from Tobago,
Derek Walcott from St Lucia, Frank Collymore and H. A. Vaughn





* 22 KYK # 46/47

and later Eddie Brathwaite from Barbados, all had sent poems to
Kyk, but always Wilson Harris and Martin Carter could be relied
upon to send in poems to be printed.
As I look at the Index, I realized that Kykoveral is a prism of
silver crystal which had attracted and held glowing images and
ideas from more than 150 contributors over 17 years and mingled
them into a jewel of memory of indescribable richness, now
flashing in radiant light and now colours of heaving and seething
blue and green and yellow for the delight and development of
thousands of its readers. It's lovely to know that this jewel was
once in my hand.





KYK # 46/47


ELMA SEYMOUR

Message

Kyk-Over-Al has seen 50 years! We rejoice and give thanks to the
Editors who have sustained its growth over the years and so I offer
my congratulations to the present Editor, Mr Ian McDonald, for
carrying on the work left by the former Editor, A.J. Seymour for
him to do.
I am pleased and happy that Ian has been able to take up and
carry on from where AJS left off. When I look back I remember
in one of the Kyks, AJS writing, as it were, a last injunction:"to
lan as my son, I leave this in your hands to carry on for future
generations." 1 ant happy to record that you have carried out the
instructions of producing the magazine regularly and faithfully.
I like to remember Ian as saying he came upon a copy of
Kyk when was in the 6th Form of Queens Royal College in
Trinidad and enjoyed reading what was there. Also I remember a
tribute from Anne Walmsley while teaching in Jamaica which
brought her to Guyana to meet AJS.
It was not easy producing this magazine but it was meeting the
literary needs and urges of those who were trying to write
something for publication. It gave them all great joy to see their
work appear.
There were problems connected with the publication such as
collecting the copy for printing of the advertising material and
afterwards collecting the cash for advertisements. Some agents
offered to collect for the editor but went off with what was
collected, used it to their own purpose; that was distressing. So I
decided to offer my services to collect for one issue as the
Printers were getting worried about payment for the printing and
AJS was worried and ashamed.
Mr. Oscar Wight, Managing Director of Argosy tried to help
AJS out of the difficulties with the collecting agents knowing that
AJS was a poor civil servant with a large family and he could not






KYK # 46/47


always put his hands in his pocket to pay for the printing on his
own.
But whenever the magazine was published those who
contributed came around with smiles on their faces to collect their
copies and were grateful they had something published. This
brought much joy and satisfaction to the contributors but there
was anxiety on the part of the printers. However, Mr. Oscar
Wight was very kind and wiped off some of the debt for the
printing that was owed to the Argosy Company.
Congratulations and thanks for carrying on with Kyk-Over-Al
until this day. Many persons are grateful to have a copy to read. It
is a little magazine that has kept going for 50 years.
Here is a short poem AIS wrote a year before he died. I have
always kept it and enter it here now.

For Kyk

Here in my hands I hold
this happy jewel
these glowing dreams I forged
in a hard school.

Visions and memories
their blessings radiate
And many a blessing more
On new eyes wait.

My life's blood, others too
this jewel holds
transformed and caught in words
Glinting with gold
And when with dust my eyes
Finally close
Still with our happiness
this jewel glows.














ew o4 uj "dJt feoo


(owa af i ekw.,




k G Ard -cut

t^ fiA G^j. (f to
MY' w ^ r i
t4 J avud A/dkw
fraH)ioaas ttcedaf' a4
GAuwy wzw Zc


a




KYK # 46/47


From
Kyk-Over-Al
#1





From Kyk # I


From Kvk-Over-Al # 1

A. J. SEYMOUR

Editorial Notes


Already there is the tang of Christmas in the air, and from the
Watch Tower we send happy Christmas greetings to every reader
of Kykoveral. It is the first Nativity season we spend free from
hostilities, though not from the shadow of them, and most people
hope for a long era of peace to repair the ravages of war.
Intellectual life in Europe and elsewhere is coming out of its
enforced hibernation. The winter solstice is past, and thought
begins its inevitable swing back to catch the sun. In the West
Indies there are signs that social and economic conditions will
slowly but surely improve, and the colonial peoples are being
taken more into partnership in the government of their own
countries.
Cultural life too, is quickening in many ways, but one needs a
canalising of energies or, if you like, nuclei here and there that will
give direction and permanence to the quickening activities.
Surely the B.G Union of Cultural Clubs is one of those rallying
points, and so also is a periodical of the kind we hope this will be.
What are our aims? Kykoveral we hope will be an instrument
to help forge a Guianese people, and to make them conscious of
their intellectual and spiritual possibilities. There's so much we
can do as a people if we can get together more, and with this
magazine as an outlet, the united cultural organizations can
certainly build, we believe, some achievement of common pride
in the literary world, without detracting in the least from their
group aims or autonomy.
Now, why change the name from "Greetings from Guiana" to
"Kykoveral"? The answer can be, why not? Associations make a
powerful cementing force, and although ruined, Kykoveral still






From Kyk # 1


stands to remind us of our Amerindian and Dutch heritage. If we
are going to grow, and to grow as people, we've got to have roots
and Kykoveral is one of them. The old fort there is in ruins, but,
as Harold Stannard says in his article, the creative spirit of man is
indomitable, and cultures burgeon again amid their own ruins.
As a title for a periodical Kykoveral calls for quick and wide
vigilance and the expression of an alert people. The cover design
- we think it an attractive one, was kindly done for us by Cecil E.
Barker.
A word, now, about the contributors. The most distinguished
of course is Harold Stannard, who made such a profound
impression on the people of British Guiana two years ago. We
don't have to introduce Alan W. Steward or Oscar Wight or H. R.
Harewood or N. E. Cameron. Every one knows these
public men.
Readers of Guianese periodicals will also know already
J. A. V. Bourne, Duncan Boyce. Vere T. Daly, Celeste Dolphin,
Wilson Harris, Terence C. Holder, J. E. Humphrey and Jas. W.
Smith. They are known to editors of longer standing than this
one, and if we are not mistaken the other contributors also have
appeared in print.
The issues of Kykoveral will dependd largely upon public
response. We may promise half yearly publication, with the
hope readers will ask that the periodical appears quarterly. But
Rome was not built in a day and we would wish steady growth
in quality and response.






From Kyk # 1


VERE T. DALY

The Story of Kykoveral


Kykoveral today is our oldest historical relic, and it should be
visited by all who have pride of country in their hearts. Its name
was doubtless an inspiration, for it "Looked" or "Kyked-Over-Al"
the waters of the Essequebo, Mazaruni and Cuyuni. Provided we
have a sufficient leaven humility in our hearts, we would do
ourselves no harm to take as our watch-word "Kyk-over-al!"
It has now been established beyond reasonable doubt that
Kykoveral was founded in 1616. The trustworthiness of Major
John Scott, on whose authority this statement was first made, was
once contemptuously denied: but Dr. George Edmundson, in a
series of learned articles -published in the English Historical
Review, has shown, by comparison with Dutch and Spanish
contemporary records, that Scott is entirely to be trusted.
By close examination and careful deduction Dr. Edmundson
has reconstructed for us the story of the founding of Kykoveral.
Early in the seventeeth century there was at the Spanish
settlement of San Thom6 on the Orinoco, a Dutchman by the name
of Adrian Groenewegen. He was the Spanish factor at San Thom6,
but when a change of policy had come about in the little
settlement Groenewegen quit the Spanish service and went back
to his old masters in Holland.
He was at once engaged by Peter Courteen and Jan de Moor
and put in charge of an expedition to Essequebo, where on his
arrival with a mixed force of Englishmen and Zeelanders in two
ships and a galiot, he built a fort and established a settlement on
the island of Kykoveral at the water-meet of the Essequebo,
Mazaruni, and Cuyuni rivers.
Until Dr. Edmundson took up the cudgel in defence of Scott
(who was a notorious swindler in his private life) every bit of the
above was discredited. But the acceptance of Scott's story has
now shown how false are earlier accounts which tell of the





From Kyk # I


founding of Kykoveral between 1581 and 1598 and the finding
of an old fort of alleged Portuguese construction.
In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was formed. Its main
aim being the capture of Brazil, which belonged to the
Portuguese, its first notable act was to send an expedition of
twenty-six ships to raid San Salvador. It is probable that official
attention was not paid to Essequebo before 1623, when the
Zeeland Chamber began to show special interest in the post.
Jacob Canyn, a ship's captain, was the Company's first agent. He
contracted to serve for three years, but in 1626 we find him asking
to be released. It is to Jan Van der Goes must go the honour of
being the leader of the first official occupation of Essequebo.
In 1895 the question as to the respective boundaries of the
Republic of Venezuela and the Crown Colony of British Guiana
caused a world-wide stir; but war between the United States of
America (acting for and on behalf of the Republic of Venezuela)
and Great Britain was averted when an arbitration treaty was
signed between the British Ambassador and Senhor Andrade at
Washington on February 2, 1897. Working on both sides were
some of the ablest professors in the world, and one of the
difficulties they had to face was to decide which of the two
accounts of the founding of Kykoveral was to be accepted -
Scott's, or that which could be gleaned from the minutes of the
West India Company. In the American case, Scott's account was
treated with contempt: and in the decision handed down by the
tribunal which met in Paris, it is clear that Scott was discredited.
The apparently irreconcilable difficulty was this: If
Groenewegen in 1616 had established a settlement, why was it
necessary for the West India Company to establish another
sometime between 1623 and 1626? What had happened to
Groenewegen's settlement? Had it failed?
By close analysis of the documents which have come down
to us, Dr. Edmundson has shown that the official occupation of
Kykoveral did not disturb the settlement under Groenewegen.
Undoubtedly the old settlers must have viewed the new ones with






From Kyk # 1


suspicion, and vice versa; but on the whole the fortunes of the
Company's trading post hardly affected the Courteen's colony.
How reasonable this conclusion is may easily be seen when
one begins to read of attempts made by the West India Company
to suppress the activities of a body of private traders. We find in
1634, for example, Abraham van Pere, and the Zeeland Chamber
instructing their deputies, who were being sent to a meeting of
the *Nineteen, "to request, and even insist, that no colonists or
other persons shall be at liberty to navigate to the Wild Coast
(Guiana) except this Chamber and Confrater van Pere alone";
And this request having failed we find the Zeeland Chamber the
next year passing a resolution to the effect that "the trade to the
wild coast shall be done by the company alone and by no private
individuals."
In 1635 the Company's settlement was in such a bad way that
the Zeeland Chamber's Committee of Commerce and Finance sat
to decide whether or not it was profitable to keep it. At that time
there were in the Company's employment not more than thirty
men, whose main business was that of exchanging the articles of
European make for anatto dye, which was then in great demand in
Europe for use in the manufacture of cheese and other products.
Presumably, the report of the Chamber's Committee was
favourable, for the official occupation of Essequebo continued.
The discovery that sugar-cane was growing in the colony may
have been responsible for this decision, for it is about this time
(1637) that we find the first mention of sugar in the minutes of the
Zeeland Chamber.
But if official Essequebo was in a precarious condition, the
same cannot be said of the settlement under Groenewegen. In
1624 it was visited by one Jesse de Forest and in 1627 by Captain
Plowell, the discoverer of Barbados. Plowell's visit was for the
ostensible purpose of obtaining seeds and roots for planting in
Barbados, but his real motive was to reinforce the colony. "There I
lefte eight men." he writes, and lefte a Cargezon of trade for
that place."





From Kyk # 1


In 1637, when the Zeeland Chamber had just decided not to
abandon its past, Groenewegen was leading an expedition against
San Thome a state of affairs which shows that the Courteen's
settlement was in a stronger position than the Company's.
It is certain that the first fort on Kykoveral by Groenewegen was
not of stone, for in 1627, and again in 1631, van der Goes was
promised a fort of brick. Failure to fulfil this and other promises
caused van der Goes to return home with the whole lot of his
colonists in 1632. He was, however, re-engaged, and by 1634 he
was back at Kykoveral with two assistants. Significantly, in 1639,
he was addressed for the first time as "Commandeur," and one may
reasonably presume that this title was given him because of the fact
that there were now soldiers under him. A further conclusion that
can be drawn is that the promised fort had been completed, and that
the soldiers were housed there. It was, as van Berkel described it
thirty-one years later, "of quadrangular shape, having below the
magazine, and above three apartments in which soldiers are housed,
a room for the Commandant and one for the Secretary, which at the
same time serves to store the cargoes.
Meanwhile, the rivalry between the Company and the Courteens
for the mastery of Kykoveral was gradually coming to an end. By
1645 the position was so much easier that Groenewegen was made
Governor by the West India Company; nevertheless, the Zeeland
Chamber suggested to the Company. that in applying for a renewal
of its charter it should stipulate that no private individuals be
allowed to trade to Essequebo. This, however, was the last protest,
for in 1650 Groenewegen was not only Governor, but was also
Commandeur of the troops. The two colonies finally fused in 1664,
for in that year Jan de Moor died and Groenewegen definitely
became a Company's servant.
Groenewegen died at his post in 1664. He was, as Scott says,
"the first man that took a firm footing in Guiana by the good liking
of the natives...." As an associate of Captain Plowell he was
responsible for giving substantial assistance to Barbados. A story
goes that when it became known in Essequebo that the Indians





From Kyk # 1


whom he had sent with Plowell to Barbados were enslaved, he was
hard put to show that he was not party to such a diabolical scheme.
He solved the situation by marrying an Indian woman by
whom he had a son, Amos Groenewegen, who was later post-holder
in Demerara (circa 1680-1700).
The year after Groenewegen's death Kykoveral saw its first
serious action. Commercial rivalry had brought the English and the
Dutch into conflict, and in 1665 Major John Scott was sent by
Lord Willoughby, then Governor of Barbados, to raid Dutch
settlements in Guiana. After devastating Pomeroon, Scott
proceeded up the Essequebo and captured Kykoveral, leaving there
twenty-eight men under Captain Keene before returning to
Barbados to boast of his conquest.
Scott mentions in his report that he was able to secure for
his troops 73,788 lbs. of sugar, and this throws some light on the
activities of the settlement. That the Indian trade in anatto was
still the chief occupation of the settlers there can be no doubt: but
Prince Sugar was already threatening to usurp the throne of King
Anatto.
The British occupation, however, was not destined to be long.
The first difficulty of the troops was with the Indians, who refused
to give them supplies; then the French, who were the allies of the
Dutch, came and bombarded the fort; finally, a force under
Bergenaar, the Commandeur of Berbice, travelling overland by a
path that is probably now part of the Rupununi Cattle Trail, and
down the Essequebo, reached Kykoveral and recaptured it.
Meanwhile, the States of Zeeland, hearing of the fate of their
beloved Essequebo, had sent Admiral Crynssen to the rescue.
Crynssen arrived after Bergenaar had effected its recapture; but
he took the colony over in the name of the States of Zeeland
and instituted one Baerland, Commandeur.
The Peace of Breda, signed in 1667, brought hostilities to a
close. Pomeroon was now completely deserted, but Kykoveral
was recovering gradually from Scott's blow.
There was now some difficulty in finding an owner for the






From Kyk # 1


colony, but after long and tedious negotiation the Zeeland
Chamber of the West India Company took it over once again.
Hendrick Rol was made Commander; and though a third
Anglo-Dutch War was fought in the meantime, Kykoveral was not
molested.
But this was not for long. Louis XIV's ambitions soon
precipitated Europe into more wars, and during the War of the
Spanish Succession Kykoveral was attacked (1708). To the lasting
shame of Commandeur van der Heyden Resen, it must be written
that instead of sallying forth to meet the enemy he ignominiously
shut himself up with his troops in the Fort. Some resistance was
given at Plantation Vryheid (Bartica) by the owner and his slaves:
but after two had been killed and a few injured the defenders
dispersed.
Captain Ferry, the leader of the French expedition, took his
departure on the receipt of a ransom of 50,000 guilders, paid in
slaves, meat, provisions, and pieces of eight. But Essequebo's cup
of bitterness was not completely full. Two more French privateers
sailed up the river the next year (1709) and completed the work
of destruction. They plundered and burnt to their heart's content,
took two hogshead of sugar that were being prepared for export,
and left on their departure but two sugar mills standing.
These two raids on Kykoveral soon woke up the planters to
the alarming fact that the Fort could defend neither the colony
nor the plantations. A fort, more strongly fortified, and more
strategically placed, was needed, especially now that the fertile
alluvial coastlands were attracting the planters lower and lower
down the river. Flag Island (now Fort Island) was decided upon
as the best site for the new Fort, which was so advanced by 1739
that the seat of government was transferred there.
In 1744 Fort Zeelandia (as the new fort on Flag Island was
called) was completed. Kykoveral thereafter was neglected, even
though it was Gravesande's intention to have it reconditioned
that very year. In 1748 it was proposed to raze it, and in 1750 it
was reported abandoned. In 1755, however, it was again fortified.






S35 From Kyk # 1

because of an expected Spanish invasion: but after the scare had
passed it was allowed to fall into a state of dilapidation again.
Kykoveral today is our oldest historical relic, and it should be
visited by all who have pride of their country in their hearts. Its
name was doubtless an inspiration for it "Looked" or
"Kyked-over-al" the waters of the Essequebo, Mazaruni and
Cuyuni. Provided we have a sufficient leaven of humility in our
hearts, we would do ourselves no harm to take as our
watch-word "Kyk-over-al!"






KYK # 46/47


ANNA BENJAMIN

Note on Vere. T. Daly's" The Story of Kyk-Over-Al"

While Kyk-Over-Al clearly represents the first permanent Dutch
Settlement in this country, the precise date of its foundation
remains as much a mystery as ever. It is fashionable now to follow
the Edmundson theory and accept 1616 as constituting the year of
Essequibo establishment. Vere T. Daly certainly did so, being
possibly the first popularizer of Edmundson's work locally. For
all Daly's conviction, however, it cannot be proven beyond all
reasonable doubt that Edmundson is right. His account is
essentially a hypothesis -albeit a plausible one, It reconciles
evidence which is otherwise irreconcilable, namely the account
given by Major John Scott on the one hand, with the admittedly
defective official records on the other.
As Daly himself points out, the problem lies in the fact that
the earliest extant official documents relating to Essequibo
indicate that the colony was owned by the Dutch West India
Company, and that it probably had its origins around 1623. The
Company was formed in 1621, which makes Scott's date for
Essequibo's foundation 1616 highly problematical. Scott,
who as Daly rightly says, was something of a scoundrel, obtained
his information from two Essequibo traders whom he had captured.
Edmundson's neat hypothesis states that the colonial
entrepreneur, Jan de Moor, first had a trading post in Essequibo
in 1616, and that around 1623,. the West India Company
established itself there. For many years, he says, the two
operations co-existed, until Jan de Moor died, when they were
merged under the governorship of de Moor's representative.
Groenewegel*. Edmundson considered that the West India
Company, normally so punctilious about enforcing its monopoly,
tolerated de Moor because he himself was a member of the
Zeeland Chamber, or branch, of that Company.
Edmundson has chosen to ignore two pieces of evidence





KYK# 46/47


deriving from the Spanish records. These indicate, firstly, that in
1616 there were about a dozen Spaniards living in Essequibo
growing cassava, and that secondly, the Spaniards believed that
William Usselincx, and not Jan de Moor was behind the Dutch
attempt around that time to settle at various points along the Guiana
coast. It is possible that the Spanish authorities were wrong in their
assumption about Usselincx, and the presence of a few Spaniards
somewhere in Essequibo in 1616 does not invalidate the thesis, but
the problem is that Edmundson never attempted to confront the
Spanish data. As things currently stand, the evidence is insufficient
either to prove or disaprove Edmudson's admittedly seductive
theory.
As in the case of the date of the Essequibo's establishment, no
one can be certain about precisely when the brick fort, whose
archway alone now survives, was built, except to say it was
probably before 1670. In 1691 it was recorded as housing 43
Europeans, 54 Amerindian slaves, 165 Black slaves and 14
Coloureds possibly free men. As Daly rightly indicates, for
many years Kyk-Over-Al was both the seat of the government as
well as the military headquarters. What he does not say, however,
is that it was evacuated in stages. The Governor and administration
moved out first, taking themselves to the mainland at Cartabo.
Here a house was built called, appropriately enough, the Huis
Nabij" or "House Nearby". This was in 1718, and the seat of
government remained here for more than twenty years, until it and
the military garrison from Kyk-Over-Al moved downriver to Fort
Island.


* Vere T. Daly uses the spelling 'Groenewegen',which is the
Edmundson version of the spelling. 'Groenewegel' is the more
correct version.






.38 From Kyk # 1

A.J. SEYMOUR

The Earth is a Woman


The earth is a woman with patient hair
And she watches a window pane
Where a tower of cloud creeps slowly past
And other clouds come again.

When night comes in. she counts the stars
On the dark gown that woman wears.
She sits with her quiet hands folded there
And she watches the patient years.





From Kyk # 1


N. E. CAMERON

Drama in British Guiana


An observer who has done a fair amount of travelling in South
America recently remarked at a meeting of one of our cultural
clubs that he thought that the extent of dramatic activity was
greater in this Colony than in any other which he had visited. It is
quite true that locally there has been an outburst of such activity
within recent times.
Let us take the year 1944 for instance: in January we had
Princess Ju- u staged by the Bedford Boys and Girls' Club: in
March Ecce Homo, a religious play was staged at Buxton: in
April Adoniya (Wife of Moses). written by the author of this a
article was staged at Queen's College; in May Savitri was
presented by the B. G. Dramatic Society in the Assembly Rooms;
in July Pageant of Church History was presented in St. George's
School Hall; in August a sketch was presented on the occasion of
the opening of the C. Y. 0. and at the Annual Convention of the
B. G. Union of Cultural Clubs two sketches were presented by
the Georgetown Dramatic Club and the B. H. S. Old Girls'
Guild; in October the Georgetown Dramatic Club presented
Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion in the Assembly
Rooms, and in November, Queen's College presented as its
centenary play Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and in the same
month Esme Cendrecourt presented her own play Unmasked in
the Assembly Rooms, this being. I think, the last play staged in
the Assembly Rooms before it was destroyed by the fire in
February, 1945.
While there is undoubtedly a considerable amount of activity
in this field locally, I personally am not in a position to say how
this compares with similar efforts in the West Indies. I know.
however, that Dramatics in the West Indies will be an interesting
study for I have heard of playwrights in Jamaica and Trinidad
and a writer of children's operettas in Surinam.






From Kyk # I


Anthony Froude in his The English in the West Indies
published in 1887, remarked that on the occasion of a visit paid to
Tobago by the Governor of that time, a party of villagers sprang a
pleasant surprise on him when they presented before him the
Merchant of Venice. That was nearly 60 years ago.
For a long time in this Colony there have been dramatic clubs
and groups presenting plays. I came across, in the Royal Gazette
of December 31, 1863, mention of "an edifice containing all
the appointments necessary to effective presentation of optical
and dramatic entertainment."
The writer of the article in question referred to the fact that the
building no longer existed and that since then there had been no
local theatre similarly equipped. I do not know whether the
reference was to the Athenaeum which was founded in 1851, but
the Athenaeum Club and the Philharmonic Society were among
our famous cultural institutions of the past. Clubs there have been
galore, e.g., the Georgetown Dramatic Club and Demerara
Dramatic Club. These two contemporary clubs presented plays
on two or three occasions yearly and on some evenings they
presented as many as three one-act plays. Other clubs were the
Lyceum, the Three Arts, Jerusalem. At present the principal
dramatic clubs are the B.G. Dramatic Society, which caters only
for Indian members, the Georgetown Dramatic, open to all,
while there are several clubs which include drama as a part of
their cultural activity.
There is no doubt that drama has a special appeal for young
people as one of the means of spending their leisure. Their
opportunity for self expression, practice in elocution and gesture,
an increased sense of dramatic appreciation together with the
team spirit formed by constant association in rehearsals strike the
youths as making play-acting well worth their while. It must be
remarked, however, that no special courses in acting are given
apart from hints picked up while at school or from reading articles
and magazines or books bearing on drama. Here, of course, much
more can be done and indeed much is expected to be done,





S41 From Kyk # 1

especially along the lines of elocution.
Then again the drama provides opportunity for a very great
variety of talent, for apart from the actors there are the questions of
scenery, costumes, make-up, music and dances, lighting effects,
and the business end like advertising, etc. There are some notable
scenists among us. Special mention may be made of Mr. R. G.
Sharpies, President of the Guianese Art Group, who painted an
outdoor and indoor set for Queen's College and an out door set
for the Ursuline Convent. Some of our make-up artists have
succeeded in creating very good results and recently the lion in the
Georgetown Dramatic Club's presentation Androcles and the
Lion was declared by many to be a work of art.
Local Dramatists:
I think the first person to write a play in British Guiana was the
late Father C. W. Barraud, S. J., Principal of St Stanislaus
College. In 1872 he wrote St. Thomas of Canterbury and
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, both 5-act plays in the Shakespearean
manner. These were, however, not published until 1892 and were
reviewed locally in the following year. In 1893 a master of
Queen's College, J. Veecock, Secretary and Stage Manager of the
then Demerara Dramatic club, presented Falstaff which was a
collection, with modifications, of those scenes in Shakespeare's
Henry IV, Parts I and II, in which the character Falstaff appeared.
Then followed short sketches, usually humorous, dealing with
various phases of local life. It is unfortunate that there appears to
be no copy extant of Quid Rides (Why do you laugh?), a
collection of about 10 sketches by Rev. P. Giddings, all the more
as the sketches were supposed to characterise various foibles of
the people, especially a tendency to use words of learned length
and thundering sound.
About 1916, Sidney Martins, a Portuguese comedian
published a collection of his witticisms and sketches. One of
these Mrs. Farrington's Third Husband might well bear
representation especially if re-written to suit modern taste.
Since that time there have been several writers of comic





From Kyk # 1


sketches, the most brilliant being G. Ingham Goring, whose comic
songs are still remembered by many. Three of his sketches are
Perseus Drops a Brick, a sketch based on the story of
Andromeda in 5,000 words: Robin Hood and the King's Deer
and the Mortgage on the Old Guiana Home.
In May, 1931, came a revival of the full length play when
there appeared the author's Balthazar, a play based on Anatole
France's version of the story of the Three Wise Men. The late
Walter Mac A. Lawrence reviewing this play in the New Daily
Chronicle hailed it as the beginning of a new phase in local drama.
Encouraged by this publication, Esme Cendrecourt, the most pro-
lific of our playwrights, staged Romance of Kaieteur in the
Assembly Rooms in September, 1931. Miss Cendrecourt's
succeeding plays were all propaganda plays, illustrating some
phase of health work or social welfare work. In December, 1943,
the author presented Adoniya at Queen's College for the first time.
The most recent to enter the field of Guianese dramatists is
Mr. Basil Balgobin, who presented in May of this year Asra, a
political play on India.
There is a growing demand for a new Guianese drama with
full length plays written on a dignified plane dealing with various
aspects of local life, and indeed voicing the sentiments and
aspirations of the people. While this is very praiseworthy and
indeed may be the next phase of our efforts at dramatic
publications, it is rather curious that the advocates of this idea
do not stress at the same time that all the other forms of local
art and literature, for example the short story, music, painting,
poetry, should strive similarly to represent to the world the
thoughts and aspirations of British Guiana. This is undoubtedly
one of the highest aims of art and literature.
I mentioned previously that it was possible that in the very
near future systematic courses of study might be given to our
actors. Similarly, there should be courses of study in play writing
for the would-be playwright. I notice that lessons on play writing
and competitions for the best original plays are being given to the





*43 From Kyk # 1

B. H. S. dramatic group and one can only hope that similar courses
will be given in our dramatic clubs.
The work which has been done up to the present has been
quite good on the whole in spite of the disadvantages due to
lack of special training in acting and playwriting and to the
limitations of small stages and halls of faulty acoustic properties.
With the advent of British Council activity among ts and with
the promise of a new and modern theatre we may look forward
to a considerable advance of local dramatic achievement.





KYK # 46/47


Special Contributions

EDWARD BAUGH

Frank Collymore and A J Seymour.
A Literary Friendship

This is a small but special chapter in West Indian literary history.
It is well known that Frank Collymore and A.J. Seymour played
important and similar roles in the development of West Indian
literature, chiefly by their editing of the little magazines Bim and
Kyk-Over-Al, but also their own poetry. What is not so well
known is that in these roles they were mutually supportive,
encouraging each other, collaborating, and forming and
sustaining a friendship almost entirely by correspondence.
Some of this correspondence survives. In the Collymore
collection in the Barbados National Archives, there are two
letters from Seymour to Collymore, written in the 1940s. In the
Seymour collection in the University of Guyana Library, there are
six letters from Collymore to Seymour, spanning the period 1952
to 1975, as well as one from Seymour to Collymore, written in
1958.
The first of these letters, from Seymour to Collymore, is dated
16 February 1946. It was obviously written in the early stages of
contact between the two men. It is not clear who initiated the
correspondence. It may have been prompted by the first
appearance of Kyk, in 1945, Bim having first appeared in 1942. In
this letter, Seymour, addressing his correspondent as "Dear
Collymore," thanks him for the flattering notice in the
December Forum," and for the copy of Collymore's Beneath the
Casuarinas (1945), a collection of poems, which Collymore had
sent him. The Forum was another Barbadian little magazine
which was also making a contribution at that time to the
development of West Indian literature, and the flattering notice
may have been of Kyk. Seymour expresses his delight in





KYK# 46/47


Casuarinas, and singles out for praise "Newsreel from
Buchenwald," which he describes as horribly powerful," and "
This Land." With reference to the latter, he says, "We've got to do
a lot of that in the West Indies drive home our roots if we want
to grow as a people."
Seymour also mentions his first "glimpse" of Collymore, from
a photograph in the Barbados Annual Review, a Christmas
publication of the Barbados Advocate newspaper. This glimpse of
Collymore prompts Seymour to ask about Collymore's age, and
whether he is married and has children. Then he gives some
information about himself: his age-32 (" I feel 52") that he is
married and has five children, and that he is Assistant Publicity
Officer of the Bureau of Publicity and Information.
The second letter is dated 14 May 1949, but it is clear that the
correspondence and friendship had developed between 1946
and now. Seymour tells Collymore about books which he has
been reading, and makes special mention of E.M.W. Tillyard's
Poetry Direct and Oblique, which he finds to be "very good as a
line on trends in the colonies." He adds, "... as soon as I'd
finished the book, I took me my pen & said so to the master of
Jesus College, Cambridge. Being a nice man, Dr. Tillyard replied
with corroboration." The style ("I took me my pen," "replied with
corroboration"). and the relish in the ceremonial designation
(" The master of Jesus College, Cambridge") are typical of
Seymour. Collymore was not likely to have written to Tillyard in a
similar situation.
Of the two, Seymour was also the one more given to plans
and projects in the editing of his magazine. He now proposes to
Collymore that they "engage, professionally, in correspondence
on the literary & cultural prospects of the WI & our colonies in
particular, so that we both publish the exchange of letters at the
same time." Collymore being a man most reluctant to sound off'
about anything, it is not surprising that this particular project of
Seymour's did not materialise.
Then Seymour shares information about promising literary






KYK # 46/47


development in Trinidad: "Lamming & Co have begun to think of
a magazine for Trinidad. I suppose he's written you also, &
[Andrew] Pearse, the Resident Tutor there [ for the Extra- Mural
Department of the University College of the West Indies ], tells of
a Reader and Writers Guild." Lamming, then just twenty one years
old, Collymore's protege and friend, was teaching in Trinidad,
and had indeed been keeping his mentor informed of literary
activity there. Lamming had become vigorously involved with a
small group of Trinidadian writers, including Cecil Herbert,
Ernest Carr and Harold Telemaque, who were the hub of
literary activity on the island. In an undated letter to Collymore
(Collymore Collection, Barbados Archives), quite likely also
written in May 1949. Lamming tells his mentor about plans for
the magazine. He says that Seymour has promised a contribution.
He tells Collymore about Seymour's having written to Tillyard, a
development which he finds "so encouraging." It is a fair guess
that it was through Collymore that Lamming had come to
correspond with Seymour.
In his next letter to Collymore, also undated, Lamming gives
Collymore an account of a talk on "West Indian Writing Today"
which he had delivered the previous evening. Reflecting on the
art of public speaking, he considered the talk a failure. For one
thing, he realized afterwards that he had not said some of the
things he had wanted to say. In particular, he had not said enough
about West Indian poetry, and had not done justice to either
Collymore or Seymour.
The main topics of Collymore's extant letters to Seymour
are: news about forthcoming contents of Bim and about the
difficulties of keeping the magazine going: news about other
West Indian writers: comments on, and transactions for
distributing Seymour's publications; the possibility of their jointly
editing an anthology of West Indian poetry.
By the time of the first letter, 7 September 1952, Seymour had
begun to publish his Miniature Poets series of chapbooks by West
Indian poets. and Collymore thanks him for the one by the





KYK #46/47


Trinidadian Cecil Herbert, which had recently arrived. He tells
Seymour that he had recently met E. McG. Keane and Daniel
Williams, who had passed through Barbadoson their way to the
UK and the USA respectively. These two, along with Owen
Campbell, formed a trio of promising Vincentian poets whose
work has been appearing in Bim. One of them, Keane, went on to
make something of a name for himself as a poet. Mention of Keane
and Williams causes Collymore to reflect ruefully on the exodus
oTWest Indian writers from the region: "It seems a pity that all the
young men who have something to say should have to go else -
where to say it, but... they both told me they simply could not
remain in St Vincent... it was too soul stifling."
In his letter of 22 October, Collymore thanks Seymour for his
"very meaty" letter of the 12th, and for the Keane chapbook and
Kyk No.15. He congratulates Seymour on the Kyk, which he
considers the best number produced so far, and says that he must
make a special effort "to tackle Wilson Harris," whose work does
not appeal to him so directly as does that of Martin Carter. He
places orders for chapbooks in the Miniature Poets series, and
tells of progress with the production of Bim No.17. This number
will include a foreword aimed at reassuring Bin's indispensable
advertisers, especially in the face of the adverse local reviews
which the last three numbers have received: I do wish
advertisers to know that writers in Bim are being accepted as
'world writers' and not merely as Caribbean curiosities'-"
With regard to a new Kyk project-a symposium on The West
Indies Today," Collymore suggests that Seymour might ask the
Barbadian poet and historian H.A. Vaughan, and the Professor of
English at the UCWI for contributions. The Professor, A.K.
Croston, an Englishman, had recently given a lecture in
Barbados, and Collymore thinks that "he may be able to work the
matter into a critical assessment of the W.I. Novel."
Collymore's pleasure at the metropolitan success of Bim
writers features in his letter of 26 November. He mentions
Mittelholzer, Selvon, and Lamming, whose first novel, In the





KYK # 46/47


Castle of My Skin, was soon to be published (1953). He also
mentions the non-West Indians Bruce Hamilton and Hugh
Popham, and adds that Geoffrey Drayton has completed "two
[books] which have not yet been placed." No doubt one of these
was Drayton's only published novel, Christopher (1959).
Collymore also gives news of Mittelholzer, his friend and
faithful correspondent, who had written to him from New York.
He tells Seymour about Gloria Escoffery, the young Jamaican
painter and poet, who was then teaching art at Combermere
School, where Collymore had by then been teaching for over
forty years. Escoffery was acting for the sculptor and painter
Karl Broodhagen, who had gone to the UK on a British Council
scholarship. She is very keen," says Collymore, "& would, I am
sure, write you an article for Kyk." She may not have written an
article, but she did have poems published in Kyk.
Seymour had just published a Collymore chapbook in the
Miniature Poets series, and Collymore thanks him for the extra
prompt delivery" of the forty copies which he had ordered in his
previous letter. He congratulates Seymour on the physical
appearance of the book, and on the standard of proof- reading. As
he had done in the previous letter, he complains about the poor
proof-reading which he has had to suffer at the hands of the
Advocate Press.
Seymour had been keeping abreast of Collymore's work in
the theatre, with the Bridgetown Players, and Collymore now tells
of his guarded hopes that the group will be able to have a theatre
building of their own. He sounds a note which anticipates by
twenty years the kind of complaint which Walcott was to make
about the public and state support for theatre and the arts in
Trinidad: "People in Barbados are not public spirited. With all this
talk of culture, no progress can be made until due homage is paid
to the arts, and a theatre is a necessity. Govt. are apathetic."
We are next able to pick up the story of the correspondence
in mid-1958. The two men are excitedly exchanging ideas for
jointly editing an anthology of West Indian poetry for the British




KYK # 46/47


publishers McGibbon and Kee. Apparently Selvon had contacted
Collymore from London, to inform him of the publishers' interest
in such an anthology, and to interest him in editing it. Collymore
in turn enlisted Seymour's support. Seymour replies in
enthusiastic affirmative on 16 May. They begin to discuss the
contents of the anthology, in what order the poems should be
presented, what the introduction might contain, whether or not
there should be an index of first lines ( Collymore is not much for
it ), and so on On 14 June, Collymore says that he has written
to Selvon for further information, such as the size of the book and
whether contributors will be paid: "not that I expect or want to
make anything out of it, but I wonder whether contributors may
not expect some sort of royalty." For whatever reason, nothing
came of this venture. If the anthology had been published, it
would have been a landmark.
The next letter, from Collymore, is dated 22 March 1959 and
is devoted to two topics: "Bin's decease" and resurrection, and
Seymour's request that Collymore write an article for Kyk on the
theatre in Barbados. In No. 27 (Dec.1958), Bim had announced,
regretfully, that, because of financial difficulties it would not be
reappearing. There was an outcry of disbelief from the circle of
readers and writers who had come to set such great store by the
magazine. Collymore tells Seymour about the many condolences
and suggestions," including Seymour's, that he had received. But,
he says, "frankly I was skeptical. And, for another thing I was
tired." Then he tells the story of how it came about that Oliver
Jackman managed to raise the famous Fifty Pounds which saved
Him.
As for the requested article on Barbadian theatre, it is not
surprising to find Collymore regretfully declining, because he
would not have the time to do the research he considered
necessary. Of course, even in the process of declining, his own
active involvement in the theatre apart, he was indeed the ideal
person for the job.
The last extant letter is written by Collymore nearly sixteen






*50 KYK # 46/47

years later, on the 6th January 1975, the day before his eighty-
second birthday. The letter is a brief, almost illegible scrawl. By
now his health and eyesight are failing. He apologises for not
having earlier acknowledged receipt of a Dictionary of
Guyanese Folklore which Seymour had sent him-"but this
attack of cystitis has laid me low and I'm having more trouble
with my eyes. So please excuse brevity." He wishes AJ and his
family "all the very best. .. for 75." The rest, as they say, is
silence.
This little story may seem to be largely one of ideas and
plans unrealised; but it also provides valuable evidence of that
networking to use a word which would no doubt have
scandalised both men which was so crucial to the making of
West Indian literature. It is a story warm with a sense of shared
purpose, and with the elation of a bright new beginning.





KYK # 46/47


JOHN WICKHAM

On the 50th Anniversary of Kyk-Over-Al


Fifty years in the life of a small magazine, is without exaggeration,
an age and survival, a miracle worth recording. Take, for instance,
a man's life. After Mewling and Puking through his infant, inarticu-
late years, he arrives at the point say in his teens, when he is moved
to think that although he may not be able to shape the world to his
own desire or design, there is enough around and about him that
simply, because it is newly seen, compels him to record his
presence, to say, without apology or bombast, that he was here, and
so he sets about gathering his wits and his words which are really,
in addition to a mysterious energy, his only tools.
Since the end of 1992, the 50th Anniversary issue of Bim
Magazine with which Kyk-Over-AI published ajoint issue, Bim has
been silent. The problem is financial: printing costs have proved
prohibitive. But there is also the question of the difficulty of finding
enough free hands and time to carry out the various tasks of
editorship, as well as the increased correspondence which has been
the result of the magazine's long life and widening readership.
May I share with you a disjointed extract from an introduction
to Clockwatch Review by James Plath, the editor.
More than a few literary magazines begin with introductory
letters or essays from the editor. Although I have always shied away
from such things, this issue seemed to cry out for some sort of
editorial comment or at least an explanation, since the 10th
anniversary issue of Clockwatch, labelled "Volume 9 Numbers 1 -
2," is published at the end of our 1 1th year. Obviously, though the
first issue of this semi-annual debuted the summer of 1983, we
dropped a stitch or two along the way. Sometimes an issue was
delayed or we published only one per year because of financial
problems, while other times we weren't getting enough quality
work to fill an issue. Such is life in the small press world. But
explanations aside, it struck me that a 10th anniversary issue






KYK# 46/47


without some sort of informal history would be like having a
birthday cake with no candles. As always, we hope that you will find
surprises inside our latest issue. But the real surprise is that
Clockwatch is still ticking after all these years. So, here's a behind-
the-scenes look at the publication you now hold in your hands. I
offer it partly as a record of one little literary magazine (for future
students of this peculiar industry), but mostly for readers who might
be curious about what goes on at a literary magazine...
T.S Eliot once wrote Karl Shapiro that a literary magazine
should be one person, and defined the little magazine as one which
had "a single editor, a small circulation, and a short lifespan, rarely
exceeding the life of the founding editorship." Clockwatch is
typical, I think, of the thousands of little literary magazines that
operate as single proprietorships, with the average circulation being
500 (ours is now 1500) and the average lifespan just a year and a
half. Most literary magazines are shoestring operations, many of
them published out of home offices, and so it never ceased to amuse
me how often I got mail addressed to "Circulation Manager,"
"Business Manager," "Advertising Director," "Fiction Editor," or
"Poetry Editor," and thought, that would be me. Or how often I got
phone calls even from a New York City publishing house or
agent who should know better from people expecting the click
and clack of office noise, and hearing instead cartoons on the
television and children squabbling. "Is this Clockwatch Review?"
they'd ask, and one of my children would invariably stun them into
silence by saying something like, "Just a minute ... I'll get him."





KYK # 46/47


FRED D'AGUIAR

Bill of Rights
Extract From a Poem Sequence

1.
From Chattanooga, from Brixton (L--, write)
From hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come,
To the Potaro, Essequibo, Demerara,

The near one thousand came and stayed.
I am your saviour. Follow me. And we did.
And planted, did we plant, on a hill;

And the rains came and washed the crops away.
And we planted them again, and they were
Washed away, again; and starved, we starved,

Until the locals took pity on us.
There were, after all, pregnant women,
Children and the very old, in our midst.


2.
'Occupancy limited to 118 persons.'
We sat in the aisles, plunked children
One on top of another, into laps,

Volunteered for the cargo hold
And would have remained there
As directed by Father had the pilot

Not said we'd freeze or suffocate
At 33,000 feet, or both. I am among
The agile ones, curled in the overhead






KYK # 46/47


Luggage compartment.


3.
Goodbye Chattanooga. Hello Potaro.
Later, L- and Brixton. Essequibo, here we go.

Someone they call a buck light-footed
It over to me. I jumped but his open palms,

A stupid smile and his near-naked frame
Put me at ease. He gave me corn

I bolted down. His head shake, finger wag
And suppressed chuckle told me I'd done wrong.



4.
Dip the tip of an arrow in this plant sap,
Let it dry, untouched, in the sun,
Let it fly into that wild boar.

Roast the boar but offer some to the sun,
Carve buttons from the bone,
Dry the skin, tell the boar you are sorry

But you have a thousand mouths to feed
And it fits the bill exactamundo.


5.
Bow tie, bodacious, Father. Model divine Daddy.
Friend of Lenin. Friend of Amin. Friend of Stalin.
Here the Trades rinse the air constantly.
Rain returns the verdant to grass, trees and paling.





KYK # 46/47


'All the days of my life, ever since I been born
I never heard a man speak like this man before.'
1000 Tarzan yodels tear the night to ribbons.


6.
Holy is coconut with cream and water
Holy stinking-toe and sour-sap and eddoe
Holy this vision in Him that brought us here
Holy His name Jones and His every aspect

Holy am I for my proximity to Him
Holy this uzi blessed in service to Him
Holy every drop that rains and rusts our joints
Holy the hard wood greenheart in these huts.


7.
Autochthonous wood.
Purpleheart and greenheart
Blunted or broke electric
Saw after electric saw

In half. Wood this tough
Cannot have known much love
And must have hardened itself
Against further loss of face.


8.
In Chattanooga as in Kalamazoo
We had three square meals, inside loos
And an inside to speak of.






KYK# 46/47


Here in paradise, Essequibo, Potaro,
The branch's leak never switches off.
I have the runs and chigoe,

A fungus culture between my toes.
I patrol this new town's perimeter
With my finger on an uzi's trigger.


9.
Yoknapatawpha county,
This was not.

Rice for breakfast,
Rice water soup for lunch-
Yes there was time for lunch-
Rice and beans for dinner,

With the stubborn, giant anteater,
The sloth and the caiman,
Too tough by far,
Even for our meagre pots.


10.
Topsoil gone in the rain with our seedlings.
Spirit for fighting back this wilderness gone
Too; all that's left unencumbered is my love
For Father: my nerves are a Stradivarius

In the hands of a musical pygmy.
Inside I sound like cats in an alley
Mating or squabbling over a smell of fish.
My face is as expressionless as a satellite dish.





KYK # 46/47


JACQUELINE de WEEVER

In the Beginning Kyk


Kyk-Over-Al is at the beginning of my intellectual life. I had
always been aware of the magazine as I was always in and out
of AJ's study, full of questions and ideas about one thing and
another. So he put me to work, when I was about sixteen years old,
reading proofs for the magazine. This seemed a natural develop-
ment to our conversations about Wordsworth and Keats in the small
garden beside the house. Obsessed with poetry as I was, proof-
reading poetry written by our own poets for Kyk was an added
excitement to my high school years. Then my mother, who lived
in New York, sent me a portable typewriter, very light, easily
carried around. By the time I was studying for A levels, I was
resident typist for Kyk-Over-Al, typing poems from the
handwritten missals sent in by poets from the islands and some
from our own Guyanese poets.
I remember especially proof-reading a very early poem by
Derek Walcott commemorating the destruction of Castries,
St. Lucia "A City's Death by Fire." Other poems followed, from
Vaughan, Collymore, Sherlock, and others. While we worked on
Kyk, AJ would tell me some of the stories of the tribulations the
writer must encounter and assimilate. I remember especially the
story of Edgar Mittelholzer's attempts to publish his long novels.
Edgar would send off his huge tomes to London, by sea mail in those
days, and they would come back, it seemed, by return mail.
Someone was waiting on the wharf at Plymouth specifically
to send them back. Edgar would be very depressed and upset.
Then, miraculously, Morning at the Office was accepted and
published. Elation and happiness all around. So Edgar took out
those same rejected tomes and, without changing a word, sent
them off. Miracle of miracles, they began to appear Kaywana,
Children of Kaywana, The Harrowing of Hubertus and Edgar
was now a published, important, author. When Mittelholzer






KYK # 46/47


moved to England, he sent AJ a copy of every book he published,
all inscribed.
Most intriguing of all was the process of building a poem, the
many versions before the printed version. I learned about this
from AJ's Thursday group. Martin Carter and Wilson Harris
joined AJ on Thursday afternoons to read poetry-in-progress to
each other, as well as to discuss other poets they were reading.
Because I kept quiet, they let me join their circle. I sat next to AJ
in an enchantment more real and concrete than the
enchantments I was dreaming up in fairy tales I began writing at
that time. Particularly memorable was Wilson's reading of
Auden's"Lullaby" and Pound's "Night Litany." Wilson's
reading of Pound's "Night Litany" is so lodged in my memory
that when I emerged from the train station in Venice in June,
1994, the Pound poem just invaded my being as I waited for Boat
One to take me to my hotel. More indelible was Wilson's reading
of poems he was working on, then, best of all, giving me one or two
to type for Kyk.
I considered Kyk my magazine since I spent so much time on
it. When the proofs came, I discontinued my own routine to pay
careful attention to proof-reading. One routine was to ride my
bicycle up to Kitty, then walk out on the jetty, listening to the
Atlantic crashing against the concrete, and the wind in the huge
sea-grape tree with tentacle roots in the sand. Sometimes a
Hindu group had left wedding offerings in the water, which
bobbed up and down on the waves. When Kyk was due, time was
precious, and my rides were fewer. I continued my work for Kyk,
until I left Georgetown to attend college in New York. A part of
my life was over, although I did not know it. The invaluable gift
of myadolescence is the insight into a poem's birth -
"construction" is too hard a word listening to Wilson, Martin,
and AJ talk about, rethink, change, their poems as they wrote
them.
Fifty years is a truly golden age for a little magazine, so
essential to a country's intellectual life. I am happy that Kyk






-59 KYK # 46/47


celebrates this anniversary, feeling blessed to have helped in its
early nurturing. AJ is quite proud, now in the Great Beyond; I'm
positively sure of it.





KYK #46/47


MARK McWATT

Beloved of the Rivers:
(A Fictional Encounter in 10 Poems.)

1
You sat on a tree
that hung over the river
fishing for me.

I took the hook
and I hauled you in
to the net of my book.

Fallen into fiction
you're now trapped with me
in this self-contradiction.

And there's nothing I can do,
within rock and swift water,
but turn the pages of you.

2
In other places
I have been careful about intruders,
I have learnt about locks and iron bars.

Here I open a door
to admit a river, watch it spread across my floor
with palm seeds and the brittle claws
of crabs.

How often can you forgive me
for sinking your house
down to the secret bed of a river,




KYK # 46/47


and for emerging from its wet dream
to embrace you with sudden spite,
like a lover?

3
I crush your fingers
like aromatic leaves
and hold them to my lips:
the fragrance of you fills me
and we dance on wet leaves
in a patch of sunlight
purer than the love you spoke to me.

And sunlight dances now
on the torn skirt of the river,
on the glistening rocks ...
as my own love, like spilled blood,
swirls slowly to stillness
and fills the soft shallows,
the warm hollows
of the silence on the surface
of you.

4
After the body's shrill song
comes a silent love
like the calm reaches of a river
that once crashed down stone stairs,
its head boiling with foam and passion,
and you wonder:
"Was all of that for me?"

And you look beyond love,
as a river, tasting salt
in its tidal mouth, stiffens






KYK # 46/47


for the Judas-kiss of the sea;
finding no ground for hope,
you surrender silently to me
wondering, as you lose yourself in love,
"Will love still remember me?"

5
What is this love
we are always rehearsing?
Where will it take us
at the end of what day?

To whom do we offer
these arms and lips
and the hardened tips of ourselves
in mock surrender
- in rituals that sunder
stone and sky, cloud and thunder?

I try to remember
a reason for it all,
a place behind the gesture
that might still be hallowed;
but it is hard, in these times of drift,
to think fruitfully
beyond flesh and faint laughter.

Perhaps truth is no longer to be found
where we have always sought her.
We grow too old for belief.
Like the sky, we simply shrug:
the stone's indifference to water.





KYK # 46/47


6
Because rivers contain
the history of space,
I call you to come with me
into those amber shallows.

We start with creeks:
Kamuni, Wauna and Warapoka,
they become no more nor less
than your naked body,
which I enter to discover
-in that fluid mirror-
the past and the future
of my face.

Next the larger tributaries:
Potaro, Cuyuni, Barama ...
Ah. do not be fooled
by the contiguity of surfaces:
we descend into separate depths
where each river's cold is a different shiver,
and shattered light falls dully
among your drifting hair.
There is primordial memory there
in poured libations that are sufficient
to reach the spirit of the sea.

And Demerara, Corentyne, Waini:
I whistle for you across those estuaries,
My tears become the same salt as the sea.
crusting in the cracks beside my eyes
Here we must respond in time
to the challenge of space:
I anchor myself to your vast body
raking the flesh of a continent





KYK # 46/47


on the soft, forgetful beds of rivers,
making and healing
the scars of my race.

7
There are insects that crawl
on the skin of rivers,
giving you gooseflesh;
but the long brush of a hand
doesn't break your surface
on which I can still count the stars.

I watch the trees descending
to the sky, each with a blurr
of unkept promises. I hear you sigh
like breeze on the flesh of the river:
cold fingers of mist caress you
and my body and I await
your subtlest capitulations.

In this frenzy
of leaf-rot and sunstruck foam
I ease out of you,
lathered with your involuntary laughter,
nursing the crumpled remnant
of my story now in danger
of abridgement in mid-stream ...

I who must love rivers
love you too much
to succumb to your only dream.





KYK # 46/47


8
Hearing the tidal beat of your wings
above the river, I look upward
to see the morning sky stained
with your brilliant love for me.

The noontide, swollen
with my foolish pride,
bears me beyond the reach
of your farthest tendril finger
and the cloudless sky consumes me.

Evening washes me back to your warmth,
across the groins of love's wide estuary;
and I imagine that I have turned your tide
into the living flesh of memory.

Night severs the umbilical strand
of our love and I wait
in the tether of your throbbing tide
for the drowned touch of another dawn
to release me.

9
To take you
like a smooth river stone
to the hollow of my neck
is to dream of freedom
beyond the cool skin of ecstasy.
beyond fossil, beyond the finesse
of rhyme and memory.

To dream of loving you and rivers
has been to discover the specific thirst
of earth for sky





*66 KYK # 46/47


and the cruel patina of being
painted on the gifts of time.


10
When I finally rolled away
the stone of your love
that concealed the self I sought in rivers,
I was awakened to
sudden sorrow
by the cruel sunlight
streaming from an ordinary sky
through the startling absence
of you.





KYK # 46/47


GEORGE SIMON Talks to ANNE WALMSLEY

Looking Inland


In April 1995 recent work by three Arawak Guyanese was
shown at Castellani House -Guyana's national gallery -in
an exhibition of Contemporary Amerindian Art. George Simon,
whose paintings were hung along with wood sculpture by
Oswald Hussein and Lynus Clenkien, had initiated and
arranged the exhibition. It demonstrated the results of
Simon's involvement with a group of artists in his home
village of Pakuri- St. Cuthbert's Mission -on the Mahaica
River. It also revealed ways in which Simon's travels and
studies over the past ten years as a trainee anthropologist and
archaeologist have affected his paintings.

GEORGE SIMON I had just completed my MA course in
Archaeology in London and returned to Guyana. While waiting
for a new posting, I thought I should become involved again with
a group of artists that I've been working with at St. Cuthbert's
- to find, to my disappointment, that in my absence only two of
them had been working at their art. I felt that it would have been
a great shame that these two sculptors whom I knew to be
talented and in whom I saw some sign of development were
going to be left alone, and I thought, to show with them is to
give them some kind of moral support and to bring them out to
Georgetown. Ossie Hussein, who on two occasions has won the
national prize at the annual National Visual Arts Exhibition, never
had a show on his own but had a body of work with which I felt
we could put an exhibition together quite quickly. Lynus
Clenkien did not have many pieces, but I felt he should show his
work.

ANNE WALMSLEY How long had you been working with these
artists at St. Cuthbert's?






KYK # 46/47


In about 1988 I became concerned about Amerindians from my
village not going very far in their education. I felt I needed to
help them along, so to speak, in life. Since I was trained as an
artist, I thought one thing that I could do is to encourage art and try
to develop their skills in painting or sculpture. Sculpture was the
best because there was wood and they were familiar with
carving: making canoes and paddles and that kind of thing -
making bows and arrows was a natural to us. So wood carving,
wood sculpture was a natural thing for them to develop.

Am I right in saying that until you worked with them and
encouraged them, no work of this sort had been done by
Amerindian peoples of Guyana? That although there is a long
tradition of varied and highly skilled Amerindian craft work,
there is no non-functional visual practice, no 'fine arts'?

Not quite so. Stephanie Correia has done tremendous work as a
fine artist, especially in ceramics, and there are other Amerindians
who work privately and whose work is not yet known to the
general Guyanese public. As a youngster, even at school I had
a little chance while I was at St. Cuthbert's Anglican School. We
had a Friday afternoon I think it was session where we would
actually be taught craft by the villagers: basket weaving, making
miniature canoes and paddles and that kind of thing. Basically, it
was craft that was made for trading or for selling purposes.

So in this recent exhibition you, the teacher, were showing
alongside your students.

The most important thing was that the three of us seemed to have
been working in the same vein, very secretly and very privately.
I had always allowed them to develop their own ideas. I have
changed my figurative work to semi-abstract, gradually getting
involved in mythology and when I got back it was refreshing and
very exciting to see that Ossie had all the time been concerned






KYK # 46/47


with the mythology of his people. Lynus had been concerned
with spirits and also working in the same vein. So it was not
difficult for the three of us to come together, it was a natural
thing, so to speak.

Your painting Oriyu-Shikaw: Kaieteur, Home of the River Spirit
was amongst the paintings which you showed, and has been
bought for the National Art Collection of Guyana. Is this a recent
work?

Yes, it's amazing how that came about. Maybe an insight into
how a canvas develops for me might give you an idea of how
things happen very spontaneously. After I've prepared a canvas,
I'll decide on a dominant colour and then throw paint
haphazardly onto the canvas and imagery comes up. It's a
principle that I think da Vinci mentioned where if you were to
lie very quietly on your couch and look at the ceiling, you could
probably see horses and warriors and people fighting -
whatever. It's that kind of thing that happens to me, and I have
great faith in the subconscious. So I would let the paint remain on
the canvas and look at it and gradually images come out and I
would develop those images. And lo and behold a picture of the
Kaieteur emerged on this occasion, and I developed the idea. The
first time I had experienced the Kaieteur, it was such a powerful
place to be at, that I thought, surely, the first people who had
discovered or seen this place would have worshipped there. So I
had this in me, and I created a Kaieteur which is totally different.
The Falls itself is full of petroglyphs and symbols, and then the
bottom part of it where the water actually falls into the gorge is
full of fossils and skeleton remains and rocks. In the distance in
the landscape of denuded forest, it's all mountains, grass
mountains criss-crossed with rivers and tributaries. I've done
a lot of work there; I've travelled beyond the Falls and I've
looked at archaeological sites along the Potaro River. I have
been really concerned with all the dredging and the destruction






KYK # 46/47


of the river. I can imagine it happening where the Falls would
dry up and what would remain are the walls of the Kaieteur and
trickles of water coming over the top and human remains at the
bottom. So the painting was more or less a political statement as
well.

Had an exhibition of work by Amerindian artists ever been shown
in Georgetown before?

There have been past exhibitions of craft work. In the mid 80s
there were big exhibitions of work by Amerindians which would
include some pottery, weaving, basketry, that sort of thing. But
to have an exhibition of this kind was new.

Where do you think such art is going to go next, and how do you
want to be involved in it?

Already it has made an impact on the Guyanese art scene
because, as you would realise, most of the artists in Guyana are
people who live on the coast. And now I myself live in
Georgetown. But to have the boys from the interior -
Amerindian boys with a new vision, it's going to cause some
confusion, I think. And I dare say it will assist the coastlanders to
look inland instead of looking towards the sea and towards the
Caribbean. Now what we hope to do is to go out to the villages.
Indeed.already Lynus and Ossie have gone to Annai in the
north Rupununi savannah to work together with a ceramist -
among the Macusi. the indigenous people there, to show the
people what they are doing and hopefully stimulate a few of them
into making ceramics or sculptures. What will happen eventually
in Guyana is that there will be an emergence of new sculptures
and other art forms of totally different ideas, created by artists
with totally different backgrounds from those that we have seen
so far.





KYK # 46/47


And how about your own work in painting, where do you see that
going now?

I will concentrate on Amerindian mythology. I need to look inside.
I trust the subconscious and I wait for that inner voice to say,
'Change it here and do that there', and that's how I work. And I can
only see that this is the way that I will pursue my work. My
archaeology helps, and of course a lot of that comes into my work
as well.

How have your studies in archaeology helped this new direction
in your painting?

I have been looking at prehistoric art in South America and in
Latin America generally. That has helped tremendously. It has
encouraged me to look inwards and maybe to use some of the
imagery that I've seen, or maybe to become much more confident
in using my own private language and taking more notice of
what my peoples have done and how they've been stifled and how
they have not said things before, and trying to use their
mythologies.

How did you think about yourself and your people before you got
into archaeology?

I did not know the importance of my Amerindian past, I did not
know the history of my people. The subject was not taught at
school. In fact, I was forbidden at school to speak my own
language and anyone found speaking Arawak in class was
flogged. In general, Amerindian culture was discouraged and we
were made to feel inferior. An anthropologist said to me recently
that he knew more about the Amerindians than they know about
themselves. How sadly true! I was trained in Europe and
developed European ideas for my art. I did not draw from inside
myself at all. I didn't become conscious of my Amerindianness, if






KYK # 46/47


I might say so, until after returning to Guyana from my years
of art training in England, in 1978. I was invited by Denis
Williams to join him at the Walter Roth Museum of
Anthropology in 1985. This opportunity allowed me to travel
extensively in Guyana and to be reunited with my people. I had
had an exhibition in 1982 which dissatisfied me. The paintings did
not reflect my Amerindianness.

What did the work at the Musetun involve?

Very shortly after I had joined him, Denis had a message of
some sort to say that the Museum of Puerto Rico was interested
in sending an expedition to the Wai-Wais in the Upper
Essequibo River, in the Amazon forest. The expedition would
make a collection of Wai-Wai artefacts, half of which would
come to the Walter Roth Museum and others to the Museum of
Puerto Rico. There would be an anthropologist and an
archaeologist in the team and I was going to be the Walter Roth
Museum representative. That was my first expedition. I didn't
have a clue what I was going to do. I felt like I was going to be
looking after these American strangers in the forest.

You hadn't been to the part of Guyana where the Wai-Wai live?

No, no, no. I knew St. Cuthbert's and Mackenzie and that was
it though I had gone up to Great Falls, up the Demerara, in
the early '60s. So I didn't know anything. because I'd been
partially cut off from my people and that kind of life. However,
yes, I agreed to go on the expedition. So Denis gave me six books
about anthropology and the Wai-Wai to read in two weeks. I
became very interested in the work that we were doing when
we eventually arrived at Shapariymo where the Wai-Wais lived.
We spent a month with the Wai-Wais. We made recordings of
their music and songs, took photographs of the Amerindian
situation, went hunting with them and collected their craft work.






KYK # 46/47


All the time I was observing how the archaeologist was working
and how the anthropologist was working. Here at last there was
something that related to me. I felt re-awakened by the experience.

Did you do any work as an artist while you were up there?

I did a lot of sketches. I was asked to do a sketch of a conical
house, traditional Wai-Wai architecture. I studied the ground
surface and recorded all the artefacts on the ground, the walls and
the thatched roof. This study helped me to see a layout of the
house -where people lived, where the people ate, where people
did housework and that kind of pattern. This was my first
experience of being in the Amazon and of being with indigenous
peoples of the Amazonas, from whom I could draw parallels
with my own early life.

And then back at the Walter Roth Musewn ?

Yes, I wanted to know more about my people, I wanted to know
more about primitive art, primitive culture. So there was pottery
to look at, more books to read, and discussions on these subjects.
I started from there. I came back from that first expedition fired
with interest and I thought, ah, now I can paint. I have something
to paint, something to say!

What sort of painting did you then start to do?

The painting situation had become worse and one couldn't get
oil paints or linseed oil or turps to buy. Acrylic paint was
relatively easy to acquire, although I couldn't purchase a medium
to go with it; it was a water-based paint, which was good. I
started to use these sparingly, very carefully, in washes, and I
developed from that a technique of applying paint very thinly
onto the canvas layer over layer, layer by layer in this very
watercoloury kind of effect. I developed a glazing technique and






KYK # 46/47


studied colour theory.

What support material were you painting onto?

I use twill. I stretch twill and sometimes apply a very thick
ground: maybe six coats of emulsion paint, very thick
sometimes, and I would sand it down with sandpaper and then
work from that, and very gently and very tediously try to build
contrasts and colours and depth and that kind of thing by
applying layers and layers of colour on top of one another. And
so I built my surfaces. But then I became proficient so to speak,
in this technique. I paint very quickly now in this medium and I
can capture someone sitting there very quickly and get a very
good result, like you would do in watercolour. But I wasn't
satisfied. I considered the composition of the picture and I
introduced three-dimensional shapes and flat areas into paintings.
Gradually, I became interested in the atmosphere, and in effects of
the light -and in how Rembrandt and Turner achieved these.
Of course in the meantime I am sent out from time to time on
expeditions for the Museum.

What other expeditions deeply affected your subsequent work as a
painter?

I did a lot of work in the Essequibo River and in the Potaro River,
so I had to cross and travel up and down the Essequibo River a
great deal. And that helped me in looking at atmosphere. So, after
the Wai-Wai series, I did about 25 paintings of the Essequibo
which I called 'Essequibo Series', basically of the river, the
landscape, the streak of land that you'd see in the Essequibo -
such a vast river, this line that separates the sky from the water,
this vast expanse of water. I laid great emphasis on the water.

On some of these expeditions you must have been studying the
petroglyphs -the great prehistoric rock carvings. Did they





KYK # 46/47


influence your own artistic work?

Not until quite recently, in the last two years or so. Denis
Williams was, of course, the man who really brought these
things to life. They had been looked at before, but not in the way
that Denis had really studied them in the Berbice and Upper
Essequibo.

And Denis introduced you to them?

From his work, from his writings, I'd seen them. But then to
have seen these things on paper is not to experience them in
landscape. I came across these carved marks, these petroglyphs,
for the first time I think it must have been in 91 or 92 in the
Essequibo. To see them there and in the flesh, in a river bed that
had dried up, was a marvellous experience, it makes you begin to
wonder. You know, you go to Kaieteur and you think oh
people must have really worshipped this Falls here, such a
powerful thing! So to use the imagery of the petroglyphs was to
incorporate the spirituality of the place. It moved one to look at
the other side.

So you're rot simply reproducing the motifs in your paintings,
you're trying to get behind what prompted them, and to bring
something similar into your work.

Absolutely. I became interested in the writing of these things.
Why were they written? What were people trying to say'? I tried
to decode them in my own particular way, not in the
archaeological sense. For instance, I did a painting which was a
view from the plane going across the mouth of the Siparuni
River, one of the Essequibo tributaries. We were going to do
some work in that area in July or August when the water was low.
And I saw this area and then did a painting of it as if it had been
x-rayed, like I'd looked at it from the top and gone through the






KYK # 46/47


inside. I'd gone beyond the surface and looked beyond to see the
rock formation and that kind of thing. And I like to think of the
petroglyphs in that sense, where you don't just copy the surface
but you look inside; you consider the place where the petroglyphs
appeared maybe a little waterfall, the trees that might be around
there, the birds you think of all these. It's a religious centre, so
to speak, it's like a little cathedral, and I look at it in that sacred
sense. So I use all these and they conjure up in me a certain kind
of way to present what I have seen and experienced. It becomes a
very, very private undertaking. I make these paintings and what
happens on occasions on the canvas is that there are some very
heavy textured surfaces and some very light areas. I now move
between textured and light surfaces for contrast, like I did initially
with flat and round forms. I think one needs to go beyond the
expected. I've never understood when someone said, 'Oh, you've
captured the true spirit of that individual in the painting'. I
always thought, what was that? I now understand what that
means: it's capturing the essence of Kaieteur if you're going to
paint the Kaieteur.

Which, it seems, you have now done marvellously in your painting
Oriuyu-Shikaw, Kaieteur, Home of the River Spirit. Thank you,
George Simon, and best wishes to you and the 'boys from the
interior' in your continuing work.

(From interviews with George Simon in London in January
1994 and June 1995.)






KYK # 46/47


EusI KWAYANA

Kyk-Over-Al at Fifty
Only think how many human beings, the prize of creation, who
were born fifty years ago did not live to see their fiftieth birthday.
Perhaps one day our literary statisticians will make a
intersectorial comparison between the infant mortality rate of
humans and the infant mortality rate of publications.
Although, according to the latest Human Development
Report of the UNDP, our infant mortality rate still stood at 48 per
thousand in 1992, there is reason to believe that young people now
eighteen,on the verge of childhood's old age. or even those who are
now fifteen, will be there to celebrate Kyk-Over-Al's centenary.
That is an encouraging way of expressing faith in Kyk-Over-AI
for its own sake, paying tribute to the founders and those whose
love and clear-headedness has kept it going for all this half
century. And with confidence claim that the rising generation will
rise to the occasion as most have always done, despite
misgivings of elders and so continue the tradition of creation
and publication in this form, or in whatever form seems to them
most fitting in the circumstances which will greet them on their
way and which they may even now have begun to influence.
But Seymour! It is impossible to say Kyk-Over-Al without
thinking of its most dedicated founder, and without seeing him at
his desk with that supreme calm which grew as difficulties
mounted; without thinking of his life long co-worker and
companion, Elma, whose time and space were as communal as
his, and of that long line of men and women writers whose sparks
he fanned into flame.
Kyk-Over-Al is fifty Long live Kyk!






KYK #46/47


MICHAEL GILKES

Swimmer


Every thing he did came easily.
Trees dropped their fruit
for him to catch,
fires lit for him
with one damp match.
Rain filled his bucket to the brim.
The yard, the circles
of cousins, neighbours, friends,
the childhood games,
the gabled house,
familiar as its housemaids' names
bouyed his young life so he could swim.

In those green Dolphin-days boyhood meandered
like a creek
finding its course,
changing its mind.
He wanted to leave the source behind, go where
the sun's glow lit the river's amber scrim
making the forest's cyclorama dim
to gold.
He longed to sing with tongues of gauldings
blown, like white confetti,
along the river's rim.
He yearned to skim that changing surface,
soft as silk,
or dimpled as a dinner-gong.
Older swimmers said 'boy, you too young.
That water deep. The currents there too strong.'


One afternoon the river called to him.





KYK # 46/47


He heard its song.
Its voice was hoarse,
raucous as sin.
Its umber face reflected his
when he slipped in,
his body a bateau unzipping
the dark water's skin.

Later, half-drowned, glug-glugging on a coke,
sucking a cigarette,
he watched as his struck match ignited the dusk.
Towelled and dry,
his skin smelled of the river's musk.
The swimmer knew that smell would stay
for good. like a dark stain.
Nothing in life would come easy again.






KYK # 46/47


NIGEL WESTMAAS

Personal Reflections:
Kyk-Over-Al, The Magazine

My initial encounter with Kyk-Over-Al, the magazine, was in the
Caribbean section of the Public Free Library, as it was then
called. In one sense I smelt Kyk before anything else. Everyone
who has been in the library knows of the particular smell of the
books arising from the substance used to protect them. Kyk
appeared to have an abundance of the stuff. At the time, I was
less concerned with reading than with admiring its form and
seeming permanence on the shelf among other West Indian
books. But its emphasis on poetry caught my mind even then.
All the obscure and the great poems were included in Kyk. And
just think! Where else could one have read short stories, poems,
interviews, art criticism, and so much more, as Kyk provided?
To my mind Kyk's very name was a choice of genius. The
relevance of its name, an amazing conjunction of image and
history, linked the geographical and historical significance of a
Guyanese landmark and art, a marvellous leap of identification.
It also performed the function of history teacher. Is it true that
the remains of Kyk-Over-Al at the confluence of the Cuyuni,
Mazaruni and Essequibo rivers only imbedded itself in the
national consciousness largely because of this great literary
magazine? On picking up an old Kyk one was always struck by
the image of the Dutch fort on the cover. In time it fused itself
in the memory.
Every magazine has its own spirit. This mirrors in some
way the society that gave birth to it. Kyk came to symbolise
more than a new element entering an emergent post-war
Guyanese readership, thirsty for its own literature. Yet it was a
few kindred spirits who spawned it and brought it to fruition.
Martin Carter was once heard to remark that a whole village does
not write a petition, someone does, and a village ratifies it. So it





KYK # 46/47


was with this Guyanese icon. Kyk-Over-Al has been ratified
several times over in its fifty years. And yet, then and now, it
continues to require a tremendous persistence to be maintained.
The process of making a magazine involves a great deal -
conception, collection of material, editing, getting it to the
printers, and then distribution. Only a great love of literature and
art could have provided that engine of consistency. The two
main figures associated with Kyk's fifty years, AJ Seymour and
Ian McDonald have had this particular quality in their
respective editorships. AJ Seymour himself made a large slice of
his life's work this odyssey of perseverance and commitment.
There were breaks in its production over the years but AJ
and his successors could have remarked like Goethe, "Die ich
Riel, Die Geister werd' ich nun nicht los". Roughly translated,
"The spirits that I summoned. I cannot now dismiss". In other
words had Kyk not existed it would have had to be invented. It
had created a want.
A final reflection: Another thing I recall everytime I think of
Kyk is the mutation of its page colour and print.The newer Kyk.
that is, the Kyk of the computer age, does not have the faded
"yellow" pages of its predecessors of the 1950's and 1960's. That
colour gave the magazine an additional 'history'. Editorial
licence pushed the Kyk image to the top of the page in the
newer issues with attractive main covers. But is newer better?
Maybe in some ways. Yet somehow those old, faded copies of
Kyk and their very readable print are superior to the modern
computer-assisted appearance. In any case Kyk will survive and
remain a permanent part of the Guyanese imagination. Hail
Kyk's Fiftieth Year!






KYK # 46/47


FRANK BIRBALSINGH

Edgar Mittelholzer (1909 1965)


Edgar Mittelholzer was the first Guyanese or West Indian
novelist to live by his pen for most of his career. Even today,
among West Indian writers, a similar claim may be genuinely
made only for V. S. Naipaul. But Mittelholzer's singularity goes
further: he has written more novels than Naipaul, or any other
West Indian for that matter; and in quicker time. From his first
novel Corentyne Thunder, in 1941, Mittelholzer produced
twenty-five books; and if we consider that he published virtually
nothing from 1942 to 1949, around the period of the Second
World War, it means that in fifteen years (1950-1965) he
published twenty- three novels, not to mention With a Carib
Eye, (1958) a travel book that reveals some of his most deeply felt
views, and his autobiography A Swarthy Boy (1963). These
statistics proclaim startling, not to say bewildering literary
productivity, and an imagination whose fertility remains
unsurpassed in the annals of West Indian literature.
Mittelholzer is also a pioneer. When he began writing, there
was virtually no imaginative literature from Guyana or the West
Indies. For this reason alone he should be canonized as the father
of Guyanese literature. He either invented or made a critical
contribution to basic genres of Guyanese and West Indian writing
- the historical novel in his Kaywana trilogy; detective fiction
in My Bones and My Flute; social realism in A Morning at
the Office; science fiction in A Twinkling in the Twilight;
erotica in The Piling of Clouds; the psychological thriller in
Sylvia; and what he himself calls comedy-fantasy in such novels
as Shadows Move Among Them and The Mad MacMullochs.
Where he did not initiate these genres, his writing provided a
decisive impetus that helped them to become established.
For all that, despite his professionalism, productivity, and
pioneering, Mittelholzer has had a bad press. He is not accepted





KYK # 46/47


as an artist of high calibre, like his contemporaries -
V. S. Naipaul, George Lamming, Samuel Selvon, or his fellow
Guyanese Wilson Harris. This is astonishing because, on the
surface at least, Mittelholzer possessed qualities that would be the
envy of most great or gifted artists fertile imagination, original
ideas, inspired initiative, technical flair, dogged determination
and superhuman energy. Yet the sad truth is that his fiction, like
the batting of his equally gifted countryman Robert Christiani
- delivers less than it promises. Perhaps he was too spendthrift
with his rich talents, as Christiani certainly was; hence the
calamity of his fiction being disfigured by opulent self-indulgence
in novel after novel, for example, in Eltonsbrody, Shadows Move
Among Them, and most tragically of all, in his masterpiece the
Kaywana trilogy in which Mittelholzer cannot stop himself
from piling grotesquerie on top of eccentricity, sensation on top
of horror, mainly it seems, to shock the reader. Such powerfully
compulsive writing suggests either that Mittelholzer simply
threw caution to the winds and hugely enjoyed what he did, or that,
irresistibly, he was driven by demons that he could not control.
No wonder he destroyed himself in the end; for an
imagination that was daring enough to inspire fiction mixing
fascist or racist theories with transcendentalism, occultism.
eroticism and sado- masochism, was just as capable of devising a
method of suicide that entailed turning himself into a human
torch in England, where he had finally settled. The parallel is
inescapable with Buddhist monks whose pictures he must have
seen in English newspapers, willingly undergoing public
self-immolation. Even if it sounds preposterous, this horrifying
form of death tends to vindicate the compulsive self-indulgence
of Mittelholzer's writing by investing it with an aura of almost
monkish devotion. For one thing, after self-immolation, it is
said that Mittelholzer's body was found in a devotional posture.
For another, his novels contain moral or religious elements. At the
same time, improbably, many novels are riddled with
contradictory concepts of a Jekyl/Hyde variety, and situations of






KYK # 46/47


manichean extremes that enjoin both lust and abstinence, evil as
well as good. His novels also contain characters like Hubertus van
Groenwegel (Kaywana Stock), an archetypal sinner/saint, capable
of invoking pious incantations of abstinence and selfless
dedication to God at the very moment that he cherishes thoughts
of brutish lust, or actions of outlandish, carnal self-gratification.
All this points to a mad logic in the manner of Mittelholzer's
death which may explain contradictory elements in his fiction,
without, artistically, redeeming them.
Growing up in Guyana in the first quarter of this century,
Mittelholzer enjoyed a measure of colonial social privilege. He
came from a white/brown, creole, or upper middle class
background; and although the literary resources available to him
were slender, for example, the Bible. The Pilgrim's Progress,
Victorian penny dreadfuls and periodicals like The Union Jack,
they were a good deal better than those available to most of his
countrymen in a remote British Caribbean colony at the time.
This is partly why he and other writers of a similar social
background DeLisser and Roberts of Jamaica, Frank Collymore
of Barbados, and Gomes, Mendes and DeBoissiere of Trinidad
are among the most important pioneers in West Indian literature.
Among this group, C. L. R. James remains a lonely exception
because he was black and from the lower middle class. These
pioneers all display initiative, originality and versatility in their
historical novels, social studies, romantic or detective fiction,
and psychological thrillers; but Mittelholzer stands out because
of an historical imagination more daring and dynamic than any
other, both among his contemporaries, and their successors. For
instance, while the harsh historical reality of DeLisser and
Roberts is often relieved by blandishments of local colour and
romance. Mittelholzer's historical fiction is austerely motivated
by a seemingly morbid desire to plumb the darkest depths of the
master/slave relationship that is at the very foundation of
Guyanese and West Indian culture.
This confers a unique accolade on the Kaywana trilogy; for






KYK # 46/47


although the relationship between European masters and
African slaves, in a plantation context, is the most historic of all
West Indian subjects, it has not received the attention it deserves
from West Indian novelists. It is true that Ada Quayle's The
Mistress vividly documents domestic plantation routine, and
Orlando Patterson's Die the Long Day offers generalised and
rather abstract reflections on the same subjects; but neither of
these novels investigates the morality of human beings owning
other human beings, as Mittelholzer's Kaywana novels attempt to
do. The achievement of these three novels The Children of
Kaywana, Kaywana Stock and Kaywana Blood is that in the
process of examining the moral implications of slavery on
Guyanese plantations, they transform themselves into sheer
marvels of historical reconstruction, adaptation, and
improvisation. In the sterile and forbiddingly uncreative
conditions of colonial Guyana, in the first half of this century,
Mittelholzer had no more than J. A. Rodway's A History of
Guyana as a source on which he could rely. Consequently, he
fell back on his imagination which roamed at will, far and
wide, vigorously and feverishly creating, inventing, fabricating and
conjuring manifold scenes, events, issues and characters into a
sweeping panorama of Guyanese history that spanned three and
a half centuries. Ineluctably, it seems, mesmerised by the
prodigious effort he devoted to this enormous project.
Mittelholzer was also induced to plumb the turbulent.
subconscious depths of his own mixed (European/African)
ancestry. The result is an evocation of Guyanese history less
distinguished by historical accuracy or documentary authenticity,
than by a dazzling combination of psychological insight with
ebullient, dramatic action, thrilling adventure, bizarre
philosophical speculation and a vision that, ironically, would
prove prophetic in the author's homeland.
The vision that emerges from the Kaywana novels is one of
enforced jungle justice, a severe, tough-minded, resilient creed
that accepts life's cruelties with perverse relish and participates






KYK # 46/47


himself off as a true patriot in the eyes of the Guyanese people. If
this is true, it is typical of the cynicism and expedience of
Burnham's regime as described by Ashton Chase in Guyana: A
Nation in Transit Burnham's Role. At any rate, for
Mittelholzer to have drawn his portrait of Cuffee, more than
twelve years before Burnham took office smacks of prophecy.
Yet Mittelholzer's portrait of Cuffee/Burnham is not
entirely mysterious: it is partly the logical outcome of a blind,
brutal and haphazard vision of life as outlined in With a Carib
Eye:
I can even find it in me to sympathise with the old planters
in their cynical apathy towards political questions of the day.
In the final reckoning, whether they protested against some
threatened measure or shrugged with indifference, the
powers in Holland or England always decided the matter as
the powers saw fit.
This, too. is part of the vision in the Kaywana novels, with
their portrait of political leadership, whether of planter or slave, as
one of resigned, cynical apathy, expedience, and Machiavellian
self-aggrandisement. The most original aspect of this vision is its
insight that political Independence which put an end to colonial
rule in Guyana in 1966, was likely at least in its initial aftermath
to be followed by the same authoritarian, colonial style of
government that it had supposedly overthrown. By exemplifying
the truth of this vision. Burnham's post-Independence regime
vindicates the acuteness of Mittelholzer's perceptions, and the
tortured integrity of his troubled genius.
The singularity of Mittelholzer's genius is indisputable: his
originality and inventiveness are peerless; his sense of drama
wrenching; his evocation of landscape brilliant; and his
intellectual curiosity diverting and entertaining. To all this he
brought a narrative fluency equalled by no other West Indian
novelist except, possibly, John Hearne of Jamaica. His
professionalism, productivity and pioneering deserve to become
an integral part of Guyanese and West Indian literary history. But





KYK # 46/47


his belief in jungle justice was a liability, despite the fact that it
led him to predict events in post-Independence Guyana. In the
end, Mittelholzer remains, potentially, the most gifted writer of
Guyanese or West Indian origin. But alas, like Robert Christiani,
whose dazzling feats of batsmanship survive chiefly in glorious
fragments, in abbreviated Test innings, Mittelholzer's immense
literary gifts lie in a disconsolate mass of scattered fragments,
strewn higgedly-piggedly over more than twenty novels. We
shall never fully know what saints or demons, probably
originating in his native county of Berbice, led him to squander
his precious gifts so prodigally, or to create at such white heat
that, metaphorically, literally, prematurely, he burnt himself out.
All we can glean from his work is the dimly glowing wonder of a
career promising the most brilliant productions ever to come
from a Guyanese or West Indian pen, and perishing, tragically
unfulfilled, in alien, autumn sunlight, in Godalming, Surrey,
England.





KYK# 46/47


perform, what he called "this duty of criticism".
There are always the newspapers to perform part of this
duty of criticism, but the journalist has primarily to deal with
short term material and he supplies more of fact and less
of opinion. It is to the weekly and monthly and quarterly
issues of critical material that we must look for more
fundamental probing, there we must seek the expression of
the more slowly maturing spirit of the people. In other words,
publications are necessary if the leaven of community and of
national unity is to work among an organised people.
This on eve of the 1953 April elections and the beginning of
a convulsive year in the colony.
And after the trauma of the invasion of October 1953 and the
overthrow of our first elected government? A solemn
remembrance of the honourable dead who blazed the trail of our
cultural movement the brothers Potter, Philip Pilgrim and.
before them. Mac A. Lawrence. A. R. F. Webber, Egbert Martin-
a praise-song of the supremacy of the spirit over material
things." The opening line sounds the note:
In this country we have seen brilliant lights go out in the
darkness and clocks have stopped on the wall.
In the face of rupture and defeat, the measured celebration of
continuity and a defiance of negation. Speaking out of a radical
conservative humanism. Seymour hit upon a vital truth of social
motion, ignored by political activists at their own peril and
ultimately at the peril of others: "We are pre-occupied with
community values of a more political nature, and rightly so, but
there must be an advance upon many fronts at the same time if
we are going to develop the national spirit." (Italics mine).
There was no lack of boldness in Seymour's quiet defence of
the freedom of the creative imagination in the heyday of
literature engagee, that of the highly reputable Sartre no less
than that of the utterly disreputable Zdanov. In 1952. we lind
him writing :
The most valuable asset of the writer is his independence. It is





.93 KYK # 46/47

true that he is socially conditioned in the unconscious
springs of his being, but no attempt should be made to make
him toe a party line in literature.
Inhospitable only to dogma and its suffocations,
Kyk-Over-Al was from the beginning a voice for reason,
moderation and an unapologetic humanism.
Born in the same year as the United Nations fifty years ago, in
the aftermath of the decimation of great cities and the slaughter in
the ovens, on the steppes and in the trenches, Kyk-Over-Al was a
small part of the universal assertion of civilisation over barbarism,
of humanism over inhumanity, of the garden over the ashes. And
this in a British colony, far from what is called the centre.
"The writer writes as best he can" Seymour has written, "and he
is grateful that he can write at all." In a salute to Kyk-Over-Al on
its fiftieth anniversary, gratitude is a good note on which to end.'






KYK # 46/47


JAv Lo SHINEBOURNE

Recollections


The photograph, "The village shop," comes from Guiana, British,
Dutch, French, a nineteenth century colonial travelogue
published in 1912 by Fisher Unwin '. When I first saw it I felt
it evoked my father's boyhood. It reflects the situation and
society of his birth, childhood upbringing and life on a sugar
plantation in rural, coastland British Guiana 2. Our family lived as
part of a community of sugar workers in Rose Hall Plantation in
Canje, on the banks of the Canje River, a tributary of the Berbice
River3. The photograph makes me remember that my parental,
widowed grandmother raised her two sons and daughter there, in
the village shop near the sugar factory. I was born and lived there
until I was nine. This photograph reminds me of my father's
identity. It reminds me that the country of his birth British
Guiana, its history, political and social experience at a specific
time was also his history. The struggle of the Guianese sugar
workers was the defining frame of his life. This photograph
represents his childhood, his life, in that frame.
My father is prominent in my earliest childhood memories
because he was so active in looking after me. His closest friends
were the canecutters, field and factory workers at Rose Hall estate.
Canje. I recollect scenes of companionship among them. They
came after work to our home to rest, chat and wash away the soil
and dirt of the canefields before going home. They helped to
build the large water tank in our yard. They came to draw water,
boil it for drinking and to wash. Late at night, my father would sit
with them in the lamplight and talk politics. They also played their
banjoes, sang, and told stories. The companionship, security and
warmth among them often lulled me to sleep. This is one of the
most comforting memories of my childhood. It returns mc to an
inviolable sense of security. I dream frequently about my father
and these companions. In my dreams, they emerge from my





KYK # 46/47


psyche and appear with my childhood family as mythical,
fantastic figures with power to traverse space and time, link me
with my past, present and future, and redeem mundane
experience with vision and imagination. They have this power
in my imagination because I witnessed the power of theirs in the
face of the harshness and cruelties of plantation life. Rare,
delicious water chestnuts and exquisitely perfumed lilies grew in
the deepest parts of the canefields. They made a habit of collecting
and giving them as presents to women and children. I have
witnessed a canecutter covered entirely in soot from burnt cane:
cutlass, saucepans and pitchfork hitched to his back, arrive at my
mother's kitchen door bearing a bunch of beautiful delicate lilies.
Even as I write this, the rare scent of those lilies and the taste of
those water chestnuts return to intoxicate me. Now I know that
their talk of politics was not peaceful. They were often plotting
tactics against the plantation managers. They talked about
fighting for their rights. Their meetings seemed to mean more to
my father than anything else. I never saw him so serious and
passionate as when he was involved in politics. At weekends, they
organised work gangs to repair and build their homes, and to
maintain the dams and protect our villages from floods. I
associate my early childhood with my father's active political life.
In my teenage years, he caught polio. He lost the use of his
legs. His friends would still visit and keep him informed but it
fretted him to be paralysed. It pained me to see my father like
this but he was brave. One friend, Mr. Moses, a furniture
craftsman, made him a Berbice chair specially to aid his recovery.
Mr. Moses regularly performed libations over the chair, and
helped him recover the use of his legs by visiting daily and
supporting him to force himself to walk for half an hour each day.
Another friend, Bhajan, would massage him with coconut oil, the
East Indian cure-all, and sing to him in Hindi or Bhojpuri while
he lay in the chair. African, Chinese and Amerindian herbalists
provided teas as well as oils and pastes for massage. Christian
friends came to read the psalms and sing hymns to my father in






KYK # 46/47


his Berbice chair but he refused the Anglican priest when he came
to give him communion. These healing sessions and political
meetings were conducted simultaneously. When he began to
walk again they said it was a miracle. He was afflicted for the rest
of his life by constant pain and a limp. This confined him at home
and thwarted his political activism. His community-based
political cultureended when young cadres invaded our village
with the politics of the Cold War and to preach Soviet
communism and Marxism. The political meetings in our yard
ended. It was also the end of my childhood.
My father's influence led me to become involved in
community-based politics in London. It taught me what politics
meant to him. I think he believed in living in a colony, on a
plantation, nothing else could give his life as much shape and
focus, or his actions as much meaning. He distrusted liberalism,
individualism, bourgeois values, christianity, colonial education
and culture for political reasons, because they were used to violate
our autonomy. His politics give his life discipline, direction, value
and stability in the unjust and unpredictable world of the sugar
plantation. He felt helpless to see his children undergo an
education he distrusted. When I returned home from school he
did his best to de-educate me, to undermine what I was learning at
school, and bind me to his values. It left me with a lasting
ambivalence towards my education that made me interrupt and
postpone it frequently, question it, shy away from an academic
career, and settle down only with iconoclastic teachers. My
education was always controversial, dominated by issues of power
and politics because of my father. He conditioned me to question
everything, to distrust ideologues, ideology, doctrine. Teachers
like Samuel Archer at my primary school understood him, knew
how to win his trust, and teach and inspire me to learn. I was ten
when he encouraged me towrite an essay on the title. "My Life".
I did not know where to start. In the end, I wrote about my
impressions of the forest along the Canje River. I called it "Water
and Trees" (ten years later. I rewrote and published it). He read




Full Text

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WlN AMERiCA \ ( 46/4 December 1995

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I / 1.' I .. V \ \ ( "," \.. -. '. I /,1 -46/47 (' '\ \

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Friends of Kyk-Over-AI # 46/47 Many individuals and companies have assisted Kyk.Over.AI since the Indeed was relaunched 10 years ago in December 1984. such belp Kyk could not possibly continued. In Guyana 01' die West Indies -anywhere -a literary can by no means Sid five sales alone so we are dependent OR: provided by people and companies with the imagination 10 IIfX that a like Kyk is worth keeping going for the sake of the contributioll it makes to cultural and IDtellectuallife ia the country. ID the case of this Special Anniversary issue, we owe a and very p:at debt of gratitude to five organisations whicbbavegteatly ltsin the puhlication. We hope lbat it will be eoough for tbem to know that their support has enabled aD important part of our cul1wa1 trndition in Guyana and the West Indies lO be pteSUved now and, webope, well into the future. We extend Otll to the following: SlleU AntiJle$ & GfllalUlS Limited NatiollDllklnk of Industr, & Commerce 0/ NON Scotia Asloe/oied Industries Distillen FE 7 7

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KYK "46147 The cost of printing and distributing a literary magazine is very heavy. Please help us to strengthen Kyk-Over-Al by sending your subscription to: IAN McDONALD (Editor), c/o Guysuco, 22 Church Street, Georgetown, Guyana. In the U.K. please apply to: F.H. THOMASSON, 2S Carlton Mews, Wells, Somerset, BA5 ISG. In Canada and the United States please apply to: JENNIFER SINGH, 33 Sunburst Square, Ontario NIB 2R3. Subscriptions per issue (including postage) G$800 EC$20 US$10 CAN$12 'The Editor would welcome the submission of poems. short stories, articles and reviews to c onsider for publication. Puhlication. of course. cannot be guaranteed and because of expenses it will not be possible to return manuscripts. Copyright 1995. No reprotluction h y any means, except for short extracts for review purposes, may be made without the pellnission or the Editor. ISSN 1012-5094 Layout & Typesetting of Kyk-Over-AI # 46/47 by Red Thread Women's Press 62 Hadfidd Street, Werk-en-rust, Georgetown.

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Kyk-Over-AI # 46/47 50th Anniversary Issue Editors: Ian McDonald & Yanda Radzik Contents Editorial Comment 6 kat 50 AJ. SEYMOll R Biography of a Magazine 14 ELMA SEYMOllR Message From Kyk-Over-Al # 1 A.J. SEYMOlT R Editorial Notes VERE T. DALY 23 27 The Story of Kykoveral 29 Note on Vere T. Daly AJ. SEYMOl' R The Earth is a Woman N.E. CAMERON Drama in British Guiana 5pecial Contributions EDWARD BAL;GH 36 38 39 A Literary Friendship 44 JOHN WICKHAM On the 50th Anniversary 51 FRED D' AGUAR Bill of Rights J. ... CQlHJ:\E de WaVER In the Beginning 53 57 Mark McWatt Beloved Rivers A Fictional Encounter in 10 poems 60 GEORGE SIMON talks to A:\:\E W AD1SLEY Art Looking Inland ECSI Kyk at 50 MICHAEl. GILKES Swimmer NIGEL WESTMAAS Personal Reflection BIRBALSINGH Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-65) RUERT ROOP'IARAINE In Advance of the Wave JA:\ Lo SHI:\EBOl'RNE 67 77 78 80 82 90 Recollections 94 Guyalla 1994 DE:\:\IS CRAIG Opening Remarks EDWARD BAlGH KE.,,\ RA.\1CHA.'T> Judges' Repon MARK McWAn Acceptance Speech 105 109 116

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, -4 ________ __ DAVID JACKMAN A Carib Remembers 130 MI CHAFl, Gll.KES Prospero's Island 132 IA:-; McDoNALD Massa Day Done 134 HomeCOming 135 SHOMAN Once a Week with a Wet Rag 137 Lus POMALES Concordia Street CECIL GRAY Spinning Tops Triptych Ole Talk Drums SIDNEY AlllCOCK Missing BRIAN P ASTOOR Wellington DENISE GRAy-GOODEN Generation Trap Measuring STEW ART BROWN Ti-Maru JACQCRINE de WEEVER 138 139 140 141 142 145 147 149 150 151 Fires 154 Requiem: The Feast of 155 the Holy Innocents KYK # 46147 SASE\ARI1\E PERSAl' D Postcard to a Sister in South America STA\LEY GREAVES Dream of Demerara De Profundis Uncle John JOHC\ FIGL'EROA Windows NICOLA GRIfHIH The Falling Star Stories 157 158 158 159 160 165 -------RoY BRuMMEI.I The Ugly Child Lives KEI'IH JARDIM Sea House PAl'LINE MEL VILLE The Grasp of the Ant-Eater DAVID JACKMAN The Dowry HARISCHANDRA KHEMRAJ The Missionary (from The Magic Mist) Cy GRAl'rr Blackness and the Dreaming Soul {!:.n Articles FRA:\K BIRBALSINGH 167 170 179 191 197 200 Interviewl Martin Caner 218 DOROTHY ST, AL:BYJI; Star -World of the 235 Ameri ndians

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s ANDREW SAlKEY Here's Thinking of You, Sam-Sam CLEM SEECHARAl\ History as Autobiography ,I, ;1'" Criticism KElllI S. HENRY An Appreciation of Austin Clarke PHn..1P John Figueroa, Anthologist and Poet III Reviews El'SI KWAYANA Cosmic Dance (by Hari5chandra Kbcmrllj) AMEENA GAFOOR KYK # 46147 Walk Good Guyana Boy 292 240 (by Helilard Heydorn) 250 JOYCE JONAS Sometimes Hard Stoning the Wind (by Cyril Dabydecn) AI. CREIGHTON 297 299 Resurrection at Sorrow Hill 302 267 (by Wilson Harris) FRANK BIRBAlSINGH 273 Estate People ( by Rooplall Monar) Illustrations MARTIN JORDAN 284 Rain Forest Series MAQl'EDA HINDS Kyk-over-aJ Cover Sketch 307 Tomorrow is Another Day 289 313 (by Narmala Shewcbaran) Contributors Note on IUustrations The fOllr pen and ink Rain Forest drawings featl/red in this special edition of Kyk are rep rodllc ed from a series of cards printed with permission from the artist, Martin Jordan, by Red Thread Press in support of a turtle conservation project in North West, Guyana. The 'Pine Cards' aware-ness initiative was the inspiration of Trevor Sharples and JlIlia Liebeschuetz tlt:O VSOs who v.: or*ed ill (;,O"ano in 1993

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6 KYK # JI47 Editorial Comment Kvk-Over-Al's 50th Birthdav We hope this special double issue of Kyk-Over-AI, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the magazine's first appearance in December, 1945, will speak eloquently for itself. It is a normal. though more ample than usual. issue of the magazine with a section recalling the first issue of Kyk and including a number of special contributions for the occasion. All of us involved in bringing out this issue are grateful to those who have provid e d encouragement and made contributions. For our part we simply feel a sense of satisfaction that Hfty years after the event we are able to celebrate Kyk's birth with another issue of a magazine which is undeniably an important part of the literary and cultural history and heritage of Guyana and the wider West Indies. It must be our endeavour and the endeavour of those who come after us that this small miracle of continuity is maintained. A}S: A Tribute by Ian McDonald In large part we look upon this special issue as a tribute to the memory of AJS, father of Kyk and editor of that tirst, seminal sequence of 28 issues which he produced between 1945 and 61. The life AJ Seymour lived you would not have thought that he would have had the time, the nervous energy, the mental inclination, or the emotional space to fashion anything more than the gleaming vestige of a poetic career. Yet he has been prolilic in his output of poems and he will surely be considered when cultural historians stand back far enough in time an important West Indian poet both in terms of what he achieved intrinsically and in terms of his seminal inJluence on the region's poetry in the

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KYK#46/47 period of transition from colonial status to independent stature. His life was so full of other things that the urge to write poetry must have been extraordinarily powerful to enable him to achieve so much in this one demanding endeavour out of so many others. It is not just that AJS had any number of irons in the cultural f ire. Those alone would have taken up a few worthwhile life-times for most men. Perhaps even more remarkable to observe, and wonder how he found the time and energy to write his poems, is that he was a conscientious, full-time civil servant dutifully pursuing an arduous career and also a devoted husband and father and God-fearing man whose life very much revolved around family. friends. and Church. There never seems to have been a question of wanting to break the bonds of convention, kick over the traces, overturn all, escape to the South Seas, in order to write his poems. Poetry had to take its place among other activities in a hard-working administrative career and within an ordered and self-consuming family circle. AJS seems to have accepted this as a controlling fact of life. a "given", a way of looking at things that was not to be, and was not, questioned. His many volumes of autohiography "Growing Up in Guyana", "Pilgrim Memories", "Family Impromptu". "30 Years a Civil Servant", "The Years in Puerto Rico and Mackenzie" indicate this clearly enough. His life in poetry and poetry's deep significance for him is certainly vividly portrayed. At the age of 22 he writes his first poem and: ... suddenly the discovery of this gift (/cted as (/ focllsing of the latent energies of my life, hath {/{ that time Clnd later on in life. I had discovered the cefllml citadel of my inner life and was to link that gift to the /lnrolling of revelation in religion, especially in the phmse 'the image of the likeness of God'. But poetry does not by any means dominate nor even take

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KYK #146/47 pride of place in the story of his as AJS tells it. If anything. family and rdilion play much the most important pan in his life. At any rate dlere was never any doubt in his first and he apply himself to earning a living so he could marry and raise a family provide worthily for them. 1bcre is pclhaps araint note of when he relates at one poiOl how the writing of poetry retreated into the background of his life from 1945 for some 25 years: 1936 to arOlUld 1944 I had been conscious of a continllOllS flow of poetry from my pen and I had published by 1945 Verse, More Poems, Over G"iaRa, and 's in My 8.lood ... 811t t!rese three johs Govemmelll broadcllsting, editing Kyk-Over-Al a"d bei"g the e:ceculi"e officer of a cllln,ra/ "lIion absorbed 'hose emotional te"siOl's that had previously expressed themselves in my poetry, and so the mai" tide of my creatil:itv W(lS diverted. It was not "ntil 1970 with Ihe great cha"ge ill my duties and with tlte e"olutioll of my cOlin try Ihat I recovered my persOIIa/ voice ill poelr:r and my secOird creative phase emerged. Regret. perhaps, but regret voiced with no doubt at all that what he was with his life was both inevitable and right. His Muse, though strong and insisting to be heard. never threatened to he so fierce and jealous as to divert him from that conscientiously chosen path in life. What he was doing with his life, apart from working assiduously at his Government job and helping raise a large family was of vital importance to the cultural development of Guyana and. the Caribbean region. He was turning himself into a one man cultural task force. It has to be remembered especially by those who think of him first as a poet that AJS an incalculable impact on life and letters in Guyana simply by his active presence and

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KYK #46/47 leading role in the country's cultural and educational life. Month by month, through his editing of KykOver.Al, his dedicated work in broadcasting,his secretaryship of the Union of Cultural Clubs (until it broke up in the early 1950s), his indefatigable writing of essays and articles in local magazines and newspaper, his enthusiastic encouragement of young writers and production of their publications, his devotion to the vital impOrtance of literature in the life of an emerging nation which he communicated to all around him and the society at large. his explanation of the West Indian dimension to our cultural life through this multitudinous attention to intellectual and cultural awareness among all sections of the community, he dramatically advanced the cause of Guyanese and West Indian literature in a particularly formative stage in its history. In the book produced in honour of his 70th birthday, I wrote about his contribution in the following terms: His life at one very important level is a record of 50 years of dedicated work ill literalllre. He began ill all era wilen everything was slill to be dOlle. Indeed, it may be that piOtleers have to attempt too mllclr. When young Seymour ill the early 1930s seriously began to think wlrat contribution he might make to life and letters in his home land, consider how muclr needed to be done, how man\' moulds required bret,king, how many initiatives needed to be taken. The Empire had not yet beglln to fade. The statlls of his cOllntry was colonial, the mentality dependent, the herillige imperial. the clllture derivative. Think of the varied c/wllenges that must have faced {/ yOlUlg mail's sense and sensibility in those times. It mllSt !rave almost seemed too milch. There were poems to write whose themes were Gllvanese and Caribbean not metropolitan and whose imagery wos tropical and experienced, flat temperate and second-hand. There was II whole flew world of deeply felt historical experience to

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. 10 KYK #46147 open up. There was new thinking to be done in half a dozen fields. Critical work had to be informed by different themes and original perspectives. So many fresh starts had to be made. A whole new context had to be prepared for the coming generations. The work that is done at the beginning of anything. like the foundations of a great building sunk beneath the earth. is least seen but is the most important part. Seymour as designer and architect of post-colonial structures of thought and art and writing in Guyana and the Caribbean is still to be fully assessed and properly acclaimed. And in Kvk-Over-AI. # 39. in a tribute to mark his 75th birthday. I tried to give some idea of the scope of work he accomplished: ... his overall con tribution to the cultllral trailition of Guyana lind the Caribbean is tntiy astonishing. I do not think the younger writers and academics grasp it fUlly. The A1S bibliography compiled by the National Library in 1974 was already 100 pages long and since then must have doubled in length. This amazing man's work contains poems. historical publications. reviews. broadcasts. essays. addresses. entries in anthologies. forewords. leclllres. talks. pamphlets, memoirs. sermons. eulogies ; magazi ne work. and books in such profusion that one would be excused for thinking this WliS the record of a school. not one mall alone. "So much to do. so little time to spare" though when it came to spreading the word about literature he always made the time. Yet for me AJS is preeminently AJS the poet. I have a great regret that of his life was not devoted to poetry. devoted to perfecting the craft and art poetry. devoted 10 expanding the frontiers of poetry in the West Indies when he was in the full

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KYK#46147 vigour of his most creative years. God knows that in his poetry he achieved great things. But I simply have the feeling that he had the capacity, the genius in him, to create and sustain more complex, more challenging, more innovative, more deeply searching and questioning poetry than he ever did succeed in writing. He never quite had the time left over in a very full and satisfying life to explore the outer limits or the innermost reaches of language as he himself, I think, would have wished to do. Nevertheless he is a West Indian poet who will always be read. The mass of poems he wrote represents a magnificent achievement. Many of the poems will be remembered as long as forever ever lasts in the West Indies. Some of the poems Sun is a Shapely Fire; Name Poem; For Christopher Columbus; Tomorrow Belongs to the People; Amalivaca; Legend of Kaieteur; Over Guiana; Clouds; There Runs a Dream; I Heard a Rooster Call; to name an essential handful have deservedly become classics and will be read in the text books generation aller generation. In this special issue of his brain-child, therefore, I believe AJS would have wanted us to remember him not only as inspired founder and editor of what will always in a real sense be "his" magazine, but also by the simple nMlC of poet. And so we praise him now for all he did, for the gift of Kyk, and for the poetry he loved so deeply and wrote so wen".

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, ; '.' ',' ... :', ., '. "'" ,. ?,)' -. .... '. .' '.' . . -:: . _--_ .. " .',: .'. ... : , .. ',' . Photogruph of Kykoveral, by Robin Pieters, courtesy oj'Stabroek News ".' ..otci .. :.; .. ., ..

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KYK #46147 leading role in the country's cultural and educational life. Month by month, through his editing of Kyk-Over-Al, his dedicated work in broadcasting,his secretaryship of the Union of Cultural Clubs (until it broke up in the early 1950s), his indefatigable writing of essays and articles in local magazines and newspaper, his enthusiastic encouragement of young writers and production of their publications, his devotion to the vital importance of literature in the life of an emerging nation which he communicated to all around him and the society at large. his explanation of the West Indian dimension to our cultural life through this multitudinous attention to intellectual and cultural awareness among all sections of the community, he dramatically advanced the cause of Guyanese and West Indian literature in a particularly formative stage in its history. In the book produced in honour of his 70th birthday, I wrote about his contribution in the following terms: His life at one very important level is a record Of 50 years of dedicated work ;n literalllfe. He began in a1l era wilen everything was slill to be dOlle. Indeed, it may be that pioneers have to attempt too much. When young Seymour ill the early 1930s seriously began to think what contribution he might make to life and letters in his home I(/I/d, cOl/sider how milch needed to be done. how man\' mOlllds required bret,king. how m17n)' initiatives needed /0 be takel/. The Empire had not yet begun /0 fade. The statlls of his cOllntry was colonial, the mentality dependent. the herilllge imperial. the cllltllre derivative. Think of the varied challenges that mllst have faced a YOlulg man's sense and sensibility in those times. It must /rave almost seemed /00 milch. There were poems to write whose themes were GlIvanese and Caribbean not metropolitan and whose imager.\' was tropical and experienced, flat temperate and second-hand. There was a whole new world of deeply felt historical experience to

PAGE 18

. 10 KYK #46147 open up. There was new thinking to be done in half a dozen fields. Critical work had to be informed by different themes and original perspectives. So many fresh starts had to be made. A whole new c01ltext had to be prepared for the coming generations. The work that is done at the beginning of anything. like the foundations of a great building sU1Ik beneath the earth. is Least seen bllt is the most important part. Seymour as designer and architect of post-colonial structllres of thought and art and writing in Guyana and the Caribbea1l is still to be fully assessed a1ld properly acclaimed. And in Kvk-Over-Al. # 39, in a tribute to mark his 75th birthday, I tried to give some idea of the scope of work he accomplished: ... his overall contribution to the cultural tradition of Guyana a1ld the Caribbea1l is tndy astonishing. I do not think the younger writers and academics grasp it fully. The A1S bibliography compiled by the National Library in 1974 was already 100 pages long and since the1l must have doubled in Length. This amazing ma1l' s work contains poems. historical publications. reviews. broadcasts. essays. addresses. entries in anthologies. forewords. lectures. talks. pamphlets. memoirs. sermons. eulogies. magazine work. a1ld books in such profusion that one would be excused for thinking this WlIS the record of a school. 1Iot one man al01le. "So much to do, so little time to spare" though when it came to spreading the word about literature he always made the time. Yet for me AJS is preeminently AJS the poet. I have a great regret that more of his life was not devoted to poetry, devoted to perfecting the craft and art poetry, devoted to expanding the frontiers of poetry in the West Indies when he was in the full

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KYK#46147 vigour of his mostcreatlve years. God knows that in his poetry he achieved great things. But I simply have the feeling that he had the capacity, the genius in him, to create and sustain more complex, more challenging, more innovative more deeply searching and questioning poetry than he ever did succeed in writing. He never quite had the time left over in a very full and satisfying life to explore the outer limits or the innermost reaches of language as he himself, I think, would have wished to do. NeveI1h e less he is a West Indian poet who will always be read. The mass of poems he wrote represents a magnificent achievement. Many of the poems will be remembered as long as forever e v er lasts in the West Indies. Some of the poems Sun is a Shapely Fire; Name Poem; For Christopher Columbus; Tomorrow Belongs to the People; Amalivaca; Legend of Kaieteur; Over Guiana; Clouds; There Runs a Dream; I Heard a Rooster Call; to name an essential handful have d e servedly become classics and will be read in th e text books generation allcr gene r ation. In this special issue of his brain-child, therefore, I believe AJS would have wanted us to remember him not oi ll y as inspired . founder and editor of what will always in a real sense be "his" magazine. but also by the simple na m e of poet. And so we praise him now for aU he did, for the giift of Kyk, and for the poetry he loved so deeply and wrote so well"

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, . < , .> ... "(, < ... ; .. ... , .. .. .. .-., .. . .; .. ," ... .. ... > .. ----r-' , " , ," , .. , .. .: .. ',' Photogr aph of KyklJverat, by Robin Pieters, courtesy of'Stabroek News

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KYK #46147

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. 14 KYK # 46147 Kyk at 50 AJ SEYMOUR The Biography of a Magazine /n1956, in introducing The Go/den Kyk, an anthology of selections from Kyks 1 to 28, AJS wrote an article which can appropriately serve as Preface to this speciaL section honourin g Kyk on the 50th anniversary of its birth. AJS called his article: "Literature in the Making -The COfllribution of KykOver.AI". The biography of a magazine includes the consideration of the pan it played in the making of a national literature which is still incomplete although it has some considerable body. First the basic narrati ve. Kyk started in 1945 as the organ of the British Guiana Writers Association, and gradually assumed the responsibility for printing the more imponant lectures and discussions of the British Guiana Union of Cultural Clubs. This was possible because the editor was also the honorary secretary of the Union of Club s Then the Writers Association ceased to mcet, and later the Union of Cultural of Clubs fell apan, leaving the editor to pursue the development of the magazine without clients of any sort. The editor was himself at first staff member and then the head of the Government Information Services and there fore committed to providing facts and information to all. He was himself a poet and looking back, it appears that without his being very conscious of it, he was seeking to make a distinction in his poetry of a public vo ice and a private voice. So here is the editor as a pnmary resource. A word now about the function of a Little Review or literary magazine since this type of magazine has a history of its own. The little review is imponant in the world of literature and

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15 KYK # 46147 particulary in the English language as a contemporary record of trends in new writing. that would otherwise receive little attention. In the 1945 little Review Anthology. the English poet Denys Val Barker points out that over the pass two centuries in England, there is a long story of writers, later to become famous, making their first appearance in print among small and unknown magazines. The little review is valuable and important since it can print new forms of writing which are too revolutionary for the popular press to notice except in a glancing fashion. For example. the novel Ulysses by James Joyce had to come out in the little reviews before conditions for book publications could be created. A little review is also produced by a writer who finds that he has something to say of an unorthodox. controversial or visionary nature. D.H. Lawrence published his own magazine Sigllature in this way. In the regional sense. the Little Review is important. to express a growing nationalism. Huges MacDiarmid. one of Scotland's leading national poets. unpopular with other editors because of his strong nationalistic and socialistic approach. found it necesary to bring out his own magazine Voice of Scotland and we have mal!azines with the names of Walesalld Welsh Review to cater for rel!ional ambitions. During the 1939/45 war. we also had Little Reviews devoted to the literature of countries ovenun by enemy forces Free France. Belgian Message. Czech Review. Greek Hellas and so on. There is also a special type of review which developed the book anthology or book magazine. These looked like mal!azines but were books. Men and Women in the British Military Services brought out anthologies Bulge Blast, Khaki alld Blue. and Air Force Poetry. The same was true of short stories. published in little review collections. Looking back after many years. the editor was only vaguely concious of some of these events. in England. a far away centre of Empire. The editor was only vaguely conscious also of many of the social forces operating in Guyana in the 1940's although

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16 KYK 1146147 looking back, it is evident what has taken place. In the first place, national health had become much bener; it was in 1946, at the end of the war, that Dr. Giglioli and D.D.T. had come together to brake the scourge of malaria, and people no longer had to suffer from crippling fevers. There was new American money coming into the country from the construction of the Air Base at Atkinson and at the Naval Base at Makouria. People were eating more meat so the diet had, improved. Harold Stannard had come to Guyana and encouraged intellectual curiosity and had put creative intelligences in touch with one another in the Caribbean region especially with Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica The Union of Culture Clubs that he had encouraged was focus sing anention on the development of the arts and discussions o f cultural values in a planned deliberate and sustained fashion. This meant a gathering of interest and support that unified the nat ive elite in the country, and a possible leadership in the country was coming into existence to discuss the intellectual material written by their peers. By chance there were at least three poets important by national standards who had begun to write in Guyana and to maintain a fellowship of poetic and critical imaginati o n in the 1940's. At the end of the war, there were suddenly available good inexpensive paperback books in the Penguin Series. making a revolution at that time in reading in England and America. So the community was open to influences from abroad in a liberal way. Linkages with groups in the West Indies began to appear with the little review Focus in Jamaica edited by Edna Manley. with Rim in Darbados edited by Frank ColJymore and Therold Barnes. There were also deeper social forces at work, now that one can look back and analyse. In the small community of like minded people, a strong contact was being forged between the magazine and the society. and a shape. a character of being Guyanese was being given to the society. The free play of mind upon ideas helped a blossoming of what we call literature. and the

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KYK # 46147 description of areas of cultural values and an inventory of the condition of the arts helped the focussing of common concern and openness to ideas. The symposia ( many of them came later rather than earlier in the biography of the magazine) encouraged progressive thinking, even though contributors held diverse views in social and religious matters. But the very clash was important. In the creation of literary and intellectual leadership, there was an unconscious groping towards a position in which the community wanted to maintain the tradition mediated from England to the British West Indies by our colonial past and to see how it could be married to all the cultural elements in the community that were quickening to birth. We did not have a name for it then, but it was what is called the process of cultural pluralism and national unity. What was this tradition that was inherited? It was part of the European heritage leading back to the Greeks, the Romans and the Hebrews. and came as part of our educational patrim o ny. With the English language cam e standards in literature and criticism. We had laid great store by this legacy and consciousness. and we wanted it included in the new Guyana to be born. since we would continue to use the English language. The que s tion in our minds perhaps unasked, was how we could take this old colonial world and remake it into our nation. We were concious also that many of our members had religions and therefore cultural values based upon their links with India and others on links with Africa. We ask the question. what is there in our past as Guyanese to which we could give common pride? what were the things that united us rather than the thin!!s that divided u s ? W e wanted to move away from this old world to make a new world. The old world was still alive and the new w o rld was not yet born. We were not with out so me r oo t s There were the Dutch historical past, the mythologically valuable Amerindian present. and in some vague way all of us felt that we could somehow claim those roots and bring them int o literary and cultural production. Vagu e ly too we felt that linkage with the West Indies

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18 KYK # 46147 and others there thinking like ourselves would help to make this new world be realised. Remember that the editor is speaking from a web of reflection and memory that looks backwards to see the roads travelled by thinking and articulate people in Guyana over the pass 40 years. We did not know it th en. but we were placing an intellectual and cultural apex on the traditional colonial pyramid. There was no university, but the U niversity College oLthe West Indies, especially through its E x tra Mural Department. was beginning to make its influ ence felt in Guyana. It was the inner necessity and urge to freedom that we were paying attention to. So we focussed on the human condition in Guyana, the here and now of our world. The value of a magazine like Kyk lies not in its age. but its purpose. The responsibility and duty of a third world magazine is to name the here and n o w to summon up the values of the past that are embedded in the soH and its history. and to point to the future from today's discernible trends. One aspect of the urge to freedom is the ability to choose from among several possibilities. An editor can request the prose wri tings to put in his pages and they will be the fruit of the conscious mind, but we must remember that the poetry he prints is the expressi o n of what is secret and internal. since the aile is about to make its statements and announce its values throullh the poets. Early in its pages in 1945 and 1948, Kyk declared its aims 'an instrument to help forge a Guyancse people, make them consci ous of their intellectual and spiritual possiblities build some achievement of common pride in thc literary world make an act o t;"possession of our enviroment ... We so desperately want t o .-J be rooted in the Europ ean soil. that is the Caribbean has isolated us to the impact of a dying civilization so that we can pass on some flaming torch higher up the line." L.E Braithwaite reviewing Kyk in 1966 against these aims felt that the maga z in e had not been radical or revolutionary e nough. that there had not been disagreement with the editor's concept and point of view. He notes the magazine moves from a

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'19 KYK #46147 purely Guyanese to a West Indian position with the setting up of the University College of the West Indies, and became aware towards the end, of the importance of African Culture in the region. He saw as valuable the translated poems of French West Indian and African poets and the special issues on West Indian Literature. Pen Portraits of important West Indians. anthologies of Guyanese and West Indian poetry, the Cities of the Caribbean, Guyanese Christmas, the Theatre in British Guiana and the Artist Society. He felt that the poetry of the main Guyanese poets and the introduction of a radical and critical element were valuable. I wish to add certain personal points of view. There were many problems facing the Editor of Kykoveral. Appointed by his peers in the Writer's Association to take charge of the magazine, he had to conduct the business of the publication in accordance with the agreed aims and with his own standards of excellence developing these as he went along, following his vision of the future in the formulation of his plans for successive issues, weighing the ablity and the willingness of his possible contributors, expressing the spirit of the contents in his leading articles, gauging the relationship between the periodical and his developing audiences at home and aboard, moving out from a limited Guyanese writing core to the wider regional contribution and discussion of ideas by fellow writers of quality in the West Indies. making possible the circulation of these ideas while they were still fresh, articulating always as best he could the spirit of the times in thought and sensibility, and with growing support and confidence playing a creative part in the literary, intellectual and cultural growth of the country and the region. As this development of editorial philosophy tool place other problems arose. As noted already. the British Guiana Writers' Association ceased to exist; then the British Guiana Union of Cultural Clubs ceased to meet. As I became the editor of a magazine without bases, my own respon sibilitks as a S e nior Civil Servant deepened, various difficulties arose in securing

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KYK #46147 advertisments, the climate of opinion among the ablest minds in the country changed imperceptibly from tolerance to internal divisions and to commitments and pre-possessions on the political scene, in the region the Federation of the West Indies began to falter and fail in its stride. horizons everywhere began to narrow and there was a gradual closing of mental frontiers to the circulation and influence of those ideas of breath and richness of which I had been a champion. I feel sure that th ere always exists a regional fraternity of men of letters within the Caribbean indeed I was to experie n ce contact with that fraternity during my years with the Caribbean Organisation and to sample this curiosity and openness of mind to new ideas without hostility but with the beginning of the 1960' s it was clear that national loyalties and difference s of political philosophy were afkcting the existence of periodicals such as Kykoveral. There is a special relationship between a magazine and an editor. In Australia. for example, the critic H. M. Green. pointed out that over the period 1099-1950inthreeinstances. The Bookfellow edited by Stephens. The Lone Hand by Archibald and the little review The Triad dealing with literary, artistic and musical matters which migrat e d from New Zealand to Australia, these magazines were kept alive only by the vision and perservcrance of the editors. This would be true also of Kyk. Contributors had to be coaxed, cajoled. and reminded in many instances, and they still did not produce the promised contribution. in which case the editor has to decide whether or not he will write the piece himself so that the magazine will come out as planned. The rel a tionship eventually can become that of an anxious mother and a child. So in 1962 when the editor moved from Guyana to Puerto Rico as a political cas u alty, the magazine went to sleep. Since 1945 there has been a great change in the climate of literary opinion and in Guyan a and the West Indies talents that had been active in the 1940's h ad moved into pOlitic s There was that disillusionment also i n the wake of the breakup of the West

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21 KYK # 46/47 Indian Federation. Who had been the main readers and supporters of Kyk in its 17 years of existence? Writers themselves, the middle class, middle-brow people in the city like clergymen, teachers, doctors. musicians. lawyers. merchants and clerks. The contributers had been involved in a numbers of symposia on themes like the spirit of man. the responsibility of the artist to the community, remembrance of Christmas from the view-points of living in London. New York, Jamaica; the arts in Guyana. children and their values, is there a West Indian way of life, greatness and bitterness. standards of criticism and several on reading meaning into a poem. These brought readers into involvement and made them into contributors. There was a strong section on book reviews. nooks that could make any contribution to the Guyanese way of life were made the subject of reviews and there was a wide net of persons who responded with a personal reaction to the books which found a place in the magazinc. Some years ago. a German Literature student prepared an index to KykoveraL over the pcriod 1945-1961 under eight sections Fiction. Drama. Poetry. articles on literature and language, articles on history and culture. Miscellaneous articles. SympoSia Colloquia, and editorial notes. It was published in the magazine World Literature Written in English. Nov. 1977. The Editor went through the pages. 40 in all and realised that this was the distillation of several years of creative life. The 16 pag es of the names of poets and poems. eptiomised his relati o nships with many men and women, some of whom he had never seen. For example, it was a letter from Miriam Koshland in California that brought tran sla tion s of the poetry of Senghor. Cesaire, Lero and Rabcarivd o Meeting Philip Shcrlock. Clare McFarlane and his sons in Jamaica hrought an imput of Jamaican poets. The SI. Vincent star so loists. Kean. Camphell and Williams. Telemaque of Trinidad. E. M. Roach from Tohago. Derek Walcott from St Lucia. frank Collymore and H. A. Vaughn

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KYK # 46147 and later Eddie Brathwaite from Barbados, all had sent poems to Kyk, but always Wilson Harris and Martin Carter could be relied upon to send in poems to be printed. As I look at tbe Inde x I realised that Kykovera/ is a prism of silver crystal which had attracted and held glowing images and ideas from more than 150 contributors over 17 years and mingled them into a jewel of m e mory of indescribable richness, now flashing in radiant light a nd now colours of bellying and seething blue and green and yell o w for the delight and development of thousands of its readers. Il'S lovely to know that this jewel was once in my hand.

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KYK 1#46147 ELMA SEYMOUR Message Kyk-Over-Al has seen 50 years! We rejoice and give thanks to the Editors who have sustained its growth over the years and so I offer my congratulations to the present Editor, Mr Ian McDonald, for carrying on the work left by the former Editor, A.J. Seymour for him to do. I am pleased and happy that Ian has been able to take up and carryon from where AJS left off. When I look back I remember in one of the Kyks, AJS writing, as it were, a last injunction:"to Ian as my son, I leave this in your hands to carry on for future generations." I an} happy to record that you have carried out the instructions of producing the magazine regularly and faithfully. I like to remember Ian as saying he came upon a copy of Kyk when was in the 6th Form of Queens Royal College in Trinidad and enjoyed reading what was there. Also I remember a tribute from Anne Walmsley while teaching in Jamaica which brought her to Guyana to meet AlS. It was not easy producing this magazine but it was meeting the literary needs and urges of those who were trying to write something for publication. It gave them all great joy to see their work appear. There were problems connected with the publication such as collecting the copy for printing of the advertising material and afterwards collecting the cash for advertisements. Some agents offered to collect for the editor but went off with what was collected. used it to their own purpose; that was distressing. So I decided to offer my services to collect for one issue as the Printers were getting worried about payment for the printing and AJS was worried and ashamed. Mr. Oscar Wight, Managing Director of Argosy tried to help AJS out of the dift1culties with the collecting agents knowing that AJS was a poor civil servant with a large family and he could not

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KYK 1# 46/47 always put his hands in his pocket to pay for the printing on his own. But whenever the magazine was published those who contributed came around with smiles on their faces to collect their copies and were gratefu l they had something published. This brought much joy and s a tisfaction to the contributors but there was anxiety on the part of the printers. However, Mr. Oscar Wight was very kind and wiped off some of the de bt for the printing that was owed to the Argosy Company. Congratulations and thanks for carrying on with Kyk-Over-Al until this day. Many pers ons are grateful to have a copy to rcad. It is a tittle that h a s kept going for 50 years. Here is a short poem AJS wrote a year before he died. I have always kept it and enler it here now. For Kyk Here in my hands I hold t his happy jewel these glowing dreams I forged in a hard school. Visions and memories their blessings radiate And many a blessing more On new eyes wait. My lif e's blood, others too t his jewel holds transfor m ed and caught in words Glinting with gold And when with dust my eyes Finally close Still with our happiness t his jewel glows.

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. 1 "--..J ItA a Ae (

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KYK'46147 -

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From Kyk#l From Kvk-Over-Al # 1 A. J. SEYMOUR Editorial Notes \ Already there is the tang of Christmas in the air, and from the Watch Tower we send happy Christmas greetings to every reader of Kykoveral. It is the fIrst Nativity season we spend free from hostilities, though not from the shadow of them, and most people hope for a long era of peace to repair the ravages of war. Intellectual life in Europe and elsewhere is coming out of its enforced hibernation. The winter solstice is past, and thought begins its inevitable swing back to catch the sun. In the West Indies there are signs that social and economic conditions will slowly but surely improve, and the colonial peoples are being taken more into partnership in the government of their own countries. Cultural life too, is quickening in many ways, but one needs a canalising of energies or, if you like. nuclei here and there that will give direction and permanence to the quickening acti vities. Surely the B.G Union of Cultural Clubs is one of those rallying points. and so also is a periodical of the kind we hope this will be. What are ouraims? Kykoveral we hope will be an instrument to help forge a Guianese people. and to make them conscious of their intellectual and spiritual possibilities. There's so much we can do as a people if we can get together more, and with this magazine as an outlet, the united cultural organizations can certainly build. we believe. some achievement of common pride in the literary world, without detracting in the least from their group aims or autonomy . Now, why change the name from "Greetings from Guiana" to "Kykoveral"? The answer can be, why not? Associations make a powerful cementing force, and although ruined, Kykoveral still

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From Kyk# 1 stands to remind us of our Amerindian and Dutch heritage. If we are going to grow, and to grow as people. we've got to have roots and Kykoveral is one o f them. The old fort there is in ruins, but. as Harold Stannard says in his article. the creative spirit of man is indomitable. and cultures burgeon again amid their own ruins. As a title for a periodical Kykoverai calls for quick and wide vigilance and the expre ssion of an alert people. The cover design -we think it an anractive one, was kindly done for us by Cecil E. Oarker. A word. now. about the contributors. The most distin!!uished of course is Harold Stannard. who made such a profound impression on the pe o ple of British Guiana two years ago. We don't have to introduc e Alan W. Steward or Oscar Wight or H. R. Harewood or N. E. Cameron. Everyone knows these public men Readers o f Guianese periodicals will also know already 1. A. V. Bourne. Duncan Boyce. Vere T. Daly. Celeste Dolphin. Wilson Harris. Teren ce C. Holder. 1. E. Humphrey and Jas. W. Smith. They are known to editors of longer standing than this one. and if we are not mistaken the other contributors also have appeared in print. The issues of K y koveral will (.:!pend largely upon public response. We may p romise half yearly publication. with the hope reader s will ask that the periodical appe ars quarterly. Out Rome was n o t built in a day and we would wis h steady growth in quality and respon se.

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From Kyk# 1 VERE T. DALY The Story of Kykoveral Kykoveral today is our oldest historical relic, and it should be visited by all who have pride of country in their hearts. Its name was doubtless an inspiration for it Looked" or "Kyked-Over-AI" the waters of the Essequebo, Mazaruni and Cuyuni. Provided we have a sufficient leaven humility in our hearts we would do ourselves no harm to take as our watch-word "Kyk-over-al!" It has now been established beyond reasonable doubt that Kykoveral was founded in 1616. The trustworthiness of Major John Scott on whose authority this statement was first made, was once contemptuously denied: but Dr. George Edmundson in a series of learned articles published in the English Historical Review has shown, by comparison with Dutch and Spanish contemporary records, that Scott is entirely to be trusted. By close examination and careful deduction Dr. Edmundson has reconstructed for us the story of the founding of Kykoveral. Early in the seventeeth century there was at the Spanish settlement of San Thome on the Orinoco a Dutchman by the name of Adrian Groenewegen. He was the Spanish factor at San Thome, but when a change of policy had come about in the little settlement Groenewegen quit the Spanish service and went back to his old masters in Holland. He was at once engaged by Peter Couneen and Jan de Moor and put in charge of an expedition to Essequebo, where on his arrival with a mixed force of Englishmen and Zeelanders in two ships and a galiot, he built a fon and established a settlement on the island of Kykoveral at the water-meet of the Essequebo Mazaruni and Cuyuni rivers. Until Dr. Edmundson took up the cudgel in defence of Scott (w ho was a notorious swindler in his private life) every bit of the ahove was discredited. But the acceptance of Scott s story has now shown how false are earlier accounts which tell of the

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'30 From Kyk# 1 founding of Kykoveral between 1581 and 1598 and the finding of an old fort of alleged Portuguese construction. In 1621 the Dutch West India was Its aim being the capture of Brazil, which belonged to the Portuguese, its first notable act was to send an expedition of twenty-six ships to raid San Salvador. It is probable that official attention was not paid to Essequebo before 1623, when the Zeeland Chamber began to show special interest in the post. Jacob Canyn, a ship's captain, was the Company's first agent. He contracted to serve for three years, but in 1626 we find him asking to be released. It is to Jan Van der Goes must go the honour of being the leader of the first official occupation of Essequebo. In 1895 the questi o n as to the respective boundaries of the Republic of Venezuela a nd the Crown Colony of British Guiana caused a world-wide sti r ; but war between the United States of America (acting for and on behalf of the Republic of Venezuela) and Great Britain was averted when an arbitration treaty was signed between the British Ambassador and Senhor Andrade at Washington on February 2, 1897. Working on both sides were some of the ablest p ro fessors in the world, and one of the difficulties they had t o face was to decide which of the two accounts of the foundi n g of Kykoveral was to be accepted Scott's, or that which c o uld be gleaned from the minutes of the West India C o mpany. I n the American case, Scott's account was treated with contempt: a nd in the decision hand e d down by the tribunal which met in Paris, it is clear that Scott was discredited. The apparently i rreconcilable difficulty was this: If Groenewegen in 1616 h ad established a settlement why was it necessary for the Wes t India Company to establish another sometime between 16 2 3 and 1626? What had happened to Groenewegen's settleme nt? Had it failed? By close analysis o f the documents which have come down to us, Dr. Edmundson h as that the official occupation of Kykoveral did not dis tu rb the settlement under Groenewegen. Undoubtedly the old se tt lers must have viewed the new ones with

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From Kyk# 1 suspicion. and vice versa; but on the whole the fortunes of the Company's trading post hardly affected the Couneen's colony. How reasonable this conclusion is may easily be seen when one begins to read of attempts made by the West India Company to suppress the activities of a body of private traders. We find in 1634, for example. Abraham van Pere, and the Zeeland Chamber instructing their deputies, who were being sent to a meeting of the *Nineteen, "to request. and even insist, that no colonists or other persons shall be at liberty to navigate to the Wild Coast (Guiana) except this Chamber and Confrater van Pere alone"; And this request having failed we find the Zeeland Chamber the next year passing a resolution to the effect that "the trade to the wild coast shall be done by the company alone and by no private indi viduals." In 1635 the Company's settlement was in such a bad way that the Zeeland Chamber's Comminee of Commerce and Finance sat to decide whether or not it was profitable to keep it. At that time there were in the Company's employment not more than thirty men. whose main business was that of exchanging the articles of European make for anatto dye. which was then in great demand in Europe for use in the manufacture of cheese and other products. Presumably. the report of the Chamber's Committee was favourable. for the official occupation of Essequebo continued. The discovery that sugar-cane was growing in the colony may have been responsible for this decision. for it is about this time (1637) that we find the first mention of s ugar in the minutes of the Zeeland Chamber. But if onidal Essequebo was in a precarious condition. the same cannot be said of the settlement under Groenewcgen. In 1624 it was visited by one Jesse de Forest and in 1627 by Captain Plowell, the discoverer of Barbados. Plowell's visit was for the ostensible purpose of obtaining seeds and roots for planting in Barbados, but his real motive was to reinforce the colony. "There I lefte ei I!ht men." he writes .. and lelic a Carl!ezon of trade for that place."

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From Kyk# 1 In 1637, when the Zeeland Chamber had just decided not to abandon its past, Groen e wegen was leading an expedition against San Thome a state o f affairs which shows that the Courteen's settlement was in a stronger position than the Company's. It is certain that the first fort on Kykoveral by Groenewegen was not of stone, for in 1627, and again in 1631, van der Goes was promised a fort of bric k Failure to fulfil this and other promises caused van der GQes t o return home with the whole lot of his colonists in 1632. He was. however. re-engaged. and by 1634 he was back at Kykoveral w ith two assistants. Significantly. in 1639. he was addressed for th e first time as "Commandeur." and one may reasonably presume tha t this title was given him because of the fact that there were now soldiers under him. A further conclusion that can be drawn is that the promised fort had been completed. and that the soldiers were housed there. It was, as van Berkel described it thirty-one years later. "of quadrangular shape, having below the magazine. and above three apartments in which s o ldkrs are housed. a room for the Commandant and one for the Secretary. which at the same time serves to sto r e the caf!!Oes. Meanwhile, the rivalry between the Company and the Courteens for the mastery of Kyk o vcral was gradually coming to an end. By 1645 the position was so much easier that Groenewegen was made Governor by the West I ndia Company; nevertheless. the Zeeland Chamber suggested to the Company. that in applying for a renewal of its charter it shoul d stipulate that no private individuals be allowed to trade to Esscquebo. This. however. was the last prote st. for in 1650 Groenewegen was not only Governor, but was also Commandeur of the troops. The two colonies tinally fused in 1664, for in that year Jan de Moor died and Groenewegen definitely became a Company's servant. Groenewegen died at his post in 1664. He was, as Scott says, "the first man that took a firm fOOling in Guiana by the good liking of the natives .... As an associate of Captain Plowell he was responsible f o r giving s ubstantial assistance to Barbados. A story goes that when it became known in Essequebo that the Indians

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From Kyk# 1 whom he had sent with Plowell to Barbados were enslaved, he was hard put to show that he was not party to such a diabolical scheme. He solved the situation by marrying an Indian woman by whom he had a son, Amos who was later post-holder in Demerara (circa 1680-17(0). The year after Groenewegen's death Kykoveral saw its first serious action. Commercial rivalry had brought the English and the Dutch into conflict, and in 1665 Major John Scott was sent by Lord Willoughby, then Governor of Barbados, to raid Dutch settlements in Guiana. After devastating Pomeroon, Scott proceeded up the Essequebo and captured Kykoveral,leaving there twenty-eight men under Captain Keene before returning to Barbados to boast of his conquest. Scott mentions in his report that he was able to secure for his troops 73,788 Ibs. of sugar, and this throws some light on the acti vities of the settlement. That the Indian trade in anatto was still the chief occupation of the settlers there can be no doubt: but Prince Sugar was already threatening 10 usurp the throne of King Anatto. The British occupation, however, was not destined to be long. The first difficulty of the troops was with the Indians, who refused to give them supplies; then the French, who were the allies of the Dutch, came and bombarded the fort; finally, a force under Bergenaar, the Commandeur of Berbice, travelling overland by a path that is probably now part of the Rupununi Cattle Trail, and down the Essequebo, reached Kykoveral and recaptured it. Meanwhile, the States of Zeeland, hearinl! of the fate of their beloved Essequebo, had sent Admiral Crynssen to the rescue. Crynssen arrived after Bergenaar had effected its recapture; but he took the colony over in the name of the States of Zeeland and instituted one Baerland, Commandeur. The Peace of Breda, sil!ned in 1667, broul!ht hostilities to a close. Pomeroon was now completely deserted, but Kykoveral was recovering gradually from Scott's blow. There was now some diffculty in finding an owner for the

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--From Kyk# 1 colony, but after lon g and tedious negotiation the Zeeland Chamber of the West I ndia Company took it over once again. Hendrick Rol was made Commander; and though a third Anglo-Dutch War was fought in the meantime, Kykoveral was not molested. But this was not for long. Louis XIV's ambitions soon precipitated Europe into more wars, and during the War of the Spanish Succession Ky k overal was attacked (1708). To the lasting shame of Commandeur va n der Heyden Resen, it must be written that instead of sallying fort h to meet the enemy he ignominiously shut himself up with his troops in the Fort. Some resistance was given at Plantation Vry h eid (Bartica) by the owner and his slaves: but after two had been killed and a few injured the defenders dispersed. Captain Ferry, the l eader of the French expedition. took his departure on the receip t o f a ransom of 50,000 guilders, paid in slaves, meat, provision s. and pieces of eight. But Essequebo's cup of bitterness was not c o mpletely full. Two more French privateers sailed up the river the next year (1709) and completed the work of destruction. They plu ndered and burnt to their heart's content. look two hogshead of s ugar that were being prepared for export, and left on their depart u re but two sugar mills s tanding. These two raids on Kykoveral soon woke up the planters to the alarming fact that the Fort could defend neither the colony nor the plantations. A fort, more strongly fortified, and more strategically placed, was needed. especially now that the fertile alluvial coastlands wer e attracting the planters lower and lower down the river. Rag I s land (now Fort Island) was decided upon as the best site for the new Fort, which was so advanced by 1739 that the seat of government was transferred there. In 1744 Fort Zeel a ndia (as the new fort o n flag Island was called) was completed. Kykoveral thereafter was neglected, even though it was Graves a nde's intention to have it reconditioned that very year. In 174 8 it was proposed to raz e it, and in 1750 it was reported abandoned. In 1755, however. it was again forti/ied.

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From Kyk# 1 because of an expected Spanish invasion: but after the scare had passed it was allowed to fall into a state of dilapidation again. Kykoveral today is our oldest historical relic, and it should be visited by all who have pride of their country in their hearts. Its name was doubtless an inspiration for it "Looked" or "Ky k ed-ove r-al" the waters of th e Essequebo, Mazaruni and < Cuyuni. Provided we have a sufficient leaven of humility in our hearts, we would do ourselves no harm to take as our watch-word "Kyk-over-al!"

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KYK#46I47 ANNA BENJAMIN Note on Vere. T. Daly's" The Story of Kyk-Over-Al" While Kyk-Over-Al cl e arly represents the first permanent Dutch Settlement in this country, the precise date of its foundation remains as much a myst e ry as ever. It is fashionable now to follow the Edmundson theory a nd accept 1616 as constituting the year of Essequibo establishment. Vere T. Daly certainly did so, being possibly the first popu l arizer of Edmundson's work locally. For all Daly's conviction, however, it cannot be proven beyond all reasonable doubt tha t Edmundson is right. His account is essentially a hypothes is albeit a plausible one, It reconciles evidence which is othe rwise irreconcilable. namely the account given by Major John S can on the one hand. with the admittedly defective offical recor ds on the other. As Daly himself points out. the problem lies in the fact that the earliest extant o ff ical documents relating to Essequibo indicate that the colo n y was owned by the Dutch West India Company. and that it probably had its origins around 1623. The Company was formed in 1621, which makes Scott's date for Essequibo's foundatio n 1616 highly problematical. Scott. who as Daly rightly sa y s, was something of a scoundrel. obtained his information from tw o Essequibo traders whom he had captured. Edmundson's ne a t hypothesis states that the colonial entrepreneur, Jan de Moor, first had a trading post in Essequibo in 1616. and that a ro und 1623 .. the West India Company established itself there. For many years he says. the two operations co-existed. until Jan de Moor died. when they were merged under the g ov ernorship of de Moor's representative. Groenewegel*. Edmu ndson considered that the West India Company, normally s o punctilious about enforCing its monopoly. tolerated de Moor b ec ause he himself was a member of the Zeeland Chamber, or branch, of that Company. Edmundson has c hosen to ignore two pieces of evidence

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KYK #46147 deriving from the Spanish records. These indicate, firstly, that in 1616 there were about a dozen Spaniards living in Essequibo growing cassava, and that secondly, the Spaniards believed that William Usselincx, and not Jan de Moor was behind the Dutch attempt around that time to settle at various points along the Guiana coast. It is possible that the Spanish authorities were wrong in their assumption about Usselincx, and the presence of a few Spaniards somewhere in Essequibo in 1616 does not invalidate the thesis, but the problem is that Edmundson never attempted to confront the Spanish data. As things currently stand, the evidence is insufficient either to prove or disaprove Edmudson's admittedly seductive theory. As in the case of the date of the Essequibo's establishment, no one can be certain about precisely when the brick fon, whose archway alone now survives, was built, except to say it was probably before 1670. In 1691 it was recorded as housing 43 Europeans, 54 Amerindian slaves, 165 l3Iack slaves and 14 Coloureds possibly free men. As Daly rightly indicates. for many years Kyk-Over-AI was both the scat of the government as well as the military headquarters. What he does not say, however. is that it was evacuated in stages. The Governor and administration moved out first, taking themselves to the mainland at Cartabo. Here a house was built called, appropriately enough, the" Huis Nabij" or "House Nearby". This was in 1718. and the seat of government remained here for more than twenty years. until it and the military garrison from Kyk-Over-AI moved downriver to Fort Island. Vere T. Dn!.v Ilses the spelling 'C roenewegen', which is the Edmllndsofl version of the spelling. 'Croenewegel' is the more correct version.

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AJ. SEYMOUR The Earth is a Woman The earth is a woman with patient hair And she watches a window pane From Kyk# 1 Where a tower of cloud creeps slowly past And other clouds come again. When night comes in, she counts the stars On the dark gown that woman wears She sits with her quiet hands folded there And she watches the patient years.

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From Kyk# 1 N. E. CAMERON Drama in British Guiana An observer who has done a fair amount of travelling in South America recently remarked at a meeting of one of our cultural clubs that thought that the extent of dramatic activity was greater in this Colony than in any other which he had visited. It is quite true mat locally there has been an outburst of such activity within rece1u times. Let us take the year 1944 for instance: in January we had Princess Ju-Ju staged by the Bedford Boys and Girls' Club: in March Ecce lnomo, a religious play was staged at Buxton: in April Adoniya (Wife of Moses). written by the author of this a rticle was staged at Queen's College; in May Savitr; was presented by the B. G. Dramatic Society in the Assembly Rooms; in July Pageallt o/Church History was presented in St. George's School Hall; in August a sketch was presented on the occasion of the opening of the C. Y. O. and at the Annual Convention of the [3. G. Union of Cultural Clubs two sketches were presented by the Georgetown Dramatic Club and the B. H. S. Old Girls' Guild; in October the Georgetown Dramatic Club presented Bernard Shaw's Alldrocles and the Lion in the Assembly Rooms. and in November. Queen's College presented as its centenary play Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. and in the same month Esme Cendrecourt presented her own play Unmasked in the Assembly Rooms. this being. I think. the last play staged in the Assembly Rooms before it was destroyed by the fire in february. 1945, While there is undoubtedly a considerable amount of activity in this Iidd locally. I personally am not in a position to say how this compares with similar efforts in the West Indies. I know. hO\vever, that Dramatics in the West Indies will be an interestin!.! s tudy ror I have heard or playwrights in Jamaica and Trinidad and a writer of children's operettas in Surinam

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I' .' From Kyk# 1 Anth ony Froude i n his The English in t he West Indies published in 1887, remarked that on the occasion of a visit paid to Tobag o by th e Governor of that time, a party of villagers sprang a pleasant surprise on him when they pres e nte d before him the Merchant of Venice. Th at was nearly 60 years ago. For a long time in this Colony there hav e been dramatic clubs and groups presenting p lays. I came across, in the Royal Gazette of December 31, 1863 mention of "an editice containing all the appointments n eces sary to effec tive presentation o f optical and dramatic en t e rtainm ent." The writer of the art icle in question r efe rred t o the fact that the building no longer exist e d and that since the n there had been no l oca l theatre similarly e quipped. I do n ot know whether the reference was to the Athenaeum which was founded in 1851, but the Athenaeum Club and the Philhalll10nic Society were among our famous cultural instit utions o f the past. Clubs there have been galore, e.g., the Geor g etown Dramatic Club and Demerara Dramatic Club. These two contemporary clubs presented plays on two or three occas i ons yearly and on some evenings they presented as many as three one-act plays. Other clubs w ere the Lyceum, the 1bree Arts, Jerusalem. At pres ent the principal dramatic clubs are the B.G. Dramatic Society. which caters only for Indian members, the Georgetown Dramatic, open to all, while there arc several clubs which include drama as a part of their cultural activity. There is no doubt that drama has a special appeal for young people as one of the means o f spending the ir leisure Their opportunity for se lf express i on, practice in elocution and gesture. an increased sense of dramatic appreciation together with the team s pirit forme d by c onstant association in r ehearsa l s strike the youths as making play-acting well worth their while. It must be remarked. however, that no special courses in acting arc given apart from hints picked up while at school o r from reading articles and magazines or book s bearing on drama. Her e of course. much m ore can be done and indeed much is expected to be done.

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From Kyk# 1 especially along the lines of elocution. Then again the drama provides opportunity for a very great variety of talent, for apart from the actors there are the questions of scenery, costumes, make-up, music and dances, lighting effects. and the business end like advertising, etc. There are some notable scenists among us. Special mention may be made of Mr. R. G. Sharples, President of the Guianese Art Group. who painted an outdoor and indoor set for Queen's College and an out door set for the Ursuline Convent. Some of our make-up artists have succeeded in creating very good results and recently the lion in the Georgetown Dramatic Club's presentation Androcles and the Lion was declared by many to be a work of art. Local Dramatists: I think the first person to write a play in British Guiana was the late Father C. W. Barraud, S. 1 .. Principal of St Stanislaus College. In 1872 he wrote St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Elizabeth of Hungary. both 5-act plays in the Shakespearean manner. These were. however, not published until 1892 and were reviewed locally in the following year. In 1893 a master of Queen's College. J. Veecock. Secretary and Stage Manager of the then Demerara Dramatic club. presented Falstaff which was a collection. with modifications. of those scenes in Shakespeare's Henry IV. Parts I and II. in which the character Falstaff appeared. Then followed short sketches. usually humorous. dealing with various phases of local life. It is unfortunate that there apJX!ars to be no copy extant of Quid Rides (Why do you laugh?). a collection of about 10 sketches hy Rev. P. Giddings. all the more as the sketches were supposed to characterise various foihles of the people, especially a tendency 10 use words of learned length and thundering sound. About 1916. Sidney Martins. a Portuguese comedian published a collection of his witticisms and sketches. One of these Mrs. Farrington's Third Husband might well bear representation especially if re-wrinen to suit modern taste. Since that time there have been several writers of comic

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From Kyk# 1 sketches, the most brilliant being G. Ingham Goring, whose comic songs are still rememb e red by many. Three of his sketches are Perseus Drops a Brick, a sketch based on the story of Andromeda in 5,000 words: Robin Hood and the King's Deer and the Mortgage on the Old Guiana Home. In May 1931, came a revival of the full length play when there appeared the author's Balthazar, a play based on Anatole France's version of th e story of the Three Wise Men. The late Walter Mac A. Lawrence reviewing this play in the New Daily Chronicle hailed it as th e beginning of a new phase in local drama. Encouraged by this publication, Esme Cendrecourt, the most pro lific of our playwrights, staged Romance of Kaieteur in the Assemhly Rooms in September. 1931. Miss Cendrecourt's succeeding plays were all propaganda plays, illustrating some phase of health work o r social welfare work. In Decemb e r. 1943. the author presented Adoniya at Queen's College for the first time. The most recent to enter the field of Guianese dramatists is Mr. Basil Balgobin, who presented in May of this year Asra. a political play on India. Th ere is a growin g demand for a new Guianese drama with fulllengih plays writte n on a dignified plane dealing with various aspects of local life, and indeed voicing the sentim e nts and aspirations of the peo ple. While this is very praiseworthy and indeed may be the next phase of our efforts at dramatic publications. it is rathe r curious that the advo cates of this idea do not stress at the same time that all the other forms of local art and literature. for e xample the short story, music. painting. poetry. should strive similarly to represent to the world the thoughts and aspirati ons of British Guiana. This is undouhtedly one of the highest aim s of art and literature. I mentioned previously that it was possihle that in the very near future systemati c courses of study might be given to our actors. Similarly, ther e should be courses of study in play writing for the would-be playwright. I notice that lessons on play writing and competitions for the best original plays are being given to the

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From Kyk# 1 B. H. S. dramatic group and one can only hope that similar courses will be given in our dramatic clubs. The work which has been done up to the present has been quite good on the whole in spite of the disadvantages due to lack of special training in acting and playwriting and to the limitations of small stages and halls of faulty acoustic properties. With the advent of British Council activity among tIS and with the promise of a new and modern threatre we may look forward to a considerable advance of local dramatic achievement.

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KYK II 46147 Special Contributions EDWARD BAUGH Frank Collymore and A J Seymour: A Literary Friendship This is a small but special chapter in West Indian literary history It is well known that Frank Collymore and AJ. Seymour played imponant and similar roles in the development of West Indian literature, chiefly by their editing of the little magazines Bim and Kyk-Over-AI, but also their own poetry. What is not so well known is that in the se roles they were mutually supportive. encouraging each o ther, collaborating. and forming and sustaining a friendShip almost entirely by correspondence. Some of this correspondence survives. In the Collymore collection in the Barbados National Archives. there are two leiters from Seymour to Collymore. written in the 1940s. In the Seymour collection in the University of Guyana Lihrary. there ;Ire six letters from Collymore to Seymour. spanning the period 1952 to 1975, as well as one from Seymour to Collymore. written in 1958. The first of these letters. from Seymour to Collymore. is dated 16 February 1946. It was obviously written in the early stages of contact betweeu the two men. It is not clear who initiated the correspondence. It may have been prompted by the first appearance of Kyk. i n 1945. Bim having first appeared in 1942. In this letter. Seymour. addressing his correspondent as "Dear Collymore," thanks him for" the tlattering notice in the December Forum." a nd for the copy of Collymore's Beneath the Casuarinas (1945), a collection of poems. which Collymore had sent him. The Forum was another Barbadian little which was also making a contribution at that time to the development of W es t Indian literature. and the flattering notice may have been of Kyk. Seymour expresses his deli in

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4S KYK,46/47 Casuarinas, and singles out for praise "Newsreel from Buchenwald," which he describes as horribly powerful," and" This Land." With reference to the latter, he says, "We've got to do a lot of that in the West Indies drive home our roots if we want to grow as a people." Seymour also mentions his first "glimpse" of Colly more, from a photograph in the Barbados Annual Review, a Christmas publication of the Barbados Advocate newspaper. This glimpse of Collymore prompts Seymour to ask about Collymore's age, and whether he is married and has children. Then he gives some information about himself: his age 32 (" I feel 52") that he is married and has five children, and that he is Assistant Publicity Officer of the Bureau of Publicity and Information. The second letter is dated 14 May 1949, but it is clear that the correspondence and friendship had developed between 1946 and now. Seymour tells Collymore about books which he has been reading, and makes special mention of E.M.W. Tillyard's Poetry Direct and Oblique, which he finds to be "very good as a line on trends in the colonies." He adds, . ... as soon as I'd finished the book, I took me my pen & said so to the master of Jesus College, Cambridge. Being a nice man, Dr. Tillyard replied with corroboration." The style ( I took me my pen "replied with corroboration"), and the relish in the ceremonial designation (" The master of Jesus College, Cambridge") are typical of Seymour. Collymore was not likely to have written to Tillyard in a similar situation. Of the two, Seymour was also the one more given to plans and projects in the editing of his magazine. He now proposes to Collymore that they "engage, professionally, in correspondence on the literary & cultural prospects of the WI & our colonies in particular, so that we both publish the exchange of letters at the same time." Collymore being a man most reluctant to" sound otT' about anything, it is not surprising that this particular project of Seymour's did not materialise. Then Seymour shares information about promising literary -

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-'6 KYK # 46/47 development in Trinidad: "Lamming & Co have begun to think of a magazine for Trinidad. I suppose he s written you also & [Andrew] Pearse the R e sident Tutor there [ for the ExtraMural Department of the Univ e rsity College of the West Indies], tells of a Reader and Writers Guild." Lamming, then just twenty one years old, Collymore s prote g e and friend was teaching in Trinidad, and had indeed been keeping his mentor informed of literary activity there. Lamming had become vigorously involved with a small group of Trinid adian writers, including Cecil Herbert, Ernest Carr and Harold Telemaque, who were the hub of literary activity on the i s land. In an undated letter to Collymore (Collymore Collection Barbados Archives), quite likely also written in May 1949. Lamming tells his mentor ahout plans for the magazine. He says that Seymour has promised a contribution. He tells Collymore about Seymour's having written to Tillyard, a development which he finds so encouraging. It is a fair guess that it was through C ollymore that Lamming had come to correspond with Seymour. In his next letter to Collymore also undated, Lamming gives Collymore an account o f a talk on "West Indian Writing Today" which he had delivered the previous evening. Reflecting on the art of public speaking, he considered the talk a failure. For one thing, he realised afterwards that he had not said some of the things he had wanted to say. In particular he had not said enough about West Indian po e try, and had not done justice to either Collymore or Seymour. The main topics o f Collymore s extant letters to Seymour are: news about forth c oming contents of Bim and about the difficulties of keeping the magazine going: news ahout other West Indian writers; comments on, and transactions for distributing Seymour's publkations; the possibility of their jointly editing an anthology of West Indian poetry. By the time ot the first letter, 7 September 1l/52 Seymour had begun to publish his Miniature Poets series of chapbooks by West Indian poets. and Collymore thanks him for the nne hy the

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KYK #46/47 Trinidadian Cecil Herbert, which had recently arrived. He tells Seymour that he had recently met E. McG. Keane and Daniel Williams, who had passed through Barbadoson their way to the UK and the USA respectively. These two, along with Owen Campbell, formed a trio of promising Vincentian poets whose work has been appearing in 8im. One of them, Keane, went on to make something of a name for himself as a poet. Mention of Keane and Williams causes Col1ymore to reflect ruefully on the exodus o{West Indian writers from the region: "It seems a pity that all the young men who have something t{) say should have to go else where to say it but ... they both told me they simply could not remain in St Vincent ... it was too soul stifling." In his letter of22 October, Colly more thanks Seymour for his "very meaty" lener of the 12th, and for the Keane chapbook and Kyk No.IS. He congratulates Seymour on the Kyk. which he considers the best number produced Si) far. and says that he must make a special effort "to tackle Wilson Harris," whose work does not appeal to him so directly as does that of Martin Carter. He places orders for chapbooks in Ihe MillUzfure Poets series, and tells of progress with the production of 8im No.17. This number will include a foreword aimed at 8im's indispensable advertisers. especially in the face of the adverse local reviews which the last three numbers have received: .. I do wish advertisers to know that writers in Rim are being accepted as 'world writers' and not merely as Caribbean curiosities'-" With regard to a new Kyk project a symposium on The West Indies Today." Collymore suggests that Seymour might ask the Barbadian poet and historian H.A. Vaughan, and the Professor of English at the UCWI for contributions. The Professor. A.K. Croston, an Englishman, had recently given a lecture in Barbados and Collymore thinks that "he may be able to work the matter into a critical assessment of the W.I. Novel." Collymore's pleasure at the metropolitan success of /Jim writers features in his letter of 26 November. He mentions Mittc1holzer, Selvon, and Lamming. whose first novel. In tire

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. . KYK #46147 Castle of My Skin, was soon to be published (1953). He also mentions the non-Wes t Indians Bruce Hamilton and Hugh Popham, and adds that Geoffrey Drayton has completed "two [books] which have not yet been placed." No doubt one of these was Drayton's only published novel, Christopher (1959). Collymore also gives news of Mittelholzer his friend and faithful correspondent. who had written to him from New York. He tells Seymour about Gloria Escoffery. young Jamaican painter and poet, who was then teaching art at Combermere School. where Collymore had by then been teaChing for over fony years. Escoffery was acting for the sculptor and painter Karl Broodhagen, who had gone to the UK on a British Council scholarship. She is very keen." says Collymore. "& would. I am sure, write you an articl e for Kyk." She may not have wrinen an article, but she did have poems published in Kyk. Seymour had just p ublished a Collymore chapbook in the Minillture Poets series. and Collymure thanks him for lhe .. extra prompt delivery" of the fony copies which he had ordered in his previous lettter. He c o ngratulates Seymour on the physical appearance of the book, and on the standard of proofreadtng. As he had done in the previous letter. he compla:ins about lbe poor proof-reading which he has had to suffer at the hands of the Advocate Press. Seymour had been keeping abreast of CollylJ\ore's work in the theatre. with the Bridgetown Players. and Collymorc now tells of his guarded hopes that the group will be able to have a theatre huilding of their own. He sounds a note which anticipates by twenty years the kind o f complaint which Walcott was to make ahout the puhlic and st ate suppon for theatre and phe arts in Trinidad: .. People in Barbados are not public spirited. With all this talk of culture. no progr e ss can be made until due homage is paid to the arts. and a theatr e is a necessity. Govt. are apathetic." We are next able t o pick up the story of the correspondence in mid-1958. The two men are excitedly exchanging ideas for jointly editing an anthol o gy of West Indian poetry for the British

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49 KYK # 46147 publishers McGibbon and Kee. Apparently Selvon had contacted Collymore from London, to inform him of the publishers' interest in such an anthology, and to interest him in editing it. Collymore in turn enlisted Seymour's support. Seymour replies in enthusiastic affirmative on 16 May. They begin to discuss the contents of the anthology, in what order the poems should be presented, what the introduction might contain, whether or not there should be an index of first lines ( Collymore is not much for it ), and so on On 14 June, Collymore says that he has wrinen to Selvon for further information, such as the size of the book and whether contributors will be paid: "not that I expect or want to make anything out of it but I wonder whether contributors may not expect some sort of royalty." For whatever reason, nothing came of this venture. If the anthology had been published, it would have becn a landmark. The n ex t lener, from Collymore, is datcd 22 March 1959 and is devoted to two topiCS: "Bim's decease" and resurrection and Seymour's request that Collym o re write an article for Kyk on the thcatre in Barbados. In No. 27 (Dec. 1958), Bim had announced, regrctfully, that, because of financial difticulties it would not be reappearing. There was an outcry of disbelicf from the circle of readers and writers who had come to set such great store by the magazine. Collymore tells Seymour about the" many condolences and suggcstions," including Scymour's, that hc had received. But, he says, "frankly I was skeptical. And, for another thing I was tired." Thcn he tells the story of how it came about that Oliver Jackman managed to raise the famous Fifty Pounds which saved Rim. As for the requested article on Barbadian theatre, it is not surprising to lind Collymorc regrctfully declining, becausc he would not have the time to do the research he considered nccessary. Of course, even in the proccss of dcclining, his own active involvement in the theatre apart, he was indeed thc idcal person for the job. The last extant letter is written by Collymore nearly sixtcen

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KYK.46147 years later, on the 6th January 1975, the day before his eighty second birthday. The lett e r is a brief, almost illegible scrawl. By now his health and eyesi ght are failing. He apologises for not having earlier acknowledged receipt of a DicJionary of Guyanese Folklore whi c h Seymour had sent him "but this attack of cystitis has laid me low and I'm having more trouble with my eyes. So please e xcuse brevity." He wishes AJ and his family "all the very best. .. for 75." The rest, as they say, is sil e nce. 'This little story may seem to be largely one of ideas and plans unrealised; but it also provides valuable evidence of that networking to use a word which would no doubt have scandalised both men which was so crucial to the making of West Indian literature. It is a story warm with a sense of shared purpose, and with the elation of a bright new beginning. -

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KYK 1146147 JOHN WICKHAM On the 50th Anniversary of Kyk-Over-Al Fifty years in the life of a small magazine, is without exaggeration, an age and survival, a miracle worth recording. Take, for instance. a man's life. After Mewling and Puking through his infaht, inarticu late years, he arrives at the point say in his teens, when he is moved to think that although he may not be able to shape the world to his own desire or design, there is enough around and about him that simply, because it is newly seen. compels him to record his presence. to say. without apology or bombast, that he was here, and so he sets about gathering his wits and his words which are really. in addition to a mysterious energy. his only tools. Since the end of 1992. the 50th Anniversary issue of Rim Magazine with which Kyk-Over-AI published ajoint issue, Bim has been silent. The problem is financial: printing costs have proved prohibitive. But there is also the question of the diftlculty of linding enough free hands and time to carry out the various tasks of editorship. as well as the increased correspondence which has heen the result of the magazine's long life and widening readership. May I share with you a disjointed extract from an introduction to Clockwatch Review by James Plath. the eclitor. More than a few literary magazines begin with intrOductory letters or essays from the editor. Although I have always shied away from such things. this issue seemed to cry out for some sort of editorial comment or at least an explanation, since the 10th anniversary issue of Clock watch. lab died "Volume 9 Numbers I 2." is published at the end of our II th year. Obviously. though the lirst issue of this semi-annual debuted the summer of 1983. we dropped a stitch or two along the way. Sometimes an issue was delayed or we published only one per year because of tinancial problems. while other times we weren't getting enough quality work to till an issue. Such is life in the small press world. But explanations aside. it struck me that a 10th anniversary issue

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KYK#46I47 without some sort of informal history would be like having a birthday cake with no candles. As always, we hope that you will find surprises inside our latest issue. But the real surprise is that Clockwatch is still ticking after all these years. So, here's a behind the-scenes look at the publication you now hold in your hands. I offer it partly as a record of one little literary magazine (for future students of this peculiar industry), but mostly for readers who might be curious about what g o es on at a literary magazine ... T.S Eliot once wrote Karl Shapiro that a literary magazine should be one person, and defined the little magazine as one which had "a single editor, a small circulation, and a short lifespan. rarely exceeding the life of the founding editorship." Clockwatch is typical. I think. of the t housands of little literary magazines that operate as single proprietorships. with the average circulation being 500 (ours is now 15(0) and the average lifespan just a year and a half. Most literary magazines are shoestring operations, many of them published out of h ome offices. and so it never ceased to amuse me how often I got mail addressed to "Circulation Manager," "Business Manager." "AdvertiSing Director," "Fiction Editor," or "Poetry Editor," and tho ught, that would be me. Or how often I got phone calls even from a New York City publishing house or agent who should know better from people expecting the click and clack of office n o ise, and hearing instead cartoons on the television and children squabbling. "Is this Clockwatch Review?" they'd ask, and one of my children would-invariably stun them into silence by saying some thing like, "Just a mililute ... I'll get him."

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, KYK 1146147 FRFJ) D' AGUIAR Bill of Rights Extract From a Poem Sequence 1. From Chattanooga, from Brixton (L--. write) From hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, To the Potaro, Essequibo. Demerara. The near one thousand came and stayed. I am your saviour. Follow me. And we did. And planted, did we plant, on a hill; And the rains came and washed the crops away. And we planted them again, and they were Washed away, again; and starved. we starved, Until the locals took pity on us. There were, after all. pregnant women, Children and the very old. in our midst. 2. 'Occupancy limited to 118 persons.' We sat in the aisles. plunkcd children One on lOp of another, into laps, Volunteered for the cargo hold And would have remained there As directed by Father had the pilot Not said we'd freeze or surfocate At 33.000 feet. or both. I am amonl! The al!ile ones. curled in the overhcad

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KYK#46I47 Luggage comparunent. 3. Goodbye Chattanooga. Hello Potaro. Later, Land Brixton. Essequibo, here we go. Someone they call a buck light-footed It over to me. I jumped but his open palms. A stupid smil e and his near-naked frame Put me at ease. He gave me corn I bolted down. His head shake, t1nger wag And suppress e d chuckle told me I'd done wrong. 4. Dip the tip of an arrow in this plant sap. Let it dry. un to uched. in the sun. Let it fly into that wild boar. Roast the boar but offer some to the sun, Carve button s from the bone. Dry the skin, t ell the boar you are sorry But you hav e a thousand mouths to feed And it tits the bill exactamundo. 5. Bow tic, bod a cious, Father. Model divine Daddy Friend of Lenin. Friend of Amin. Fri e nd of Stalin. Here the Trad es rinse the air constantly. Rain returns the verdant to grass, trees and paling.

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-- !>!> KYK 1# 46147 'All the days of my life, ever since I been born I never heard a man speak like this man before.' 1000 Tarzan yodels tear the night to ribbons. 6. Holy is coconut with cream and water Holy stinking-toe and sour-sap and eddoe Holy this vision in Him that brought us here Holy His name Jones and His every aspect Holy am I for my proximity to Him Holy this uzi blessed in service to Him Holy every drop that rains and rusts our joints Holy the hard wood greenheart in these huts. 7. Autochthonous wood. Purpleheart and greenheart Blunted or broke electric Saw after electric saw In half. Wood this tough Cannot have known much love And must have hardened itself Against further loss of face. 8. In Chattanooga as in Kalamazoo We had three square meals, inside loos And an inside to speak of.

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Here in paradise, Essequibo, Potaro, The branch s leak never switches off. I have the runs and chigoe, A fungus cu l ture between my toes. I patrol this new town's perimeter With my finger on an uzi's trigger. 9. Yoknapatawpha county, This was not. Rice for breakfast, Rice water s oup for lunchYes there was time for lunchlRice and b e ans for dinner, With the stubborn, giant anteater, The sloth and the caiman, Too tough b y far, Even for ou r meagre pots. 10. Topsoil go n e in the rain with our seedlings. Spirit for li g hting back this wilderness gone Too; all tha t's left unencumbered is my love For Father: my nerves are a Stradivarius In the han ds of a musical pygmy Inside I sound like cats in an alley Mating or s quabbling over a smell of fish. KYK # 461'" My face is as expressionless as a satellite dish.

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KYK # 46147 JACQUELINE de WEEVER In the Beginning Kyk Kyk-Over-A I is at the beginning of my intellectual life. I had always been aware of the magazine as I was always in and out of AJ's study, full of questions and ideas about one thing and another. So he put me to work. when I was about sixteen years old, reading proofs for the magazine. This seemed a natural develop ment to our conversations about Wordsworth and Keats in the small garden beside the house. Obsessed with poetry as I was. proof reading poetry written by our own poets for Kyk was an added excitement to my high school years. Then my mother. who lived in New York, sent me a portable typewriter. very light, easily carried around. By the time I was studying for A levels, I was resident typist for KykOver.AI. typing poems from the handwritten missals sent in by poets from the islands and some from our own Guyanese poets. I remember especially proof-reading a very early poem by Derek Walcott commemorating the destruction of Castries. SI. Lucia "A City's Death by Fire." Other poems followed. from Vaughan, Collymore, Sherlock, and others. While we worked on Kyk, AJ would tell me some of the stories of the tribulations the writer must encounter and assimilate. I remember especially the story of Edgar Mittelholzer's attempts to publish his long novels. Edgar would send offhis huge tomes to London. by sea mail in those days. and they would come back. it seemed, by return mail. Someone was waiting on the wharf at Plymouth specifically to send them back. Edgar would be very depressed and upset. Then. miraculously. Morning at the Office was accepted and published. Elation and happiness all around. So Edgar took out those same rejected tomes and. without changing a word, sent them orr. Miracle of miracles. they began to appear Kaywana, Children of Kaywana, The Harrowing of Hubertus and Edgar was now a published. important. author. When Mitlelholzer

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KYK # 46147 moved to England, he sent AJ a copy of every book he published, all inscribed. Most intriguing of all was the process of building a poem. the many versions before th e printed version. I learned about this from AJ's Thursday group. Martin Carter and Wilson Harris joined AJ on Thursday afternoons to read poetry-in-progress to each other. as well as to discuss other poets they were reading. Because I kept quiet, they let me join their circ.le. I sat next to AJ in an enchantment more real and concrete than the enchantments I was dreaming up in fairy tales I began writing at that time. Particularly memorable was Wilson's reading of Auden's"Lullaby" and Pound's "Night Litany." Wilson's reading of Pound's "Night Litany" is so lodged in my memory that when I emerged from the train station in Venice in June, 1994, the Pound poem jus t invaded my being as I waited for Boat One to take me to my hotel. More indelibl e was Wilson's reading of poems he was working on. then, best of all, giving me one or two t o type for Kyk. I considered Kyk my magaz ine since I spent so much time on it. When the proofs came I discontinued my own routine to pay careful attention to proo f -reading. One routine was to ride my bicycle up to Kitty, then walk out on the jetty, list ening to the Atlantic crashing agains t the concrete, and the wind in the huge sea-grape tree with ten ta cle roots in the sand. Sometimes a Hindu group had left we dding offerings in the water, which bobbed up and d o wn on the waves. When Kyk was due. time was precious, and my rides were fewer. I continued my work for Kyk, until I left Georgetown to attend college in New York. A pan of my life was over, althou g h I did not know it. The invaluable girt of myadolescence is the insight into a poem's birth "construction" is too hard a word listening to Wilson, Martin, o and AJ talk about, rethink, change, their poems as they wrote them. Fifty years is a truly golden age for a little magazine. so essential to a country' s intellectual life. I am happy that Kyk

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KYK #46/47 celebrates this anniversary, feeling blessed to have helped in its early nurturing. AJ is quite proud, now in the Great Beyond; I'm positively sure of it.

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MARK MCWATI Beloved of the Rivers: (A Fictiona l Encounter in 10 Poems.) 1 You sat on a tree that hung over the river t1shing for me. I took the h o ok and I hauled you in to the net o f my book. Fallen into fiction you're now trapped with me in this selfc ontradiction. And there's nothing I can do, within rock and swift water, but turn the pages of you. 2 In other places I have been careful about intruders I have learn t about locks and iron bars. Here I open a door KYK #46147 to admit a river, watch it spread across my nom with palm seeds and the brittle claws of crabs. How often can you forgive me for sinking your house down to the secret bed of a river,

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and for emerging from its wet dream to embrace you with sudden spite, like a lover? 3 I crush your fingers like aromatic leaves and hold them to my lips: the fragrance of you fills me and we dance on wet leaves in a patch of sunlight purer than the love you spoke to me. And sunlight dances now on the torn skirt of the river. on the glistening rocks ... as my own love. like spilled blood. swirls slowly to stillness and fills the soft shallows. the warm hollows of the silence on the surface of you. 4 After the body's shrill song comes a silent love like the calm rcaches of a river that once crashed down stone stairs. its head boiling with foam and passion. and you wonder: "Was all of that for me?" And you look beyond love. as a river. tasting salt in its tidal mouth. stiffens KYK # 46147

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for the Judas-kiss of the sea; finding no ground for hope, you surrender silently to me wondering, as you lose yourself in love, "Will love still remember me?" 5 What is this lo ve we are always re hearsing? Where will it take us at the end of what day? To whom do we offer these arms and Ii ps and the harden e d tips of ourselves in mock surrender in rituals th at sunder SlOne and sky, c loud and thunder? I try to rememb e r a reason for it all, a place behind the gesture that might still be hallowed; but it is hard, in these times of drift, to think fruitfully beyond tlesh and faint laughter. Perhaps truth i s no longer to be found where we have always sought her. We grow too old for belief. Like the sky, we simply shrug: the stone's ind iffe rence to water. KYK#46147

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6 Because rivers contain the history of space, I call you to come with me into those amber shallows. We start with creeks: Kamuni. Wauna and Warapoka, they become no more nor less than your naked body. which I enter to discover -in that fluid rnirror-the past and the future of my face. Next the larger tributaries: Potaro. Cuyuni. Barama ... Ah. do not be fooled by the contiguity of surfaces: we descend into separate depths where each river's cold is a different shiver. and shattered light falls dully among your drifting hair. 111ere is primordial memory there in poured libations that are surt1cient to reach the spirit of the sea. And Demerara. Corentyne. Waini: I whistle for you acro s s those estuaries. My tears Occome the same salt as the sea. crusting in the cracks beside my eyes Here we must respond in time to the challenge of space: I anchor myself to your vast body raking the flesh of a continent KYK #46/47

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'. on the soft forgetful beds of rivers, making and healing the scars o f my race. 7 There are i nsects that crawl on the ski n of rivers, giving you goosetlesh; but the long brush of a hand doesn't break your surface on which I can still count the stars. I watch the trees descendinl! to the sky, each with a bluff of unkept promises. I hear you sigh like breeze on the flesh of the river: cold fingers of mist caress you and my body and I await your subtlest capitulations. In this frenzy of leaf-rot and sunstruck foam I ease out of you, lathered with your involuntary laughter. nursing the crumpled remnant of my story now in danger of abridgement in mid-stream ... I who must love rivers love you too much to succumb to your only dream KYK # 46147

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< 8 Hearing the tidal beat of your wings above the river, I look upward to see the morning sky stained with your brilliant love for me. The noontide, swollen with my foolish pride, bears me beyond the reach of your farthest tendril finger and the cloudless sky consumes me. Evening washes me back to your warmth, across the groins of love's wide estuary; and I imagine that I have turned your tide into the living flesh of memory. Night severs the umbilical strand of our love and I wait in the tether of your throbbing tide for the drowned touch of another dawn to release me. 9 To take you like a smooth river stone to the hollow of my neck is to dream of freedom beyond the cool skin of ecstasy. beyond fossil, beyond the finesse of rhyme and memory. To dream of loving you and rivers has been to discover the specific thirst of earth for sky KYKI46I47

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'66 and the cruel patina of being painted on the gifts of time. 10 When I finally rolled away the stone of your love that concealed the self I sought in rivers. I was awakened to sudden sorrow by the cruel sunlight streaming from an ordinary sky through the startling absence of you KYK 1146147

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KYK # 46147 GEORGE SIMON Talks to ANNE WALMSLEY Looking Inland In April 1995 recent work by three Arawak Guyanese was shown at Castellalli House -Guyana's national gallery in a1l exhibition of Contemporary Amerindian Art. GeDrge Simon, whose paintings were hung along with wood sculpture by Oswald Hussein and Lynus Clenkien, had initiated and arranged the exhibition. 1t demonstrated the results of Simon's involvement with a group of artists ill his home village of Pakuri St. Cuthbert's Mission on the Mahaica River. It also revealed wavs in which Simon's travels and -studies over the past ten years as a trainee anthropologist and archaeologist have affected his paintings. GEORGE SIMON I had just completed my MA course in Archaeology in London and returned to Guyana. While waiting for a new posting. I thought I should become involved again with a group of artists that I've been working with at SI. Cuthbert's to lind, to my disappointment. that in my absence only two of them had been workinl! at their art. I felt that it would have been a great shame that these two sculptors whom I knew to be talented and in whom I saw some sign of development were going to be left alone. and I thought. to show with them is to give them some kind of moral support and to bring them out to Geor!!etown. Ossie Hussein. who on two occasions has won the national prize at the annual National Visual Arts Exhibition. never had a show on his own but had a body of work with which I felt we could put an exhibition together quite quickly. Lynus Clenkien did not have many pieces. but I felt he should show his work. ANNE WALMSLEY How long had you been working with these artists at St. Cuthbert's?

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KYK # 46147 In about 1988 I becam e concerned about Amerindians from my village not going very f ar in their education. I felt I needed to help them along, so to s peak, in life. Since I was trained as an artist, I thought one thin g that I could do is to encourage art and try to develop their skills in painting or sculpture. Sculpture was the best because there was wood and they were familiar with carving: making canoe s and paddles and that kind of thing making bows and arrows was a natural to us . So wood carving, wood sculpture was a n a tural thing for them to develop. Am I right in saying that until you worked }vith them and encouraged them, f/o work of this sort had been done by Amerindian peoples of Guyana? That although there is a long tradition of varied and highly skilled Amerindian craft work, there is no non-functional visual practice, no 'fine arts'? Not quite so. Stephani e Correia has done tremendous work as a tine artist. especially in c eramics. and there are other Amerindians who work privately and whose work is not yet known to the general Guyanese public. As a youngster. even at school I had a little chance while I was at St. Cuthbert's Anglican School. We had a Friday afternoon I think it was session where we would actually be taught craft by the villagers: basket weaving. making miniature canoes and p a ddles and that kind of thing. Basically. it was craft that was mad e for trading or for selling purposes. So in this recent ; exhibition YOII, the teacher. were showing alongside YOllr students. The most important tlung was that the three of us seemed to have beel11 working in the same vein. very secretly and very privately . I had always allowed t hem to develop their own ideas. I have changed my figurative work to semi-abstract. gradually getting involved in mythology and when I got back it was refreshing and very exciting to see that Ossie had all the time been concerned

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KYK #46147 with the mythology of his people. Lynus had been concerned with spirits and also working in the same vein. So it was not difficult for the three of us to come together, it was a natural thing, so to speak. YOltr painting Oriyu-Shikaw: Kaieteur, Home of the River Spirit was amongst the paintings which YOIt showed. and has been bOltght for the National Art Collection of Gltyana. Is this a recent work? Yes, it's amazing how that came about. Maybe an insight into how a canvas develops for me might give you an idea of how things happen very spontaneously. After I've prepared a canvas, I'll decide on a dominant colour and then throw paint haphazardly onto the canvas and imagery comes up. It's a principle that I think da Vinci mentioned where if you were to lie very quietly on your couch and look at the ceiling, you could probably see horses and warriors and people fighting whatever. It's that kind of thing that happens to me, and I have great faith in the subconscious. So I would let the paint remain on the canvas and look at it and gradually images come out and I would develop those images. And 10 and behold a picture of the Kaieteur emerged on this occasion, and I developed the idea, The first time I had experienced the Kaieteur, it was such a powerful place to be at, that I thought, surd y, the first people who had discovered or seen this place would have worShipped there. So I had this in me, and I created a Kaieteur which is totally different. The Falls itself is rull of petroglyph s and symbols, and then the bottom part or it where the water actually ralls into the gorge is full of fossils and skeleton remains and rocks. In the distance in the landscape of denuded forest, it's all mountains, grass mountains criss-crossed with rivers and tributaries. I've done a lot of work there; I've travelled beyond the Falls and I've looked at archaeological sites along the Potaro Ri ver. I have been really concerned with all the dredging and the de s truction

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KYK #46/47 of the river. I can imag ine it happening where the Falls would dry up and what would remain are the walls of the Kaieteur and trickles of water coming over the top and human remains at the bottom. So the painting was more or less a political statement as well. Had an exhibition of work by Amerindian artists ever been shown in Georgelown before? There have been past ex rubitions of craft work. In the mid 80s there were big exrubitions of work by Amerindians wruch would include some pottery, weav ing, basketry, that so rt of trung. But to have an exrubition of trus kind was new. Where do YOll Ihink sllch art is going 10 go nexI, and how do YOll wam to be involved in i I? Already it has made a n impact on the Guyanese art scene because, as you would rea lise, most of the artist s in Guyana are people who live on t h e coast. And now I myself live in Georgetown. But to have the boys from the interior Amerinclian boys w ith a new vision. it's going to cause some confusion. I trunk. And I dare say it will assist the coast landers to look inland instead of loo king towards the sea and towards the Caribbean. Now what we hope to do is to go o ut to the villages. Indeed.already Lynus and Ossie have gone to Annai in the north Rupununi savannah to work together with a ceramist among the Macusi. th e indigenous people there. t o s how the people what they are d oi ng and hopefully s timulat e a few of them into making ceramics or sc ulptures. What will happen eventually in Guyana is that there will be an emergence o f new sc ulptures and other art forms of totally different ideas. created by artists with totally different b ac kgrounds from those that we have seen so far.

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KYK # 46147 And how about your own work in painting, where do you see that going now? I will concentrate on Amerindian mythology. I need to look inside. I trust the subconscious and I wait for that inner voice to say, 'Change it here and do that there', and that's how I work. And I can only see that this is the way that I will pursue my work. My archaeology helps, and of course a lot of that comes into my work as well. How have your studies in archaeology helped this new direction in your painting? I have been looking at prehistoric art in South Amcrica and in Latin America generally. That has helped tremendously. It has encouraged me to look inwards and maybe to use some of the imagery that I've seen. or maybe to become much more confident in using my own private language and taking more notice of what my peoples have done and how they've been stifled and how they have not said things before. and trying to use their mythologies. How did you think about yourself and your people before you got into arcl!aeolog.'''''? I did not know the importance or my Amerindian past. I did not know the history of my people. The subject was not taught at school. In fact. I was forbidden at school to speak my own language and anyonc found spcaking Arawak in class was tltH!{!cd. In {!cneral, Amerindian culture was discoura{!ed and we ........ .... .... were madc to feel inferior. An anthropologist said to me recently that he knew more about the Amerindians than they know about themselves. How sadly I was trained in Europe and devcloped European ideas for my art. I did not draw from inside myself at all. I didn't become conscious of my Amerindianness, if

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KYK If 46/47 I might say so, until aft e r returning to Guyana from my years of art training in England, in 1978. I was invited by Denis Williams to join him at the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology in 1985. Thls opportunity allowed me to travel extensively in Guyana and to be reunited with my people. I had had an exltibition in 1982 wltich dissatisfied me. The paintings did not reflect my Amerindianness. What did the work at the Museum involve? Very shortly after I had joined him, Denis had a message of some sort to say that the Museum of Puerto Rico was interested in sending an expedition to the Wai-Wais in the Upper Essequibo River, in the Amazon forest. The expedition would make a collection of W aiW ai artefacts. half of wltich would come to the Walter Roth Museum and others to the Museum of Puerto Rico. There would be an anthropologist and an archaeologist in the team and I was going to be the Walter Roth Museum representative. That was my first expedition. I didn't have a clue what I was g oing to do. I felt like I was going to be lOOking after these Amer i can strangers in the forest. You Izadn 't been to the part of Guyana where the WaiWai live? No. no. no. I knew St. Cuthbert'S and Mackenzie and that was it though I had gone up to Great Falls. up the Demerara. in the early '60s. So I d idn't know anything. because I'd been panially cut off from m y people and that kind of life. However. yes. I agreed to go on th e expedition. So Denis gave me six books about anthropology and the Wai-Wai to read in two weeks. I became very interested in the work that we were doing when we eventually arrived at Shapariymo where the Wai-Wais lived. We spent a month with the Wai-Wais. We made recordings of their music and songs took photographs of the Amerindian situation. went hunting with them and collected their craft work.

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KYK # 46147 All the time I was observing how the archaeologist was working and how the anthropologist was working. Here at last there was something that related to me. I felt re-awakened by the experience. Did you do any work as an artist while YOIl were up there? I did a lot of sketches. I was asked to do a sketch of a conical house. traditional Wai-Wai architecture. I studied the ground surface and recorded all the artefacts on the ground, the walls and the thatched roof. This study helped me to see a layout of the house where people Ii ved. where the people ate, where people did housework and that kind of pattern. This was my first experience of being in the Amazon and of being with indigenous peoples of the Amazonas, from whom I could draw parallels with my own early life. And then back at the Walter Roth Mllsetun? Yes. I wanted to know more about my people. I wanted to know more about primitive art. primitive culture. So there was pottery to look at. more books to read. and discussions on these subjects. I started from there. I came back from that lirst expedition tired with interest and I thought. ah, now I can paint. I have something to paint. something to say! What sort of painting did YOII thell start to do! The painting situation had become worse and one couldn't get oil paints or linseed oil or turps to buy. Acrylic paint was relatively easy to acquire, although I couldn't purchase a medium to go with it; it was a water-based paint. which was good. I started to use these sparingly, very carefully. in washes. and I developed from that a technique of applying paint very thinly onto the canvas layer over layer. layer by layer in this very watercoloury kind of effect. I developed a glazing technique and

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KYK # 46147 studied colour theory. What support material were YOll painting onto? I use twill. I stretch twill and sometimes apply a very thick ground: maybe six coats of emulsion paint. very thick sometimes, and I would sand it down with sandpaper and then work from that, and very gently and very tediously try to build contrasts and colours and depth and that kind of thing by applying layers and lay e rs of colour on top of one another. And so I built my surfaces. nut then I became proficient so to speak. in this technique. I paint very quickly now in this medium and I can capture someone S i tting there very quickly and get a very good result, like you would do in watercolour. But I wasn't satisfied. I considered the composition of the picture and I introduced three-dimensional shapes and flat areas into paintings. Gradually, I became interested in the atmosphere, and in effects of the light and in how Rembrandt and Turner achieved these. Of course in the meantime I am sent out from time to time on expeditions for the Museum. What other expeditions deeply affected your subsequent work as a painter? I did a lot of work in the Essequibo River and in the Potaro River, so I had to cross and travel up and down the Essequibo River a great deal. And that helped me in looking at atmosphere. So. atter the Wai-Wai series. I did about 25 paintings of the Essequibo which I called 'Essequibo Scrics'. basically of the river. the landc;capc, the streak of land that you'd see in the Essequibo such a vast river. this line that separates the sky from the water, this vast expanse of water. I laid great emphasis on the water. On some of these expeditions you must have been studying the petroglyphs the great prehistoric rock carvings. Did they

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KYK 1# 46147 influence your own artistic work? Not until quite recently, in the last two years or so. Denis Williams was, of course, the man who really brought these things to life. They had been looked at before, but not in the way that Denis had really studied them in the Berbice and Upper Essequibo. And Denis introduced vou to them? From his work. from his writings. I'd seen them. Dut then to have seen these things on paper is not to experience them in landscape. I came across these carved marks. these petroglyphs. for the first time I think it must have been in 91 or 92 in the Essequibo. To see them there and in the flesh. in a river bed that had dried up. was a marvellous experience. it makes you begin to wonder. You know, you go to Kaieteur and you think oh people must have really worshipped this Falls here. such a powerful So to usc the imagery of the petroglyphs was to incorporate the spirituality of the place. It moved one to look at the other side. So you're not simp!.v reproducing the motifs in your paintings, you're trying to get behind what prompted them. and to bring something similar into your work. Absolutely. I became interested in the writing of these things. Why were they written? What were people trying to say? I tried to decode them in my own particular way. not in the archaeological sense. For instance. I did a painting which was a view from the plane going across the mouth of the Siparuni River, one of the Essequibo tributaries. We were going to do some work in that area in July or August when the water was low. And I saw thjs area and then did a painting of it as if it had been x-rayed. like I'd looked at it from the top and gone through the

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KYK #46/47 inside. I'd gone beyond the surface and looked beyond to see the rock fOImation and that kind of thing. And I like to think of the petroglyphs in that sense, where you don't just copy the surface but you look inside; you consider the place where the petroglyphs appeared maybe a little waterfall, the trees that might be around there, the birds you think of all these. It's a religious centre, so to speak, it's like a littl e cathedral, and I look a t it in that sacred sense. So I use all these and they conjure up in me a certain kind of way to present what I have seen and e xperienced. It becomes a very. very private undertaking. I make these paintings and what happens on occasions on the canvas is that there are some very heavy textured surfaces and some very light areas. I now move between textured and ligh t surfaces for contrast, like I did initially with nat and round forms. I think onc needs to go beyond the expected. I've never un de rstood when someone said, 'Oh. you've captured the true spirit of that individual in thC painting'. I always thought. what was that? I now understand what that means: it's capturing thC essence of Kaie tcur if you're going to paint the Kaicteur. Which, it seems, YOII have flOW done marv ellollsl.v in YOllr pai1lling Oriuyu-Shikaw, Kaiete ur, Home of the River Spirit. Thank YOII, George Simon, and bes t wishes to YOII {/nd the 'boys from the illlerior' in YOllr c01ltinlling work. (From interviews with George Simon ill London in January 1994 and June 1995.)

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KYK # 46147 Eusl KWAYANA Kyk-Over-Al at Fifty Only think how many human beings. the prize of creation. who were born t1fty years ago did not live to see their t1ftieth birthday. Perhaps one day our literary statisticians will make a intersectorial comparison between the infant mortality rate of humans and the infant mortality rate of publications. Although. according to the latest Human Development Report of the UNDP. our infant mortality rate still stood at 48 per thousand in 1992. there is reason to believe that young people now eighteen.on the verge of childhood's old age. or even those who are now t1fteen. will be there to celebrate Kyk-Over-AI's centenary. That is an encouraging way of expressing faith in Kyk-Over-A I for its own sake. paying tribute to the founders and those whose love and clear-hcadedncss has kept it going for all this half century. And with confidcnce claim that the rising generation will rise to the occasion as most have always done. despite ntis!ivin!s of dders and so continue the tradition of creation and publication in this form. or in whatever form seems 10 them most tIltin! in the circumstances which will !reet them on their way and which they may even now have begun to inlluence. But It is imp oss ible to say Kyk-Over-Al without thinking or its m os t dedicated foundcr. and without seeing him at his desk with that supreme calm which grew as difliculties mounted; without thinkin! or his life Ion! co-worker and companion. Elma. whose time and space were as communal as his. and of that long line of men and women ""Titers whose sparks he fanned into name. Kyk-Over-AI isfif!y -Long live Kyk!

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MICHAEl. Gn..KES Swimmer Every thing he did came easily. Trees dropped their fruit for him to catch, fires lit for him with one damp match. Rain filled his bucket to the brim. The yard, the circles of cousins, neighbours. friends. the childhood games. the gabled house, KYK'46147 familiar as its housemaids' names bouyed his young life so he could swim. In those green Dolphin-days boyhood meandered like a creek tindin!! its course. changing its mind. He wanted to le ave the source behind, go where the sun's glow lit the river's amber scrim making the forest's cyclorama dim to gold. He longed to s ing with tongues of gauldings blown. like white confetti, along the river's rim. He yearned to skim that changing surface. sort as silk. or dimpled as a dinner-gong. Older swimm e rs said 'boy. YOlJ'too young That water d ee p The currents there too strong.' One afternoon the river called to him

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He heard its song. Its voice was hoarse, raucous as sm. Its umber face reflected his when he slipped in, his body a bateau unzipping the dark water's skin. KYK 1146/47 Later. half-drowned. {!Iu{!-{!Iu{!{!in{! on a coke. ..... ..... --""" sucking a cigarette. he watched as his struck match i{!nited the dusk. Towelled and dry. his skin smelled of the river's musk. The swimlller knew that smell would stay for good. like a dark stain. Nothing in life would come easy again

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KYK # 46147 NIGEL WESTMAAS Personal Reflections: Kyk-Over-AI, The Magazine My initial encounter with Kyk-Over-Al, the magazine, was in the Caribbean section of the Public Free Library, as it was then called. In one sense I smBlt Kyk before anything else. Everyone who has been in the library knows of the particular smell of the books arising from the substance used to protect them. Kyk appeared to have an abundance of the stuff. At the time, I was less concerned with reading than with admiring its form and seeming permanence on the shelf among other West Indian books. Out its emphasis on poetry caught my mind even then. All the obscure and the great poems were included in Kyk. And jIJst think! Where else could one have read short stories, poems, interviews, art criticism, and so much more, as Kyk provided? To my mind Kyk's very name was a choice of genius. The relevance of its name, an amazing conjunction of image and history, linked the geographical and historical signitlcance of a Guyanese landmark and art, a marvellous leap of identilication. It also performed the function of history teacher. Is it true that the remains of Kyk-Over-AI at the confluence of the Cuyuni, Mazaruni and Essequ ibo rivers only imbedded itself in the national consciousness largely because of this great literary magazine? On picking up an old Kyk one was always struck by the image of the Dutch fort on the cover. In time it fus ed itself in the memory. Every magazine has its own spirit. Thi s mirrors in some way the society that gave birth to it. Kyk came to s ymbolise more than a new ele ment entering an emergent post-war Guyanese readership, t hirsty for its own literature. Yet it was a few kindred spirits who spawned it and brought it to fruition. Martin Carter once heard to remark tllat a whole villa!!e docs not write a petitiol'l, s o meone docs, and a village rati lies it. So it

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KYK #46147 was with this Guyanese icon. Kyk.Over.Al has been ratified several times over in its fifty years. And yet, then and now, it continues to require a tremendous persistence to be maintained. The process of making a magazine involves a great deal conception, collection of material. editing. getting it to the printers. and then distribution. Only a great love of literature and art could have provided that engine of consistency. The two main figures associated with Kyk's fifty years, AJ Seymour and Ian McDonald have had this particular quality in their respectjve editorships. AJ Seymour himself made a large slice of his life's work this odyssey of perseverance and commitment. There were breaks in its production over the years but AJ and his successors could have remarked like Goethe. "Die ich Rier. Die Geister werd' ich nun nieht los". Roughly translated. "The spirits that I summoned. I cannot now dismiss". In other words had Kyk not existed it would have had to be invented. It had created a want. A tinal rellection: Another thing I recall every time I think of Kyk is the mutation of its page colour and print.ll1e newer Kyk. that is. the Kyk of the computer age. docs not have the faded "yellow" pages of its predecessors of the 1950' sand 1960' s. That colour gave the magazine an additional 'history'. Editorial licence pushed the Kyk image to the top of the page in the newer issues with attractive main covers. But is newer better? Mayne in some ways. Yet somehow those old. faded copies of Kyk and their very readable print arc superior to the modern computer-assisted appearance. In any case Kyk will survive and remain a permanent part of the Guyanese imagination. Hail Kyk's Fiftieth Year!

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82 KYK # 46147 FRANK BIRBALSINGH Edgar Mitte/holzer (1909 -1965) Edgar Mittelholzer was the first Guyanese or West Indian novdist to live by his pen for most of his career. Even today, among West Indian writers. a similar claim may be genuinely made only for V. S. Naipaul. But singularity goes further: he has written more novels than Naipaul, or any other West Indian for that matter; and in quicker time. From his first novel,.. Corentyne Thunder, in 1941. Mittelholzer produced twenty' 'tive books; and if we consid@r that he published virtually nothing from 1942 to 1 949, around the period of the Second World War. it means that in tHteen years (1950-1965) he published twentythree novels. not to mention With a Carib Eye. (1958) a travel book that reveals some of his most deeply felt views. and his autobiography A Swarthy Boy (1963). These statistics proclaim startling. not to say bewildering literary prou\,)ctivity. and an imaginatio n whose fertility remains unsldr-passcd in the annal s of West Indian literature Mittclholzer is also a pioneer. Whe n he began writing. there was virtually no imagin a tive literature from Guyana or the West Indies. For this reason a l o ne he should be canonized as the father of Guyanese literature. He either invented or mad e a critical contribution to basic genres of Guyanese and West Indian writing the historical novel in his Kaywana trilogy: detective fiction in My BOlles and My Flute; social reali s m in A Morning at the Office; science I1ct ion in A Twinkling ill the Twilight; erotica in The Piling of Clouds; the p s ychol o gical thriller in Sylvia; and what he him self calls comedy-fanta s y in such novels as Shadows Move Among Them and The Mad MacMullochs. Where he did not initia t e these genres. his writing provided a decisive impetus that helped them to hecome estahlished. For all that, despit e his professionali s m. productivity. and pioneering. Mittelholzer has had a bad pr e ss. He i s n o t accepted

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KYK #46/47 as an artist of high calibre, like his contemporaries V. S. Naipaul, George Lamming, Samuel Selvon, or his fellow Guyanese Wilson Harris. lbis is astonishing because, on the surface at least, Mittelholzer possessed qualities that would be the envy of most great or gifted artists fertile imagination, original ideas, inspired initiative, technical flair, dogged determination \ and superhuman energy. Yet the sad truth is that his fiction, like the batting of his equally gifted countryman Robert Christiani delivers less than it promises. Perhaps he was too spendthrift with his rich talents, as Christiani certainly was; hence the calamity of his fiction being disfigured by opulent self-indulgence in novel after novel, for example, in Eltonsbrody, Shadows Move Among Them, and most tragically of all. in his masterpiece the Kaywana trilogy in which Mittclholzer cannot stop himself from piling grotesquerie on top of eccentricity. sensation on top of horror, mainly it seems. to shock the reader. Such powerfully compulsive writing suggests either that Mittelholzer simply threw caution to the winds and hugely enjoyed what he did. or that. irresistibly. he was driven by demons that he could not control. No wonder he destroyed himself in the end; for an imagination that was daring enough to inspire fiction mixing fascist or racist theories with transcendentalism, occultism. eroticism and sadomasochism. was just as capable of devising a method of suicide that entailed turning himself into a human torch in England, where he had finally settled. The parallel is inescapable with Buddhist monks whose pictures he must have seen in English newspapers. willingly undergoing public self-immolation. Even if it sounds preposterous. this horrifying form of death tends to vindicate the compulsive self-indulgence of Minelholzer's writing by investing it with an aura of almost monkish devotion. For one thim!. after self-immolation, it is said that Minelholzer's body was found in a devotional posture. For another. his novels contain moral or reli!!ious elements. At the same time. i bably. many novels are riddled with contradictory concepts of a Jekyl/Hyde variety, and situations of

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KYK'46147 manichean extremes that enjoin both lust and abstinence, evil as well as good. His novels also contain characters like Hubertus van Groenwegel (Kaywana Stock), an archetypal sinner/saint, capable of invoking pious incantations of abstinence and selfless dedication to God at the very moment that he cherishes thoughts of brutish lust, or actions of outlandish, carnal self-gratification. All this points to a mad logic in the manner of Mittelholzer's death which may explain contradictory clements in his fiction, without, artistically, redeeming them. Growing up in Guyana in the first quarter of this century. Mittelholzer enjoyed a measure of colonial social privilege. He came from a white/brown. creole, or upper middle class background; and although the literary resources available to him were slender, for example, the Bible. The Pilgrim's Progress, Victorian penny dreadfuls and periodicals like The Union Jack, they were a good deal better than those available to most of his countrymen in a remo te British Caribbean colony at the time. This is partly why h e and other writers of a similar social background DeLisse r and Roberts of Jamaica. Frank Colly more of Barbados, and Gomes. Mendes and DeI30issicre of Trinidad are among the most important pioneers in West Indian literature. Among this group, C. L. R. James remains a lonely exception because he was black and from the lower middle class. These pioneers all display initiative. originality and versatility in their historical novels, social studies, romantic or detective netion, and psychological thr i llers; but Mittelholzer stands out because of an historical imagi n ation more daring and dynamic than any other. both among his contemporaries. and their successors. For instance. while the harsh historical reality of DeLisser and Roberts is often relie v ed by blandishments of local colour and romance. Mittelholzer's historical fiction is austerely motivated by a seemingly morbi d desire to plumb the darkest depths of the master/slave relation s hip that is at the very foundation of Guyanese and West Indian culture. This confers a unique accolade on the Kaywana trilogy; for

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KYK #46147 although the relationship between European masters and African slaves, in a plantation context, is the most historic of all West Indlan subjects, it has not received the attention it deserves from West Indian novelists. It is true that Ada Quayle's The Mistress vividly domestic plantation routine, and Orlando Patterson's Die the Long Day offers generalised and rather abstract reflections on the same subjects; but neither of these novels investigates the morality of human beings owning other human beings, as Mittelholzer's Kaywana novels att e mpt to do. The achievement of these three novels The Children of Kaywana, Kaywana Stock and Kaywana Blood -is that in the process of examining the moral implications of slavery on Guyanese plantations, they transform themselves into sheer marvels of historical reconstruction, adaptation. and improvisation. In the sterile and forbiddingly uncreative condltions of colonial Guyana, in the flrst half of this century. Mittelholzer had no more than 1. A. Rodway's A History of Guyana as a source on which he could rely. Consequently, he fell back on his ima{!ination which roamed at will. far and wide, vigorously and feverishly creating. inventing. fabricating and conjuring manifold scenes. events. issues and characters into a sweeping panorama of Guyanese history that spanned three and a half centuries. Ineluctably. it seems. mesmerised by the prodigious effort he devoted to this enormous project. Mittelholzer was also induced to plumb the turbulent. subconscious depths of his own mixed (European! African ) ancestry. The result is an evocation of Guyanese hist o ry l ess distinguished by historical accuracy or documentary authenticity than by a dazzling combination of psychological insight with ebullient. dramatic action, thrillin{! adventure, bi zarre philosophical speculation and a vision that, ironically, would prove prophetic in the author's homeland. The vision that emerges from the Kaywalla novels i s one o f enforced jungle justice, a severe. tough-minded. resilient creed that accepts life s cruelties with perver.s e relish and participates

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KYK'46147 himself off as a true patriot in the eyes of the Guyanese people. If this is true, it is typical of the cynicism and expedience of Burnham's regime as d escr ibed by Ashton Chase in Guyana: A Nation in Transit Burnham's Role. At any rate. for Mittelholzer to have drawn his portrait of Cuffee, more than twelve years before Burnham took office s mack s of prophecy. Yet Mittelholzer's portrait of Cuffee/Burnham is not entirely mysterious: it is partly the logical outcome of a blind, brutal and haphazard v is ion of life as outlined in With a Carib f.ye: I can even find it ill me to sympathise with the old planters in their cynical apathy towards political qllestions of the day. In the final reckon i ng, whether they protested against some threatened measll re or shrugged with i ndifference. the powers in Holland o r England always decided the mailer as the powers saw fit. This. too part of the vision in the Kaywana novels. with their portrait of political le adership. whether of planter or slave. as one of resigned, cynical apathy. expedience. and Machiavellian self-aggrandisement. The most original aspect of this vision is its insight that p o litical In depe ndence which put an end to colonial rule in Guyana in 1966 was likely at least in its initial aftermath to be followed by th e same authoritarian. colonial s tyle of government that it had s upposedly overthrown. I3y exemplifying the truth of this vision. Burnham's po s t-Independence regime vindicates the acutene ss of Mittelholzer's perceptions. and the t o rtur e d integrity or his t roubled genius. The singularity of Mittelholzer's genius i s indisputable: his originality and inventi ve ness are peerle ss; his se nse of drama wrenChing; his evocation of landscape brilliant; and his intellectual curiosity dive rting and entertaining. To all this he brought a narrative fluency equalled by no other West Indian novelist except, possibly. John Hearne of Jamaica. His profe ss ionalism. produ c tivity and pioneering deserve to become an integral part of Guyanese and West Indian literary history. I3ut

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KYK # 46147 his belief in jungle justice was a liability, despite the fact that it led him to predict events in post-Independence Guyana. In the end. Mittelholzer remains, potentially, the most gifted writer of Guyanese or West Indian origin. But alas, like Robert Christiani. whose dazzling feats of batsmanship survive chiefly in glorious fragments, in abbreviated Test innings Mittelholzer's immense literary gifts lie in a disconsolate mass of scattered fragments strewn higgedly-piggedly over more than twenty novels. We shall never fully know what saints or demons. probably originating in his native county of Berbice. led him to squander his precious gifts so prodigally, or to create at such white heat that, metaphorically, literally, prematurely, he burnt himself out. All we can glean from his work is the dimly glowing wonder of a career promising the most brilliant productions ever to come from a Guyanese or West Indian pen. and periShing. tragically unfulfilled, in alien. autumn sunlight. in Godalming. Surrey. England.

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KYK '46147 perform, what he called "this duty of criticism". There are always the newspapers to perform part of this duty of criticism, but the journalist has primarily to deal with short telm material and he supplies more of fact and less of opinion. It is to the weekly and mOllthly alld quarterly issues of critical material that we mllst look for more fundamental probing, there we must seek the expression of the more slowly maturing spirit of the people. III other words, publications are nec essary if the leaven oj commllnity and of nationaillnity is to w ork among all organised people. This on eve of the 1 953 April elections and the beginning of a convulsive year in the colony. And after the traum a of the invasion of October 1953 and the overthrow of our first elected governnlent? A solemn remembrance of the hon ourable dead who blazed the trail of our cultural movem ent the brothers Potter. Philip Pilgrim and. hefore them. Mac A. Law rence. A. R. F. Webber. E!!bert Martina praise-song of the supremacy of the spirit over material things." The opening line sounds the note: In this COUll try w e have seell brilliant lights go oul ill the darkness alld clock s have stopped on the wall. In the face of ruptu r e and defeat. the measured celebration of continuity and a delian c e of negation. Speaking out of a radical conservative humanism. Seymour hit upon a vital truth of social motion. ignored hy political activists at their own peril and ultimately at the peril of others: "We are pre-occupied with community values of a more political nature. and rightly so. but there mllst be lIlI lIlA'lIlIce UpOIl mallY fronts III the slime time if we are going to develop the national spirit." (Italics mine). There was no lack o f boldness in Seymour's quiet of the freedom of the creative imagination in the heyday of litteratllre engagee. tha t of the highly reputable Sartre no less than that of the ullerl y disreputable Zdanov. In 1952. we lind him writinl! : The most valllllhle a sset of the writer is his independence. It is

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KYK#l46I47 true that he is socially conditioned in the unconscious springs of his being, but no attempt should be made to make him toe a party line in literature. Inhospitable only to dogma and its suffocations, Kyk.Over.Al was from the beginning a voice for reason moderation and an unapologetic humanism. Born in the same year as the United Nations fifty years ago, in the aftermath of the decimation of great cities and the slaughter in the ovens, on the steppes and in the trenches, Kyk.Over.Al was a small pan of the universal assertion of civilisation over barbarism, of humanism over inhumanity. of the garden over the ashes. And this in a British colony, far what is called the centre. "The writer writes as best he can" Seymour has written, "and he is gratcfullhat he can write at all." In a salute 10 Kyk-Over-Al on ilS fiftieth anniversary, gratitude is a good note on which to end.

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KYK#46I47 JA.'II Lo SHINEBOURNE Recollections The photograph, "The village shop," comes from Guiana, British, Dutch, Fretlch, a nineteenth century colonial travelogue published in 1912 by Fisher Unwin I. When I 11rst saw it I feIt it evoked my father's boyhood. It retlects the situation and society of his birth, c hildhood upbringing and life on a sugar plantation in rural, coastland British Guiana 2. Our family lived as part of a community o f sugar workers in Rose Hall Plantation in Canje, on the banks o f the Canje River, a tributary of the Berbice River3. The photograp h makes me remerI)ber that my parental, widowed grandmother raiSed her two sons and daughter there. in the village shop near the sugar factory .I was born and lived there until I was nine. Thi s photograph reminds me of my father's identity. It reminds me that the country of his hirth British Guiana, its history, p oli tical and social experience at a spedlic time was also his his to ry. The struggle of the Guianese sugar workers was the defining frame of his life. This photograph represents his childho o d. his life. in that frame. My father is prominent in my earliest childhood memories because he was so active in lookin\! after me. His closest friends were the canecutters, field and factory workers at Rose Hall estate. Canje. I recollect scenes of companionship among them. They came after work to ou r home to rest. chat and wash away the soil and dirt of the candields before going home. They helped to build the large water t a nk in our yard. They came to draw water. boil it for drinking and 10 wash. Late at night, my father would sit with them in th e lampl ight and talk politics. They also played their banjoes. sang, and tol d stories. 1l1e companionship. sec urity and warmth among them o ften lulled me to sleep. This is one of the most comfoning mem ories of my childhood. It returns m(! 10 an inviolable sense of s e curity. I dream frequently about my fatht:r and these companions. In my dreams. they emerge from my

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KYK # 46/47 psyche and appear with my childhood family as mythical fantastic figures with power to traverse space and time, link me with my past, present and future, and redeem mundane experience with vision and imagination. They have this power in my imagination because I witnessed the power of theirs in the face of the harshness and cruelties of plantation life. Rare , \ delicious water chestnuts and exquisitely perfumed lilies grew in the deepest parts of the canefields. They made II habit of collecting and giving them as presents to women and children. I have witnessed a canecutter covered entirely in soot from burnt cane ; cutlass, saucepans and pitchfork hitched to his back, arrive at my mother s kitchen door bearing a bunch of beautiful delicate lilies. Even as I write this, the rare scent of those lilies and the taste of those water chestnuts return to intoxicate me. Now I know that their talk of politics was not peaceful. They were often plotting tactics against the plantation managers. They talked about fighting for their rights. Their meetings seemed to mean more to my father than anything else. I never saw him so serious and passionate as when he was involved in politics. At weekends they organised work gangs to repair and build their homes, and to maintain the dams and protect our villages from Hoods. I associate my early childhood with my father's active pOlitical life. In my teenage years, he caught poliO. He lost the use of his legs. His friends would stiII visit and keep him informed but it fretted him to be paralysed. It pained me to see my father like this hut he was brave. One friend Mr. Moses, a furniture crafLc;man, made him a Berbice chair specially to aid his recovery. Mr. Moses regularly performed libations over the chair, and helped him recover the use of his legs by visiting daily and supporting him to force himself to walk for half an hour each day. Another friend, Bhajan, would massage him with coconut oil, the East Indian cure-all and sing to him in Hindi or Bhojpuri while he lay in the chair. African, Chinese and Amerindian herbalists provided teas as well as oils and pastes for massage. Christian friends came tn read the psalms and sing hymns tn my fat11er in

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KYK,46/47 his Berbice chair but he refused the Anglican priest when he came to give him communion. These healing sessions and political meetings were conducted simultaneously. When he began to walk again they said it was a miracle. He was afflicted for the rest of his life by constant pain and a limp. This confined him at home and thwarted his political activism. His community-based political cultureended when young cadres invaded our villag e wi th the pOlitics o f the Cold War and to preach Soviet communism and Marxism. The political meetings in our yard ended. It was also the e n d of my childhood. My father's influence led me to become involved in community-based politics in London. It taught me what politics meant to him. I thin k he believed in living in a colony, on a plantation, nothing e ls e could give l his life as much shape and focus, or his actions as much meaning. He distrusted liberalism, individualism, bourg e ois values, christianity colonial education and culture for politic a l reasons, because they were used to violate our autonomy. His p o litics give his life discipline, direction, value and stability in the unjust and unpredictable world of the sugar plantation. He felt helpless to see his children undergo an education he distrusted. When I returned home from s
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KYK#46147 it to the class. While he read, I was embarassed, expecting to be the butt of jokes later in the playground. But the class took it as a chance to bring our own lives into the classroom, and acknowledge as one that the forest was a haunt of our imagination. Thirty years later, in 1987, when I heard that I received the Guyana Literary Prize for my first novel ; I thought about Mr. Archer drinking mauby with my father, their gentle, courteous conversations; the essay "Water and Trees and the faith in my work these two men gave me when I was a child. I never expected Mr. Archer knew of the prize because he was still living in Canje, now headmaster of one of the primary schools, and news takes a long time to travel from the city to the country. I thought I would go home and tell him about it afterwards. On the evening the prizes were awarded, after the ceremony, he emerged from the crowd to greet me. It was thirty years since he encouraged me to write "Water and Trees". He told me he had travelled to the city straight from teaching that afternoon and was returning early in the morning to be back in time to teach a class. I thanked him for encouraging me and for initiating me into my first experience of writing and an audience and readership. In the Canje area where they lived all their life my parents raised their children in a communal system, and participated in diverse rituals and rites of passage African, East Indian, Christian, Amerindian, European. As a small child, I moved with no sense of difference between an East Indian maticore and African qltell quell ceremony, the Hindu temple, the Muslim mosque, the African Association meetings high mass at the Anglican church, and canoe trips along the Canje river to barter with Amerindian and Djuka settlers in the forest and savannahs. These are not just sentimental memories. They are my childhood reality, experiences as diverse and more natural and united than any I lived in afterwards. It was a strategy of the colonial authorities to take credit for this so there prevailed a pre-Independence idea that it was not my parent's community

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KYK #46147 smell the shaving cream soap and shoe polish that he used, and feel the texture of his hair in my fingers when, as a child, I would cling to him to be carried or held. We rarely ate food cooked in an authentic Chinese style so his visits to the town were occasions to buy and bring home Chinese food. When I look at this photograph I can smell the dumplings, noodles, pastries and sweet plums he laid out on the table on his return from town. Often he and I would sit together and share the pleasure of eating some of the pastries still warm in greaseproof wrapping as soon as he arrived home. I wonder if there were times when my father thought about what it might be like to live in China. Perhaps those occas ions when he bought Chinese food, it was an opportunity to indulge ourselves Ileetingly and momentarily in an imag i nary identitlcation with that culture? If it was, it was not experienced in contlict with the life we lived in such a remote part of the coast. I went to school in the same town. I know it very well. I can see my father leave the studio after having his photograph taken. He would have been hot in this suit in the heat. I can see the route he walked to Mai n Street where the only two Chinese restaurants were located I can see him make the purchase then walk to the bus stop. I can take myself back to the bus and sit beside him as we journeyed home; see the village scenes pass by; feci the warm, relaxi ng, scented breeze through the open window; smell the scents of fruits from the baskets on the shel ves overhead; and join in the conversations of the other passengers with whom he is on familiar term s because he has known them since his boyhood. I can hear my father's voice. I am alert to the many different accents and speech styles of Guyanese. These vary from one district to another. My father spoke in the accent and speech of the Canje district. His social and political values a nd morals were of the militant pre nationalist, anti-colonial British Guianese worker. So this photograph has the power 10 bring to life my most personal memories and experience of our dose relationship. My

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KYK # 46/47 father was kind, gentle, loving, with a personal code of ethics he practised in everyday terms with his family, friends and community equally. I used to take his qualities for granted. Now I see how much I have struggled to emulate him, and how difficult and important this has been in my life. When I failed, I could apply his ethic of compassion to my mistake and try again. He did not believe in or practise the system of reward and punishment that was typical of the colonial Caribbean version of Christian high church nationalism that was used to subjugate other religions with its message of racial superiority. Nowadays, United States culture has the colonising role in the Caribbean and U.S. Christian fundamentalism colonises Caribbean souls. My father refused Christianity, its concept of sin and utopia. For him, the cultivation of the emotions and the spiritual faculties was the highest aspiration and could be practised directly and independently by anyone in simple, everyday terms, including their social and political conscience. He disliked hatred and enmity. Failure was not punished, no one was demonised or rejected for mistakes. It was always possible to return to the path of erfort. Kindness and forgiveness could always overcome misunderstanding, conniet and adversity. A simple life and self lessness gave him joy and ful11Ilment. My best inheritance from him is a desire for such joy and fultlllment. If my parents were alive I would tell them that I have experienced the separations and divisions of the world that sometimes made it seem difficult, impossible. to believe in their values, especially their ethical approach to difference. I would tell them that in my childhood. living with them. I never realised that difference generated so much hatred and division. I would thank them for sheltering me from the destructiveness of experiencing tOll much of that too early and giving me security that has protected me when I did have to face it. I would thank them for giving me a gift I took for granted but now realise is rare a .......... positive experience of difference in our family and community. I would thank them for the vision and courage to place this

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J02 KYK #46147 positive experience above the negative ones and for teaching me that the negative ones s hould never determine my own actions and beliefs. I would thank them most of all for showing me how to live such a life by t heir example. and how to try and shape myse l f a community o f friends and colleagues who exemplify their values. I would not descr i be Guyana or London as 'pluralist' or heterogeneous'. Tho s e concepts have been used to portray homogeneity, the nati on. the state as the perfectly integrated society based on racial and cultural purity and these arc artificial. nevertheless powerful c onstructs which people have assimilated into their perception a n d desires and actualised in their }X)litical and personal practice. Whether it is more fraught or easier to live with a sense of a di v ersity of cultures depends entirely on how you construct your own perceptions of the meaning of power. politics, authority, community. and knowledge. In London. there is a greater diversity of communities, a larger population of people mingling. and e veryday involvement and contact between them. The diversity of London is increasing continually and this is reflected in young people like my own children born of the unions of late twenti e th century diversity here. They have a consciousness and v a lues that force us to transcend artitical constructions of difference. used by Europe to justify the extirpation, extermin ation. transportation and migration of peoples for five centuries. On the other hand. London. Britain. is capitalist and individualist like the U.S. 1llis docs discourage the integrity of communities cohering and challenging the authority of the racist nation stat e. It can and does make some individuals and groups closed, cling to racial and cultural exclusiveness. and use the tools of capitalism and individualism to acquire inst itutionat economic and political power. to mimic a capitalist lifestyle of competition for wealth and status. 1llis was a feature of life in urban Guyana. reinforced after Independence. In Guyana and London I have s e en such opportunism destroy relationShips between friends, family, lovers, colleagues, and thereby destroy

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'103 KYK 1146147 the vision and potential of their legacy of diversity. In London, Guyana, and anywhere else this destructiveness and failure of vision can be resisted by having the courage to struggle to create, sustain, live and work in political, institutional and cultural settings that challenge racism and the hegemony of a racist nation state. In these settings, people are politicised through a refusal of racist constructions of difference. My father's ty was hostile to British colonial, nationalist racism. They held out against it all their lives. No matter how triumphant and superior its hold on power, how tempting the rewards it offered for compromise. they refused its terms totally. Conditions for diversity and resisting racism are favourable in London where I still live currently. I could not have found and taken to them if my lile in Guyana had not prepared me to, especially the example of my father and his community. Although like my father illness has made me give up political work, his vision and his life continue to inspire here in London as it did when I was growing up with him. Wherever I go, this inspiration will travel with me. Footllotes *T"is essay "as heen pltblis"ed elsewhere wit" accompanying p"otographs ... "icll cannot be reprodltced here. I. The Illstilute of Commonwealth Studies Library, Russell Square, Londoll reproduced a copy of this photograph from the copy of the book ill their collection. 2. Guiana and IJritish Guiana are used to refer to the pre independence period, and Guyana to the post-independence period.

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KYK #46147 3. There are simiklrities between these two ritua ls, Maticore is a hindu rituaL Queh queh is practised mostly in Berbice and originates in West Africa. Both are secular events of female initiation which precede religious marriage rites. They are staged at night. Older women lead them but some older men may be present. The bride-to-b e is the central figure but she has to be concealed by a sheet or in a separate space durillg the entire ceremony. Songs with explicit sexual content are sung and sexually suggestive dances are performed. The songs also initiate the bride into an awareness of marital politics. Virtuoso skills of singing, dancing and drumming have to be displayed and the families of th e prospective marriage partners must sustain the enthusiasm of participants for the duration of the event which lasts until t h e break of dawn.

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lOS KYK # 46/47 1994 Guyana Prize DFI'i\IS CRAIG Opening Remarks Your Excellency Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps Hon. Prime Minister, Hon. Minority Leader, Ministers of Government Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen I have the honour to welcome you, on behalf of the Management' Committee of the Guyana Prize, to this evening's ceremony for the 1994 Award of Prizes. As Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, I am by tradition the ex-officio chairman of the Management Committee and I should like to begin my remarks by telling you who the other members of the Management Committee are. They are: Ms Lynette Dolphin OR, CCH: Professor Joycelynne Loncke CCH; Mr Ian McDonald (for a period of time preceding his own entry into the competition); Mrs Yv o nne Lancaster the Deputy Librarian of the University of Guyana ; Ms Roslin Khan, of the Faculty of Arts, of the University of Guyana; Mr Al Creighton also of the Faculty of Arts (Secretary of the Committee). The Management committee is concerned only with administrative matters relating to the Prize and has nothing to do with the judging of entries. The judging of entries is done by an independent panel of judges selected for that purpose and later in the programme the Secretary of the Management Committee Mr Al Creighton will tell you who have been the judges of this year's competition. Since the Priz e was firs! instituted by the President of Guyana in 1987, this year's awards will he the fourth in the series of awards: and I am pleased to he able to say that competition li)r the Prize has grown steadily since th e inception of the Prize At the first award in 14R7. there were 28 entries in !he

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'106 KYK It 46/47 competition for the Prize. At the second award in 1989, there were 42 entries. At the third award in 1992, there were 49 entries. And in the competition f o r this year's award, there are 99 entries. The large number of e ntries in this year's competiton is in part due to the fact that the Management Committee allowed unpublished manuscript s to be entered for the t1rst time in the competition, and to be judged in a separate category. This decision of th e Management Committee was taken in response to public com p laints since the 1992 competition that many worthy and talent e d authors were being excluded from the competition because of the difficulty of finding publishers for their work, and the high cost o f self-publishing. The Committee ther e fore took note of that complaint, and following advertisement in the media 46 unpublished manuscripts were received. Even without these however, the number of entries for th e present competition would still have been unsurpassed in th e history of the Prize, as a total of 53 published works were entered as against 49 in 1992. I think it appropriate however, to draw your attention to the objectives of the Guyan a Prize as they have been announced and repeated over the years. These objectives have been stated as follows: To recognise and r e ward outstanding work in literature by Guyanese authors in ord e r to: a) provide a focus fo r the recognition of the creative writing of Guyanese at hom e and abroad; b) stimulate interest in and provide encouragement for the development of g o od creative writing among Guyanese in particular and Cari bbean writers in general. The significance of these objectives, of their emergence at a time of great economi c and social difticulty in the history of Guyana, and of the aspirations they convey for the triumph of the human spirit over the material diflicuIties of our world, have been commented-upon in pr e vious award ceremonies, and have been recorded for posterity i n the commemorative booklets for the

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KYK,46/47 different occasions of the awards. But in the midst of all that has been said, the focus of the objectives on excellence in creative writing has implications which merit continuing reflection and which have not yet been completely exhausted in our records of such reflection. The creators of good creative writing, let us say good literature. are very often those among us who, more than the rest of us, have the habit, as one great writer puts it, of holding the mirror up to nature; and by so doing they show us who. what. and how we are. And what our creative writers show us of the world and of ourselves is very often what we tend to shrink from seeing or acknowledging, but what is true nevertheless. And even if. like Pilate we question the nature of truth. and disagree with Keats that it is synonymous with beauty, we still have to admit that it is through our creative writers that we come closest to a perception of what truth is. in terms of human interaction. The ancient Greeks felt that the skilful portrayal of human interaction in great tragedy has a purifying and cleansing effect on th e emotions. but in reality great literature can always be said to have such an effect on the emotions and on our perception. And it is our creative writers who are responsible for this. It is our creative writers who keep analysing for us. and reminding us of the antitheses of our human existence. They distil those antitheses through the purifying fire of the imagination. and make us conscious of them more clearly than we otherwise would be. They remove the vagueness of abstraction and generalisation from the big antitheses such as beauty and ugliness. truth and falsehood. goodness and evil; and they break them down into the more concrete contradictions of our everyday human behaviour: honesty on the one hand and dishonesty on the other, whether of material matters or of the int e llect; impartiality or fairness on the one hand and bias or discrimination on the other. magnanimity on the one hand and small-mindedness on the other; love or neighbourliness o n the one hand and animosity or rancour on the other; and we can enumerate indefinitely these

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KYK #46147 antitheses that our writers of good literature help to analyse and clarify for us in concrete ways not otherwise possible. In our Guyanese society of today. and indeed of a long time preceding today. we n eed this help of our creative writers to analyse and clarify th e cont1icting realities of our everyday existence. so that we d o not attempt to blind our eyes to those realities. And the Guyana Prize. which aims to encourage our writers. is thereby putting within our grasp a benefit which goes beyond the mere availability of good literature; it can possibly give us an enhanced opportunity to see ourselves as we really arc. The fact that competition for the Prize continues to increase is therefore a source of great hope for the future. since it suggests the possibility that a growing proportion of our talents as a people is being directed towards that transformation.analysis and claritication of our individual and collective experience that is the foundation of creative literature. In considering these things. we probably will also need to consider that if as a people we are to benetit from this outpouring of literature. then the size and quality of our reading public occomes a critical fact or. linked also. of course. to the role of our local booksellers. and the facilitation they receive in their fult1llment of that role. For surely. it will be a tragedy of enormous proportions if our writers write and our nation docs not read. Dut these are questions that I will leave for others to explore. I will close my remarks by expressing the hope that you will enjoy the programme that is to follow. and that you will take away with you, enduring memories award of the Guyana Pr i ze. associated with this evening's

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'109 KYK#46147 EDWARD BAUGHIKEN RAMCHANO Judges' Report His Excellency the President. Mr. Vice Chancellor, Ministers of the Government. Committee of the Guyana Prize. distinguished Guests and the Prize winners, before reading out the report and findings of the judges. I would like to spend a few moments on the significance of the pioneer Jamaican writer John Hearne who died last week. Those who grew up with West Indian Literature remember John Hearne as an early who helped to put our writing on the of the world. As a novelist. short-story writer, and brave journalist he touched upon every important issue in West Indian societies. The titles of his first five novels are like mantras sounding our desolation and our glory:Voices Under the Window; Stranger at the Gate; The Faces of Love; The Autumn Equinox; The Land of the IJivillg It took all of twenty years for John Hearne to sec in print his most recent novel The Sure Salvation. Between 1961 when The Land of the Living was published, and 1981 when The Sure Salvation materalised. Hearne was active as journalist. political commentator. and as Director of the Creative Arts Centre in Jamaica. For 20 years he suffered. and some of us knew it. The manuscript was always nearly ready. almost there. But for 20 years this courageous man was unable to deliver his precious cargo. For 20 years the artist was becalmed. Like the wilful protagonist of a Hearne novel. however. he fought the beast to the ground. The Sure Salvation is on a slave-trade expedition. an abomination only recently made illegal in thG novel. The action takes place mainly on the sea. in the year H(60. but there arc tlashbacks to earlier periods in England. the American South and the West African Coast. Like George Lamming's Natives of My

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KYK'46I47 Person and Wilson Harris's Palace of The Peacock, Hearne's latest offering is an historical work built upon the motif of journey, a motif that is well-derived logically from our experience as a nation of forced and voluntary immigrants. But Hearne is not just writing history in novel form. The opening description for example (The vessel ringed by its own garbage. the crew tense alld in panic. the slaves repressed like the id. and all looking for the promised salvation) takes on several symbolic significances: By the 15th day, even the most insensitive of the 516 SOli Is aboard tried not to see this clinging evidence of their corntption, which the water wOllld not swallow and the slln cOllltl not bllm. O ccasional/va small shark ntshed avidlv from the depths. seized a jettisoned fragme nt and vanished on a tllm. Oth e r-vis e the ship was the still celllre of a hllge stillness. 1n this pris o n of wl}'i e lding silence and immohility their only proofs of heing were the writhin g e dg e of the slIn and the nig ht!.vfatt en ing of th e moon. The,v were /(Inta/ised h,v the conviction that im mediat e ly beyond the walls of opaque hille Ofl the hori wn's edge. if of/ly they cOllld get the r e they wOllld find wa v es rIInning before th e wind, c llrlin g at their crests with a hi ss of spray. and a sk,v 10lld Wilh swooping birds that shrieked bealltiflll and reassuring discords. More and more s ur e ly. as the novel proceeds. the conviction grows in the reader that the stalled ship with its unresolved tensions and its will towards a healing fu,turc is a n image of West Indian societies artcr indepcndence, trapped in a s tagnation, an explosive no-growth c o ndition that is as much a lcgacy of thc past as of failure to confront and digest thc past. There are in thc description, suggcstions (if the dejccted artist waiting for inspiration, waiting for thc calm to brcak. (It is inevitable that we sh o uld notice that in the novel the wind comcs aftcr 20 days j ust as in Hcarnc' s qrccr thc book is publishcd after a 20 yea r silence), West Indian literaturc has got to where it is because of thc

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. 111 KYK I 46147 sacrifices of artists like John Hearne. I highlight The Sure Salvation here because it is his last novel, the one published at a time when people to have forgotten him, and because it symbolises the stagnaflt condition into which our islands have drifted, afld because it starts the struggle of the artist to invoke the creative breeze that might free us from our larger self-generated sargassos TIlis report was written by the Chairman of the Judges, Professor Edward Baugh, who unfortunately cannot be here tonight. It is a true record of the findings of the Judges. I may deviate from Professor Baugh's words in place but in no way am I altering the substaflce and the essential judgements. There were 99 entries in all, an overwhelming number to go through, especially since the Judges the books not singly but in patches and since the Judges were aware that in a national competition of this sort. where everybody knows everybody else. justice must not only be done. it must be seen to be done. I can assure you that all e ntries were given the most careful consideration. The Judl!es were based in Jamaica. the United States, the United Kingdom and Guyana and were happily unable to enter into any kind of discussion until their arrival in Guyana in October for the meeting of the Judges. We found ourselves in agreement without any talk necessary that the categories of published t1ction and poetry were particularly exciting. There were some 13 entries in the published fiction category. more than half the number being of high artistic quality. They covered an impressive range or subject matter. style, and narrating teChnique: the grassroots. vernacular sensibility of the interior monologues of Rooplal Monar's Estate People; the richly allusive subtlety of David Dabydeen's reversal of colonial discourse in Disappearance; N.D. Williams' wry. low-key exploration of the alienated Caribbean "island" consciousness in The Silence of Islands; the compassionately detailed canvas of Narmala Shewcharan's representation of

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l KYK'46147 recent Guyanese socio-political history in Tomorrow Is Another Day; and the elemental passion and mythic promise of Churaumanie Bissundyal's Whom the Kiskadees Call. Of the seven short-listed entries in the fiction category, five were first books. 1llis augurs well for Guyanese prose fiction. and I suppose you can say it speaks well for the judges who were not automatically drawn by well-known names! In contrast, none of the Ii ve short -listed books of poetry was a lirst collection. And the refore there were no prizes for Poetry: First Book category. However, all of the live should enhance their authors' reputations. Here again there was a pleasing range of voice and theme. For example. the long overdue collection of Ian McDonald's early portraits of Caribbean folk and folkways in laffo the Calypsonian was a nice contrast with the imaginative tourde-force of post-colonial historical excavation in the title sequence of David Dabydeen's Turner; with the teeming. obliquely darting intelligence of Brian Chan's Fabula Rasa; and with Fred D' Aguiar's variously ironic-satiric. angry and warmly humane e xpression of the claim of Britain's emergent West Indian/Black citizenry to their stake in the landscape which they have inherited from history. So much for now. for the categories Published Fiction and Published Poetry. The general level of entries in the drama category was not high. Although there were a few interesting ideas. the level of craftsmanship was generally uneven. and the theatrical viability of many of the plays was questionable. Of the three short-listed entries. one is really a tilin-script. In view of the fact that the rules of the competition did not make it clear whether or not IiIm-scripts arc eligible, the judges felt obligated to consider it. We recommend. however. that in future competitions some precise indication be given as to what is meant (or not meant) by "a full-length play," and in particular whether radio and screen plays are admissible. The judges noted with interest and with a particular sense of responsibility that this year. for the tirst time, the category

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KYK 1146147 for unpublished poetry and prose fiction was introduced, apparently to provide an opportunity to bring to light outstanding work which. for whatever reason or mischance. had not achieved publication. Regrettably, we were unable to recommend any entry for a prize. However. we wish to recognise some merit in the following:The Most Beautiful Country in the World by Lawrence Byass;The Voice of a Son by Lennox W. Cornette; Returnings by Parmeshwar Lall; With Raging Thirst by Leon Moses; Without Names by Margaret A. Stuart. We do not believe that this category should be thought of as a consolation category for second or third rate work. for this would only devalue the prize. We think that any unpublished entry worthy of the prize should be able to stand unapologetically beside a published prize winner. and should be a work which the judges would unhesitatingly deem publishable. Since the mere existence of the category as separate might encourage the conclusion that entries in it will be given special. privileged treatment. the judges recommend that there should not be in future a separate category for unpublished work. If unpublished entries are accepted. they should be entered alongside the published works in the appropriate genre category. There is another recommendation from the Judges which we think this mii!ht be the occasion to air. There were two or three non-fiction prose works of some merit which were ineligible because there is no category which caters to them. And we are aware of a number of non-fiction works by Guyanese authors that should be considered for national honours. The Judi!es recommend therefore that the Prize Committee i!ive serious consideration to creating a non-fiction category.to include Essays. Social Studies. Histories. Autobiographies. Biographies etc. The Judges agreed to recommend the following for prizes. following the precedent that if a first book is awarded the main fiction or poetry prize it does not also get the first-book prize.

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KYK,46/47 DRAMA The recommended play treats the important subject of race in a way that is reasonable and true to contemporary Guyanese experience and does not disintegrate into cliche. If the issues are ultimately made to appear intractable, that is part of the author's honesty with himself. If there may be reservations about the handling of dialogue, the unfolding of the plot nevertheless maintains dramatic tension and has theatrically effective possibilities. The transitions are well managed, and there is an engaging blend of the stylised and the naturalistic. the documentary and the fictive. In the drama category. Two Wrongs by Harold Bascom is recommended for a Guyana Prize. POETRY The winning poetry collection has been chosen for its accessibility. which is sustained without any talking down to the reader, for its sheer consistence and a control of poetic craft. achieved without showiness, gimmickry or posturing. and maintained throughout a subtle variation of moods and themes; for the way in which a deep sense of place is assimilated into a mythiC imagination,an imagination in which mind and landscape, the Guyanese landscape, arc fully integrated; for the way in which quietly probing, illuminating thought is integrated with an immediacy of deep feeling and sensuous texture. The /,,{lIlguage of El Dorado. by Mark McWatt (Dangaroo Press). FICTION Even if there may be something of the 'set piece' about the novel. it is. on the surface. a sustained act of historical ima!!ination. representing the tragedy of Slavery on the North American plantation. It is a tragedy of broken families and ruptured relationships and at its finest it is a novel about the tortured. exasperating. relationship between father and son. Sharply focussed. and with every word carefully placed. it moves towards its inexorable climax with a clarity of line, poetic concentration. and economy of detail. The Longest Memory, by Fred D' Aguiar (Chatto & Windus).

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KYK # 46147 ACTION (Best Book) The judges regard the winning novel as something of a "find", one of the most exciting and refreshing pieces of new fiction to come out of the Caribbean in recent times. Gripping, simply at the level of story-telling, it is all the more remarkable for the way in which it combines plot features of popular fiction with a serious exploration of important themes grounded in Guyanese socio-cul tural reali ty themes of race, c1 ass and gender. It handles these with eminent good sense, including a subtle sense of humour and linguistic nuance, and not allowing the reader to repose in any easy, comfortable or self-indulgent position. The social and political themes are realised in and through individual personalities, not imposed on them. This novel is an account of how a medical doctor of the bored and self indulgent middle-class finds himself being drawn into an involvement in the lives of ordinary people so that he begins to discover himself as a person of Indian origin who is also a Guyanese, and also a human being. At the end, the main protagonist is seen working out the implications of his new caring. More signiticantly, for Guyanese society, he has begun to explore the implications of his previous alienation from people of African origin. In the budding relationship between himself and the hospital dispenser, a man of African origin, the narrator begins to discover and detine the terms and conditions of respect and self-respect in ethnically mixed and tangled societies like ours. The novelist shows excellent skill and honesty in Character-drawing and the winsomely sdf-re/lexive first-person narrator is a nne addition to the gallery of memorable characters in Caribbean tiction. The winning novel, Cosmic Dance, by Harischandra Khemraj is a philosophical and metaphysical work wrinen in a way that everyone can understand and i magi ne. It is this philosophical dimension that makes it one of the most positive statements about the nature and prospects of our society and especially the societies of Guyana and Trinidad.

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116 KYK MARK A. MeW ATf "Ques tion s Without Answers": Language, Landscape and the Guyanese Writer Acceptanc e Spe e c h Guyana Pri ze f o r Lit e rature 1 994. Your Excellency, Pr e sident Jagan, Vice-Chancellor Craig, Honourable Ministers of Government. Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is an honour for me to be here tonight as winner of the Guyana Prize for Poetry, and I am doubly honoured to have been asked to make the acceptance speech on behalf of all the winners though I must say that I approached this task with some trepidation. I remember when I was in the sixth form I lived for a while with a great aunt here in Georgetown and this good lady had taken to reading some of my adolescent poetry of the time. She viewed with misgiving panicularly the love poems, with their talk o f "soft breasts" and "river-smooth skin". and she said to me: "Boy. you see this poetry-writin' foolishness? You bett e r take care it don't get you in trouble." Although I am sure tha t this is not the kind of "troUble" she had in mind. I nevertheless feel as though her warning has come true tonight. as I stand before this gathering to speak on behalf of my fellow writers. For I lind that I have only an imperfect understanding of my own work and what it means in the context of Guyana today let alone the work of others; and while it is wonderful that there arc more and more Guyanese writers (some of whom I had not heard of before I s aw their names on the shun-lists). I nnd that it must be an act of monstrous hubris to attempt to speak for other writers. I intend to speak. therefore. mostly about my own work and experience as a writer and my own relationship to Guyana and Guyanese writing in the hope that then! will be some shared perceptions and some general relevance.

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" '117 KYK It 46147 Before that, however, there is one important task I can perform on behalf of fellow prize winners and that is the happy duty of expressing gratitude first to the sponsors of the prize, the Government of Guyana, and especially to President Jagan. It is good to be assured, Sir, by your presence here and by your continued support of these awards, that you do not consider artists and writers to be irrelevant to the business of nation-building. Persuading your treasury to pour, from time to time, the people's good money into the invisible bridges and imaginary edifices that writers build must be no easy task, but justified, perhaps, by the longer view in which the insubstantial constructs of poetry, drama and fiction contain and support and define a people and their identity beyond the capacity of their expensive and necessary material counterparts. I thank also the Management Committee of the Guyana Prize, particularly Professor Craig and Mr. Al Creighton, for their hard work; and also thank the judges, Professors Eddie Baugh and Ken Ramchand, Dr. Velma Pollard, Dr. Stewart Brown and Mr. Alim Hosein, who had to read all the entries in the space of a couple of months while doing their own full-time jobs. Perhaps it is appropriate that all the judges should be university teachers as these are accustomed to the servitude of having to read and assess large piles of writing within short deadlines. Judging literature is more dift1cult than judging undergraduate essays, howevcr. and the results of thc judging probably satisfy far fewcr of the candidates. Special thanks to thc judges, therefore, for performing a thankless task. In reflecting on my own reasons for wanting to write poetryand in an attempt to account for the kind of poctry I write, it occurred to me (with some dismay) that I, in terms of consciousness and deliberation, may have had very lillie to do with it. I think my own writing like that of many another Guyanese writer including my fellow prize-winners tonight tends to confirm the observations of Jeffrey Robinson in a haunting little article entitled 'The.:! Guyaneseness of Guyanese

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ll8 KYK #46147 Literature". Robinson suggests that there is something arising from the confrontation between the mind and the Guyana landscape that shapes or precipitates the peculiar themes and the flavour of Guyanese writing. This would make the Guyanese landscape itself a primary, yet a mysterious factor in the process and, in my own case, this is certainly true. Thinking back, it seems as though there have always been, for me, two magical possessions or obsessions: language and landscape. The sense that both belonged mysteriously to me and were vita) to who and what I am led inevitably to the necessity to reconcile these two areas of experience. 'R e concile' is not the right word the need was to bring about more than an encounter or understanding (which itself appeared problematic) it was to cause these two to interpenetrate and to interrogate each other. The question essentially was: what does the language that was shaping my mind have to do with the landscape that was also powerfully affecting my thoughts and feelings? In a sense this question is what much of Guyanese writing particularly writing about the interior -is about. And what is the answer to the question? I think one would have to say that the answer becomes irrelevant as the question continues to insist upon itself as question and to impose its imperatives on what one docs and thinks. The answer can be any partial or provisional thing any poem. novel. short story or play. but a definitive answer could only be the facile imposition of the kind of closure which would be a monstrous betrayal or failure. So the exploration and i nter-penetration goes on and on. The inevitable notion of which is 'prior'. landscape or language. introduced f o r me the third obsession also mentioned prominently by Robinson in his article. "Time". And it is time that introduces the dread, the clement of horror that balances the senses of boundless adventure and that mediates. perhaps. between landscape and language. A writer like Wilson Harris, it seems to me. insists on the full and bewildering complexity of these relationships. even to the point where language itself

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119 KYK #46/47 (as representing mind, knowledge and understanding) is on the verge of breakdown. Most of us are too timid, perhaps, to follow Harris into those realms, though I think the work of many Guyanese writers shows awareness that this is where one is being led. All this is an attempt to say something about what I think I was trying to do in The lAngullge of Eldorado or in poems about interior landscapes in general: playing with notions of language, landscape and time in an attempt to clarify or understand their inter-relationships. But perhaps all that one does in this kind of exploration is to create a longer and more boring equivalent to anyone of the relevant poems. To try and redress this shortcoming, I am going to read a couple of poems that have to do with all that I have been saying so far -you can judge which makes more sense, the explanation or the poem. First I am going to read a poem called "Heartland" because it has to do with trying to capture something mysterious and elusive at the centre of landscape in terms of a language that is always inadequate. Heart/and We thoul!ht we had found it once in a pool of resonant emerald beneath an unnamed waterfall. But who knows where. amonl! the miles of rolling and spawning green is the smallest of the concentric circles. heart of I!rowth or oblivion. green heart or granite and how secure from the bleak eye of God blue beyond the leaves'? The shifting premises of hope

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wound the heart's certitudes, as heartland swims eternally beyond place, drowns in seas over the horizon, hides down the path not taken when a parrot snak e shuffled across its leaves. The heart's c o nception and the heart s deception may occur in the self-same place. where movements in the under{!rowth are more than a fugitive breeze but less than the breath of God. Although it often seems we live so that reason can erase the numinou s glyphs of love inscribed in every landscape. There is something there. after all. that is the ce ntral spider in our web o f dreams. that weaves the net of Eldorado. that launche s the drunken boat... There is something other than the setting sun. that catches the ri ver alire. KYK'46147 This next one is called "Amakura" and I am readin!! it because it has to do with what I have been saying about time particularly the pain of time that landscape seems to intlict.

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Amakura Spokes of dusty light descended from a hub above the trees and pierced the black skin of the river. Twin engines of wheel and water created an interior space where memory now blooms like the smell of time in long-shut rooms. I3Iue butterflies stitched the rare sunlight KYK #46147 to the jealous gloom of the overhanging trees that shaped your womb of silence: thus visual simplicities constitute the reality of rivers one must live by ... the way all of life. sometimes. is retleeted in an orchid or an eye. Men, like vivid butterflies, must end by losing themselves in the density of thought that surrounds you. like those men in the beginning (of my lime. not yours) whose crude oaths broke your silence. not your spirit. as they searched in vain your dark vei ns for sil!ns of Eldorado Yet it can not be true to speak of silence and of you in that same breath that stalks the surface of your dream. like a spider... I have only to think

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of Amakura, and your distant vowels enter my soul (inter my soul) -a cold seepage from an old, old world and help shape my life-sentence: ever to be apart from your sacred sihilance and the language of my heart. KYKI46I47 I suppose that what one is thankful for as I was trying to say earlier in connection with Government funding these prizes in whatever it is in Guyana in custom, in schooling and other aspects of formation. that allowed us the privilege of perceiving and exploring these areas of thought, experience and expression. Of course these personal obsessions (that mayor may not be shared by most Guyanese writers) are only one aspect of what is being recognised tonight. Another is the further establishment and strengthening of a tradition of Guyanese Literature. If those of us who are winners tonight can be said to have achieved some current prominence, it is only because a previous generation of writers toiled and suffered to create something we can now call Guyanese literature. Apart from a general indebtedness to that generation, I want to acknowledge three Guyanese Writers whose works, I feel. are always hovering about the margins of my own consciousness when I set ahout writing anything; these arc AJ. Seymour. Martin Carter and Wilson Harris. Seymour's poems. which I began reading before I leli school. were magical; they showed me. not so much a new world. but a way of evoking and expressing a world which I had already glimpsed. of rivers, waterfalls, forests and Amerindian lore. From poems such as .. Amalivaca" and "The Legend of Kaieteur" I learnt that it was possible to marry language to these landscapes in a way that produced powerful feelings of sympathy and identitication. and I can never re-read one of my own poems

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KYK # 46147 about rivers and waterfalls without hearing an echo of Seymour. Here is a poem called "The Native of Questions", where the elements of river, mist, waterfall and sunlight bear witness to my own indebtedness to Seymour: The Native of Questions Mist on the morning river summons a spirit of questioning like the dawn of revolution. as your paddle cuts water and space like a knife of cold lau{!hter opening a vein of memory. What place is this whose shape the mist erases? Can it ever be sculpted again into the clarity of home? What drums no. what win{!s are beating? And how can bird fly to a perch no eye can see? unless the world's weave is bein{! unravelled just for me. What tire insinuates its damp smoke into the mist? Or is it all smoke'! Is the world's nesh burnin{!'! o God! 0 Heracleitus! What can bone wrapped in smoke aspire to? And who asks these questions'? Is it I? Or you?

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I Later, when you look for the native of questions you find he has already become the answer to a riddle that is irrelevant ... KYK.46147 as the bright dog of sunlight tears the morning mist at the fiery brink of the waterfall: your final comic twist. From Martin Carter I learnt that there were fundamental political questions, having to do with the struggle for love and dignity and freedom, inscribed in all landscapes and that these could be summoned into startling prominence in the most 'innocent' of poems. I have not wrinen many poems that are overly political, but I suppose I carne dosest to doing so in the tinal section of The Language of Eldorado. which is called A Potaro Quartet. Here is the final poem of this section and of the volume in which I refer to Carter as "the poet" at the very end. Gorge The kingfisher touches beaks with its own reflection in the river's bending mirror ncar the lip of the waterfall. The bubbled vein of secrets hurries over the edge. t o be lost or encoded in that unforgettable thunder. But nothing is that clear from under. from the gorge that could so easily become a labyrinth of self; I (the pronoun instantly betrays me) continued to reach for metaphor where I've always fclt at home; but could not read the writing on that white, tumbling wall

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I before my eyes. Sound, I decided, must be all. So I heard again the kingfisher, its whirr of wing liberated by the black stones that sliced the coded column. trans lating it back to river. But then I could hear anything I listened for: my father's voice, horses flashing past. KYK # 46147 '. the whispering dead, Bach's B-minor mass ... That way lay madness. so I entered myself as labyrinth, as deep gorge of words waiting in ambush for the legions of the future. I flung a shibboleth, like a stone, to the foam-covered river. stepped over the white bones of a shaman di{!uised as the dead branches of a tree, and entered that inner country: Heartland of the {!or{!e where river horses flashed past. their cataractin{! manes and tails of foam combed by black teeth of stone. that Howed back in time to where the falls first be{!an gnawing their way up-river like that insufferable old man who has chewed his Ion!! beard for centuries and spat wisps of wet hair into my gorge ... Takes me back to the time I stood on the second-noor landin!! and tried to pee into a mayonnaise bottle at the foot of the stairs:

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'Are you mad?' were the only words my father said to me when I was hauled into his presence. I didn't feel I could answer, so he turned back to his papers; but all my life I have heard that voice questioning my sanity, and I wonder if even death can reprieve me ... Dead people talk in whispers; I meet them in dreams and have to strain to hear their tales of woe. They have all been killed by their leaders; scholars, priests, pot-bellied wives and children each has a bullet to show. or a gash in the side or yards of withered or poisoned gut; but worst of all is the whispering ... My country gorges itself on all like me. as this river subsists on rock and memory Peace. A soft Sn1/ctus from lips of the living somehow reaches me and hallows this place where I cling to the wet skin of a waterfall: (despite the poet) all are not consumed. Not yet. KYK If 46147 1. The title poem of The lAnguage of Eldorado is dedicated to Wilson Harris and he is the Guyanese writer whose work haunts me most. in my capacities bOlh as poet and as crilicand teacher. I will not read the long title-poem, but rather a hrief one called

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27 KYK #46147 "Invitation to Tender" which has to do, I think, with Harris's notion of the necessity to visualize and maintain the embrace of violently opposing forces or points of view. In his novel Heartland Wilson Harris has a remarkable image of love and hate as two clasped hands as follows: Love and hate had been instmcted to join painted hands, hands of arresting blood or fame, in aferocious enigma ... Vnclasp them, out of altmistic pretensions, if one must at one's peril. For they were the stable ( because Imself-righteous) constitution one had set over one's Imtmsn1. orthy self to restrain the wildest unimaginable panic in pursuit of the ghosts of longing and fantasy. Who could say how dangerously arrogant one might become if one followed one's purest instincts of absolute rage for good'! (Heartlalld. p.H4) For me this sums up the necessity for aVOiding easy closure in the name of progress. understanding. clarity. whatever. In these days. for example. competing claims in Guyana between environmentalists who fret about turtles. heart-of-palm and dd(lrestation and those who shout equally loudly about the need for jobs and the profitable exploitation of resources. Harris's image makes us see that whatever actually happens (and something must happen) a prime duty is to see and fed profoundly the pain of the contlicting positions which constitute the dilemma. This little poem that I am going to read is about thaI kind of pain and necessity and lo\'e: Invitation to Tender (Project Eldorado. Phase I: Clearing the Site) Place your ear to the thick wall of my chest. gently as on the rough hark of a tree; listen to what my lips can never tell: there is a deep down dmm that beats for you and me.

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Place your thin lips. like a scar, upon my cheeks crisp as dried leaves clinging to their stalks; and ask then why I close my eyes and sigh: KYK # 46147 you are the place where my fevered spirit walks. Put your arm around the trunk of my neck. and remind me that the flesh is warm like the breathed vowels of your name; then if you feel me sway beneath your touch imagine I am bending in the storm. Then swing your axe above my planted feet. savour each stroke that severs earth from sky; let the pain of love pierce your wooden hands. And it is not for me that you must weep and it is n o t for you that I must die. It is therefore because of writers such as Seymour. Carter and Harris that there arc four winners of the Guyana Prize for literature here tonight. And it is because of a country. a landscape and a people. It is my pri vilege and pleasure to acknowledge these awards. in the name of Guyanese writers in the past and of those to come. I thank you.

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_ --. -.... -_ .. _." _ .. _-------_ _ ._--_. '. ( :\brl I n .Inrda n ". , \ 0 o o / : I I 0 0 ( \ 0 , o ,. , 0 0 o o , 0 I 0 I .. 0 I " .. .I "\",, .. ," 1\" \ . , I I .. .. o {I, I o o o o l\lot-mot and leaf insect 0 0 I \ I ( \ 0 0 I 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 I

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. 1341 Poetry D.WID JACK\IA" A Carih R e memhers In Arima F ores ts we caribs kn ew no columbus no care but that was a long time ag o W e hunted fished Manzanilla Mayaro was our pla ygro und. Birds flutter e d free through forests pure we caught l a pp e agouti, man ico u made casareep planted pea ce fully ate drank sle pt in this garden. Then th e serpent e nt e r e d no hope no happine ss no health but slavery. misery. The four hors e men rode rough-shod liver our green fields Todav. J our gardens are dry. KYK 1# '&614' , I

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BI sweet water turned mud. Diseases rakes the embers of the land. The city polluted stinks like carrion, crows crouch where kiskadees called but there was a time when we caught crabs in the forests roamed Naparima free without fear. An old carib remembers. KYK#46147 '. ..

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MICHAEL GILKES Prospera's Island 1. Ferdinand Shipwrecked, following the arrows of a Sandpiper's track. on foot, prince Ferdinand, cosmic cartographer, checking the beach for footprints. screws the island to his telescopic eye. sets down his gyroscope. Stretching the taut ropes of his back he reads the dial of the sun. Sudden rain puckers the sand markin\!. in braille, his readinl! down. .. To make a sea change you must seck beneath the surface. You must drown". Righting the spinning earth again he stumbles on watching worlds collide in his mind's cyclotron. KYK # 46/47

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2. Miranda There, on the beach, all copper and cornsilk hair, the eyes a blur of blue, she might have been the girl on the brochure of this green, paradisal island. But mind, her mind has mountains where deep forests grow, liana-hung: another Eden where, as yet. no bird has sung. It calls to her in dreams. She cannot go there yet. There's too much needing to be done there, on the beach. Each day, sand to be swept. firewood to fetch: The island's not the paradise it seems. Lately, there have been storms and hammering seas, and she must run to comfort Caliban when he screams. KYK # 46147 '.

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KYK 1146147 IAN MeDoN AI 0 Massa Day Done Viv in a mood today. you only have to watch. See the jaw grinding. he stabbing the pitch. back-lift big. Look how he look down the wicket, spear in he eye, He going to start sudden. violent, a thunder shock. Man. this c o uld be an innin{!s! This could make life good. You see how he coming in. how he shoulder relax. How he spin the bat, how he look up at the sun. How he seem to breathe deep. how he swing the bat, swmg. How he loo k around like a lord. how he chest expan'. You ever s e e the man wear helmet? Tell me. They say h e too proud an' foolish. Nah! He know he worth. my boy. The bowler should wear helmet. not he. Remember long this day. holy to be here. See him Stalk the h i{!h altar 0' the mornin' air. You ever see such mastery in this world. You ever see a man so dominate so? This man don't know forebearance. He don't know surrender or forgive. He lash the ball like something anger him Look how the man torment today! He holdin{! the bat. it could be a axe. Look how he grinding he jaw again, my hoy Look how he head hold cock an' high And he smile. he gleam. like a jaguar. Don't bring no Highty finery here. it gone!

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'135 KYK#46147 Bring the mightiest man, he proud, Viv husk he. He always so, he stay best fo' the best. I tell you, he smile like he hungry You ever see this man caress? He pound the ball, look at that. aha! Like he vex. he slash. he pUll, he hook. He blast a way through the cover man, He hoist the ball like a iron ball Gone far and wild. damaging the enemy. It be butchery today. bat spill blood. He cut like he cutting hog on a block Nobody could stop he in that mood. That mood hold he, Oh God. it fcel I!ood! It bite he. the foe turn tremble. Men step light. ncrvy. far. danger all about. Almighty lovc be there! Almighty love. my boy. We know he from the start. one 0' we. Something hurt he bad. you could sec. As if heseU' alone could stop we slavery! Homecoming (For Brian Lara) There was such a mass of people. There was so much joy. We stood in the sun for hours. Sweat -soaked. hungry. happy. A gust of rain came. we exulted.

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o As first there was a barrier But that broke. a surge of people Aooded to the platform' s foot. I was carried in that surge. Jostling for poSition. good humoured. Police just part of the crowd. The whole world echoed with his fame. o He was ours: we waited to consume him. Feed on his Glory in these thin times. We roared when the young prince came. We threw our hands high in praise: The crowd had a full throat! KYK .46147 Everyone was in good voice. some singing. Everything vivid. a bird soaring. black ant on the skin. This was when life !!3thcrs and unfolds At a wcddin!!. a binh, a deliverance. He said a f e w simple words: II was from God the runs came. II was for everybody, not him alone. A few more words he said, That he was glad, o He had done it for his father. for his mother. for us, He thanked us. it was a bkssin!!. He waved the bat. full of the sweetness of those runs! What a glory to be there! We drifted away in our sodden clothes. 0 Heavy with tiredness. satisfied, We walked into our other lives. o

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'137 KIREN SHaMAN Once a Week With Rag or Three Ducks Syndrome You suffocated me. Became a choker Around my neck You disguised my originality Made me olle among many Left me hollow and raw Like the tiniest Of the three flying ducks on your wall. plastic and dusK'd once a week. KYK 146/47

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, LUIS POMALES Concordia Street When we were children we used words or actions like all children do, most of the time not knowing what they meant: ahh, eso es un bili. was something easy to accomplish. We didn't know where it came from, ' we simply used it, fashionably. ' "Cruz y raya debajo del culo 'el caldero'." , I'll never speak to you again-indifference that didn't last too long. ',' Spitting on the floor or pavement' and stepping on it. dragging one's foot: the worst insult upon your mother. , , The other day. reading about West lfidian Heritage. I hit upon one of my favourites: Tu ercs un riff-raff. riff-raff. ok? KYK # 46/47 elegantly. I would throw it upon my adversaries from a certain distance. of course. ready to run. if they were stronger than I was. It was meant as an insult. Just in case you don't know. it means: worthless or disreputable element of society; trash. but we never really hurt one another then. an hour later we were in the mountains sharing mangoes or eating guavas and getting stung by bees. or swimmin1! naked in the river. It was a time of innocence that will never return.

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KYK #46147 CECIL GRAY Spinning Tops Some afternoons after school we spun our tops on the road; some boueht. most were home-made out of guava wood and spined with fat, horled nails. Up from the point the cord was tightly wound around the cone. then lined along the middle of the palm so thumb and index finger fixed it to the hand. The great thing aimed for was the mastery of the swing and arc of arm to bring the north-south axis upside down square to the ground and sharply whip the string away pulling with speed to where your left leg stood to feel that skilful exercise in grace. To sec your top dig in the pitch and swerve. then settle upright to go to sleep and sing before you flicked it on your palm and cradled it humming there to tilt it over and knock your rival skidding. rcded lines of satisfaction to our minds. such as the sparks of victories later on could never equal. They made us pray perfection's curve will bend 10 anchor what we do. guiding our hands from all things mediocre

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Triptych 1 My mother, Lillian, was silken black, proud as if she wore some tribal honour queens in h e r great-grandfather's Africa KYK,46/47 were bedecked with. Pain's mock counterattack She was called Dolly, the name they gave her when some one said she looked like a baby doll just born. But that face stirred up weather that pitched her adrift, a lost refugee. So she kept singing Smoke Gets /n YOllr Eyes and Bille M oon through all the years that her skies gathered its storm clouds. She would croon and plait her woolly hair just as if a combat was not rag ing. She kept squeezing from life all it yielded from days blackened with strife. 2 The hall was crowded with the talk that came from female versions of Cab Calloway and Step'n Fletchit. Ironed hair the same death-hood worn to perform in Jim Crow's play. forced by hot combs to lie un-African as it could. Words skittered round about black roots as the source of ethnic pride. Auburn wigs wagged yes as Madame Pompadours clacked about identifying with one s race. Hairdos were styled to sway down to shoulder len!th. Ban!s on foreheads frin!ed over the facc. -From childhood 'bad hair' hatched a clawed stigma that still pecked at black pride like carrion. But skins. unpressed. stayed dark silk. African.

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, 141 . KYK # 46147 .' . . 3 In towns like this you are always retaught if you're black facts you might have forgotten. For instance. why your forefathers were brought out of Africa. You hear the lesson from guns the police ease from their holsters as soon as your hair is seen, and in stores you are followed by eyes like a mobster staging a hold-up. At such times real laws are enforced. Those who beat kam!aroo courts of the mind use stun !!uns of scorn to beam rays that jolt [hose lynchers. That is what thwarts bullets that still make enslavement their theme. Plaits wove the pride that adorns that story. Irons recoil from curls of dignity. Ole Talk One of those arm-chair dons Silting on his expertise was telling us all that the island was doin!! wron!!. He was !!ettin!! ........... ......... a Ph.D in an unknown American colle!!e. The rum made him sound !!ood. Later on a woman from some agency that used the word aid, i.e. trade in favour of the U.S. criticised our allachment to Carnival. It was really a nice lime. Plenty ole talk like true-true philosophy passing around, As long as the rum kept l10wing

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'141 the chaser was words. The Ph.D student thought he impressed us and the agency woman was ready to tell Washington how deep was the opposition to the Goverrunent. We give them enough basket to carry water, like we stupid. Neither one catch on that after the liquor eyes bound to clear. She would take the blu e shape of a jab-jab, whip and all. He would look like a clown dre s s up in Uncle Sam. Next morning m o re laughter would spill on all that phony erudition they spit out at u s Though some remain fond of the lash and would stay pupils of tutors that tell them children nee d guardians to look after their n a tional interests. Drums (For Edwar d Kamau Brathwaite) We now hear every throb on the skins of the drums but only be c ause you pound ed them ou t in words of poems that made the sounds come across from Kumasi. Tano. Takoradi. from Aburi. Tekyiman. and Axum beating over the Passage to the ears of these islands. KYK'W41

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. 143 Orisha and Ogun were shackled in corners of mine though sometimes their drums rioted out of the silence stuffed into their mouths to gag them. We acted deaf. On still ominous nights the masks and the rites menaced what was called -progress. In hideouts down Moru!!a Yoruba priestesses put on their robes but long guns of the law reached for their heads. So we strummed on cuatros and guitars instead a" if Venezuelan. Cuban and Brazilian sambas and the thump of tamboo bamboo stomping out calypso bass rhythms did not beat the bronze of Benin. So when the poems undulated from Chad. Mali. Volta they brought nothing new to the shores of my island. but fl.-opened blocked channds In the boats of Ihe Ni!!cr. You. who left your isk's coral soil's shallow layers of his lory. an emigrant searching a womb of the past to re-enter. commanded we Iislen In what we had heard KYK It 46147

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'144 when the blood called us. We hear and acknowledge. The onob o robo orders all of the tribe to gather. From pav e d-over midden's where we once buried goatskins and golden stools we draw out bodom beads and wear them to dance the adowa Everywhere now Odomak oma is answered. You hoe d the !round smooth for the fee t t o rejoice s o at each celebrati o n we bring you libations. though the y are onl y as pure as the sperm dropped in the canelield s has left them. KYK,46/47

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SIDNEY AlLlCOCK Missing TIle evening was late and lonely But the sun was in all its glory I sal spellbound on the hills of Rupcrtce Admiring the natural Rupununi beauty KYK #46/47 Around me the rolling green and yellow savannah land To the east of me the majestic Makarapan Away into the distant south the mighty blue Kanuku And beautified by toe sunset the well known Pakaraimas too As I sal there soliloquizing It dawned on me that somethin!! was missin!.!. As I gazed away into the Rupununi evening I focussed my mind on some good reasoning Visible for miles was the dusty old trail and crisscrossing tracks The few ranch houses and empty corrals seem now only to be shacks No vacquciros on the great plain doing their normal chores Of riding. lassoing or singing their regular Yehoes! All that was moving were donkeys tighting So sickenin!! Somethin!.! was missin!.! Physically missing. While staring over this vacqueiro range The idea of missin!! cattle seemed so stram!e Can you imagine that cattle were missing! The famous Rupununi cattle herds slowly diminishing I remembered the good old days from Dadanawa to Takama Chasin!! thousands of cattle over this famous savannah Now then! are only occasional carcasses hleached by the weather Here and there on the great plain might be a lonely tired rider

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KYK 11016147 Oh Rupununians Gone are the cattle days No more bellowing, horse riding, lassoing or happy old ways. The twilight, missing cattle and hideous hraying saddened the cvelllng The distant hooting of owls and moaning wind against hills left me QneVlfiQ I wondered could it he Politics and Development ? Or was it rustling and poor management? The cattle were g one. gone over the horder And here is where we can search and no furth e r Over hills, throu g hout valleys or on the plains Through night, s u nshine or in the rains Here r 1\ roam and here r 1\ remai n Determined to r e ar cattlc once a!!ain

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KYK #46147 BRIAN PASTOOR Wellington Reading you, over a book in the shade, I see you pelting your cutlass. black cubital veins in the sun. spliff dangling from your mouth, keeping the garden sweet for Madam (as you call her). my wife's grandmother. I remember yesterday when I asked you your age. What kinda man is he that don't know his own a!!e? I am Wellington Sir. 64. of Scarborough. Trinidad and Tobago. True true. Then you laughed and said. Is okay. follow me. You picked a mango give this one to your Ladyshowing me the difference between starch and Julie mangos. and how to look for that very special mango. the one you don't pick: The .lack Spaniard. Today you tell me how you would go under as a tisherman. your little boy-old man smile glimpsing the ocean. Stay under for a long time boy. long time man. face growin' green green. you say wiping your brow. but that was in younger days. Can I get you a drink, a Carib'? I ask. Is okay. you say, pOinting to your knife by a coconut. trimming the frangipani. namboyant and oleander with spear power of triceps. And I go back to my chair and rcad my book. The aloe vera is omnipotent in your hands.

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'141 You look at a man-o'-war in the blue sky and say, It looks like rain, an' wet too. You use that half hour of rain to boil pigeon peas and papaya. with sapodilla plums for desen. And my wife and I. we shop for groceries at Miracle Man

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DE.J'IISE GRAy-GOODEN Generation Trap It occurs to me I am relieved to be no longer prime meat no longer worthy prey for those ejaculating eyes. I must admit I'll happily forfeit the stares from !!rinnin!! l4Ks a<; the crotch crusaders set their sites on fresher tar!!ets than I with far less cellulite. Measuring Measurin!! measuring and pouring out a life from cup to cup not Illeasurim! up to your mark. But I am no KYK # 46147

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practised formula. no one's scale or currency I am no right propor1ion no exact measure marked on your perfect glass. KYK.46147

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SlEW ART BROWN TI-Maru The way they told it was like legend. this Ti-Maru. a one-eyed hop-an-drop KYK # 46147 old man. rccking of rum. his mash-mouth twisted out of spt.."'Cch. appeared one afternoon unknown and unannounced. to bush the hill behind the house. Down in the town they'd sworn this place curse bad. and none would come to dear the bamboo off the slope no matter how much cash in'hand "and too besides." they said "it steep like mnuntai n side. bush thick as hell!" Dut the 01' man just jump right off the deck with his machette and start to hack. the jungle was reclaiming back that view developers had charged such thousands It.lr but Ti-Maru was more than match J(lr il. he hack and tramp and weave himself a 110m of cut bamboo to reach the outer stems; he work like frenzy. like he possess. he took no res for water or for I(lod. Dut then the bees swarm. bil! and black and tierce. African bees. angrY'(<'lo. his cutlass mus a cut their nest ril!ht lhrou!.!h. they sting him bud bad. in his face. his mouth. his hands -and there was n<:)thinl! we could do

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152 , KYK" we couldn't get down there, we couldn't fight the bees off anyhow. The 01' man he . . just roll up in a ball and scream some ugly noise like nothin else you ever heard .. and sob him sohhin after we thought he dead ri I.!ht then an there hut. when they lef hi m ..... .'. tinally he hody start to crawl towar4s the house till we could haul him out. . ." . TIlen strai!!ht we knew him had to dead sOlin soon. . . although we rush him into town. to hospitaL The nurse jus look at him and srmps. could :see . she thoul.!ht he dilhl't stand a chance, But when we t:heck next afternoon he'd I!one. . just up an Icf that mornin. couldn hear to hy J nside. she said. and ,W;/IPS again, We checked all round the town tilt' then I .., . we didn't even kno\v his name hut Alphonse in the rumshop knew. "That's Ti-Maru okay." ., T, ,. -. when we lIescrihc(J'him. "he used to go prospecting . in thl.! hush 'roundMon 1cmmie : He's Iiv'ed out there for years. it send him mad folks say. . He was a hi!! man once. whole and stron!! . and liked his \\lomen. No-one seem to know whaihappened to his eye: his mouth. his rotten limt . . hut he still strom! for true. An hin) can drink. I. ; ','. hoy, he came in here one night las week an nearly drink us dry.'fin' n boy. jus' Straight white rum. Is then he riJUs have heard about

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KYK # 46/47 your bush. The boys was sayin. I suppose, how your place curse, an though he mutter sof till then he roar burs' out like thunder with bad word. say how they don't know what is curse at all, an how he Iivin in the hills with every kinda ghost and spirit and jumbie ting as they is small boys to fcar some 01' womans' foolishness about your yard. An then he start to preaching on bout visions an how Death come by that very morning likc a black cloud screaming his name. he said coming to claim him. So he ran. all hop-an drop. down into town to hide an drink an make his peace. somehow. And then he gone .. ." We left his money with Alphonse. and some hesides and a messal!C askine him -to please come by. But no-one saw old Ti-Maru agam. 1llc hush engulfs the house on every side.

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. 154 JACQUELINE de W EEVER Fires (Jill's Dream) We stir the stew on top of the to our cook-up we add .. of our trove of talents. and hrew our natural gifts. unthinkin!! of seismic shifts. - The hrew. strom! and rich. -compel our /light into the dark ni 211t; consume the like lighted pitch. . . long in childhood's showing only childhood's - KYK" ""4' The names climh red as hlood; We Ike. to daim our womanhood

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'155 Requiem: The Feast of The Holy Innocents Killed in their sleep while they lie in the street hloody rags barely shroud small bodies hcllies now and ever empty. The Brazilian police as "l!arhac.e men." sweep the streets of urchin thieves whose sorcery demolishes magically the shopkeepers' money. The slaughter of innocents hy twentieth-century efficient machinery Herod could never conceive. The sniper in the hills sights his gun on the hunt: children laul!h. not takin!! heed. in their play. on the street; his hullets with unerring speed split the boisterous Bosnian games; hicycles twist in their frames. the hlood runs red. seven children dead; their mothers' keen rattles the TV screen. The slau!!hter of innocents hy twentieth-century efJicicnt machinery KYK # 46147

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'156 at dinnertime there's no reprieve. The faces of these moon children pitted by the maggots of famine brown che cks pale and shrunken moon cratered black eyes open, bellies daubed with muddy mire, legs and arms are fud sticks, ready for unholy tires. Children heat the sacrifice in Somalia to men's pride; Pools of sorrow tlood their eyes now a nest ing place for Ilics. The slaul!hter of innocents is not only Herod's sin; Moloch lives, it seems, forever, a present god of greedy power. Children tired to men's ambition, a coflined giddiness a sarcophagus in readiness to hide the rot within. Dead little bodies still can speak: Do not repeat. Do not repeat. KYK 1146147

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KYK 1146147 SASEll/ARINE PERSAUD Postcard to a Sister in South America This lilt of light in rain clouds swarming sun over woods bleached of leaves except the spruces' slicking of sky in answer to rusting oaks remaining willows ripening like bowin!! down -Iimhs catching blessings of linch kiskadee blue-sakie bunting lllis lilt in last -cotton wicks in oil in diyas marking Ram's return to Awadhpuri with his bride yes the waiting for the last jay-calis to go south sparrows chirping chickadees tweeting the tip of the days of the long nights To ml-'Ct a!!ain off Karahi-holcd roads clasping the dust from wings of sugar cane stalks the thousand limbed coconuts Shiva's dance over hrownton!!ued --creeks nipping the ocean your sons celehrate not this lilt of autumn Ii!!ht; the blooded chiklhood sunshine of cannot Icavehchi nd.

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STANLEY GREAVES Dream oj Demerara In my land No known ghosts walk. Our history Is but a stran!!c wind That leaves no mark Upon the sea. Even monstl.!rs dwdl elsewherl.! In another safe place Where victims know themselves. De Projwlliis Today. I did not {!o To the ocean. Instead. It came to me Somehow Throu{!h tears. No sorrow. No joy. Nor else Save that they caml.!. Boats and fedin!!s Should have only sails KYK 146147

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'159 and a wish Elemental, As nags and arrows. Uncle John Throueh the window By your bcd. I sec stunted sorrel plants Fight the tight yellow earth. I listen out of time As your child-voice Grown out of manhood. Reaches some trite memory Taut as a kitestrine. - It was here In yi:lur somnolent room. I karnt cOlhpanionship Is many things . The commonplace Has a point. . . KYK 1146147

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JOHN FIGUEROA Windows Chartres: Ollter and Inner Space A Consort of Six Variations I Suppose the windows whirled to us from other spaces. ships of the sea and air that seek safe harbour. Steady now they draw us through tiny roots from hardened lumps of clay to transparencies that vonex out to outer space their colours whirl us. reviving all our dreams. concentrating our minds. subliminating all our fears through visions of the sky. and blood. and pallid Spring. KYK 1#46/47 and Autumn of the gold and yellow furnaces aglow with molten rage. and violet dreams us back to peace. lllc wafer melts upon the tongue. the glass upon the eyes. and through the blood and brain collects us to a wheclthat moving stays and staying spins us out to lOner space across the threshold -to a steady centre: -

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. 161 Mother revolving round her Child. Her Child at the breast; all tilting. looping forward stitching time's waves with peace. weaving us into a silence that revolves upon itself-music forever returning to its dawn turning and steady like Da Vinci's St Ann and Virl!in and Child; like tropic stars about the Pole like a woman hearing the deep KYK .46147 silence of her child. and the silence of the seas, like anyone listening to a wumkd deep silence speaking ... II Think not that these rose windows Chanced to be Like Venus from the sea In naked beauty born. Lifted above the pond I saw the stirrinc of the waters The bubbks whirlinc to a bond . .. Of petals. dancing like; younger daughters. . From disqukt in the deep The disk turned to the lieht; I saw the vortex spinning up the steep Subaqueous mountains sl.'!o!king frame Of stone which holds the windows ticht' -Harbourine us who whirl in the nicht. ..... '....., .. ..

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III Round curved green flat red square Breast grey smooth Hard pink tight Hole green deep Brief rcd place Curved smooth green Tight pink pla c e Deep round green IV Windows colour coded green for hope and red for blood. Christ so !!reen so red -call me up from the dead. Now before I die I'm !indin!! that I am dead Christ so !!rt!en, Christ so red -raise me up fmm the dead. Whence the colours of the windows'! Have you not seen the sky the seas, the seas, the golden fall of leaves the distant hills in purple c1(lthed (And Christ in Roman motley mocked'!) Have you not seen the sky the seas. the seas and blood upon the thieves'! KYK,46/47

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Christ so green so red o raise me up from the dead. V And now the windows ham! fronl space to innerspacc a measured suhlimination of dreams and tumblings into visionary grace ... VI Spin the wheel and spin the wheel that steady on its centre point skips olT from Time's genth.! moorings and edl!cs throul!h the dark a disk a discus thrown and sparking at its cd!!c. al!ainst thc I!ranite dark. a hursl. a constant hurst of stars Spin the whl..'Cl turnin!!. rcturnin!! still (the notes return and music turns turns hack on self. returns to close th\! cycle. Steady like Da Vinci's St Ann and Vir!!in and Child. they too are whirling. arms and kcl. the trills that take the music round that spin us out to inner space.) And spin th\! Autumn kavcs, whirl up and down the mountain roads into a wheel: the purple. hrown. KYK

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the gold, the green and crimson, whirl a wheel that spinning shapes the spaces that turn, return the scattered glimpses into stained glass windows holding up the bouncing ways of time. recycling sand and mud and coloured trees to spin the mind away out to inner spaces. And Chan res holds the [!lass up like a wafer. glowing us 10 another world. A wafer melts upon the ton g ue; and windows on the eyes; we arise to a world of silence and ima!!cs tunin!! into stillness. and still in place until they \"hirl us through the vonex where we spin by tiniest crac ks into illumina t ion; wh e re we kick the gassy earth away and lind our inner gal a xies through the whirlin[! of tl1e wheel the spinning of these windows till they seem no t to move like tl1e stillness in painting. as they gather up their breath to dance away and with deli cate rim KYK # 46147

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0165 spark off from distant branches a burst of leaves, of Autumn leaves; From the inner dark a blaze of blossoms. A still exploding wheel of stars. NICOLA GRIFFITH (age 14 years) The Falling Star I saw a star slide down the sky Diinding the Nonh as it went hy Too lovely to be bought or sold Too burning and too quick to hold Good only to make a wish upon and then forever to be {!one. - This poem won a pri:e in the YO/III}: Poets of Guyana competition sponsored hr the Commonll'ea/th Trust, inallgurated ill [)ecemher J 995.

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.. ", --......, ,,, r rf.71,:> ,J \ ,.. -(, , )'1:( \ ,,,, r-, "'-.. ) . ,/f", . " t ....--...../" I F'.r-... --'.,' . _'h ___ .. . _ u _ . :'?"'$>:-"\.--. .J'-. -"'-1--p -.... _--. __ .. -. . --. .-...J .. -._.-.. r -fl .. ".... .-t . -... ..... .. -( Jftltl : m ( ----, I J J .. .. .. C' ......... ---'" .... "-, -. -----.) ... r e .. e Frog on )('a f ( - ll\ .. ..

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. 167 KYK #46/47 Stories Roy BRn1MELl. The Ugly Child Lives '. Once upon a lime there was a woman who had three children. Their names were Primanbutania Mini-Mini and Quaacootanoo. Primanbutania and Mini-Mini, as their names tell, were two very pretty girls. Quaacootanoo though was a very ugly son. He had a big head, dull narrow eyes, large teeth which his lips could not cover marks all over his face very thin arms and two thin legs with over-sized knees. The mother hated Quaacootanoo and wished that he would die. She often fed her two pretty daughters and left him hungry. At feeding Hme she would say in a song: "Mini-Mini come here, Primanbutania come here Leh Quaacootanoo o ne stay dcre It really made Quaacootanoo sad to see his sisters scamper off to eat while he remained hungry. His mother often fed him much later or not at all. Then if he was given n o food he stole from the pot or the basket. She beat him when he stole. If she did not beat him she punished him in some other way. One day Quaacootanoo stoic bread from the basket, because he was very hungry. His angry mother beat him and locked him in a mom. For one week, she threw him bits of bones or other left-over food She let him out when she peeped in and saw that he was nearly dead. Yet she felt no pity for him. She gave him some food but ordered his sisters not to play with him. This woman and her children lived near a forest. Her husband worked far away and was hardly ever at hOllle. One day a very hungr y jaguar. searching for food came close 10 the house and hid in a nearby bush. TIlcn the jaguar heard the

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KYK#46147 woman sing this song: "Mini-Mini come here, Primanbutania come here, Leh Quaacootanoo one stay dere". The Jaguar's ears stood. as he listened and listened. The woman sang the song thrice to spite Quaacootanoo but, by then, the jaguar had learnt it and was singing it to himself. He had also caught the woman's voice; so he sang softly to himself. again and again. After the woman and her daui!hters had eaten. she i!ave Quaacootanoo the scraps Then she locked him in a room. kissed her daughters goodbye and left for the market. The market was many miles away. Gening there, usually took her a long, long time. After she left. Mini-Mini and Primanbutania played in the house. The jaguar had not left. He looked carefully around him. Then he moved cautiously towards the house. Sometimes. he stopped to look around him. Sometimes. he dropped his body lower to the i!round. In a short while. he was under the house. Then. he climbed the steps, slowly and quietly. ever so slowly and quietly. Once at the top, he began to sing: "Mini-Mini come here, Primanbutania come here. Leh Quaacootanoo one stay dere". The girls heard the familiar song and stopped their play. It surprised them that she had returned so soon. but they were glad that she had. They rushed to the door and opened! And the hungry jaguar grabbed them both and lOok them away. They screamed. but not for long. The mother returned from the market, many hours later. She saw blood in the yard! She rushed up the steps and saw blood there too! She felt the strong silence. Her heart beat quickly. but she calmed herseH' and sang her song. There was no reply of running feet to open the door. Instead. there was another soni!' "Mini-Mini done wid. Primanbutania done wid. Only Quaacootanoo one deh here".

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I 169 KYK 1# 46/47 She realised that something dreadful had happened! She fainted where she stood. When she recovered. she managed to break the door. She sadly let her ugly son out. With tears in her eyes. she hugged him. as if she would never let him go. .

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170 KYK # 46147 KEITH JARDIM Sea House I think of the sea, of irs coo/ness anti colollr. (Shiva Naipaul ) On the nonh eastern tip of the Lesser Antillean island. tucked in among curves and juts of dry. hilly land. land sometimes green in clumps and palches. a house stands atop stone pillars and looks out to sea. It was built against a bank carved out of the eanh so the house could be cool and shaded close to the eanh. Level with the house's roof there arc trees and their land slopes upward to bushes and other trees that almost hide a wire fencc. Thc grass between is scrubhy and cracklcs underfoot. The dry season is endin!!. There arl.! inclinations on the smooth. white roof so that half-cylindrical plastic drains lining the edges can collect rain water and dirl.!ct it 10 the cistcrn under the housl.!. The housl.! belongs to my cousin Paul. I comc here to write. From the roofed balcony of Paul's house. an area where wooden green walls of horizontal planks and varnished wooden pillars an extension of the stone ones below supponing the roof dominate. I can sec small islands silting on the hlul.! sea. Apan f!'Om the nonh eastern tip of one. they arc untouched. looking as they did. I imagine. when thl.!Y had adjusted to the atmosphere after being pushed up out of the sell. The "touched" pan of that one island. the biggest one visible. Crump Island. is a scar of white earlh. made by some idiot who ripped the green away 1,:'If some reson idea he had. I thankfully cannot see it from Paul's house. Dut if I go along the driveway with the scented plum tn .. 'C pan of the driveway closest 10 the house. the pan where it widens circularly and is laden wilh dark grey gravel and rotting plums -if I pass that. and walk toward the dull green gate at the end. then continued through onto the road turning inland left. I'll come to a hiB whose top allows me to sec

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KYK .,., the scar. Paul, who is on holiday for six weeks with his wife Monique, has two dogs. Ojay, the younger. a white Alsatian, was capricious. even growling, at first. but I spent time with her each time I came here so now she tolerates me. Whiskey, a fat, sensual Dobermann pincher whose coat has faded to copper on his underside and pale chocolate on his back, whose ears are loose and floppy, is gregarious always was and old. He relies on Ojay to keep watch on things in the distance and joins her rarely. Ojay is playful. rushing blue-grey herons that feed on little crabs and fish on the shore-line. The herons break into the air when Ojay changes. and she looks after them. a front paw raised. her ears at their straightest while she whines, as if regretting the evolutionary path her species followed. Tied to Paul's jetty are three boats. One belongs to his brother. and is called Miss Lisa It's a biggish boat, the kind used for deep-sea tishing. with a hood on top. two powerful outboard Yamaha engines. and aerials. Blue and white. it points cast. as do all the boats. The next boat is Paul's -a Boston Whaler called Rumrunner. also blue and white and much smaller than Miss Lisa. Paul's boat has a light. sharp look as it sits on the water. Once the Boston Whaler picks up speed and the bow levels off maybe I'm going to the island near Water Heaven (an expanse of super-clear blue water where the sand is salt white). the island where there are stranded llamas because of a deal some local and American men attempted -the Boston Whaler skims over the water like a Hying fish. Not used to the climate. the llamas have been dying. And with the area for many miles around becoming vacuous due to building storm-systems. hardly a breeze during the days. and the great heat upon the land. I think the llamas when they die, die with relief. The other boat tied to Paul's jetty is a small. wooden rodboat. No one seems to use it anymore. Perhaps the night watchman is the owner. H e arrives at four-thirty every afternoon to feed Whiskey and Ojay. An old man, he walks with a limp

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172 KYK /146/47 and keeps upright. He has white hair and has told me Paul said I can stay nights whenever I wish, sleeping upstairs if I wish. eating food, and using the television. Such a generous offer leaves me gUilty: I have not made my life into something yet. (Later, swimming off the jerry with snorkel and face mask, doing a comfortable free-style and seeing the life below. the thought of allowing mys elf to feel that kind of guilt will seem silly: Paul is much older than twenty-eight.) There are morninl! s when it's difl1cult to work. At the cleven-foot long table on the western side of the balcony. next to the corner of the green wall. the corner that enables me to see the sea and islands, the shadowy stretches of reefs by the islands. and the lighter greens and blues of the close sea. the hardships encountered in the work discourage me. Have I overstepped myself! Is there som e thing else at which I would be better suited? At these times the colours of the land and sea. the quality of light and the retlection of sky. anJ the massive expanse of sea (nothing between here and Africa). help to connect me to a part of myself with which I'm uneasy. A part which 100 infrequently I!ives me faith. The swimming occupies an hour in the late afternoons. To swim earlier is dan{!erous. the news stations in the States have said. Added to that there was a documentary my sister mentioned she'd seen in London about the hil!h increase in skin cancer. Do the work and be careful. she'd said. I am doin!! both. The watchman's arrival to feed the do!!. around the time I !!o swimming. and the occasional airplane and boat in the distance. arc the only dis tractions. TIle others are welcome ones. Oirds. dark and brown with short arrow-head shaped beaks. a dab of red on their chests. visit the wooden. planked railing on the balcony: some alight on the long table I sit at. They have a high-pitched chirp, and sometimes I'm startled. Ojay appears then. giving a quick bark and stare as they t1 y off to the plum tree by the driveway.

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KYK 1146147 Humming-birds, too, are frequent visitors. These have tiny, sabre-like beaks and are the colour of dark jade and dark emeralds. Their minute feathers shine as if drips of glistening oil had been delicately rubbed onto their chests and heads. Whirring sounds from their blurred wings. It's that quiet here, now that the pre-storm weather has come. When there's breeze, and the bougainvillaea rustIes dry leaves and waves bunches 'of red and peach flowers to bounce against each other, I can't hear them; but today, like most days. grants it. How dry the air is when breezed, thou2:h; often all I feel is the heat in it. sinuous and en2:ulfin2:. One day a humming-bird meandered through the bougainvillaea growing above the barbecue pit beneath the western side of the balcony. I was silting at the umbrella-shaded table on the porch whose steps come up from the circular part of the driveway. The porch is an open area. the t100r is concrete and rectangular, and sometimes I sit there because the sea distracts me; not that I can't see it from here: I simply don't see the horizon before me. just one island and its edges of mangrove. I was sitting there one day and saw the humming-bird hovering amon2: the boui!ainvillaea blossoms. It lacked the dart-like -movements peculiar to humming-birds. The movements were in slow-motion and the wings didn't whir as fast as they should have. The bird seemed barely aloft. barely gripping the fragrant. soft-red air of the bougainvillaea. At moments it rested with a weary look. the sabre-like beak cast down. the minute feathers without glossiness. Then I saw the small. tired. dark eyes. the nearly imperceptible lolling of the head and. for a humming-bird. the dishevelled fold of win2:s. Soon. thou!!h. it was back in the --air. resuming feeding in slow-motion and still managing the precise insenion of its beak into the bougainvillaea tlowers. Paul's jetty begins with eanh. with sudden slopes of rocks on the sides. That ends after thiny or so feet and then a wider piece of jetty stans. made of concrete and lined in planks or greenheart angled upwards. The nails holding the planks onto the edges of the jetty arc roughly rusted. and in some places the planks. if you

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KYK 1146147 stand on them, will angle the other way, pulling the nail up and tipping you into the sea. I was standing on a plank one morning two months ago, Monique by my side. Paul was in the house and it was Sunday. My aunt and her husband and one of their two children, Robby, were in the boat. The boat was Rumrunner and Rumrunner had steering trouble. so my aunt's husband was in the stern, while Robby took things from me. I'd put my foot on a plank and staggered; Monique grabbed my arm and apologised. then explained. Greenheart. I thought it would have lasted longer, she'd said. Still, it's been there for quite some time. Trees don't grow like they used to. And she smiled. I didn't think of Monique's words then, only now. alone on the balcony where Paul and Monique offered wine. cheese. and Gl:rman sausage alier the return from Water Haven and viewing the llamas only now do I remember her words. And during the quiet approach of twilight, the sea current angling in past PaUl's txmse. Monique's words surface more and more with meaning. The solitude here. the selection of blues. greens, and greys of the sea undulating towards me. and the shades of green on the land. permit my mind to fall into itself. Like a map the past unfolds t()[ leisurely examination. and all the truth. as I received it. is sighted with a clarity which silence. solitude and time arc responsible for. On the sea once. twice a week. a wind-surfer's sail-cnd Ilaps and I look up from my book or writing to St.'C a boy leaning beneath the oblique wing. the bulge of air tirm in a red. and purple sail. He moves swiftly and I feci regret: I never learned to do it. there had always been time. long ago; always the assurance that one day the time would come when the opportunity would be given in a mood to my liking. Now, I've seen the ti.)olishness, the absolute triCkery. youth is capable of. A wonder I was so ignorant then The young man out there against the blue and on the blue is bctween sixteen and twenty years old. And with further ignorance I think I've missed the right time; that youth of his

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'175 KYK#46I47 kind is a requir e ment for the joy he is having. His age, I f eel, is th e time a genuine passion i s possible for windsurfing, a passion that will sustain him and his windsurfing for many years. The windsurfer fades away and I continue my work. The hard light has gone; the late afternoon is soft on the islands, hills and sea. The tints are more to my liking, and I wonder whether it's because I am getting older. The descent of light to twilight, and the s e a becoming crepuscular before the sky, the sea remind ing me of w ha t the sky will d o causes the mood of bright daylight to depart. The world is different. At the end of the jetty, I collapse into cool, clear-green water. This colour lasts until tifty or so feet. After that blue takes over, a warm, close blue, made close by the sand drifting in on the current coming from the north east. from where West Africa is. The particles bunch to light up around me, making .it visually impenetrable beyond seven But the blue remains vivid, and the impression I am swimming in an immense aquamarine is not too vague. -On certain days the current is not strong. The blue spreads out. dipping away into depths I feel a desirc to explore but don't. I .. swim in six feet of water, sometimes eil!ht or four. The neare s t -. point is three hundred yards away. The sound of my breathi.nl! . .. ..... through the snorkel is as familiar as the splashes my arms make . I've been doing this every afternoon for two months, al)d the . . results are good: sleep better. have fewer nightmares, and morc pleasant dreams. My work l)as improved. The opportunities of ... Paul's house made life richer while at the same time showinl! : the . .. ........, . ." . , left . I have to finish the dissGrtation, I have to make a living somehow beginning in one ... and a half .. .' . years. But seeing how the economies of the 0pt;rate, set!ing how they de"Ollf the dignity Of ,nations and peoples.offamilies, , individuals, the disquietude of my labour being qone .ror a . '. hroken world, a wl)rld which may have no usc it, stiUsmy . .. "'" . ". .. enthusiasm ., , A blue and white fish, the blue a dt;nsec one than what . . . . I'm swimming in and sweeping up from the !ish's belly.to fade . . .

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176 KYK 1146147 into the silver dominating the top, curves out of another, hidden blue. It circles in front, mocking my progress embedded in the surface, a sheet of white light marking the edge of its world. Nearer, the thin teeth are noticeable, pointing upwards on the outside of the mouth; a deformed grin. The fish is large and acting like an aquatic vulture. In two months I've seen much marine life barracuda. sting-rays. leopard rays. parrot fish. eels. and copious others inc l uding sea-centipedes. crusty-brown. ridged, lethal-looking lengths of Chilopoda -and most behaved normally. Further on orange star-fish, settled on the vegetation below. appear about one every fifteen feet. Their undersides are a canescent yellow; the pimply bumps on the top of the tentacles and in the centre look like neat. tiny mountain ranges in reddish sunsets. Down the middle of each aIm (underside) there are short feelers. with tiny suction-cup tips.lining the sides of a long thin opening. a series of mouths. The arms tighten but do not fold as I bring one to my mask. The design of their arms. how they taper to a blunt point from the thick centre. engages me; and the delicate. precise movements of the feelers. as they sense the sunlight and then recede with a quick, tuCking-in movement into a cluster. I hold the star-fish halfway between surface and bottom and let go. The creature sinks. parachuting with five extended limbs. rocking from side to side. and I catch it after a couplc of feet. resting its small hard protrusions in my palm. Then I deliver the starfish 10 where I found it. On my right mangrove reaches into the water in curved forks. The water is green there. clear still. and calmer. Where I'm swimming the wind is bouncing on the water. making wavelets which abstract the passage of air through the snorkel and the rhythm of my arms. I clear the snorkel with a furious spurt uf air and kick harder. concentrating on my arms. too determined today to get the burning sensation in my heart and shoulders that gives the deep body peace I've become addicted to. Later I want to sit on Paul's balcony after a shower of cool fresh water and

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'177 KYK I 46147 reflect on the day. Whiskey will be there begging for affection, and Ojay will condescend to be stroked around her perfect ears. Until then, I must earn it, so I sprint for a while, glancing at the shoreline for direction. Clouds cross the sun; the water darkens, then brightens waves of light whose heat I feel on my back. now shade my pupils sense and dilate to. Soon. late afternoon and the approach of night. which brings sharks into shallow waters. The water is as warm as my blood and tempts me down to cool depths that make me wish I had gills. An article I read a few years ago said the possibility exists for men to create humans with wings and other animal attributes. Are gills possible? A barracuda angles on my left and I realise the desire for tIns, for speed. would be necessary. Soon rm tired. swimming slower, floppily. looking up out of the water now and then to see how far away Paul's jetty is. The water off the end of the jetty has areas of hot and cold temperatures As I glide over them. the sub-merged section of the jetty on the left replete with openings in which t1sh hide. an eerie thought occurs. The crustaceous. green growths on the jetty shafts -how silly the thought and feeling. It's from the story about an eel a t1sherman in the told me. He also said cds wouldn't bother me if I leave them alone. I've seen mov ies which have done considerable harm to the reputation of eels Many animals have been wrongly presented. I know this. But the numher of old fishermen I've spoken to in my cannot compare to the monstrous quantity of t1Ims showing the savagery of wildlife 10 man. The undisciplined years of childhood. the easy access to video-clubs keeping boredom at bay. But trying to maintain a disciplined and focussed mind for my work heIps to control and disable the emotions before and after thou!!hts on eels. The ground noor of Paul's house is tiled in smooth squares of red-brown. There is a ship's bell at the bottom of a flight of steps; the steps go toward the nonheast. then turn orie hundred and eighty degrees to the southwest. Up there 'is the balcony. Downstairs is the laundry-room and a guest room. The sliding-

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'178 KYK '46147 door of the guest-room is unlocked and inside there are books, a bed, a sophisticated radio (one of Paul's hobbies is tuning into as many stations as possib l e) and a stack of newspapers and maga zines atop a little table next to a set of drawers. The bathroom has the three necessities for civilized cleanliness; and for someone beginning to sweat after a swim in a warm sea, the liquid pressing out with each beat of my heart, the shower is all I'm interested in. The water is cool and delights my skin as the film of salt is washed off. When I'm c ompletel y wet. I turn off the shower and soap. then rinse again in a luxurious cold rush. There is a claustral sense in the bathroom. Right outside the louvre-window near the ceiling I can see the bank against the house. shadow, and hear nothing. The earth smell s ofiron and salt. As lwalkoutofthe guest room a dove with streams of white on its chest. a sleek head and wet-brown eyes, flaps violently out of its nest set above the archway leading to the j etty. I stop. I go up to the balcony. The sea. There it is. Words fail, I fail. to describe the immediacy of the twili g ht colours. the distance stretching into a blue night. Only in memory is the picture clear. true and. therefore most importantly mine. The sea becomes darker. Briefly. amidst all the blues and promises of darker blues. amidst the pro mist! of night. a desire to swim returns. The length of Crump Island has blotches and bald t!arth. a light brown capable of dull silver on moonlit nights. What kind of moon tonight? I recline in a lounge-chair. extend my legs. and sigh. The day is over. P e rhaps the work could have gone better. perhaps I could have swam further. I slump deeper into the chair. trying to discern an Obje ct on the distant ocean. Away from the int e rnational charivari of cities. the silence of Paul's house near the century's end with the islands. sea. and colours of evening, soothes me. causes wishes of success in my work to present themse l ves in dreams made of seclusion. It is all I ask for.

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'179 KYK 46/47 PAULINE MFJ.VILLE The Grasp of the Ant-Eater That was Lilian Peters all right. She always knew when an occasion needed to be marked. "We must have a celebration," she announced to her daughter,as soon as her eldest son Lucas returned to Pakuri. She upturned the hammock and shook some crumbs of cassava bread out that one of her grandchildren had left there. It was eleven o'clock in the morning. She flicked a rag rug out of the open door to shake out the dust. At the age of eighty. she still kept her house neat and clean and swept the church out every Sunday morning. She never lost an opponunity to bring her family together and her son's return was just such a chance. Mrs. Peters decided there should be a family party to mark his achievements. On the day of the party. she looked with pleasure through the kitchen window of her one-room. zinc-roofed house. across the short expanse of sand over to where Lucas stood. serious. arms folded. talking to his youngest brother Man. Man's house was on the edge of the village where the bush began again. Lucas was leaning against one of thl! four posts supponing the shaggy palm roof that extended beyond thl! wall to provide shelter from the sun. Mrs. Peters watched him as he listenl!d intently to his brother. making patterns in the sand with his boot. She noticed. with satisfaction. how and well he looked. He wore new blue jeans. heavy bush boots and his black hair had grown long enough to touch the collar of his yellow shin. TIle two brothers were deep in conversation. Both had their heads down as they talkl!d. Man' s black. fdt hat shaded his bronze face and formed a halo-shaped shadow on the front of his ragged. white T-shin. His necklace. madl! from two curiously twisted copper spoons. hung just bdow the shadow and glinted in the sun. Lilian worried sometimes about her younger son. He seemed restless.

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'180 KYK" 46/47 Once the two of them had fought. Mart had chased Lucas round the outside of the house with a machete. They had circled her house four times during which she heard nothing but the scuffing of desperate foo tsteps and the heavy, gas ping breaths of both of them. Lucas had managed to dodge back in the doorway. He jumped Mart and brought him crashing to the ground. Lilian Peters knew that Mart would have killed Lucas that day if he had caught up with him. But life did not take that path. It took a mysterious turn And now, no-one could remember what the argument had been about, although at the time, tempers were so roaring hot that Lucas had to spend a week o n the other side of the village with his uncle. But now. they go t on well and it was a relief to Mrs. Peters that Mart had someon e to talk to about his sculpture. In the last few weeks he had bec ome irritable and run out of inspiration for his work. Lucas will b e good for him, she thought as she jabbed at the bubbling rice. Som etimes the village gets too small for Mart. Suddenly, both brothers put back their heads and laughed. All of her three children had been born right there in Pakuri village. Four yards of sand separated her house from Mart's. Both houses stood near the e dge of the village where the sand came to an end and the grasses, muri bushes and awara trees began. Behind his house. Mart had c onstructed a palm roof shelter where he worked on his wooden sculptures. Whereas Mart had built his house nat on the sand. her own house was elevated a foot or so from the ground on short. slightly uneven stilts. Mart had recently built her a new kitchen extension of wattle sticks. The main part of her house. which was not more than ten feet long had wooden. plank walls. On the outside wall hunl! a sifter. A white, enamel bucket and some plates dazzl e d the eye in the bright sun from where they were stacked on a sm all table in front of the house. Mrs. Peters check e d with her hand that her white hair was in a neat knoned plait at the back. She had put on her best, green cotton dress. Glancinl! in th e direction of her two sons, she noted that Mart's roof would soon need re-thatchinl! with dalibana leaf. Her own brother would see to that. He was the village expert. He

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. 181 KYK #46147 laid it out and plaited it right there on the ground and then a group of them would get together and lift it onto the roof. It was Lucas who had paid to have her traditional palm thatch roof replaced with zinc. The zinc had deteriorated into rusty, brown rivulets. But Lilian Peters was still proud of it, even though it made the interior so hot by mid-day that she had to go to her daughter's house in the afternoon and lie down there. For a moment she stood still. I shall be eighty-one years old in February, she thought in astonishment, wondering how time had flown by so fast. She could still manage to make cassava bread, casareep and to weave hammocks, but every now and then Lilian Peters felt her heart jump like a small patwa fish. It fluttered and shivered and made her stand stock stjJl until it found its regular beat again. Planting and weedim"! the cassava farm had become more and more of an effort. But there was still a lightness and spring in her step and her bearing was straight and upright. Her face was weather-beaten but lined. Her gaze was direct and unmistakeably intelligent. Anyone could tell that she had been a woman of considerable beauty. When she spoke to people she faced them square on. which gave them the feeling that she could be trusted. And she preferred to walk barefoot. even when the sand beneath her feet was burning hot. If there was one place she hated. it was Georgetown. Whenever she was obliged to go there. she left again as quickly a<; possible and headed back to the bush. At home she spoke Arawak. Nearly all the youngsters in the village spoke English now.but she preferred Arawak. Women still called on her experience and skills when they gave birth. She was a practieal. industrious woman who had brought up her two sons and her daughter with a firm hand. And in her opinion her son's achievement should be celebrated. Lucas Peters had passed his exams in London and become Lucas Peters. M.A. No-one in the village. including his mother. quite knew what this was but everyone knew that he had gone

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KYK 1146147 away for a long time and mixed with a lot of white people to get it. "Just a quiet celebration with the family," she announced firmly to her daughter who was helping her with some chores. "We'll have it tomorrow at Uncle Stanley's house because it's on the far side of the village. Otherwise everyone will turn up. Saturday's a good day. Uncle Horace can make a speech." And the sun hammered down on the village as she wandered across the sand to inform Uncle Horace of his family duties. stopping to talk to people on the way. They were related to half the people in the village anyway, so there promised to be a good turn out. It was mid-morning on the party Saturday. Uncle Horace, speech-maker in chief. stepped out onto the top step of his house and looked out over ribbed tiremarks left by a passing truck in the damp track outside. He stood there for a moment like a general inspecting troops, wanting everyone to see him in his best shirt and trousers. He held up the piece of paper on which he had outlined his speech. People must appreciate that he was about to perform an ofticial function. Immaculate was the only word to describe Uncle Horace's appearance. He had taken several hours preparing himself for the occasion, snapping at his daughter because his blue-check shirt was not properly ironed, although she had spent all morning heating the iron over the names and pressing the offending item. He was a short. grey-haired man conscious of his reputation as a neat and dapper dresser. As he made his way across to the south of the village, he glanced at his speech and paused occasionally to rehearse the most moving and dramatic parts of it. By the time he reached Uncle Stanley's house. the family had already started to gather. It was a scorching hot afternoon. Coconut trees shaded that part of the village. Uncles.aunts. cousins and their children milled around. Uncle Stanley had lixed everything up nicely. A small table perched in the sand leaning slightly to one side. On it was a

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, IS.\ KYK # 46147 white cloth, two bottles of vodka on a tray with some glasses and a red and pink hibiscus blossom in ajar. Uncle Horace inspected this speakers podium before seeking out Lilian to re-assure her that he had arrived with his speech prepared. Inside Stanley s house Lucas Man and their sister Sylvie poured out drinks for the children from jugs of cocollut water. The fat figure of Auntie Zizi huffed and puffed over the sand and up the steps with two bottles of rum from her shop. Which do you like best'?" She whispered to Lucas, "Fast and Nasty or Cheap and Sweet? I brought b o th." She chuckled. "You know what they call my shop now? They call it Jonestown because people come and drink this rum and disappear for good. She cackled. "Is you celebration. Make sure you have some. I pUllin' it under Stanley s bed for the moment. She slapped him heartily on the back. Congrats Lucas." Lucas smoothed back his springy black hair with both hands. He felt tremendous relief to be amongst his own people again. He looked round at the smiling faces shining with heat. People came to pat him on the back. His two eldest uncles came up and shook him earnestly by the hand, almost shyly not saying anything but nodding their heads with toothless grins Whenever he caught anyone's eye they beamed at him. He watched his pretty niece of sixteen diving to rescue her baby son from falling down the steps. One of his nephews bare-chested, carne flying up to him. out of breath: "Uncle Lucas. Where you get those boots? You can get me some'!" Lucas looked down at his thick boot s : "England r II write and se e if someone can send you some down." The nephew danced off s atisti ed. U ncle Linus was telling ajoke. Soon everybody was galling and laughing. Uncle Horace kept himself a little apart from everybody in order to elllphasise the solemnit y 01 his speeCh-making duties. Uncle Stanley was the self-appointed master of ceremonies and after what hl' considered to hc a suitahle interval. he announced

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KYK #46/47 that he was now going to calion Uncle Horace to speak. The thirty or so members of the family and the few close friends who had been invited took the cue that the sober part of the proceedings had arrived and began to gather round the table. sitting down on logs, squatting in the sand or brushing the grit off the planks and sun-faded. wooden benches and making themselves as comfortable as possible. Uncle Horace took up his place behind the table. cleared his throat and waited until everyone had settled down. He poured himself some vodka in a plastic cup and added some coconut water from a jug. Then he took a sip and faced the crowd with an expression of utmost s e riousness on his face. Always, on these occasions. Uncle Horace spoke in Arawak. He considered himself to be the best Arawak speaker in the village. He prided himself on this poSition. He was seventy-six years old. Younger members of the village consulted him when they wanted to know the Arawak word for a certain object. He never failed them. He was the grandfather of Arawak speech and no-one was allowed to forget it. He had made a few notes for his speech in English and intended to translate a s he went along. Lilian Peters was s eated in the position of honour on the front log. feet planted firml y in the sand. holding the smallest of her grandchildren in an iron grip to prevent him from wriggling frel!. Mart. still wearinl! his black felt hat. crouched down next to Lucas and scrutinized the proceedings through dark glasscs. As Uncle Horace began, Mart lifted up his glasses and winked at I ucas. They had sat through many of Uncle Horacc's family speeches lO1!ether. Uncle Horace coughed and gave one more glare at Auntie Zil.i who was still talking l oudly. Finally. everyone became silent and the only sounds came from the kiskadces in the bush. and a dog barkinl! somewhere on the other side of the villal!e. The sun blazed down from a clear. blue sky. Uncle Horace lOok another swallow of vodka. wiped his forehead with the back of

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1 8 5 KYK # 46/47 his wrist and began his speech: "Helay ko-ha, tu kasakabu ... Now. although Uncle Horace made his speech almost entirely in Arawak. he had been obliged to use some English words. 'London University' came up quite often as did 'aeroplane' and 'degree' and 'the Queen of England.' All told, he found it necessary to include a good many words of English. His voice was thin and wavery. After every few sentences. he helped himself to some vodka. Gradually, Uncle Horace's chest swelled up like a tree-frog and the speech became more emotional with longer and longer pauses. Soon he began to lean slightly to one side like the table but in the other direction. Unfortunately. because his voice was not strong. people Silting at the back had to crane forward to hear him. Every now and then. someone looked round to grin warmly at Lucas Uncle Horace breathed heavily. That morning he had cut the front of his hair short with a ra z or and now some of the youngsters started to giggle because they could sec the paler line of tlesh where the hair had been. He paused frequently. squinting up at the sky. grimacing with the effort of finding the precise Arawak word that was required. wrestling with his emotions and the vodka. Into one of these pauses. striding across the sand. burst Uncle Tommy Peters. Uncle Tommy was raw Arawak. His mouth was twisted under his stubbly moustache. He was late because he had just returned from his farm live miks up river. He had been weeding all day and had not had time to smarten up for the occasion. He had paddled as hard as he could back to Pakuri and left his canoe by the river bank. Then he hurried to the family party. Now he turned up. barefoot. smelling of sweat. wearing a torn grey vest and with his trousers rolled up to the calves of his muscular brown lei!. On his head. he wore a black and white striped basehall cap. He pushed his way amongst the audience and made room for himself on one of the logs. He listened carefully as Uncle Horace continued to the climax of his speech in which

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'. KYK # 46147 Lucas and the Queen of England made several unscheduled appearances together. Uncle Horace brought his speech to its conclusion. There was a round of applause. He folded his paper carefully and was just putting it back in his shirt pocket and moving away to receive compliments on his speech when Uncle Stanley unexpectedly invited Uncle Tommy to say a few words. Tommy rose to his feet and walked awkwardly round to stand in the speaker's place behind the table. His muscles still aching from the strenuous bout of paddling. Uncle Tommy began to s peak. Standing slimy and holding on to the corners of the table with his gnarled hands, he spoke pure and unhesitating Arawak from the heart. "I want to speak because I remember Lucas from when he was a tiny baby. We c a lled him Horotoshi because he had no hair. Calabash-head we called him. Or sometimes we called him Potakashi because he l o oked like an old bald-head Portu!!uese man. And now look what Calabash-head has done. He has !!one away and studied in some far-off place with white people. He has even learned to speak lik e them. He has learned about all sorts of thin!!s that I have never heard of. That calabash-head is now full of learnin!!. I can't read and I can't write but he can. And he can speak for all of us. I know this boy's family. His brother we called Corihi because he scampered all over the village. His mother we sometimes called Kaimaru when she !!ot cross with them. I knew this boy's father. If his father was still alive he would be very proud to sec what his son has achieved. I helped to raise him when his father died. Everybody did what they could \0 help Kaimaru. I am proud of him. All the people of Pakuri join in his success. I will drink to Calabash-head." Uncle Tommy's voice was robust and carried way over their heads to the trees be y ond. Several people cheered. Someone leaned across and pas s ed Uncle Tommy a bowl of bambeli. the local drink. He raised the bowl to his lips and drank it down. then turned to spit out the dregs behind him.

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KYK,46/47 Mart nudged Lucas and then embarked on a deliberate ploy to tease his Uncle Horace: "Uncle Horace. 1 thought you were supposed to be chief Arawak speaker. Listen to Uncle Tommy. He speakin' fluent Arawak and no English words either." Uncle Horace's face changed colour to an even darker shade of bronze. He sipped at his vodka and shuffled from one foot to the other. glowering at Mart and then retorted: "I have to use some English words. The youngsters these days don't speak enough Arawak. They wouldn't understand unless 1 said some things in English. It's more tactful to use a little English so they can understand. ,. Mart teased him a little more: "But you had to have notes on a piece ofpapcr. Uncle Tommy spoke off the top of his head. And you drinking vodka. Uncle Tommy drinkin' bambeli. 1 reckon Uncle Tommy is the true Arawak." Everybody shouted with laughter and the children copied the adults. squealing with delight. Uncle Tommy. who had no tup set of teeth. jutted his lower lip out as he joined in the joke. Uncle Horace was clearly upset. His knees sagged a little under the intluence of the vodka as he threw his plastic cup down in the sand with a violent gesture Then he took his speech from his pocket. scrunched it up and Hung it after the cup. Turning his head away from the assembled family in disgust. he stomped off in a huff. shaking his daughter's hand from his arm as she tried to placate him. There was more laughter as he went and stood by himself where the sand ended and the tall grasses began. The sun was beginning to set. Shadows from thc coconut palms lay in jagged slashes across the cooling sands. People got up and regan to stretch after sitting on the logs and planks. Lucas stayed sitting. smiling as he watched the proceedings. The week after his results had come throu!!h. the radio station in -Geor!!etown had recorded an interview with him about his master's degree in ancient history. The next day, just as the

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KYK #46/47 programme was being broadcast, Lucas was in the city, walking past a house in Camp Street which had the radio on. He heard a young black girl saying in amazement to her mother: "Hear the man on the radio, mummy. You hear how buck man could talk?" And then he had gone straight to the museum where he had worked on and off for years before leaving to study for his post-graduate degree. He wanted to share the joke with the director. Instead. the dir e ctor of the museum. looked at him coldly and told him that. now he had qualified. his services would no longer be required. Shocked, Lucas had returned home to Pakuri. Unwilling to spoil the celebration, he told no-one what had happened, that now he had no job. no prospects despite his success. Not much future. He might have to leave the country. He looked around. Auntie Zizi waved at him. She was high on Cheap and Sweet and was wrapping herself affectionately around Stanley's waist. His mother was frowning as she sat on a plank and tried to take a splinter out of her writhing grandchild's foot. All during the last year, Lucas had wondered how he could apply his new know ledge of ancient. indigenous farming techniques in a way that would help his own people. Since he was a child he had always worried about the condition of the people in his own and neighbouring villages. He remembered lying in his hammock as a boy and frening over how he could make things better and planning the defence of his village against invaders. Now he had ideas of experimenting with some of the raised field farming techniques of old and seeing if they could still be useful to his villa!e and he thou!ht of usinl! solarpowered computers to link up the scattered Amerindian communities in the country. With E-mail they could be in touch with each other and with groups outside the country. Mart's hand was on his shoulder: "Look at Uncle Horace". He said. "We I!ot to do somethinl!." Mart was high on Cheap and Sweet too. his eyes shining

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KYK'46147 They looked over to where Uncle Horace stood miserably beneath the trees, staring at his feet. Lucas got to his feet. They gathered up Uncle Tommy and the three of them made their way trudging through the sand to where Uncle Horace stood on his own in the shadows beneath the awara trees. A slight wind had got up and the branches of the trees tossed .. slowly like the plumes of circus horses. Uncle Horace stepped out of the shadows, nervous and upset, determined to defend his title of chief Arawak speaker. Mart put his arm around Uncle Horace's shoulder: "O.K. We'll sen Ie this business ahout who is chief Arawak speaker once and for all before the sun goes down. I'm going to ask you both a question." Mart shut his eyes and screwed up his face in concentration: "Right. O.K. I've gOl it. Which one of you can tell me what is the Arawak word for ... padlock? There was a deadly hush under the trees. Both men stared at each other as they wracked their brains. Man looked up at the army of huge clouds marching across the skies from Venezuela. A long silence ensued. Spots of rain fell. Uncle Tommy's mouth twisted up funher than ever and his eyes rolled round in his head. Uncle Horace stroked his chin repeatedly. Then Uncle Tommy spoke up: "We don't have such a word. We had our language before we had iron. So the word docsn't exist in Arawak." Uncle Horace saw his opportunity and pounced. shaking his linger at Uncle Tommy: 'Ah. But you have (0 be wily. You have to think round this problem. You must ask yourself. what is it that a padlock docs. A padlock holds onto something tight. A padlock will never kt go. A padlock will grip to the death. And. therefore. the Arawak t()f padlock is .. :. a juhilant Uncle Horace announced loudly his inspired solution "The Arawak for padlock is /laremo Okutll The Grasp of The Ant-Eater." he said triumphamly. drawing himself up to his full livc feet and punching the air with his list.

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KYK # 46147 Spontaneous cheers and applause burst from a few people who had come over to see what was happening. Uncle Tommy threw his cap in the air and laughingly ceded defeat. Lucas chuckled. Mart was nearly crying with laughter: "I pronounce Uncle Horace Chief Arawak Speaker." Said Mart with affection. Uncle Horace bowed and shook Uncle Tommy by the hand. Then he said good-ni g ht and strutted proudly off home to the other side of the villag e as if he were walking through the sky. It was dark. A few figures still sat around talking. Lilian Peters made her way b a ck to her house. flanked on either side by her sons. Mart said go o dnight and went across to his house where the youngest baby was wailing. A huge moon swam into the sky between the clouds. L ucas waited outside for his mother to undress and get into bed. then he went in. slipped off his boots and jeans and climbed into his hammock. "Goodnight. mai." Goodnight. Calabash-head." said Lilian Peters and went off into peals of giggles in the dark of the night. From first light in the morning. Lucas heard the chipping of his brother's chisel on wood. By the time. he had woken up. bathed in the creek and gon e round to the back of Mart's house, the sculpture was already underway. Mart looked up m o mentarily from his work and nodded. The small. pointed head was taking shape and the two massively powerful front legs with unretractable claws dominat\!d the front of the work. "Baremo Okotu?" Enquired Lucas. "Baremo Okotu .. Aftirmcd his brother. grinning.

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KYK.46147 DAVID JACKMAN The Dowry Pratap and Lal cut down the bamboo poles and transported them to the site on which Pratap' s wedding tent was to be built. It was Monday and the wedding was to take place on Saturday. His father Soonilal had invited a pundit from Fuente Grove and he had hired some of his family to help in preparing the food. A tassa group from Endeavour was hired. Dhoolarie Ramlochan was expected to arrive with her father Seth and her mother Shivanna from Cunupia. Tuesday came and again Pratap lay on his sugar sacking bed looking at the bamboo rafters and meditating. Although he had started building the tent, he did not agree to the marriage. He had ruled out the thoughts of taking gramazone! because Pratap by nature was not a coward and felt that poison was a coward's solution to the problem. All during the day while he and Lal thatched the roof with coconut palm fronds. he wracked his worried brain trying to find a solution to the problem. He worked dejectedly and reluctantly. "Take a break man!" Lal said as they got down from the roof and sat on a bench in the half-made tent. Lal produced a calabash of cool water and offered it to Pratap. Pratap took a Sip. twisted his face and spat. The thoughts of the wedding had made him nauseous. and everything tasted insipid in his dry mouth. The more he thoui!ht of Dhoolarie the more nauseated he became. Disoondaye brought them a tray with some roti and curried chutney which Lal allacked voraciously. but Pratap had no heart I'll[ it. "Yuh not eating man. Yuh need all yuh strength for the weddin' ," said Lal as he champed and squelched the roti. "1 not eatin' till after de weddin'," said Pratap spilling with disi!ust on the earth 1100r. -'What! ... Yuh must be mad or what Pratap! ... Yuh not eating'

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192 KYK # 46/47 till after yuh own weddin?" Lal looked at Prat a p as if he had been paralysed with astonishment. Pratap repeated: "I not eatin' till after the weddin." "But yuh have tuh e at the kedgeree or yuh wouldn't get no dOWry!" Lal reminded him of the Hindu custom in which the bridegroom was given a plate of food known the kedgeree to eat. The groom was supposed to stop eating only when he was satisfied that the bride s father had given him enough money and property. "I goin' to eat the k e dgeree," said Pratap collecting his cutlass and trimming a coconut tree branch. Then he added: "I I!oin' to eat de kedl!eree, but I will show them". By Friday, Pratap and Lal had finished the tent. His mother Bisoondaye was worri e d over him for he had stopped eating altogether. At first she thought it was because of anxiety over the wedding, but when Pratap persisted to the poin t of extremes. she asked Pratap with a w o rried expression on her brown wrinkled forehead: "Why yuh not eatin boy? I really worried why yuh not eatin'. Tell yuh mai why yuh not eatin'." "I fastin' fuh de weddin so I could have a I!o od time." Pratap answered Bisoondaye and Bisoondaye felt content. Saturday came and with it came droves of family from all over Caroni and South Trinidad. The tent was overcrowded with Hindu men and women dressed in their sarees, capra." and dhotis. Pratap was bathed and massag e d and oiled with coconut oil; then he was dressed in a white dhoti and capra and was garlanded with necklaces of beads and shells. He sat under the tent in front of the pundit. Dhoolarie ar rived veiled and bedecked from head to foot in fine silks of blue, white and yellow. She wore jewdlery on her entire body. Her f or ehead was hidden by bands of tine gold which hung from her head in pendants. She was draped in a saree

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KYK 1#46147 which hid her entire face and she looked like a walking tent as she approached the blanket on which Pratap was seated. As she walked, she made a rustling metallic sound which was produced by the various pendants, rings and bells which adorned her body. Seth Ramlochan, her father, seated her in front of Pratap. The pundit blew his conch and rang the five pUle bells next to him on the ground; then he struck the brass gong and immediately a quiet fell on the assembled crowd. It was the signal for the beginning of the ceremony. Seth approached Pratap and a woman placed a plate containing the kedgeree in front of him. Seth dipped his hand in his pocket and came out with nve one hundred dollar bills. He placed the bills gingerly on the brass tray in front of Pratap who looked at them in contempt. Pratap did not even bat an eye. The crowd looked on intently. One of his uncles from the front row got up and with a nourish, placed three hundred dollars on the tray. Again Pratap pretended he didn't see the money Several men and women from the audience came forward with gifts of jewellery. cloth and money. but Pratap's gaze was far away. He seemed unaffected and nonplussed. The pile of money and jewdlcry gradually grew larger and larger until it couldn't tit on the tray and money started spilling onto the blanket on which Pratap was sitting. Seth was annoyed and sweating profusdy. The audience looked on amused. Faint murmurs grew among the crowd which gradually turned into a rowdy and unruly cacophony. Comments were flying wild about the tent. One man bawled: "Aye Seth yuh stingy dog. Why yuh doh give de man money man"!" Seth fumed as he handed over another live hundred dollars followed by several others until he had given tive thousand. Only then did Pratap stan to cat the kedgeree but very. very slowly. Seth had given all his money and the only thing left now was his propcny. HI! signed over thiny head of calllc to Pratap. Pratap chewed on slowly. slowly and painfully. dclibcratdy marking time as ifhe had all the time in the world. The audience was enjoying the

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KYK #46/47 spectacle and they became unruly as peals of laughter filled the bamboo tent. Dhoolarie looked on hidden by her tent of veils and jewellery. Seth signed over the parcel of land in Five Rivers and the audience cheered. Pratap kept eating slowly. The brass plate containing the kedgeree was still three quarter filled. The guests were overjoyed. It seem e d as if the wedding had degenerated into a theatrical farce. Women held their sides as they burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter; some even had tears of joy as their bosoms heaved rhythmically f ro m the effects of the spectacle which was presenting itself b e fore them. Seth started to fuss and fume. He sweated profusely and his black countenance turned a deep purple. He wiped the sw e at off his brow and pranced up and down in front of Pratap like a wild animal as if he wanted to pounce on him. Dhoolarie sat petrified in her tent of veils. The pundit looked on in silence. The c ro wd roared but Pratap chewed slowly. slowly; one spoonful to d ay, one spoonful tomorrow. Soonilal and I3isoondaye looked on. Soonilal with an anxious half-smile on his face trying to get Prat ap's attention; I3isoondaye with a ruffled brow of panic, embarrassment and anxiety. Seth started to swear: .; I eh give yuh enough boy? What yuh want again?" Yuh want tlesh and blood?" Dhoolarie fidgeted and shifted her eyes which peeped through the little tent like a scared black bird from Seth to Pratap The black pupils. if the audience could have seen them. expressed fear. panic and anxiety Pratap kept eating until almost half of the kedgeree remained in t he plate. then he stopped and continued slowly. slowly and painstakingly. The audienc e roared: "Seth. yuh stingy o ld man." a fat woman f rom the front row bawled: "Give the man money yuh stingy old dog. Yuh eh sec de man hungry? Give de man The other women g iggled. the fat of their br e asts jumping like jelly as tears of lau g hter streamed down their brown faces making little rivulets in the thick coating of powder with which

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KYK 1146147 their faces were besmirched. Seth signed over part of the dry goods store and looked anxiously at Pratap. The crowd remained silent, anxiously awaiting Pratap's next move. But Pratap continued chewing slowly. Then one man bawled from the back of the tent: "Give him de Cinema, Seth! That go make him stop eatin'." And the crowd took up the cry: "Give him de cinema ... Give him de cinema." .. They chanted in unison and started to beat benches and bottles making a lyric out of the phrase and the tassa drummers joined in with a regular drumming: "Give him de cinema. Give him de cinema." At this point. the drummers felt that they should add a little dancing to the evening's entertainment and presently. the audience having been overcome by the rhythm of the tassa. joined in the fun and merriment. It was at this critical point that Seth. sweating profusely as he walked to and fro in front of Pratap. decided that he had had enough. He stopped in his tracks while the audience awaited his next move. "Was he going to sign over the cinema?" A hush fell on the revellers. the tassa trailed off into a sporadic roll. then stopped altogether. The women stopped giggling. Seth approached Pratap. grabbed the money and promissory notes from otT the brass plate and said: "Doy you could haul yuh pissing tail little arse. but I eh givin' }uh nothin again. Doh eat nab! Yuh think I care'!" He then grabbed the bangled arm of Dhoolarie and yanked her to her fc'Ct and started shoving her from under the tent. She -made a jangling jingling sound as he pushed her towards the exit. And the crowd roared and bawled and bellowed. The pundit got up. packed his bells and other paraphernalia and left. Pratap sat quietly. A group of rdatives whom he did not know approached Pratap and smilingly palled him on his back. Soonilal and Disoondaye came forward. One uncle said to Soonilal: "Doh be vex with this boy. Is not he fault. Yuh see how

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KYK # 46147 Ramlochan stingy. Everything work out for the best, man. This boy is a hero, and besides I doh blame him. He save heself from marriedin' a real beast. And everyone cheered as they led Pratap victoriously towards a table und e r the tent. And Pratap attacked the sumptuous display of victuals with a voracity that amazed everyone and this caused added mirth and entertainment to the celebrations which c o ntinued with drumming, dancing and singing well into the wee hours of the morning. It was as if nothing had happened and as if the wedding had proceeded as planned; only there was no bride. As a matter of f act, the comic part of the whole situation which was realised by everyone was no one had yet seen Pratap's intended bride. That night, Pratap ended his fasting as planned. Whatever money and gifts remained in the brass tray still belonged to him. Later on, the people of Felicity would look at him wit h respect and they would have a special reverence for him bec a use he was the first man in Felicity who had a wedding without a bride and the first man to obtain a dowry without a bride

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1 9 7 KYK #46147 H ARISCH ANDRA KHEMRA J The Missionarv (Extract from 'The Magic Mist', a nov e l in progress) Mark was not surprised when the M i ss i o n Hea d t o ld him to co m e ove r lat e r i n the day He h a d reporte d n o c onve r satioI1 f o r o v e r a month now and Robertson would naturally be concerned. What would the local pastors think if a visiting evangelist stopped getting converts and. besides. what would Headquarters in Pasadena think? Mark found that hedidn't care what the local pastors thought or what Irving Robertson thought or even what Pasadens thought. 1llose sanctified folk. confident of celestial glory. were all part of what had begun to seem a fabric of fantasy threatening to unravel itself into nothingness. He had not abandoned belief: it was as though belief was abandoning him and he was frightened. He had come to this country to save souls and he seemed to be losing his own. It was not as if he felt burdened with sin. He was familiar with that feeling and practised in the method of relief. But how could he seek to be shriven through confession and prayer when he had no conviction of wrongdoing only an oppressive sense of himself as of someone cut off from his moorings and drifting in a tide whose direction he could not divine? He had done what he thought was right and good at the time even now believed he could not have acted differently but he found no comfort in this judgement. He had whispered a name and sent a man to shameful death. to eternal damnation also if the doctrines of his church were true. But he had come to realize that he. too. would be damned l()fever even if he attained the Heaven he seems destined for. There was sure to be memory in that Heaven if it was not to be a convocation of zombies and he could not conceive how that horrendous clanging of that trapdoor at eight o clock on that Monday morning in July could ever be erased from his. A need had arisen in him to discover error in teachings he had

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KYK #46/47 before held sacrosanct. He had accepted those teachings on faith but commonsense now told him that even faith must balk at folly and there suddenly seemed much that resembled folly in them. Resembled only, a part of him kept protesting. maintaining a whimsical hope that seemingly manifest absurdities might yet be resolved to his satisfaction or assume again the inviolable character of Holy Myst e ry. Robertson had said on the phone that he would be in the reading room at the Mission House between four and six in the afternoon but he was not there when Mark arrived at four-twenty. No problem. He was sweaty after the brisk walk, at least a mile and a half, from his quarters at the hostel and glad of the chance to cool off by himself Switching on one of the two wall fans. he loosened the top button of his shirt and began angling his body this way and that in front of the fan. A silly thought came to him Were there fans in Hell? He chuckled. titled the fan downwards a bit. locked it in place, and then adjusted the positi o n of a reclining chair nearby. A moment or two. and he was lying back, head against a limp cushion, naked feet resting on the long protuberances at the sides of the chair. Surely Brother lrv couldn't begrudge him these small liberties after all. he had return e d to the hostel only this morning after a weekend sti nt at a forgettable hamlet somewhere in the countryside. and today had been a very hot day ... a real sizzler. Damn! No. not fans, air-conditioners Ole Reb ought to have set up heavy-duty units a long time back. and if he hadn't because he didn't know how to. why not arrange for top execs from outnts like Koolayre or Ber g breez to join his confederacy? With their know-how and drive. those guys would have the place humming before you could s ay Beelzebub. And why stop at airconditioning? Roads. factories. telecommunications all these things could be put i n place if the right people were identined and given a free hand Dives and similar fatcats could be lured out of retirement by pack age s which included personal watercoolers-

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199 KYK 1146/47 adequate quantities of Hp shouldn't be hard to put together from the chemical elements available and with their money-making expertise put to work, the economy was sure to boom. One couldn't say the sky was the limit after all, towe r construction would have to be a no-no for obvious reasons but it was easy to visualize the place transformed into a Helliopolis that Baal himself could point to with pride. True, there would still be much pollution from brimstone fumes. but one could argue that it gave the place its own special character. an undefinably fascinating ambience that devilish touch. so to speak and when all was said and done. it might stink to high heaven but it couldn't kill anybody. No, and it won't be long before ... Said. you been waiting long, Mark?' Sorry didn't hear you the lirst time. Brother Irv.' Mark jumped up with a gUilty stan and slipped on his sandals. He glanced at his watch four thiny-one and shook his head vigorously from side to side a few times He hadn't fallen asleep but he had been so caught up in yet another of the fantasies occupying much of his time of late that he had not taken note of Irving Robertson's entry into the room. He couldn't have seen Robertson. the reclining chair was backing the doorway. but he ought to have heard him clearly in the small area since he breathed with a pronounced wheeze and walked with the audible scufling ofoverwcight old men. Just came in. actually.' he added, extending his hand to Robertson. who had hung his hat on a peg near the door and was now shuffling forward. back slightly bent. with outstretched hand.

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KYK" 46147 Cy GRANT Blackness and the Dreaming Soul 'Tell me what a man dreams and /' II tell you what he is" (Arab proverb) I was born in the little village of Beterverwagting in Demerara in British Guiana, now Guyana, an independent and impoverished Republic on the North E ast coast of South America and part of the British Commonwealth Its history is inextricably bound up with thilt of the West Indies and with the European expansion and domination which start e d when Christopher Columbus thought he had 'discovered' the Indies. I grew up in the sleepy village for the first eleven years of my life and then in New Amsterdam, the capital of Berbice. Dutch place names are everywhere and the nat coastal strip with its canals looks much like a tropical version of Holland without the windmills. Even as a boy I had been aware of the class structures and white privilege, but I t o o had been privileged in a country divided by race and class and the colonial system. I had inherited all the middle class values of British society; my father was a Moravian minister and we lived in a huge manse with servants, next to an impressive wooden edifice of a Church with an imposing steeple. The sound of Church bells and choir practice and of sermons blend in my memory with the song of Kiskadees (Qu'est-ce qu'il dit?) and the tapping of woodpeckers on the tall coconut palm that swayed between the Church and the Manse. the distant drumming. A f rican and Indian. and the screams of my brothers and sisters; these suddenly ceasing at the approach of my father, a kindly but austere man. We were brought up in a strictly Victorian manner respect for our elders, correct behaviour. home work. piano lessons, Sunday School and outings to Georgetown to the Bourda cricket

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KYK 1146147 ground to watch West Indies against Wally Hammond's England eleven. We were clean and respectable and proud. Like most of our 'class' we had household servants but my mother always insisted that we kept our own room tidy and generally helped with the housework. My sisters sewed their own clothes, baked cakes and studied the piano. The household ran smoothly and life was very ordered indeed. Twice a week the house was filled with the delicious smell of baking bread and a healthy atmosphere prevailed. These are among my earliest memories. Deterverwagting's two main roads ran NonhlSouth, parallel to each other. A canal ran alongside the road on the West separating it from the land on which the Church and Manse lay and it was crossed by about six or seven bridges. Ypu could either walk. drive or cycle along the road or row along the canal northward towards the railway station connecting all the coastal villages between Georgetown. the Capital and Mahaica where you could take a ferry across the mile wide mouth of the Berbice River to New Amsterdam. As a small boy. together with other boys and girls. I would go swimming in the nearby creek. or visit a sugar plantation nearby called La Donne Intention. from the days Guyana had been French. We would set out on day excursions in small boats along the canal system that led to the Sugar Retinery. nl!gotiating the hig iron punts laden with sugar cane lining the tinal approaches to the factory. The heat and noise and smell of molasses pervaded our senses. We were allowed to sampk the molassl!s and chew the sugar cane by a black foreman in charge. returning home when it was beginning to eet dark with tales of the dan!!l!rs that lurked in ..... -..... the interior the small bands of escapcd slaves. who so many years after emancipation chose to live apart from thl! village as the Amerindians
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KYK #46/47 minds of people when I was a boy. Occasionally, we w o uld catch sight of an Amerindian, or buck Indian, as they were derisively called. These were the true owners of the country who h a d been decimated by contact with the civilization of the whit e man. Their 'simple' life styles scorned, their beliefs no more th a n superstitions. Yet, like all the many and varied native people of the South American continent they knew how to live in harmony with their environm e nt having a vast knowledge of the plant and animal life; a knowledge the West is only now beginning to r ecognise and to respect. But then we did n o t know a great deal about the indigenous peoples, nor for that matter did we know a great deal about ourselves, our origins, a nd who we were. My childhood had been sheltered, we assimilat e d the education we were provided and our morals and our values were shaped by our upbringing; lillie did we know about our own parents' histories. Fifty years after hi s death. my memories of my father arc still strong and the quality o f his life has challenged my own outlook and, indeed, my life e xperience. His strong character certainly influenced my charact er. I may not have realised just how much until recently, visiting my sister, Valerie. I started asking questions about him and my m o ther. It seemed I knew lillie about their lives before their marr i age. I had of course been aware that my father'S father had c o me to the country froin the island of Barbados and that my father had been a teacher before deciding to go into the Ministry. He had met my mother whilst at the Moravian Theological Seminary at Duxto'n Grove on the island of Anti{!ua in the West Indies . As if to remind m e that the only significant truth about my father was not to be found in his antecedents but rather in his life. my sister produced th e Bible which she had somehow inherited and had been my father's for most of his life. from the time he began his studies for t h e ministry until his death some forty years later. On the t1y lea f was his signature which had remained exactly the same throughout his life; and the date. 1901.

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203 KYK #46147 To hold this book was like holding a sacred icon. It had been his daily companion, the pages discoloured and the edges frayed. It bulged slightly and the covers were in danger of coming apart. It had obviously been rebound to accommodate the vast number of additional pages, swelling its size at least one fifth of what it had been and on which my father has made annotations, reflections and cross references. My sister explained that my father had studied book binding at some point. hence the neatness and care commensurate with the reverence he had for it. I had always hdd my father in some sort of awe. but holding this book so many years after his death. forcibly brought home to me just what an extraordinary person he had been. Now so many years on, I believe that this book deserves to be preserved and revered. It would provide valuable evidence for a thesis on Religion and Colonialism. It had been the corner stone of his faith and of his ministry. a testament to a life of dedication and integrity With colonialism had come Christianity. It is ironic that those who brought it to the colonies no longer attend Church. whilst forms of Christianity nourish among the black community in England and also in darke st' Africa. For my father Christia n principles were the bases for all morality. service to the community and value within society, the very principles that formed the core of Moravian belief. The Moravians had been ruthlessly persecuted hy the Church of Rome. and the l eade r of the movement t(')r the reform of the Roman Church. John Hus. had himself been burned at the s take. A Sholt History of the Moravia1l Church in the West Indies Province is a book in my s ister's possession which had been my mother's. It. too. bore her signature in hold clear characters. In it is listed the suhjects that students at the Seminary had to study over a five year period. They included Latin. History. Logic. Elocution, Rhetoric, Physiology. Greek. English Literature Ethics, Church History to the Reformation. Systematic Theology. Pastoral Theology, Homiletics. Liturgics. Physics. Composition and Music. No wonder the extreme erudition of the notes

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KYK # 46147 attached to father's most impressive personal bible. My father's study had been crammed with books on every subject and on every wall from ceiling to floor and he hardly ever left it except to visit his parishioners or to take a service. I believe my love of books comes from the hours I spent as a boy browsing in this library whenever my father was out. As well as the classics of English Literature and scholarship it contained many books about black heroes and black achievement. material which had not been easy to come by in his life time. There was the poetry of Langston Hughes, whom I was to meet later in life in London. and of James Weldon Johnson and the writings of W. E. Du Bois. I also learned that the great Russian writer. Alexander Pushkin. and the French. Alexander Dumas were black. facts which are still not generally known today. It was my father who introduced me to the exploits of the legendary Toussaint L'Ouvenure. the great Haitian leader. One day he called me into his study. showed me a print of Toussaint and asked me to enlarge it. I fancied myself as an artist in those days and it was an honour to be asked by my father to do something for him. Not only did his scholarship. his imposing presence for a shortish man. and his Immaculate dress, hold me in awe. but it had been whispercd that he had becn born with a strange. light birth mark in the shape of a cross on the dark skin in the centre of his chest and which faded as he grew older. I had never been able to verify this. As a very young child I had often watched him shaving. building up a big foam with his shaving brush before scraping at his face with a 'cut-throat' razor. I remember the consternation I caused when I cut myself trying to emulate him after he had left the wash basin in the bedroom to gO and have his shower. I was discovered shortly afterwards in tears. one side of my face covered in foam and blood. I bore the mark of that nick on my check for most of my life. When I was bigger I never dared watch his ablutions nor asked him to show me his bare chest! In fact we never did ask enou!!h

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KYK #46/47 questions of our parents, about his father and grandfather what memories they may still have dating back to the days of slavery! Perhaps we did not want to know about slavery as if shame were attached to the slaves for having been made slaves. My mother was a great beauty and obviously well brought up as befits the daughter of someone of the privileged upper-middle '. class in a small West Indian island. Her father had been a Scotsman, a sergeant in charge of Prisons near English Harbour where, a century before. Nelson's Fleet had been fitted out on the island. She played the piano and indeed taught it to about grade 4 of the British School of Music. Most of us children were made to study the piano. but only the eldest, Ruby. attained any great proficiency. up to grade 8 I believe. My mother was also a competent painter in oils and water colour and did exquisite embroidery and crochet-work. Despite the closeness of our family we somehow never got around to ask our mother about her childhood. or about her parents or how it came to be that she had Indian (from India) blood. We also never asked about our ancestry on the European side. We identitied so much with the 'coloured' middle class that we had little curiosity about our ancestry on either side of our family tree My father was revered by all. A powerful orator. his sermons were masterpieces. I'vi! seen him leave the pulpit and I shake a memher of the con!!re!!ation who had dared to doze off during one of them! He was deeply concerned for the welfare of his local community. In Beterverwagting. for instance. which was subject to fre4uent nooding. in drainage and irrigation problems. he helped run a farmers' Co-operative from an office under the Manse, and supported the political campaigns of local men. against the stranglehold of the plantocracy. to gain scats in the Legislative Council of the Colony. He was fanatical about cricket. He had a stack of ball-hy-ball score-books from all the major matches he had attended. He formed a cricket club in Beterverwagting, with a good pitch and

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KYK,46/47 pavilion and many inter-village matches were played. One of the rules of the club was that cricket must not be played on Sunday. One of my most vivid memories of him was when some people tried to break that rule A very prestigious match was arranged between some members of a visiting West Indian cricket team and a team from Guiana. When word got to him that this was taking place, he set off. after his sermon, for the ground armed only with his umbrella. He placed himself between the wickets and stood there all day in the boiling sun. There was no cricket on that Lord's day. that Sunday in Guiana. It was headline news in the papers the following day. When I was abou t eleven years old the family moved to New Amsterdam. in Ber bice. where my father was sent as minister for four Churches. two on either side of the Berbice River. This move entailed considerable changes in our lives. Before it, my elder brother and sisters had travelled to Georgetown from B.V (as Beterverwagting was known) for their secondary education. New Amsterdam was over s ixty miles away and travel by the local railway. always a great adventure. was out of the question. Other arrangements had had to be made. Also my father's work load increased dramatically and I was later made to accompany him on his frequent visits to his congregations in those remote outposts. But New Amsterdam, although a small town. was very beautiful. Our new home was another huge wooden two-storeyed house in Coburg Street. The street was red-brick and shady. and the colour of the flowering trees. bougainvillaea. and hibiscus and the wide range of fruit trees imbued a picturesque elegance to our new surroundings desp ite the fact that our house was opposite the Police Station and Fir e Brigade. I remember making friends with the Sergeant in cha rge of the Fire Brigade. He was quite a musician. playing the guitar in the typical Guyanese fashion with strong African inlluences. He also played the saxophone. I had been gelling bored with my piano lessons. the sounds of the guitar and saxoph one were seducing me away from the piano. But my father would not hear of me taking lessons on either. I

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KYK # 46147 could learn the flute if I wanted, and the Sergeant was quite qualified to teach me. This seemed a good idea, as I was a bit young to start on the saxophone. It would also be a good introduction to playing a wind-instrument. But I found the flute extremely difficult. and when I realised that my father was expecting me to play in Church as soon as I was able to squeak out the simplest tune. I decided to call it a day. I did manage, however. to learn a few Chords and some bass rifts on the guitar from the Sergeant in between my futile attempts to 'lip' the tlute. One weekend. my younger brother and I and a few friends went swimming in the estuary of the Berbice River. Now this river is at least one mile across. and the currents around the Stelling quite strong at times. The end of the Stelling. where the twice-daily river-boat docked. protruded about a hundred yards from the bank. We rowed out from the side in a small boat towards the mouth of the river and dived off. Soon I found myself on my own and caught up in a strong current. I made for the supponing posts of the stelling. To my horror they were covered with barnacles. l!leaminl! like broken l!lass. dark and l!reen. and I ....... -....... knew I would cut myself to bits just trying to hold on against the whirlpool swirling round each post. There was nothing else to do but try to tind a way out of the current and head for the boat a hundred yards away. I managed to pull away from the current. but found my strength failing; and panic was making it din1cult to breathe. My brother and the others were some way off and I shouted for help. They seemed to think I Wa'; clowning! I was unexpectedly and dramatically tighting for my life. Engulfed in the surge of my effort and my nailing arms. I felt it slipping from me. murky water everywhere. in my mouth. stifling my grunts. in my eyes and nose. The river was claiming me fast. my shon life a blur before my eyes. as in a dream. Then. the merciful relief one feels on waking from a bad dream. a Iirm hand was under my chin supponing me as I was about to go down for the third and tinal time. I knew instinctively that it wa'> my brother's. He had heard my shouts and had kept an eye on me just

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KYK # 46/47 in case. Were it not for him I would not be telling this story. Unfortunately, over all the long years, I have seen very little of my brother. Our ways were to part shortly after our school days. We both were to become se lf-imposed exiles living away from the country of our birth he in Scandinavia and I in England. We attended Berbice High School in New Amsterdam passing the Junior Cambridge and Senior Cambridge examinations, the same o nes that were set fo( Secondary School children in England. Sitt ing next to a boy of pure African descent, or of Chinese, Indian or Portuguese descent, the education we received implied that everything black was inferior. The only language we spoke confirmed this. History lessons told us nothing about ourselves or tried to explain the great diversity of our population. Slav ery, the slave trade and the true nature of conquest and colonialism were never significantly dealt with. We learned about English Kings and Queens, the war of th e Roses and the Napoleonic war. We learnt about English conquests Nelson and the Armada and about the Magna Carta and Queen Victoria. We sang Rule Britannia every year on the 24th of May ( Victoria's birthday celebration day) and England was our Mother Country. We were never told about the civilizations in the New World that were destr o yed by the Europeans. C o lumbus and Raleigh were heroes. We were made to think of some of our forebears as savages. In Geography we learned about London Newcastle ( that one does not take coal to Newcastle) of the Pennines (not of the mountain peaks of Guyana and its magnificent Kaieteur Falls) and of Li verpool and Brist o l ( but not of the vital roles they played in the days of the Slave t ra de). In English about Shakespeare and of Stratford on Avon The Merchant of Venice (The disgusti ng Jew), and The Tempest (of Prospero and Caliban) of Oxtnrd and Cambridge ( to which we all aspired literacy in Guyana was once (alas. not so toda y ) one of the highest in the world ') For Biology we learned n ot hing of our own nora and fauna (but the different parts of a dalln dil instead or the hihiscus).

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KYK #46147 Guyana was idealised in the dream of Sir Walter Raleigh, the English adventurer who had dreamed of discovering the City of Gold, EI Dorado. It was not until many years later that I began to reappraise our history and my relationship to it. Raleigh had been released in 1505 from the Tower of London, where he was being held for treason, to go on an expedition to find the mythical city. In his book The Discovery of the Empire of Guiana (l596) he described this expedition claiming that the mythical city, supposed to be Manoa in the Guyanas*, had "more abundance of gold than any part of Peru and as many or even more great cities". He was to lead two other unsuccessful expeditions between 1595 and 1616 but his drerun was not fultilled and in 1618 he was beheaded. European expansion had started. in 1492. when Christopher set sail in the Santa Maria. accompanied by the Pinta and the Nina, in search of gold and glory in the name of God and country. He was embarking on an outward journey into darkness that was to set in motion the destruction of cultures. civilizations. and of races and peoples on an unprecedented scale. setting the pattern for eventual of the entire world by the European powers. Over the ensuing years the conquest of the Aztecs and Incas took place and the greed and brutality of the Spanish conquistadores has been well documented. Many other ciVilizations perished. thai of the Olme<: in the Gulf of Mexico and the Maya in Central America. What the Spanish had startcd was sc.K'n eagerly taken up by the PonugUl.'SC. the British. french and Dutch. "The scramble for new territories to conquer was to last I(lr centuries. Guyana had not appealed tu the Spanish. It was not as immediately attractive to them as their earlier conquests. Columbus had sailed along the low unattractive coastline on his third journey to thc 'new' World in 14Y9. hut did not make a landing. And although the Spanish landed a year later and occupied the now known as Venezuela. it was the Dutch who first

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I0 KYK '46147 settled and colonized the eastern region. Even though it is situated on the South American mainland, Gu yana is considered part of the West Indies. The history of these islands is similar to that of Guyana the result of Columbus' voyages of 'discovery' and the ensuing European scramble for possessions which rapidly changed hands. Politically, culturally and economically their destinies are irrevocably intertwined. Their histories are chequered by conquests. The Dutch settled the eastern territory known as Guyana for a period of over one hundred and fifty years. Their nrst settlement. in 1616, was on an island some forty miles up the Essequibo River which they called Kykoveral (look over all) near the Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers. Later the settlement spread North towards the nat coastal strip. Guyana has many river systems and it derived its name from this fact Guyana (Land of many waters). With their intimate lmowletfge of low-lying lands. the Netherlands, the Dutch were responsible for the irrigation and protect;on from 'an encroaching se3 'pf low lying coastal strip. The clearing of. protection of anricultural lands was hard work .and the introduction of slaves ... ".. from Africa began with a Charter to the Dutch West. India Company in 1621. The indigenous inhabitants. the Carib. Arawak and Warrau. usually referred to as, Amerindi ans. were not considered suitable as they died like nies on contact with the settlers . It is no wonder that they were inclined to disappear into the t()restedinterior. I -All the Europe an powers indulged despicable slave trade. The most barbaric atrocities were perpetrated and Rot surprisingly the slaves constantly revolted. The m<;lst, ra,mpus slave rebellion in -his tory. took place ini:laiti. then St. DOlllingue. in the late 18th Century. ftled to the establishment of the :tir-st black Republic in the New Worlp. :My father had introduce(jme to the leader of that rebelli on. Toussaint L' Ouvenurc. when he had asked -me to enlarge his portrait. My father's interest in black history and culture waS to

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KYK # 46147 influence me greatly. In a period rich in remarkable men, Toussaint was one of the most remarkable. c.L.R. James, the great West Indian historian and man of letters, had this to say about him: "With the single exception of Bonaparte himself no single figure appeared on the historical stage more greatly gifted than this black man, a slave till he was forty-five." But what is perhaps more significant is that there had been a slave rebellion in our own colony. Guyana, in Berbice, which preceded the famous one in Haiti by nearly 30 years, in 1763. It was led by Cuffy and the slaves were in complete control of the Colony for nearly a year before it was finally suppressed. Slavery was to continue for almost two centuries. The trade itself was abolished in 1807 and the institution of slavery in 1833. not as is often suggested. for humanitarian reasons. Economic considerations were manifesting themselves more and more. But in order to nil the gap in labour which resulted after emanCipation. a system of indentured labour was introduced initially from China. and from the Portuguese island of Madeira and later from India. So the population of Guyana comprises peoples from England. Holland. Portugal. Africa. India. China. a strange and exotic admixture of all these peoples and the indigenous Amerindian. It calls itself the Land of Six Peoples. which is not quite accurate. It is a land of great racial and cultural diversity. Slavery had shaped every aspect of life. the social structure and the very psyche of West Indians. The mixing of tribes during Slavery had disrupted families, social values and the communalism or the traditional African cultures. The slaves were mere chattds. brutalised and forced to work in the most appalling conditions. punished with the greatest bestiality. the women raped. the men disempowered. The effects of slavery on the West Indian black population was quite simply traumatic -the menfolk betraying an ambivalence amongst themselves and towards white people who had suppressed and mentally castrated them distrust or the white man and yet not showing it. and or those they do not know

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KYK 1/46147 including other West Indians. They were defined by patterns that were alien to their very being making them more divided, contemptuous of others and of themselves, jealous o f those who oppressed them. As Frantz Fanon put it: "Every colonized people in other words, every people in whose soul an inferiority complex has been created by the death and burial of its l ocal cultural originality finds itself face to face with the langua g e of the civilizing nations; that is, with the culture of the mother culture. The colonized is elevated above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of his mother country's cultural standards. He becomes whiter as he renounces his blackness, his jungle". I, myself, am only about four generations removed from slavery and a mixture of three racial groups, African, Asian and Scottish. We were c o lonized in body as well as in mind and a strange darkness pervaded our souls. We divided ourselves into classes, as the English did, but based on shades of colour the mixed races, the c oloured, below the white English and Portuguese, but above the blacks and the Indians who were 'coolies' (we actually used the terms our masters The policy of divide and rule wa s one of the most effecti ve ploys developed by Colonial powers. Anempts had be e n made to stamp out the African heritage. Africa was the continent of darkness and of 'brute beasts'. A country without a history of its own. Africa had contributed nothing to human knowledge, there were no civilisations thereEgypt, like Greece, was part of The African gods worshipped, only in s ecret and in 'primitive' incomprehension. Slavery had obliterated the past. The early slaves had been split up into different language groups so they could not communicate. They eventually lost their language and their religious rituals were prohibited; and the drum, central in so many of the world's cultures, only permitted to be played on certain days. Boxing Day, with its masquerades, drumming and feasting had more signilicance to the African slaves than Christmas Day.

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KYK # 46147 But Africa was not suppressed, it went underground and lived in the heart beat of the black population. To their credit, black West Indians, like their African forebears have retained a vestige of their lost values. But the loss of communality has resulted in an inability to organise effectively as a community. Individualism, and going it alone became a trait of the West Indian personality. Only in moments of extreme crisis was there the need of coming together for the common good. But even here indi vidual ambitions frustrated the attainment of the desired goals. EconOmically disenfranchised. the black population was much later to gain political power creating even more racial tension. The Indians had come as indent\:lfed labourers. They too had their festivals, pujahs, or tajahs as we called them, with their elaborate, glittering towers that were carried through the streets to the sound of drumming, only to be thrown into the river at the end of the festivities. The Indians were industrious, working in the cane fields as the blacks before them, but setting up shops and other enterprises. They still had their languages and their religiOUS beliefs. Mosques mushroomed on the horizon, alongside Christian Churches where the worshippers were mostly black. lllack a.nd Asian people were not homogeneous and so inadvertently served the interests of the white ruling class. The colonial legacy had encouraged division, and has created confusion politically as well as in the economy. The hierarchical structure, which even after the Europeans had finally been ousted, had left its own value system as the cultural norm. Despite its many cultures, Guyanese had been educated to value only the culture .of ENgland, and so have lost their true identity as Sir Walter Raleigh, tf.ie would-be discoverer of Guyana, lost his head. In such a climate I grew up. Able to appreCiate Bach and Beethoven and to recite Keats and Shelley. "A thing of beauty is a joy forever." "Beauty is truth, truth beauty. That is all ye know on t!arth and all ye need to know." I went for long wal ks in the Botanical Gardens and mused ... beauty and truth. I even had a poem, dedicated to "Poesy", published in the Sunday Chronicle.

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KYK 1146147 My father read it aloud to the entire family, my mother, my two brothers and my four s i sters, before Sunday lunch after he said grace. My embarrassment was palpable. I was to discover Aime Cesaire and blackness much later. My true education only began when I came to England and discovered that I was b l ack, the initial shock and later the deep revelatory and healin g potential of that discovery and that England was not my mother country. Today Guyana is still bedevilled by its past. Privilege and racial coollict have fes t ered beneath the surface of political life. It is little wonder that as a young man I dreamed of going overseas to widen my horizons I did not have any strong feeling of qllereTlcia, of belongin g The coastal strip is flat and uninspiring and I never experienced the numinousity of the interior. My only visit to the interior of the country of my birth was a day trip to the Kaieteur falls years after I finally left it. I have always envied Wilson Harris and his ability to create a meaningful mythology with his e vocation of Columbian myths and of redemption in the collision of cultures; the brilliant tortured landscapes in the nov e ls of Edgar Mittelholzer, my next door neighbour, who had b ee n barred from viSiting our home by my father for his frank anti-puritanical views; and AJ Seymour's long poem The Legend of Kaieteur glorifying a dubious history; and all those who strove so hard to blend a distinct and unique Guyanese consciousne ss. I could not turn my back on the classical music that had filtered t hrough fhe house as a child nor the distant drumming, African and Indian, ,he banned Cumfa dances and the Indian tajah. and the Spanish music over the airwaves. all of which resonated in my soul; as did the sound at night of a lone guitarist accompanyin g a doleful African fllelody: 'Martha. sweet Martha. Martha, sweet Martha, telt me where you get that money from". What was distinct about our culture was its diversity but at that period of my life I did not appreciate the symbolic

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KYK#46147 significance of this. The social, political and economic realities overshadowed any awareness of possible cultural synthesis or any real sense of belonging. To my young mind, the unbrok.en flatness of the physical landscape along with a pervading sense of colonial stagnation seemed to impose limits on my future innermost horizons *This movement had led to the formation in Czechoslovakia of the "Unity oj the Brethren ", the official name for the Moravian Church which had its origin in Moravia and Bohemia. *Cy Grant's of Guyana throughollt the article. a 'r') has be retained

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!l{ain,!orest Creatures tfepictei in /([ustratio11.): M
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C. Junl.UI Tapir

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KYK # 46/47 Articles FRANK BIRBALSI:\GH Interview with Martin Carter FRANK B.IRBALSINGH: In the late 1940s, how did yO/I become involved in politics? MARTIN CARTER: I was always interested in verse and as a consequence of that I became interested in p olitical. activities. I used t o write and was friendly with Wilson Harris, Jan Carew, Denis Williams and AJ .Seymour. Bill how did YOIl conn e ct .... ith Cheddi Jagan ? Cheddi came back to Guyana in 1943 and began agitating. I used to hear about his agitation and becam e interested in th e movement he had started. He had founded the Political Affair s Committee (PAC), and used to hold political meetings at th e Kitty YMCA. I attend e d those meetings. What abolltthe group s at that period, for example, the /..Raglle of Colollred Peoples, (LCP J, th e British Guiana Indian Association, and the British GlIiana Labollr Party'! The LCP was somewhat reactionary in our view. S owas the British Guiana East Indian Association. Jagan fOllndeli the People's Progres s ive Pam' (PPP) in 1950. lind the party won 18 Ollt of 24 seals in e lections in 1953. Sidney King IEusi Kwayana I was a founding memher of the party.

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. 219 KYK /I 46147 and I ran as a candidate in the 1953 elections. I ran in New Amsterdam and lost to W.O.R Kendall. In 1953. after Dr. Jagan was in power for six months. the British Governor Sir Alfred Savage qllashed his government and sllspended the constitlltion which was the most liberaL in Guyanese history. Then YOIl and others were imprisoned. How did that happen? I was abroad when the constitution was suspended. I found the suspension in force when I came back. Several members of our party went from Georgetown to B1airmont to speak to the people about the suspension. We were arrested for breaking regulations that required us to remain in Georgetown. Sidney King. Bally Latchmansingh and Ajodha Singh were ;llso arrested and we were put in a detention camp for three months. .' I .. Could the suspension have been avoided? Does the party bear some re,spo1/siqility for prOl.-' okin g.it? There was mass hysteria in the country at the Orne . There was talk about Cheddi a communist. That was a ...... ..... ...... ..... There were all sorts of movements in the Caribbean. the local labour movement in Guyana with Critchlow; and one of the main things was to point a linger at those who were communists The only way you could say that Cheddi. brought the suspension on himself is if you agree that someone like Mahatma Gandhi brought his death on hinlsc1f. If he was not a pacillst wht) stood for power sharing between Hindus and Muslims. he would not have been killed; but he would not have been Mahatma Gandhi either. It is a closed (rhetorical) question 10 ask if Chcddi brought the suspension on himself. Whot role do YOII think J)r .logo II 's American studellt backgrollnd played in the suspension. H(/d he studied in Englllnd instead oj

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KYK'46I47 America like most Guyanese at the time. could it have made the suspension more unlikely? I think his American education gave him a sharper cutting edge. Colonial politics was British. American politics was different. For instance. a lot of the literature that Cheddi handed out was American. We must keep in mind that the British Communist party was playing an active role in the labqur movement. and British socialists had their own (British) ideas about how we could achieve colonial At the same time you had like Ferdinand Smith who was the Caribbean representative of the World Federation of Trade Unions. and Paul Robeson who was Communist. So Cheddi brought a new (American) element into !he scene of British Caribbean politiCS. American RepubUcml;sm is differetll from British COllstitfltio"al politics which favours gradual social and political challge. Sillce republica"ism is more radical ill style. Dr. Jagan brougllt all (America,,) rhetoric tllat was alie" to the British style of colonial politics. That point is well made. It makes sense. Look at Cheddi's speech and rhetoric: his vocabulary is dil'terent !rom that of pt.--ople who were tr3ined in Britain. Even the PAC was based on an American model the Political Action Committcc of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) of the US. What happened between /953 and /955 to calise tile fragmentation of the PPP? Whllt role did Latchmllflsingll and }aiflllrine Singh play ? They were not our allies in the beginning; they were more or less what Cheddi would call fellow travellers; they were looking out for themselves.

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lll KYK 1146147 77ley had no ideological commitment. None at all. Who were the genuine ideologues in the party there was yourself, Rory Westmaas? Sidney King and Ram Karran. Were you at the famous meeting at the Metropole Cinema? Yes. Was there a plan to Ollst Dr. lagan from leadership of the party, or was it a fortllilOlls circumstance of which his enemies took advan tage ? They took advantage of it. It was not organised; but there was an agreement that if the Burnham faction of the party moved a motion to put a spanner in the works. the Jagan faction would walk out. At the Metropole Cinema meeting there were a/ready two factions of the PPP: one led by BUn/ham and the other hy Cheddi? Absolutely. What was the basis of factionalism'! Was it personal. cllitura/. racia/? It was everything. It was racial and cultural because there were Indo-and Afro-Guyanese party members. and those who belonged to Georgetown (the city) generally Afro-Guyanese were against those from the countryside, generally Indo-Guyanese.

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KYK 1146147 What happened after y our faction walked out? There were two PPP's one consisting of the Burnham faction, and the other of the Jagan faction. EVe1ltilally, the Bumham faction became the PNC. They fought elections in 1957 which they lost to Dr. lagan's PPP. Then they lost agai" in 1961. But tlley manoeuvred successfully to wi" the elections in 1964. Apart from the change in the electoral system to Proportional Represelllation, what other factor caused the PNC to win i" 1964? They had input from the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and there were Guyanese "agent-provocatt:urs" who wt:rt: hired and paid by the CIA. Many of these, though not all. were urban Afro-Guyanese some of whom were trade-unionists. By 1964 the coulllr y was racially divided and the socialist Bllmham had teamed lip with the capitalist D 'Aglliar. Dr. lagan himself has said that Bllmham had lofty socialist ideals in the early years of the PPP. There is no doubt ahout that at all: Burnham was considered as a leading tigure in the tight against Colonialism in the Caribbean. What happened to him between 1953 and 1964? Did his ideological commitm efll give way to personal amhition? I think it was a question of opportunism plain and simple. Bllt Bllmham did not o nly team lip with D'Aglliar. He looked at the signs and saw that if he played certain cards he cOllld take power; I don't think it is any more mysteriolls than that. He ntled Jor twenty one years IIntil 1985, when he died: and his party remained if! power IIntil 1992. Between 1964 and 1992 Gllyana

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KYK#46J47 declined disastrollsly. There was massive emigration, economic ntin, social breakdown. Burnham cOllldn't have been so evil as 10 be motivated pllrely by opportllnism while his country was reduced to shambles? He did not begin as an opportunist. He was Titoist rather Ulan Stalinist. Tito was not communist: he was a man in the middle, and I believe that Burnham took his political positiOning from Tilo. lito was interested in himself. YOll knew Burnham well alld worked for him? Yes, I worked as a member of his government from 1967 to 1970. Considering the integrity of the ideological commitment i1l your writing. how could )'OU work for Burnham? It was a lime when the racial crisis in this country was severe. I had become convinced that this country would not get anywhere because of the racial division. First I went into Bookers from 1959 to 1967. working as an information officer. Then I joined Burnham's party for three years and came back out again. It was a time of transition. One was trying to lind a way to bridge the gap between the races. There were competing power blocs between Burnham. Jagan. D' Aguiar ancl a set of splinter groups between them. In that period everyone was trying to lind his own way in the confusion. There was also a feding that it was possible for Guyana to achieve a sort of independence. different from other countries in the Caribbean. We always looked on Guyana as a separate place from the Caribbean. Rut Rum/wm's party wOllld still be ruling (( lite Cold War had not mded. That is because the world has to a extent. from what

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KYK 1#46/47 it used to be some years ago. The Americans can't get away with what they used to g et away with in the past. Countries like Gellnany and Japan now have economic power. Americans have to be very careful abou t what they are doing. Are YOlt happy that Dr lagan is back? Cheddi has a right to b e in power; there is no doubt about that. But people feel that he is l e aning over backwards, allowing people to do things that they s houldn't be doing. He is kowtowing to pressure when he sho uld be implementing his own policies. That is the feeling at large. What role does Mrs. lagan play in the life of the part) and its leader? It is wrong to suggest that Chcddi is controlled by his wife: that's not true. What is important is fhal she is a good organizer. but she does n't have a politic a l bent. Assllming that Dr. l a gan has the vision and Mrs. laglln the or g anisation, she mi g ht still be able, throllgh organiZlllion. to inflllence his vision. Yes, but I still don't think that she has had the int1uence that people seem to think she ha s had. Let liS tllm to YOllr writin8. YOII be8all ill 1951 YOllr first colfection of poems The Hill of Fire Glows Red. the fllrther coffections The Hidden Mall (1952); The Kind Eagle ( 1952); lIlId Retumillg (1953 ) Then came Poems of Resistance (1953) the vol lime that made the strongest impact. Edward Brathwaite has said that YOllr early work, lip to 1953 is rhetorical or empty. He sees in YOllr work a drift into dream and (false) rhetorical hope: illlo images of resllrrecti o n and monllmental cosmos. I slIppose he is

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" KYK #46147 referring to lines like: "/ do not sleep to dream, but dream to change the world." (p.ll); or: "/.vill make my shirt! a banner/ for the revolution" (p.15). What is such expectation based on? . It is based on the same thing that Brathwaite's poetry is based on. Poetry is not argument. Poetry is statement. ". Bllt there are statements and statements. One statement can say / am weak and / accept defeat. Another statement might say, / am weak, but / will fight oppression. Brathwaite is a major Caribbeall poet, who claims "there is I/O nation language" i1l YOllr work by which he basically means the vemaclliar or Gllyanese creole. The fact is that YOII know and speak Guyanese creole, but do not often use it ill your poetry. But / do not see why good poetry cannot be written without the vemacular. Both ways: with or without. His argument is based on what he calls "nation lan!!ua!!e" I don't know what he means. / think he means the vocablllarv. rhythms, cadence and oral practices of creole. Creole or Creolese. Not creolese. because that is p e jorativ e whereas h e m e ans a language that is ll11 authentic form of expression in Eng lish. That docs not satjsfy me. I am writing in a personal language that I know. 1 don't write in a language that I don't know. And the language that you know e xpress e s your f e elings to your satisfaction? That is right. I suspect the fight for "nation language" is falsc. When you speak of "nation languagc" you're speaking of

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KYK 1#46/47 something which I don't know. Brathwaite's poem "Rites", about cricket in 1954 is written in the vernacular with all the gestures and exclanwtions that West Indians use when speaking of cricket. That is an authentic West Indian language. But so is the language we are speaking now. That's right: it's conv e rsational language. That's why I don't understand what he means. Still, I want to follow lip on the charge Brathwaite makes that your poetry, up to Poems of Resistance, betrays unconvincing rhetoric. I detect confidence or aggression, flOt necessarily optimism/pessimism, b ecllllse those terms become meaningless, as YOll have rightly said. But your early poems have a stridency which seems to go awa y after 1953. After 1955 or 1961. your tone changes from one of assertiveness to one of self-examination. In a 1961 poem. for instance. YOIl say "Brll when I tried to litter words I barked". To me. that would have been impossible in the 1953 period. It's a different situation altogether. Also. some poems were published much later than they were written. so you cannot rclate a particular tone to a spccitic period. Poems of Succession has poems from the 195005 to the 197005. I still think. though. that there is an intellectllal consistency and ideological coherence to YOllr 1951 poems which express either a strong sense of nationalism or a sense of global solidarity with the oppressed of the world. These poems are inspired b.v a Marxist agenda proclaiming universal solidarity against illtemationa[ oppression: "But wherever YOIl fall comrade I shall arise." (p.48). That ringing tone of liberation is absent from YOllr later poems, in the 60s. Now. YOllr tone seems more tragic. as if you accept bad situations as perhaps incapable of

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KYK #46/47 being remedied. Your early poems vigorously asserted a will to remedy such situations, and a faith that they would be remedied. i/notbyyou, by someone else. But, in "What Can a Man Do More you seem to accept the fact of a muddled situation in which people are confused and the ones you tnlst are betraying you: 'And how to leap these sharp entanglements or skirt this village of the angry streets? How utter tmth whenfalsellood is the tmth? How welcome dreams, how flee the newest lie?' (p.B4) Moral incoherence envelops everything and one is trapped in it. Also in "There is No Riot" there is 110 resistance to pervasive loss mId despair: 'Now i1l these davs thOllgh 110 rain falls, and bombs are well remembered there is 110 riot. Bllt everywhere empty and broken bottles gleam like min.' (p.l28) There is no hllman will to protest against min {lnd desolation. It's as if YOIl are saying that everything is too cormpt. mllddled (lnd hopeless. Whlll happened with the Marxist vision that did not sleep to dream bill dreamed to change the 'world? I don't know. One changes. you know. Brathwaite compared ,Vo// to W. B. Yeats. He said that Yeats was a yOllng revolutionary who became disillllsioned. He took the pmh that YOII apparently did. which is to look at the sliffering of hllmanity when you were yOllng and sa.v it mllst be changed: hilt after YOII reached middle age. YOIl conclllded that it \HlS the lot of hllmanity sllffer. Which may be true. That is a depressing conclllsion. What do the titles of YOllr vollimes mean? Poems of Resistance is self explll1lOwry. What does Poems of Shape alld Motio1l mean."

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KYKI46I47 The idea of Poems of Shape and Motion is of movement and colour. That is why you have a combination of two things shape and motion. Jail Me Quickly is a strange title for 1964. That was written when I wasn't in prison anymore Jail Me Quickly contains poems like After One Year which ends: "Men murder men, as men must murder men, to build their shining govemments of the damned. It seems cynical to suggest that it is somehow nOlmal or ine vitable for men to murder men. "Men murder men as men must murder men" casually. It is ironic that men should do this. It is inspired by what the Guyanese were doing to themselves? It also induced the line: "How utter trt/th when falsehood is the trt/th? "How welcome dreams. how flee the newest lie?" Your next volume was Poems of Succession which consists of a medley. or a mixture of poems from early alld late periods: then you moved to Poems of Affinity. What is the significance of Affinity? Everything borders wit h something else. When you speak to me about something. I usually see it in one way. then in another in one Ilat second. And that is what I'm trying to do to deal with two things simultane o usly. not separately. F o r example. I have always found it dimcult to grasp in my mind the difference between something which is extraordinary and something which is superfluous. These two things always merge, and I can see the merging only like a nash of lightning. It does not r e main. I can

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KYK #46/47 visualise it in my mind, but if I try to express it, it vanishes. It does 1Iot come out: you can't express it. All you can do is contemplate it; you can't do more than that. To express it is to lose it. But as a poet, your vocati01l is to express YOllr illuminations to YOllr readers. It mllst be a handicap to get illuminations which you can t commllnicate. But it becomes a greater achievement when you finally do utter it; for then it is firmly uttered and only wh e n it is necessary. What do YOII think of the work of Seymo/lr and Harris ? Arthur Seymour was a good friend of Wilson Harris and myself. also to some extent, of Ivan Van Sertima and Denis Williams. He was a mentor, but his own poetry did not have a cutting edge. I spent many years with Wilson before he went to England. I believe that his ideas came to a halt at a certain point. The tw o o f us had a strong disagreement on what poetry is about. I don't think that he's a poet: he's a prose writer. He has a volume of poems Eternity to Season. Nothing wrong with them. But I don't think of poetry in that way. His reputation is has e d chi e fly on his novels which can be quit e h{/ffling. They are riddles. Since ,VOIl knew Wilson personally lind discllss e d id eas aholll art with him. do you know if itlH/s his aim to be myst erious:) No, I don't think so: Wilson really think s and talks like that.

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KYK,46/47 What about YOllr techniques as a poet? The iambic beat is distinctive in YOllr lines: "/ almost stumble underneath the waste while squandered daylight mocks my deep remorse" p.84, has a high Miltonic ring T.S Eliot made a good point when he said that verse should have a rhythm of meaning. On one hand you have rhythm and on the other meaning, and the two should be united in good poetry. The illtellectual content should fuse with the music of the words? Eliot and Pound and some other English and American writers achieved that fusion. Th e ir meaning was not graspable: it was implicit in the poem itself. YOll can't tell tile meanillg of poem. The poem exists alld you experience it. That's what he really me a ns. . _. Guyana is ge"eraUy classified as pari of the Caribbean, because historically a common British Administration stretched over all these territories, alld left similar pallerns. for example. ill the racial distriblllioll of the populatioll, similar legal and edltcational systems, the Slime langlwge and so Oil. /f Guyanese culture is floll-Caribbean, to some extem. CO/lid .VOll define it? It can only be defined by its products. The writing produced by Wilson Harris. for instance, is different from the writing of George Lamming or V.S Naipaul. 111eir writing is relatively straight forward whereas Wilson's has a cenain quirk. YOll are lIsing "qllirk" positively? Yes. it has a positive meaning. And not only him. There are many

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'lJ"1 KYK # 46147 young Guyanese writers. Very strange people. I would think that their work is somewhat different from what you will find in the rest of the Caribbean. They also reflect a quirk. Your own work, you would say, has a quirk, compared with the poetry of Walcott? Yes. The word "quirk" conveys the essence of what" is meant. something that is awkward -a twist. "Awkward" is llllegative word. Possibly. But you have to turn it around. posit the contrary to "awkward." So it is both contrary and not contrary to awkward; therefore it commands attention from the reader, because it is not something you can asily find a place for. This is true for Guyanese writing as a whole? In Qcneral. Where does the quirk come from? Is it something in Guyanese clllture the huge continental hinterland? I think that it is much more than meets the eye. It is something to do with landscape. We are f/ot af/ island. The Westlfldies are islof/ds. That is one thing. but it is not necessarily the whole story. The work of Stanley Greaves, the painter, catches something of the difference between the West Indian ima!!ination and the Guyanese. for instance, Greaves has some studies of birds, combinations of and different kinds of artifacts. They arc unldsual and cannot be found in the Caribbean. They convey a sense of difference from the Caribbean. Another interestin!! -

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Jl KYK 1146147 thing is that the difference suggests American rather than British influence in the arts in Guyana. In a previous interview you mentioned being influenced by Larin-Americllfl writers. Some of them, yes. Is there all (![finity betw een the Gllyanese and La/in-American imagination? Maybe, I don't know. One day many years ago I was at home and a chap hrought a hook ahout Chile or Peru. It mentioned the name of a disease as something in the sky. I was struck hy this. Then I found a poem I had written long years ago which mentioned a disease as something i n the sky exactly the same thing. It shows what could happen. In my poem I compared clouds to the mouth of an idiot child And this is exactly the point that was made in the hook. This means that at some remote distance in time. I had seen something reminding me that a child's face could he disligured in the same way that an Indian child was disligured long ago hy disease. W e don't know much about diseases in this country. So far, I'm just going about exploring possibilities that you can't see on the surface, but when you go into them, you can discern n:scmblances that are rooted in the land s cape. This is a SOllth American landscape? Yes. It is South American, not Caribbean. III \'ollr earlv career w ith the P.P. P. roll said ro/I observed a ".. "" black womafl who gav e mOlley to slIpport the party b e callse oJ the lIice It:hite lady" Mrs. lagan. It was self-contempt.

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KYK # 46147 Which is a result of colonial indoctrination. You think selfcontempt has something to do with the political problems we have had? Yes. What I mean by self-contempt comes from our relationship with the so-called developed world. The American system of education, for instanee, places us in position of contempt. It defines liS as inferior. It makes us define ourselves in terms of others. and we come off worse. It is brutal. Look at what is happening with American T.V. What it gives is a visual image. Even when you have stopped seeing it. it remains in your mind. That is serious. Its effect cannot be counteracted by mass education, for instance, in schools. It needs individual education to work against that. That means it is going to take a long time. You hllv e made a big change from your original vision of (/ colleClive sollllion 10 Ihe world's problems Ihrollgh colleClil'e measures. Now yOI/'re saying Ihlll indiridual measllres lir e needed. I think that is the situation. II seems 10 me thlll YOII lire dOll'flplllying political soilltions to the problems of the world. I wouldn't say 'downplaying' I no longer see politic S a s overriding. I still havc no douht about thc importancc of politicS Bwt the personal is needed too hoth. The word "and" is vcry important in my thinking. that is to say. something lind somcthin!!. not somethin!! and thcn somcthin!! e1sc. It is the idea of IInion.

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KYK #I 461",7 Not long ago, I wrote a poem that I called "Conjunction". That is the idea. Things must be joined. There has to be conjunction: Very sudden is th e sought conjunction Sought once over and found once over And again. in the s ame sudden place.'

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S KYK 1146147 DOROTHY ST.AuBYN Star-World a/The Amerindians "Twas he that shook honey from the leaves, hid fire from view and stopped the wille that ran everywhere in streams then first did rivers feel the hallowed alder, then the sailor numbered the stars and called them by name Pleiades, Hyades and ArclOs, Lycaon's gleaming off-spring". Virgil Georgics: Book I The shining stars were an unending source of wonder, awe and delight to the early Amerindians. Their predecessors had been engrossed with material things of wood and stone but the early Arawaks, who came through from South America around AD 50-54. had believed in a spirit world. had seen the stars shining in the sky. and had realised that the sun's warmth gave life to the earth. and that rain refreshed and strengthened every living thing. I had been looking for an introduction to this article when I discovered a well-worn volume of Virgil containing the several books of the Georgics and also the Aeneid. The books of the Georgics had been published first in Be 29 and I discovered that far from being only meant for classical scholars they mad(! wonderful and inspiring reading. And then on page I came acfl')SS this statement: Even from the day when Deucalion threw stones into the Empty world whence sprang man, a ston)' race. And one Amerindian tribe in Guyana believe that men and women sprang from the seeds of the Mauritia palm those that the men t1ung beeame men and those that the women flung became

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KYK # 46/47 women. What a far cry it is from BC 29 to AD 1988 centuries of development. of men walking on the moon. of famine. struggle and disease. But still man' s inherent belief in spiritual things remains. For a moment let us look at the early Amerindians and see what they called the shining stars of our universe. The Evening Star. which we call Venus. they named Warakoma. The Morning Star they named Huewa. And the star of brightness. which we know as Jupiter. they called Wiva Kalimero. If a star shot across the sky and se emed to fall they called it Wai-taima. The Milky Way had a spcciallegend. It was the path of the Maipuri. the bearer of Wai-e. a sp ecies of white clay of which their vessels were made. The nebulous spots are supposed to be the tracks of spirits which leave their footprints smeared with milk. They also asserted that the three nebulae within the Milky Way represented a tapir being chased by a dog. followed by a jaguar who is not pa:t:cular in his choice for he takes either dog or tapir. Virgil called the Pleiades group the daughters of Atlas and the Greek le!!end states that at one time there were seven stars. The name "Pleiades" is fro m the root "pld" to sail. and rekrs to their rising at the season when good weather for sailing approaches. Towards the end of the second milleruum BC a seventh star became extinct. In ancient Greek ie!!ends it is related that Orion vainly pursued the Pleiades. which occurs in the Bull constellation. referring to their ri S ing above the horizon just before the reappearance of Orion It is said that the star. Merope. a daughter of Atlas. was the only Pieiad with a husband in the Underworld. So she deserted her six starry sisters in the night sky and has never been seen since Many years ago when I did extensive research on various subjects. utilising the gigantic library of the British Museum. I .' came across the legend of the Pleiades as rdated by an Amerindian tribe in Guyana. It fascinated me so much so that I made notes in a red exercise book (fortunately in ink and not pencil) and when I was writing this article those notes were of

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KYK #46147 immense value. It is a story of jealousy in which a man falls in love with his brother's wife and determines to get her. So he kills his brother and in order to prove to the wife that her husband is dead presents an arm of the murdered man in evidence. She is unaware of the guilt of her brother-in-law and in the process of time she becomes his wife. But the spirit of the murdered man haunts a tree growing near their home and the night air is filled with laments from the vicinity of the tree. She listens and eventually discovers how her husband met his death. She becomes moody and depressed and one day, unable to bear the burden any longer, blurts out that she knew he had murdered his brother. The man, disQ:usted that his deed had been discovered, decides on a terrible revenge. He will get rid not only of his wife but also or their child. On the pretext that he is going hunting for acouri he digs a large hole and entices his wife to the area When she stumbles into the hole which he had cleverly covered with branches he also throws the child therein and covers them up. That night the spirit of the dead man appears in a dream and says to his brother "I am not angry at your deed for the woman had been transformed into an acouri and the child into an adourie. So they are free from your malice". The cowardly brother the pardon of his murdered brother. He is then told "If you wish to be free of being troubled every night you must disembowel the body and scatter the entrails. If you do this you will be free of any further terror and further. every year. an abundance of fish will gather in the river", When the man awakes his dream is still with him and eventually he does what the dead brother had told him. He dismembers the body and when the scattered entrails /loat on the water they do not remain there but float upwards to the skies and assume the appearance of the Seven Stars or Pleiades. But one part of the dream came true at the appearance of the Pleiades excellent fish are abundant in the rivers. Certain birds were held in reverence by the various tribes and this is particularly so with the Arawaks and Warraus who associated the Powis (crax sp) with the Southern Cross. As the

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KYK '46147 Southern Cross makes its appearance they assert that the nearer pointer is that of an Indianjust about to let fly his arrow. The further one indicates his companion with a fire stick running up behind. This constellation also serves as an indication for the hunting of the bird. At one time the Powis was shot so often that it was in danger of becoming extinct. The Macushi tribes regard the Southern Cross as the home of the spirit of this bird. In his hook. Travels in British Guiana. Richard Schomburgk records that certain tribes believe that when the Powis commences its low moan the Cross stands erect. The snake has always figured in every folk talc of nearly every nation and the Arawaks and Warraus have a beautiful legend about Pegasus and Scorpio. It is known as the Babracote of the Camudi (snake). Four bright stars with four imaginary lines constitute the square frame of Pegasus and another thick cluster represents Scorpio as a snake. The legend concerns a man living with his wife and mother-in-law. He is never lucky when out hunting and because of this ill-luck his mother-in-law continually na!!s him. For a time he does nothin!!. takin!! her taunts out of love for his wife. Finally he takes action. He makes his wife accompany him on a journey and they take suftkicnt cassava to last a long journey. When they arc far away from home he kills the wife and cuts her into pieces. The tlesh is then dried on a habracote. He takes back with him the victim's liver and invites his mother in-law to eat thereof. which she docs without suspecting. The continued absence of h e r daughter alarms her and she tlnds out that she has been killed and her liver given to her to eat. She plans a cunning revenge. She goes off to see a water camudi and arranges with him to catch the man and swallow him. The water camudi a!!rees. She then induces her son-in-law to !!o out and /1sh in the vicinity but her actions are so strange that the man smells a rat and sends his younger brother instead. He is promptly swallowed by the camudi. She is t hwarted of her revenge and the son-in-law departs leaving his mo t her-in-law behind. On a clear night you can still see the babracote where the wife was barbecued and dose to her

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K YK#46147 you can just make out the camudi with his swollen body containing the younger brother. These then are some of the legends of the Amerindians of the Guyanas and when the Morning Star or Okona-Kura of the Warraus rises remember that it was she who stuck in the hole when her people came to earth from above the skies and peopled th e earth. And if you meet a m e mb e r o f the Macushi tribe they will r e min d yo u that th e m o rning d e w i s th e spittl e of the stars and th e Makanaima once walk e d thi s earth and talk e d with men for arc not his f o otprints on th e rocks ?

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KYK'46147 ANDREW SALKEY Here's Thinking of You Sam Sam The first time I met Sam was in March 1952, in London; the last time was in June 1992. also in London. Between then and at the time of his death. in 1994. we continued our 42-year exchange o f letters, telephone calls, magazine and newspaper cuttings, and books. Our first meeting was at the BBC's Caribbean Service offices in the old Peter Robinson building in Oxford Circus in 1952. At that time, Sam' s fIrst novel. A Brighter Sun. hadn't yet been published; in fact, it was a matter of months away from publication. George Lamming's first. In the Castle of My Skin. would be published in the following year, 1953. Edgar Mittelholzer s first. Corentyne Thunder, was out in 1941; his A Morning at the Office. in 1950. Some of the English and Caribbean literary persons who were to give help and encour a gement. in one way or another. in those days. were Henry Swan zy. Willy Edmett. Mary Treadgold, Willy Richardson and Kenne t h Ablack. all of the BBC's Caribbean Service. and Tambimittu, Arthur CalderMarshall. John Davenport. V.S. Pritchett, Kingsley Martin and Marghanita Laski. in their own private right. What do I remember of Sam and our first meeting in the DDC Canteen in Oxford Stre et? Well. I1rst of all. I was there at Henry Swanzy's invitation. be c ause I had contributed poems and short s tories to the "Caribbean Voices" literary programme, while in Jamaica; my first acceptance was a poem dedicated to George Dernard Shaw. on one o f his very many birth dates; I had written it in 1945. while still in school at Munro College. Sam was also a similarly invited back-home visitor. We talked scason and weather. We c hattcd about the wickedness of the cold and bone-slicing damp o f our respective London rooms his in

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KYK # 46147 S.E.3., mine in N.W.3. We went on to remark on the fact that we (he from Trinidad and I from Jamaica) had really never before met people from Barbados or the then British Guiana or Grenada or St. Lucia, or indeed, from Nigeria or the then Gold Coast or Sierra Leone or Egypt... For that we definitely had London to thank; actually, our colonial capitals, Sam's and mine, could hardly supply what the metropolitan centre could so easily do, in that regard. It wasn't long after we had had our first cup of canteen tea and chocolate-covered digestive biscuits that I glimpsed Sam's warm-hearted humour. He had said that his workmates at the Walls factory in the South East, where he had been employed as a sausage packer, up until a week before our meeting, all thought of him as a princely Indian down on his luck; to which Sam's comment had been, "Man. I didn't have the heart to tell them how my 01' man. the Maharajah. ups and cut off my monthly allowance of rubies and diamonds. because I left home to live among sausage packers." Our next meeting. still in 1952. was at the launching party for Sam' sA Brighter Sun. This occasion was a marvellous boost to my no-tirst-novel-as-yet ego. Sam's publisher was Alan Wingate. The fare was boarding school spare and health-giving: oatmeal biscuits, Cheddar cheese and Robinson's lemon barley water. Sam's whispered. off-the-cuIT remark was. "These people come like serious economizers. A fortnight after that. on a Sunday afternoon. we ran into each other at Hyde Park Corner, and discovered we were still bafJled by the Alan Wingate party-fare. Sam had by then taken up to referring 10 me. affectionately. as Son-Son; and I. to him. as Sam-Sam. So. at Hyde Park Corner, he said. "Son-Sun. like these publisher people don't lash out in the food and drink department,if they can help it. Seems like a Tory habit! Frugal. for Henry Swanzy at the Caribbean Service held "at home" readings in the comfortable. booksy sitting room of his house in Swiss Cotta!!e. with ncar-endless bottles of rou\!h cider.

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KYK # 46/47 Worthington and Gui nness to loosen our none too reluctant tongues. Sam was always brilliantly funny at these soirees, gently hurling picong at uns u specting, pompous, would-be writers or smiling disbelievingly at Henry Swanzy's stories which were usually replete with portraits of alienated African colonial administration civil servants and military officers who had gone bush. There we met Edgar Mittelholzer. Leon Damas, Cyprian Ekwensi and David Diop, and there we started discussions that would affect us all much later on in our early writing years: peasant and working-class personae as acceptable protagonists; the appropriate uses of dialect (as we called it, then) in narrative and dialogue compo s ition; dialect orthography (which still occupies us, today); and the claim that we were not explicit enough in pointing out who was who, racially, in our stories and novels. Sam struggled with edit ors and the reports of publishers' readers on those needling issues, for years and so did quite a few of his fellow-Caribbean auth ors. The years rocketed by. My t1rst novel was published in 1959. Sam wrote me one of his only purely serious letters I was to receive. In it he said, S on-Son, you Jamaicans need Carnival in the worst way." LOOking back, n ow, I don't think that Sam meant much more than this: you fellows take things far too seriously. You nee d to laugh a little m ore often than you do. Don't go headlong for the dramatic! Try c o medy for a change! Or as some of my American students would advise. "Chill out !" In 1961, hardly by special arrangement and more by buck-up. because of a change collision somewhere in Piccadilly Circus, Sam and I went off to a PEN Club meeting in Glebe Place, Chelsea. We ran into John Hearne and V.S. Naipaul. It was just before A House for Mr. Biswas was published and before John Hearne's Lalld of the Living had appeared.

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KYK # 46147 Vidia hadn't yet dubbed Sam a peasant writer and John hadn't yet found Sam's comic genius a political embarrassment. The four of us sat together. Sam and John had been at the sherry, with a will, for ages. Vidia and I were vastly hungry and loaded up cucumber sandwiches. Vidia was an emphatic vegetarian. I can't remember now what had triggered the curiously over, zealous exchange between Sam and John but I do know that not a few equally sherry-addicted PEN members had taken clear sides: Sam's, which argued that the Royal Family was a drag on the Colonies and John's, which espoused the adamant opposite. Sam's parting shot to me and at John was: "Oh, Gawd, wherever you tum you bouncing up Empire Kitcheners. Britain needs you, bad, John!" Even though he accompanied his grand charge with an ex tended arm and pointing index finger, as in the famous poster, Sam was all smiles and open chuckles. No sign of protesting bi tterness! No vestige of anger or rage! So typical of Sam's way. I said to myself then. So easy-going yet astutely critical. It was fairly similar to his creati ve procedure in renaming and repopulating London in Caribbean terms, in his short storis and novels. This superb literary facility, the ease with which he was able to transform whole sections of a centuries' -old city by adding to its social complexion, Caribbcanizing certain of its Anglo-Saxon attitudes and activities by affectionate renaming. and making his readers sense and see difference as desirable variety. is one of Sam's major authorial achievements. I personally believe that Sam did his renaming not merely up to a level of words only but up to a level of intended meaning and feeling. Some time after the PEN Club sherry-iFlspired contestation between Sam and John. I got an untypically short letter from SaT-H. Let me quote from it: "Son-Son, you d idl'l't know, eh? That thing the other night up by the PEN place, it happened because I couldFl't take John and the Royal family foolishness. any

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KYK # 46147 longer. You think John vex? You see him, since? I know you Jamaican fellers, you know. You can carry a grudge. too sweet." That was something that Sam had no time for, had no abiding memory of, wouldn't countenance. He was free from holding grudges because he never once bore them in any of his relation ships. Throughout the forty-two years of our friendship. Sam seemed usually to arrive at parties or meetings or other venues. alone, walking slowly, in quiet loafers. always of upright bearing a companionable smil e on his handsome face. a mischievous. quicksilver gleam in his eyes. a ready hello whenever he approached you. Often I'd earn an embrace, particularly when I was to become the butt of his good-natured picong. The apparent lonely entrances I mentioned. a while ago, which I have observed, time and time again, were never ones that made Sam look inconsolably dejected or gloomy. Why was this so? Because the seemingly lonely. physical prospect was usually offset by his innate warmth and amiability. Sam possessed th e se two distinctive personal qualities. in shades writ large. in e v erything he thought. wrote and will be remembered for. as an ironist. satirist and comic intelligence. Sam left the South East and went to live in Hereford Road. in West London. quite near where I would live two years afterwards. in Moscow Road. off Queensway. It was 1963. I think. Sam was well aware of my qui e t mania for saving everything (except money. he would say); he knew I was an avid keeper of all sorts: people's lellers. casual notes. birthday and Christmas cards. posters. all books. inscribed copies of tirst editions. old radio scripts. literary manuscripts. theatre programmes and so on. Sometimes. he called me 'librarian". sometimes "record of tice". He frequently rang me requesting the name of the book reviewer who had had something iffy and possibly inaccurate to say about the relationship between Tiger and Urmilla. the central characters in A Brighter Sun, or asking me for my hugely uneducated opinion c o ncerning the differences in the curry

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KYK# 46147 powder mixtures between Trinidadian Indian and Guyanese Indian cookery; I knew that this last was asked with much miCkey-taking uppermost in Sam's mind. Still on the subject of me as a keeper of all sorts: he once saw me searching in my letters-folder for a cablegram from my mutual friend, A.1. Seymour, and turned to our party guests and said, "If you ask Andrew for the time, he's got a whole file on it. 'Picong' and ironical teasing were all second rtature niceties in Sam's social style, and affectionately so. I bore their brunt in letters and in person, for years: because of my interest in Marxism. he used to hum Red Sails in the SUllset over the t e l e phone. whenever I would so much as mention anything to do with the USSR; after my trip to Cuba in 1968. he wrote me as "Jamaican Fidel"; in conversation, he described S1. Patrick of Ireland as "the feller with the snakes". Enoch Powell as "Rivers". Prince Phillip as "the Queen's Consortium" and Eric Williams as "Dick Tracy"; and much, much later on after he and I had m o v e d to North America. he to Canada. I to th e States. he decid e d I was Prez". the impresario who was expected to arrange all his speaking and reading engagements and teaching stints in America. I remember well his reading at Hampshire Co\l.ege; in my teaching pfartice. I had never before seen the wholehearted attention. the hair-trigger response to humour and wit. and the sReer affection coming from an audience of undergraduates: and at Hampshire. most of my students seem s tylishly world-weary and apathetic. Dut I'm getting ahead of my recall. In a DDC General Overs e as Service interview I did with Sam. I asked him. "What's your own favourite book?" And the answer came back like stretched elastic. An Island is a World. I went on to ask about his favourite short story. and he said. "'My Girl and the City ... Which made me think of the fact that Sam seemed always partial to cities or indeed escapes to cities, and partial to setting the action of his plot-lines in them. either at home in Trinidad or here in England;

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246 KYK # 46/47 true not only of his stories and novels but also of his radio and television plays, as well. Of course, it doesn't much maner now that I can't argue with Sam but my own favourites are: the novels, An Island is a World and The Lonely Londoners. the stories, 'Waiting for Aunty to Cough' and 'When Greek meets Greek' and the plays, 'Home Sweet India' and Highway in the Sun'. Sam and I were invited to read our work at five secondary modern schools. thr e e in London and two in Brighton. That was some time in April 1969. I believe. I always enjoyed Sam's readings. in the studio and at public functions. The school readings were equall y splendid and his replies to the questions put to him by pupils wer e of the utmost clarity and moral merit. They were also very, very funny. The boys and girls loved his humour and his relaxed per so nality. at school after school. They also lapped up his stori e s of hardly concealed irreverence aimed jauntily at the teachers, principals and education authority officers who had had anything to do with Sam's school days in Trinidad. I suppose I thought it was my time to rib him a little, so I said, after we got back to L ondon when the tour was over, :"0' you realize YOy could h ave started your own school after all those incredible readings and question-and-answer sessions'!" And Sam said, 'Time to joke and time to starve. You talking starvation, ri {!ht now." LillIe did he or I know, then, that he would become a much sought-after writer-in-residence and professor of literature at universities throu!!h out Canada. He also tau!!ht for a semester at the University of Iowa at Iowa City in the States. What was life lik e for Sam in the fifties, sixties and seventies? The fifties and sixtie s were hopeful, promising and very fruitful. Among the many publications during those two decades, I remember some of the highlights were: A Brighter SUIl; All Islalld is a World; The Lollely Lolldoners; Ways of SUlllight; Turn Again, Tiger; I Hear Thunder; The Housing Lark; and

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247 KYK#46I47 The Plains of Caroni. The Seventies could be considered a time of hazardous downturn, though I remember Those Who Eat the Cascadura and Moses Ascending as two of the significant publications, remarkable for their avoidance of sentimentality when their themes appeared to indicate sentimental artifice as the Il1ain thrust of both narratives; Moses Ascending was even thought of as Sam's "come-back novel" by a couple of reviewers in the popular press. That novel was followed, eight years afterwards in 1983. by Moses Migrating, forming two novels in a trilogy or tetralogy which I'm not sure that Sam completed. He always mentioned that he was at his short story and novel writing best. in the fifties and sixties. He was also writing radio and television plays well into the seventies. Whatever very little jour nalism and short fiction breaks he had in The Evening Standard dried up after about six months. Whereas most of the English Language services of the BBC in Bush House supported freelance work for a handful of us (I recall Edgar Mittelholzer. V.S. Naipaul. Gordon Woolford and myself variously doing writing. editing, interviewing and reading), Sam only took part as a guest author in domestic service literary pro grammes and minimally in overseas broadcasts. I wasn't surprised when he wrote me in the States, in 1978. and said he was thinking of making a move to Canatla. By then. much of the freelance work at Bush House had dwindled considerably. because of Foreign Office subsidy cuts in the English language services. I had moved on to teaching in America. Sam's dream of Canada was very understandable; for. after all. his wife's folks were already living in Calgary. Alberta. By the way. I like Sam's biographical entry in the 1988 edition of The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English; it reads, in part: "Selvon pioneered the usc of Caribbean dialect for other than merely comic effects; he makes it a tlexible instrument capable offarce, comedy, satire and even irony and pathos. All these modes operate in his sharp-edged inteipretation of West Indian

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KYK 146147 in Britain . Of course, Sam offered his generation of Caribbean writers and those following us so much more than the gift of the domestic as a viable and reliable source of fictional narrative; he gave voice and authenticity to the portraiture of peasant and working class 'personae'. He made : 'us believe in the depiction of their characterization. He made them laugh at the middle class anxiety and pretensions, and at the same time, he gave them ample semblances of tenderness and compassion. Speaking of the s e considerate qualities, I remember the compassion Sam showed when we talked about Edgar Mittelholzer's death in 1965. Edgar had walked out of his house in Godalming, Surrey and entered a neighbouring field. He had with him a plastic bag holding a box of matches and a container of petrol. When he was found, it's reported that his burnt body was in a kneeling, devotional posture, albeit pitched backwards. In paraphrase, Sam wanted to know why? Why suicide, any at all? Why that extr a ordinary choice of death? Wasn't Edgar happily married to his second wife? Wasn't he the father of an infant son? Wasn't he a writer of over twenty-three books. quite a few of them best selle rs? Wasn't he only in his mid-times? Also, in paraphrase, Sam wanted to know why, at that point in his apparently comfortable life, he should have wanted to end it? And then. Sam made his most profoundly compassionate suggestion. Yet. again. by way of paraphrase: in spite of everything. Edgar must have been lonely. He must have felt he was a failure. in some crucial way. What was he gelling rid of by fire that he could not have got rid of in some other way. patiently. by living? About eight years before Sam left for Canada in 1978. he, John La Rose. Edward Kamau Brathwaite. Aubrey Williams, Austin Clarke and many othe r Caribbean writers and artists and I were invited to attend the 1970 inaugural republic celebrations in Guyana.

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KYK # 46147 One of the many activities some of us were asked to participate in was a visit to a Georgetown school. And, as usual. Sam shone in the classroom contact with the pupils. It was London and Brighton. all over again. It was especially unique and memorable, because it was taking place in a country in our home area. And it was Sam's largesse of generosity of spirit and his abundant creative talent and joyful humour that' kept the teachers, pupils and myself thoroughly engaged and loving every moment of his readings and impromptuj remarks. I miss you, Sam-Sam.

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KYK#46147 CLEM SFECHARAN History as Autobiography? (In memory of my Mother who died in England on 10 October 1995, aged 63.) .... the really impor ta nt reinterpretations ill history come not from discovery of new mlllerial, bllt from a change in perspective .... Hi s tory is lllllobiography, ill that it is the instrtlmellt for getting to know oneself ... The central character in a history book is ultimately the allthor himself, ill the same way as he is in (/ good novel. Theodore Zeldin. I was born in 1950 at P a lmyra Village, in the East Canje District of Berbice. British Guiana. at the edge of the sugar-cane t1elds of the Plantation Rose Hall. Booker Estate. A f e w hundred yards away. at the back of our house. our rice field and those of other small cultivators ran ribbon-like, for a couple of miles. disappearing to the foreshore at the conlluence of the Canje and Berbice Rivers. Th e foreshore. about a mile wide. hid behind a swampy, impenetrabl e band of lush mangrove. It made this s trip of coastal savannah feel cosy; the sleek callie and unhurried herders lent b ucolic suggestions; but this idyll could be quickly saddened by v isitations of floods or droughts. A mile away, to the north-east. the Corentyne Coast began the region so evocatively treated in Edgar Millelholzer's Corentylle Thunder. This mono tonously flat, wind-swept s trip of rich alluvium interspersed with sand-reefs, is a haven for s ugar-cane. rice, coconuts. and cattle. We found it dirncult to make a distinction betw ee n the resources of the sugar estates cane, grass for our callie. wild vegctables. water-nut ieaws ( the improvised plate at Hindu and Muslim weddings). nrc-wood. t1sh, etc. and our own.

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KYK'46I47 One always felt elevated by the caressing, clean Atlantic breeze, under a spacious sky. The enervating tropics seemed out-of-place on the Corentyne. People were healthier here; malaria was less severe; one tended to dream and talk big; the dialects were spiced with hyperboles; going over the top was an instinct; the fantastic seemed ordinary. One Corentrne sugar plantation, Port Mourant, where 'coolies' were always allowed to keep cattle and plant rice, between 1948 and 1972, yielded several West Indian Test cricketers: John Trim (1915-1960), Rohan Kanhai, Ivan Madray, Basil Butcher, Joe Solomon, and Alvin Kallicharran. Across the river from us, from Plantation Blailll1ont, came another superb Test cricketer, Roy Fredericks. By the 1950s-1960s, Berbice had also produced many doctors, lawyers, school-teachers, civil servants, and businessmen. A cousin of mine, Len Baichan, played three Test matches for the West Indies in the mid 1970s. The achievement was solid; the cockiness had foundations; the people of Port Mourant even claimed credit for producing better, more accomplished, criminals. We drank a lot; but we were religious in an easy way no fanaticism. African people were Christians; Indians were Hindus, Muslims or Presbyterians (Canadian Mission). The contagious Hindu and Muslim festi vals with their anarchic spontaneity and lavish feastings, were sustained by rice and cattle, commerce, or better wages on the sugar estates. Three miles away from our village, on the right bank of the I3erbice River, was New Amsterdam, the main town in I3erbice, cluttered with Indian and Chinese shops, bulging with anything one fancied. I went daily to the town, to high school; but it is my late afternoons in the Public' Free' Library, as the solid darkness descended quickly and myriad domestic chores were evaded, that will stay with me. The British Council Library, also, where I devoured English weeklies, The New Statesman, The Listener, The Manchester Guardian, often had to have several tries at getting me to leave. I fed on two worlds the village with its rich allure of a

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KYK # 46147 reshaped Indian u n iverse and its festivals, festivities, and peculiar rhythm of w ork and play, on one hand; and the creole world of African fr i ends, books, and what I later learnt to call the 'inteIIect', on the other. We talked loudly, passionately; of Marxist politics and the Cuban and Chinese utopias; of the enchanting world o f the imagination which Mittelholzer, from New Amsterdam, had pioneered in books, I and Martin Carter and V.S. Naipaul were crafting and rendering more meaningful; and. of course, cric k et day after day, as' we concocted and embroidered upon our encounters with the great stars. The imagination never sle pt. In New Amsterdam were the High School, founded by the Canadian M i ssion in 1916, and the Berbice Educational Institute. founded by an Indian Guyanese educationist. Alfred Ramlochand. in 1949. I went to the latter. At both schools. African. Indian. Chinese, Portuguese, Coloured (mixed races). ev e n some European boys and girls. shared a rich childhood: everybody spoke cr eo lese only the dialect varied; malaria. the scourge of the colony had been eradicated by the late 1940s; life on the sugar estates run by Jock Campbell's Booker had improved immeasurably; there were exceIIent cricket grounds. girls' clubs. libraries. and other facilities at community centres on all estates; every village had access to a mission school with a nucleus of trained teachers; many girls were going on to secondary schools. e ven to teachers' training college; a visibly growing professional class of university-educated people expanded our notion of possibilities. But the sun w a s setting on the Empire. The nationalist movement. led by Cheddi Jagan and L.F.S. Burnham. had split on racial lines in the mid-1950s. The politics of hope had become infested with deep-seated racial fears. among African and Indian Guyane s e. of the shape of post-colonial order. The slide into the racia l violence of the early 1960s had begun. In Berbice. we were largely insulated from the more savage manifestations of our bigotry; old personal friend s hips. often. were

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KYK #46/47 resilient, transcending the hate; but something pernicious. frighteningly diminishing, had crept up on us, penetrating our impressionable minds. Racism. At 12 or 13, I tried but could not comprehend the anatomy of our intolerance. Our learning, in school, was still essentially irrelevant to our environment; no attempt was made to explain the roots of our troubles, not even at Queen's College in Georgetown. where I moved later. in 1966. But we had become masters at talking away our racism an aberration; yet another imperialist ruse to di vide-and-rule'; at times, even a false question which received Marxist wisdom quickly relegated to the 'superstructure'. The problem was that we were offered no course in Guyanese history; we lacked the means for self-assessment. Il was not until I encountered Donald Wood's !!reat book. Trinidad in Transition, 2 around 1971 in Canada. that I started to discern the rudiments of the shaping of the Guyanese intransigence. The most illuminating perspective lodged on the centrality of the coastal landscape its implacability in the absence of a complex drainage and irrigation system. and its endemic malaria. Wood had written: .... the coastal belt where ther [the blacks} wanted to stav had been tamed into cllltivation by the expenditure of much capital. labollr and skill. and it is probahly only the Dutch. with centuries of dearly bought experience in lond reclamation behind them, who cOllld have done it ... The system cOIILd not be neglected, or portions wOllld revert to swamp. A skilled vigilance I ras needed lit all times to see where a dyke hlld to be strengthened lind a new drain dug .l I must have taken this for granted; I. therefore. could not grasp its implications: how landscape as capricious as this and different people's perception of it. in changing historical contexts. shaped the present; how it could be seen a.c;; the primary framer of racial attitudes and. ultimately. as an clement in the eclipsing of the optimism of the fragile nationalist coalition of the early 1950s. This

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KYK #46147 belongs to historiography. This was what Donald Wood taught me: The effects of thi s neglect of the drainage system [in British Guiana] r ea lly became serious in the 1950s, just when the Indians w ere making their mark on the plantations. The natural reluctance of many free villagers to return cap in hand for full-time e state work, growing competition of the Indians, over whom the planters had the satisfaction of holding the sanctions of the indenture system, combined with the heart-breaking difficulties of the terrain for poor men I-vithout the know/edge or the skills to curb the waters a lack which later h e ld back the development of peasant cane-farming and rice cultivation all these factors help to explain a more uneasy and resentful atmosphere than ever exsisted in Trinidad. 4 My family grew r ice. but they had been primarily cattle people for nearly a century in British Guiana. I took this for granted. It was many years later. in the early 1980s. when I became d ee ply involved in my father's cattle business. that I started to explore this family obsession with cattle. I turned to the National Archives in Georgetown. to the Ships' Registers of Indian indentured labourers to British Guiana.5 As far as I could ascertain, my tirst ancestor in the colony was Sohun (Sohan), my mother's paternal grandfather. who went there as a 'bound coo lie' in the ship. 'Rohilla'. which left Calcutta on 11 February 1875. He was 22 years old and originated in Doobaree Village, Azamgahr District, in Eastern United Provinces (U.P.). He was indentured to Plantation Rose Hall. Some years later. he bo ught land at Palmyra Village where he s tarted to raise cattle; c o mmon pasturage abounded, before the introduction of rice. However, Sohan continued to work as head cattle-minder at neighbouring Prospect, a cattle estate owned by a Mr. Gill. a Scotsman. Soha n was an Ahir the celebrated cattle herding caste in the United Provinces and Bihar. His son, Latchman Sohan (19081 989), my mother's fath e r also, was a cattle-herder.

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KYK #46147 My mother's maternal grandfather, Jagarnath (1888-1958), went to British Guiana in the ship 'Ganges', which arrived there from Calcutta in late 1908. He, also, was indentured to Rose Hall. He was 20 years of age and, like Sohan, was an Ahir. Jagarnath was allowed to keep a few h ead of cattle on the sugar plantation, and when his only child, Ramdularie (1916-1985). my maternal grandmother, was married to Latchman Sohan in 1930, age 14, he bought land next door to the latter's family, at Palmyra, and moved his cattle there. The Ahir's ancient love for cattle had survived the crossing Jagarnath. also, was from Azamgahr District in Eastern V.P., his village was called Azampur. Kaila (1889-1956), his wife was not from this caste of cattle-herders; she was a Pasi. a low Shudra caste of tarimakers and watchmen. She had gone to British Guiana in September 1909. in the ship. 'Ganges', from Bhagwanpur Village, Gonda District. Eastern V.P.; she went to British Guiana alone. aged 20: no relatives. man or woman. accompanied her. I remember Kaila vaguely; but those memories are inviolable. A very dark. little woman, she was extremely industrious. and retained. to the end. a consuming devotion to her daughter and grandchildren. She was adept at the myriad. intricate tasks in rice-growing. as she was in growing vegetables; she was also meticulous in house-keeping. although s he worked full-time in su!!ar-cane fields. Kaila and Ja!!arnath continued to live in the o ld 'logics' (ranges) at Rose Hall. although they had witnessed the fatal shooting of fourteen of their compatriots in March 191J and. lUler, had acquired a substantial property for their daughter. away from the estate. Many of their jahajies (ship-mates) resided at Rose Hall. But on Satu rda y afternoons. freighted with fruits and sweet-meats. they would walk the five or six miles to visit their daughter at Palmyra. Frugal to the bone. it would have been painful to pay the fare to travel. whatever the weather; but no sacrifice was too great for the family. This passed on to my maternal grandmother, a woman of immense self-assurance and continuity of purpose: n o patriarchy could

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KYK #46147 cripple her.6 On my father's sid e his maternal grandfather. Sewnath (18811956), like Sohan an d Jagamath, was an Ahir. He came from Kharaura Village, Gh az ipur District, Eastern U.P., and embarked at Calcutta on 8 Oct o ber 1892, aged 11. He travelled in the Avon', and was accompanied by his sister. Sonborsi, aged 22, and her husband, Rag hu, aged 30. Raghu, als o, was an Ahir. It is int e resting that the ship's Register records that Sewnauth came with his parents. TIlis, o bviously, was a ruse to evade scrutiny of his case, in Calcutta. The trio were inde n tured to Plantation Albion. Corentyne an estate owned by Jo c k Campbell's family. Sewnath acquired a formidable reputation as a shovel man on the estate. His earnings were better than m o st field-workers; and his astounding frugality enabled him to buy several properti e s at Palmyra and neighbouring Sea Well, at the junction of the East Canje and Corentyne districts. He was a keen cattle farmer, but he continued to work on the sugar pla ntation. Som e time during the First W o rld War, Scwnath had moved from Albion to Plant a tion Rose Hall, wher e he continued to work as a shovelman. An or1!anised man. he had a reverence for time and apprehended quickly, any suggestion of a chance for material gain: he combined estate labour with cattle-rearing. rice cultivation. and th e growing of ground provisions. The idea of a holiday or a slac k period was alien to him and his wife. Etwarie: on Sundays. th e y would both go to their farm at I3lendal. on the west bank of th e Canje River. They toiled until the solid darkness descended; then, as they crept the weary miles back to Palmyra in their donk ey-cart laden with plaintains. cassava. bananas, etc .. they nev e r forgot to deposit some for their married daul!hters. Etwarie. my fath er's maternal grandmother. was born in I3ritish Guiana. She h a d been a Muslim but. apparently. had chanl!ed h e r name wh e n she married Sewnath. sometime around 1898. She was industri o us. energetic, and thrifty. For many years

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KYK #46147 she was a weeder in the sugar-cane fields at Rose Hall; she was also considered by many as the fastest rice planter in the area. Both Etwarie and Sewnath were impelled by a consuming passion to uplift their eight children: boys and girls received equal treatment. They gave one of their properties to their eldest child, Sukhia (1899-1969), my paternal grandmother, and her husband, J agmohan (1891-1938), whom she married in 1913, aged 14. Their second daughter was married to Jagmohan's brother, Mangal, who owned the best shop in the village from the early 1920s. The background of Jagmohan is most intriguing. The tale is told of a man name Harpaul (1846-1934), an Ahir who had returned to India with his eldest son, Balgobin. around 1888. He left his wife in I3ritish Guiana. having counselled her that if he did not return to the colony by a designated jahaj (ship). she should feel free to take another husband. He did not return by that ship, and his wife, a Brahman born in the colony. my father's paternal grandmother, invited a Brahman man. Ramsarran. to live with her. In early 1891, unannounced. Harpaul (with his son) returned from I ndia and went to his old home at Warren (East Coast I3erbice), where he met the wife he had left behind. pregnant. by Ramsarran. Harpaul had an amicable discussion with the latter whom he implored to return to his home. Ramsarran pointed to the potential difficulties raised by the pregnancy; but Harpaul assured him that he would bring up the child as if it were his own. That settled the matter. This child. Jagmohan. my paternal I!randfather. was born on 15 1891; became a cattle-herder; fathered 14 children; and died prematurely. of pneumonia. on 17 September 1938. aged 47. He grew up at NO.7 Village (East Coast I3erbice). and worked on his adopted father's cattle farm. Ramsarran had returned to India around 1898.7 It was only after I had collected these stories that the contours of my family's efforts and achievements started to cohere. I3ut the Indian background of these people from the eastern

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KYK #46147 districts of the United Provinces remained a void. That was enmeshed in fragmentary, elusive tales centred on shadowy arkatis, the infamous recruiters morose accounts of deception and separation which s till claim local Indian emotions. Inquiry ceased; and an India o f the imagination, a tendentious construct, became entrenched: its ingredients included mythical, idyllic images from Hindu classics, especially the Ramayana, the triumphalism and pathos of Bombay movies since the late 1930s, and the heroic exploits o f India's cricketers, commencing, in the I 890s, with the legendary Prince Ranjitsinhji. 8 This became the solid, real India. Most saw no need to visit India, even if they cou l d afford to. The India of the imagination could enthral and inspir e a beacon by which to steer; besides, it was sanitised, largely insulated from tl1e bigotry of caste and the shame of want. It endur e s. Towards the end o f the 1980s, I endeavoured to recover the real India of these N o rth Indian 'bound coolies' in British Guiana. A fount of rar e illumination presented itself with my encounter of Brij Lal's Girmitiyas: The Origins of the Fiji Illdians.9 Here, in a refreshingly lucid and dispassionate way, the unexamined dogma of deception and kidnapping, is scrutinised and largely debunked. Lal had unearthed compelling socio economic reasons for their leaving; and one feels coaxed into adopting these, to see their role in shaping the temperament of the indentured labourers and their descendants in the colonies. Girmitiyas, also, had a seminal inlluence on my way of seeing; the resilience o f the Indians in Guyana; their thrift and ambition for their family their achievements, are rendered more intelli!!ible becau s e we now have an authentic overview of real eastern UP and w e stern Bihar, from the latter half of the nineteenth century. We do not have to perpetuate the India of the imagination as the point of departure. fear of Black repr i sal rooted in the scars of slavery and the undercutting of thei r bargaining strength fro m the mid-1840s

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KYK #46147 by Indian indentureds, in conjunction with an exaggerated African perception of Indian ascendancy especially since the 1920s, have fed an instinct among Indian Caribbean people to get in the historiography of oppression: to see in Indian indentureship 'a new system of slavery'; to promote the notion of involuntary migration rooted in deception and kidnapping in India consciously or unconsciously to assuage African sensibilities. This, however. has not lessened the undercurrent of Black-Indian antipathy and mutual insecurity in Guyana. One could argue, also. that a compelling explanation for the dense undergrowth of Marxist rhetoric in post-war polities there, springs from the deep-seated character of racial perceptions. and a fear of confronting its dangerous implications; to address it obliquely or not at all to strangle it with dogmas; to wish it away. I believe that only mutual security could create the basis for the evolution of a Guyanese national identity; and that this identity could not be monolithic. It must accommodate diversity for the forseeable future. Papering over the racial chasm with the myth of democratic politics. even if rooted in free and fair elections. will not suffice. I argued. recently. that racial prejudice has lodged in most Guyanese. and I suggested that writers should address this issue personally to comprehend the archaeology' of their tlawed vision.1O This could be done in tandem with a historiography which assesses the peculiar contribution of each group and the context of their respective achievements. It is essential to comprehend the differences if we are to minimise their potentially destructive properties; to minimise them in the historical reconstruction is to feed incomprehension to bottle up the antipathy; to cultivate another explosion. The history of Affican Guyanese achievement must be written. This may be done best from the inside. by Black Guyanese scholars. It could address the basis of the fear of Indian domination; but it may also look at African achievement in the

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KYKI46I47 humanising of the landscape; their efforts to acquire land; their role in the rise of the gold, diamond, bauxite, and lumbering industries as pioneers of the interior; their contribution to the reshaping of Christianity and the development of education; their profound, semin al achievements in the professions, in the civil service, in loc a l government and national politics; in journalism and pressure politics; in nursing, and myriad artisanal occupations; in works of the creative imagination, etc. 11 Such a study will certainly assess' the work of an extraordinary Guyanese. Rev. E.R.O. Robertson, the first Black Methodist mini s ter in British Guiana. His efforts to for1!e links between Africans and Indians in the COlony, in the early 1920s, is an epic of imagination. magnanimity of spirit. and resolution. Robertson was a vigorous champion of the Indian rice farmers against the bigotry of Governor Collet at great personal cost. The Methodist Church constantly hounded him to eschew what they saw as politics. and when he persisted. they transferred him to another colony Robertson had three principal qualities which enabled him to be a trusted advoc ate of Indian rice farmers. between 1920 and 1923. He had a broader. humanistic conception of the role of the Church saving souls was secondary to improving the life of the underdog, irrespective of race or religion. He had unimpeachable credentials as a fighter for the Africans he did not have to look over his shoulders when he spoke for Indian farmers. Moreover, u nlike many African leaders in British Guiana. Robertson saw no inherent contradiction between the rise of the rice industry, a predominantly Indian activity. and the advancement of Afric a n people. Like Joseph Ruhomon, the tirst Indian Guyanese intellectual. Robertson was a beacon of hope for broader loyalties: his life had no room for debilitating racial spite. Robertson's radica l theology brought him into conlliet with his White Methodist colle a gues as early as August 1817. In a letter to the press. which his S uperintendent in the colony. Rev. Jones.

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KYK 1146147 deemed as 'calculated to do us harm', he defined his central prompting: I have always been of ..... opinion that [the] clergy are playing a losing game in not standing by the farmers and in not using their influence to have established a flourishing peasant proprietary ... As ministers of the Churches of the colony, some of us know that our preachings and our vestments are a huge farce, since they do the people flO good. As a matter of fact, love are working from the wrong end, discussing to them high theological dogmas when we should urge them out into the fields...... I find it more profitable to some .of our men to spt('Ni all hour with them in their cane-farms two or three times ill the week, than to talk of the spiritual things which have flO relation to their everyday life ... Let us get a prosperous peasantry established and a good mallY of our problems will disappear. 12 In October 1917. the General Secretary of the Wesleyan Society in London responded that Robertson was 'one of the young colonised people who want to see their race rise', but that he wished he could' get a little self-restraint and wisdom as time goes on ..... .' 13 Robertson, however. {!rew even less restrained: he was instrumental in creating a Loan Bank and promoting cane-farming among Black villagers. His superiors in the Church were antagonised; and by May 1919. they began what became a veritable crusade to exile him to another colony. Rev. Jones informed his General Secretary in London: Mr Robertson. by his continued advocacy of the interests ofhis race and general activity in political affairs. has gradually won for himself a prominent plac.e in the community. and his removal from the colony will certainly give rise to considerable comment... ... But he noted that Robertson was unrepentant: ..... [he] maintains that it is his duty to look after the interests of his race. and to exercise what he terms his "wider ministry". 14 It was this anchor of racial security and his conviction of this 'wider ministry', which he took to his representation of .

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KYK #46147 Indian rice fanners on the Corentyne Coast, in the early 1920s. Robertson's fearlessn e ss in exposing Governer Collet'S dismal rice policy and his obscurantist position on drainage and irrigation, evoked ren e wed opposition from his colleagues in the Church. In April 1922 in the heat of his fight with the Governor, his new Superintendent wrote to London, renewing the call for his removal to another colony. He asserted: 'There is no doubt in my mind about Mr. R o bertson having neglected what I regard as his proper work to help the farmers'. And he bemoaned his undiminished zeal: 'Mr Robertson maintains that this is part of his work as a minister in attempting to bctter their social condition' 15 In June 1922. a s H.N. Critchlow of the British Guiana Labour Union and other African lcaders campaigned for Governor Collet's ret e ntion, for a second term, on the absurd premise that his exper i ence of the colony equipped him best to undertake drai nage and irrigation.16 Robertson. however. gravely pained by th e Governor's ruinous rice policy for the Indians, forthrightly o pposed his remaining in the colony. He countered that Coll e t was, in fact. "determined to oppose every effort on the part of the people ... to secure efficient drainage and irrigation schemes He was unequivocal: 'We must drive the Governor to contempl at e in his retirement his mistake in driving a people to desperation a nd ruin ... The Governor has shut the door to all this nonsense ab o ut his retention' 17 Robertson foul!ht t he Indian rice farmers cause because he saw the whole colon y as beneficiaries of all manifestations of indigenous enterprise in conjuction with a thriving sugar industry. His hroade r visi o n accommodated the security of African people as well as he argued in February 1923: ... the negro race lias suffered more than any other through the col/apse of ollr b e st industries. Financially. morally. and spiritllally they are feeling it. Let them insistllponthe Governor at once initiating i r rigllliofl schemes, subsidising the rice lind

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. 263 KYK 1146147 sugar industries, instead of talking grandiloquent nonsense about hinterland development. /8 But he knew that he was lOSing his battle with his Church to remain in British Guiana (they transferred him to the Leeward Islands in early 1924); and in what may be seen as an epilogue to his work for African and Indian farmers, he reflected: I have been a minister for over fifteen years and I frankly confess that the social conditions of my people [African and Indian] had a powerful effect upon my conception of the ministry ... I cannot conceive why I shollld close my eyes to the distressing social conditions of my people or consider them of 110 aCCOIlIll. If ever [a1 man had a 'call' to the ministry, I had, bllt a ministry that took in the whole of life ... my 'call' was to preach a social gospel. .. /9 Racial intransigence runs deep in the Guyanese tradition, but this oasis of magnanimity and tolerance, also, Qelongs to this tradition. Notes 1. See Edgar Mittelholzer, Corentyne Thunder, (London, Heinemann, 1970 (l941J); and his d S (London: Putnam,196J). 2. Donald Wood, Trinidad in Transition: The Years after Slavery (London: Oxford University Press, 1968). 1. Ibid., pp 6-7. Ibid., P 7 S. 1 consulted these after 1 had read Raymond T. Smith, 'Some Social Characteristics of Indian Immigrants to Bri/ish Guiana', Population

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KYK #46/47 Studies, Vol.l3, Pt 1, (1959) 6. Muc h of this sketch of Jagarnath and Kaila is based on my interview with Ramdularie in May 1982. 7. I have relied heavily on my father's eldest brother, Sarran Jagmohan, for this sketch of my father's family. I interviewed him in April 1986, in Guyana. The information is contained in three letters he sent fro m Toronto, Canada, dnted 21 July 1994; 14 and 16 March 1995. 8. See mv India and the Shaping of the Indo Guyanese I magination. 1890s 1920s (Leeds: Peepal Tree Books 1993): Joseph Ruhoman's Indic: Progress of Her Pe ople at Home and Abroad . The Centenary Edition (London: Hansib, forthcoming). 9. Brij V. Lal, Girmitiyas: The Origins of the Fiji Indians (Canberra: The Journal of Pacific History, 1983). I was not aware of this book until early 1989, over five years after i t was published. 10. See my review of Indo-Caribbean Resistance. Frank Birbalsingh (ed.), (Toronto: Tear, 1993), Kyk-over-al, No.45, (December 1994). 11. No rman E. Cameron started to sketch some aspects of this achievement in the late 1920s early 1930s. See his The Evolution of the Negro (Westport, Connecticut: Negro Universities Press, 1970). This work was origin a lly published in two volumes, in 1929 and 1934, by the Argosy Co., in Georgetown, British Guiana. Walter Rodney advanced Cameron's seminal contribution, with his usual scholarly dexterity. See his A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881 1905 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981).

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KYK #46147 12. E.R.O. Robertson (Mahaica) to the Editor, The Daily Argosy, 22 August 1917. This letter is enclosed in M .. M.S. [Methodist Missionary Society] (Box 730), no, 1925, E. Donald Jones to c. W. Andrews, 24 August 1917. 13. M.M.S (Box 730), no. 1925, C. W. Andrews to E. Donald Jones, 1 October 1917. 14. Ibid., E. Donald Jones to C. W. Andrews 23 May 1919. 15. M.MS. (Box 731), no. 1937, J.B. Brindley to Amos Barnet, 25 April 1922. Earlier, on 4 April 1922, Brindley had informed Barnet that the Royal Bank of Canada was suing Robertson for $2,000: he had 'given his name as security for loans advanced ... to farmers engageil in cane and rice cultivation. Commerical depression ami failure of crops prevented farmers from repaying their loans ... But Brindley conceded: 'The only thing I can say in his defence, I believe he was sincere in his desire to help his feUow men, anxious to see them independent as fanners on their own a"(:uunt, instead of labourers in the cane fields'. 16. The Daily Argosy, 25, 30 June 1922. This paper opposed the retention of Collet: 'Crops are ruined at one time by drought and another by flood, the numbers of the stock raised are sadly depleted, the health of the people are grievously undermined, yet His Excellency remains unperturbed, a twentieth century edition of the fiddling Nero ........ ...... Leader, The Daily Argosy, 2 July 1922. 17. E.R.O Robertson (Mahaica) to the Editor, [The

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266 KYK # 46147 Daily Argos, I?), no dote] The letter was dated, 30 June 1922. See M.M.S. (Box 731), no. 1946. 18. The Daily Argosy, 23 February 1923. 19. Ibid.

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KYK # 46/47 Criticism KEITH S. HENRY An Appreciation of Austin Clarke lllis salute to Austin Clarke! and his creative genius and social commitment has been too long deferred but I am very glad to be part of it. To put it simply, he has been a mighty social force in this city, and an inestimable gift from the Caribbean to it. I leave it to others to speak of his sterling service to black Toronto at a time when it was especially lonely and brave and unrewarding. That would be the late 1950s and the 1960s, when he was a founder ofthe Ebo Society for instance. He spoke out then more loudly and clearly than anyone else, memorably in a much noticed article in Maclean's Magazine in 1963 a remarkable year for him incidentally an article titled A Black Man Talks about Race Prejudice in White Canada." And surely, to come closer to my particular subject this evening only Austin Clarke himself can even hint at the extent of his generosity over many years to aspiring writers in this city very many of them black. I am not among those legions of aspiring novelists myself but I have certainly experienced his warmth as well. However, this is clearly not the occasion for extended remarks on my part. We all know just whom we really came out to experience. What I think I ought to try to do is alert us in the very brief space available here to a proposition about the real eminence of the man we are gathered to honor. It is a proposition apparently not yet widely entertained in the Caribbean A very good case can be made thal Austin Clarke is the anglophone Caribbean's most archetypal, representative writer. By this I mean that most of the important thematic and ideological preoccupations of West Indian novelists are Clarke' s native ground and represent some of his greatest triumphs the n o vel of

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KYK 1#46/47 youthful sensibility for example, or the homage to popular culture, or the celebration of orality and aurality and perfolmance in order to more effectively express the creativity of the black people of Barbados; also the travails and quest for personhood of the Caribbean in the northern metropolis, and the vigours of the colonial experience and of its deceptive, ironic postcolonial sequel. In some of these themes and preoccupations, on postcoloniality, for instance, or the celebration of local language, he has been very much among the vanguard, a practitioner of what the theorists later codified. In every case hc has been among the elite of our practitioners and commonly the finest. But let me go further. Probably an unarguable case can be made that Austin Clarke is the region's most versatile and broadly accomplished writer of fiction. I am not saying this of course in order to belittle the achievements of other great writers born or nurtured in the region, Samuel Selvon and George Lamming and Vidia Naipaul, Earl Lovelace and Paule Marshall and Wilson Harris. these are not writers widely celebrated for nothing: they have their own claims on our attention. for their palhbreaking or for their own corners of excellence where they may at times exceed Clarke's. But none has been such a prolifk author of work of quality, often of distinction, over a period now in excess of thirty years; and been so prolific, and also distinguished. in so many prose forms. In the novel. the memoir. the story. the long short story. the creative essay. the play and thc farce. even fable. in most of these forms there arc works. or sometimes a family of works. by this great son of Barbados. rarely surpassed. at times unsurpassed. by any other writer of Caribbean heritage. Most readers familiar with Clarke's prose will associate him with the novel and the short story.1 And most of his gi fts wi II imk--ed be visible in his best work in these genres. In this body of work. we encounter some of his strongest claims to pre-eminence among writers of tiction of the region, that is. his technical range and extraordinary creative and social reach as well as his command of his nation's language and the readiness of his comic genius and

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KYK #146/47 bittersweet humor. In the last two areas (nation language and comic genius), Clarke is approached only by his late good friend, Sam Selvon. His verbal and visual recall of social custom and gesture is exceptional and perhaps also not quite matched by any other artist in the region. His grasp of a certain type of female character, the experienced and voluble Bajan semi-peasant woman or the working class white Canadian, is keen and impressive and unusual. There are other qualities I shall come back to shortly. But I should note at this point one particular aspect of Austin Clarke's corpus Solely in terms of his ability to credibly deploy a variety of characters of non-West Indian provenance in their own social senings, Austin Clarke appears to stand above any rivals in the Caribbean. One notes,for example. that some of his stories are distinguished by American settings. both black and white America, both the American South and the American North. Some of these stories also desert the more familiar urban formulas which others inhabit, of lonely despair, of faltering old age and a dissolving grasp of reality, fOllnulas which characterize many of his notable pieces on Toronlo. As in America, Clarke effectively addresses in his more numerous Toronto stories both white lives and black. I shall resort to one authority to help us evaluate the importance of Clarke's unusually broad readiness and ability to depict alien social terrain. I quote from the canonical Norton Anthology of American Literature on the great American writer James Baldwin. Baldwin is praised in encompassing terms which, it turns out. apply very deeply to Austin Clarke. "There has surely been no black writer," says the Norton Anthology, "better able to imagine white ex perience, to speak in various tones of different kind s and behaviors of people or places other than his own." Among West Indian writers actually born in the Caribbean, Clarke is most able. when he chooses, to liberate himself in his fiction from the sensibilities of the region. Clarke also appears to have no peer in the Caribbean in his mastery of the evocative memoir. One such work better known in rus native Barbados than formerly. since recently dramatized

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KYK # 46147 there, is Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack. His Harrison Col/ege and Me may also be fairly well known, since it was a distinguished and typically powerful piece in the very fine New World Quarterly Barbados Independence Issue of 1966. Some of Clarke's most powerful stories, I ought to say here, are not conventional narratives but really heightened snatches of memory, of meditative temper but unsettling intent, stories embodying the modernist and post modernist sensibilities and wrinen with a remarkable consistency of control and vigour and technical skill. It is a narrative approach that marks much of the longer prose work as w ell as many of the shorter pieces. The larger point here is that Austin Clarke possesses not simply enormous social reach but very great and very broad technical command. His command of modern prose narrative techniques is unmistakable and no other West Indian writer has so exploited the interior monologue and the modern conceits of metatiction so consistently and to such brilliant effect. Questions of skill aside, an interest in literary technique is to be expected in any modern novelist, of course, but such an interest is also a natural legacy of Clarke's career as a professor of literature at Yale and other distinguished universit ies. Austin Clarke does not consider himself a playwright. And little in his discursive writim!s succests it commands much of his attention. Yet clearly, much of his genius is for drama. Few readers of Clarke's nov els or of many of his short stories will fail to notice the anribute s of the playwright in much of his work. His comic gifts, as we saw, are indisputable. But his great skill with I3ajan dialogue, for example, will also not escape readers, nor his notice of gesture. His ready ability to confect a plot of genuine interest despite his small commitment to this aspect of composition is an obvious asset. The complex moti vat ion of his characters, their smarts and cunning, the constant and unsettling moodshifts and distrust and wary interpersonal transactions, these are all transfixing ingredients of his prose. It is therefore not altogether a surprise that even a throwaway piece such as Berries Going Fall,

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KYK 1146/47 a comic one-act play of 1980, is evidently quite as entertaining as any of the body of Trinidad plays of the forties and fifties that are still treasured and remembered. And Children in Exile, a play produced in 1963 in Toronto, a treatment of the problems of West Indian domestics here (problems incidentally of apparently no great general interest to Clarke's fellow West Indian students of the 1950s) is.in the gravity and social relevance ofits theme and the discernments of the writing, one of the achievements of West Indian theatre. Finally, it must be added that Clarke has wielded a restless polemical pen simultaneously with his career as a writer of fiction and that a great deal of his thought and even of his art is to be found outside the works of pure fiction. That is to say. he has worked at more than one formal memoir, and he has been for long a practitioner of journalism and the nonfiction novella, prose forms, in his case, of distinctively urgent character. the product of an aroused. insistent. disquieting temper and an irrepressibly literary mind. There arc inevitably fine moments in some of these works but most of it has remained unpublished. Also, in Austin Clarke's hands, scores of his friends and acquaintances will lestify, the letter becomes something much more delightful and engaging than mere communication. Let us pray that the West Indian community and Toronto will be blessed with many more productive years from Austin Ardinel Chesk'fficld Clarke. Our very best wishes! Footnotes 1. This apprecimioll is ali essential/y Ilnaltered script of a tribme delivered at 011 occasion honoring Allstin Clarke in Toronto Ofl Julv 6. 1995 2. A )1'ord for the reader new to Austin Clarke. Clarke's list of published works is lengthy. Most relate to North America. to West Indian diaspora society in North Am e rica most oftefl. Bllt others

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KYK # 46/47 are closely attentive portraits of Barbadian life. Of booklength works. the memoir. Growing Up Stupid Under the Union lack. and the first two novels. Survivors of the Crossing and Amongst Thistles and Thorns. are rich tapestries. woven with both affection and bitlemess but alwa y s with immediate meaningfor West Indian lives lived without expe rience of the North Atlantic. In the third novel. The Prime Minister. on elements of postcolonial Barbados's social and public life. the portrait is 1/0 less arresting but it is intentionally l ess dense in its texture than early novels. and its t01le is one of disappointed e.\pectati01l and of growing bewilderme1lt a1ld men(/ce.

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, 273 KYK '46/4' PHILIP N ANTON John Figueroa, Anthologist and Poet: A Perspective through his 'Windows', John has published four collections of poetry between 1945 when he published Blue Mountain Peaks and 1991 when The Chase was published, He has edited another four collections of poetry and prose among which is the highly regarded anthology of Caribbean poetry, Caribbean Voices. Behind the scenes he has contributed to the work of the major poets of the Caribbean more profoundly than many realise. J The problem for any reviewer of his work who wishes his comments to rise above the banal. superficial or repetitive, is to locate from his wide range of work a focus that touches the central areas of his concern and to illustrate how this focus has been developed. I am also mindful of his advice to the critic, offered some 24 years ago in the introduction of Volume II of Caribbean Voices, when he stated: Writing if! any connected way abol/t an expanse oj poetry is .... like trying to encompass in a Jew sentences. the vast variety oj the ocean. It has always seemed to me wiser not to make general st(/tements about so called 'subject matter' oj poems. or ahollt 'trends '; much saJer to consider the way in which the poems ([re constmcted to look at their I(/nguage. their stmcture. their cOl/cerns; and perhaps at the ([ttitl/de. shown throl/gh the poems. oJ the authors to their os poets. (Figl/eroa. 19 l(). p.4. Vol. 2.) Perhaps no other Caribbean anthology of poetry offers such decisive and conscious shaping to guide the reader through the hurgeoning work of poetry emanating from the Caribbean. Although the collection itself was primarily the analytical framework which he, as editor, recommended to help locate the writim!, that is, 'consolidation','continuation' and

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KYK #46147 'innovation' remain sharp and useful critical categories with as much relevance as any alternative boundaries that have been devised for locating this body of literature. The value of using these categories, he suggests, is that: one is forced to read more closeLy and sensitively, is forced to come to grips with the essentials of Literature structure, concerti, Language rather than with autohiographical, psychological or sociological suhstitllles for literature. Olle is also helped to place poems ill relatioll to the whole traditioll from which they come. 197(), p.ll. Vol.2.) While to some extent the guiding principles for my analysis were thus quickly available, I ncver-the-Iess helieve that diverse traditions can provide useful insights to creative works of literature. However, the dilemma, of where to enter the poetry as a reviewer, remained. I have resolved this by chOOSing to offer an analysis of one of John's more recent po e ms, Windows, subtitled, Chartres: Ollter and Illner Space A COllsort of Six Variatiolls. Supert1cially. the poem appears to return to many of the concerns with which .Iohn has long been ass o ciated. But it is also considerahly more. Reviewers of his earlier work have noted his instinct to 'preserve and revere', (Forde. 196 3 p.63). His concern to locate places often associated with strong personal and religious convictions. his lyricism and disciplined style. for example in Ignoring Hurts. have also not gone un-r e marked. (Hall. 1977.) I could add other notahle features of his work especially his concern for strong visual images and a contemplative style often intluenced hy the effect of places visited. Windows contains many of these themes but. I suspect. is also on a different plane to the s e concerns. It is a poem of some 143 lines which was hegun in 198 2 and completed in The outcome of this seven year gestation is a dense and tightly constructed poem with powerful images. The poet here takes up a Challenge that I suspect few contemporary poets would dare consider. At its haldest, the poet's goal is a description of what is ultimately

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KYK 1146147 indescribable, that is, the soul's union with the divine essence. Put more prosaically, the poet, by the end of the poem conveys the reader through a sense of 'liminality' to offer a glimpse of heaven, the hereafter, nirvana. Such an endeavor to communicate this vision, of course, must fail. For each of us, our understanding and way to such a notion will differ. For many people the idea will be simply unthinkable. The poet may well realise these shortcomings but is convinc e d that the effort, energy and time are worth expanding in the attempt to communicate his vision. The poem is dedicated "ad maiorem Dei gloriam. Let us start with that glimpse of heaven the poet offers. Then I will attempt to illustrate aspects of the poet's craft at work in approaching this vision. I do this Jirstly, through a discussion of the structure of the poem, secondly by locating the concern of the poem in the context of other work of this nature from the Caribbean and by an examination of the significance of ritual in the poem, and, thirdly, by discussing some aspects of the poet's use of language. Towards the end of the poem the poet offers the following vision of heaven: "And Chartres holds the glass up like a wafer. glowing us to another world. A wafer melts upon the tongue: and windows on the eyes: we arise to a world of silence and images tuning in to stillness. and still in place until they whirl us through the vortex where we spin by tiniest cracks into illumination:

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where we kick the gassy earth away and find our inner galaxies through the whirling of the wheel the spinning of these windows till they seem no t to move like the stillness in painting, as they gather up their breath to dance away and with del ic ate rim spark off from distant branches a burst of leaves. of Autumn leaves; From the inn e r dark a blaze of blossoms. A still exploding wheel of stars." The Structllre KYK # 46/47 The poem involves s ix variations on the contemplative theme of attaining grace. They vary in the way they are composed. their length and intended effect. Two additional fl.!atures are important to the total structure of the poem: how thl.! journey is prepared for and how it is undertaken. Preparation invol ves a calming process which makes us barely conscious even of elemental fears blood'. 'furnaces' and 'molten ra!!e' are idl.!ntified in the first variation. The poem also holds a balance or tension between a sense of movement. perturbation and cragginess and their counterparts of stillness. peace and curviture which is carried throu!!h in the different v ariations. As we move from stanza 2 to stanzas 3 and 4 in the first variation. one of the dominant notions informing the poem. that of 'space' also changes. The tangible material focus of stanza 2

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KYK #46147 suggests movement in space associated with 'things' 'roots', 'clay', 'blood', 'furnaces'. In stanza 3 the movement is inwards, the 'space' involved, perhaps, is the inner movement of the soul. One window looks out and the other inwards. The inner movement is associated with the Holy Sacrament. In the final variation both types of focus come together and grace is offered. It is then that the glimpse of heaven is afforded, and, in the poet's words, 'we kick the gassy earth away.' The Wider Caribbea1/ Context and the Importance of Ritllal This poem can be located in the tradition of Caribbean religious poetry which has a considerable heritage. In a series of articles. written as early as 1952. Keane demonstrated the importance of this stream of concern to a number of Caribbean poets. He showed how writers such as Campbell, Seymour, McFarlane, Smith and Walcott all found this Spiritual Muse central to their writing. (Keane. 1952.) Poets borrowed ritual prayers and wove poems around them, others showed preoccupation with love and charity. It is also in this context that the much maligned concern with 'nature' is identifiable, many poets choosing to depict 'nature' as a way to God. Forty two years have now passed since Keane wrote his essays on this theme. In that time secularised poetry has come to dominate the attention of both poets and critics. Religious contemplative poetry now appears to hold no special place, even in the more overtly religious Caribbean, and has to light for a right to publication like any other theme. However, a concern with religion in the broad sense, as a pondering about the way to God, remains a rich but less commonly examined seam of the major poets of the region. This concern has remained an abiding interest to Walcott, for example, who, in Omeros, obtains the following remark from his dead father: o tholl my Zero, is an impossible pm.ver,

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KYK 1146147 utter extinction is still a doubtflll conc eit. Though we pray to nothing, 1/othing can1/ot be ther e (Walcott, 1990 p.75) More dir e ctly, th e m e ditative th e m e o f Windows perhaps comes near es t to Smith s poem Testament, whi c h als o att e mpts to celebrate the truth and g l o ries of Christian belie f Smith, like John in this poem, was co n c e rned to find what one reviewer has described as 'a way t o achieve the gift of unison' (Docherty, 1957,). Both poems inv o lve a conviction about a realm of religious experience and mystica l contemplation rarely found today. John's poem differs in many respects from Smith' s because while Smith's journey of th e soul approaches the Divine Essence through the Dionysian notion of 'divine darkness', John appears, from the extract cited above, to be drawn less through images of darkness and more thr o ugh images of light. These images are expressed with strong primary colours; also in the last variation all the following are combined, the idea of 'painting', 'illumination', and "a b urst/of leaves. of Autumn leaves; .... A still exploding wheel of stars". My argument here i s that the poem Willdows joins a particular tributary of a well explored. but less recognised. stream of Caribbean poetry. an abiding concern of which is to find the way to God. Windows. however. olTers a distinct contemplative route through the use of ritual. Turner, the social anthropologist. has identified the powerful yet paradoxical nature of ritual, in particular the way it combines two poles. One is associated with social and moral rul e s, the other, he suggests, is sensory, associated with expressive needs. Partaking of the Holy Sacrament captures the fOlmer pole. whereas the sensory is identifiable through incantation. In v ariation IV there is the refrain: "Christ is so green, Christ so red raise me up from the dead"

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KYK # 46147 An abiding concern of the poet is the attainment of God's Grace, that is, the supernatural assistance of God bestowed on a rational being with a view to freedom from sin. For the poet, self abasement and especially the acceptance of the Holy Sacrament, appear to offer the route to such Grace. In an earlier poem he identified "grace, melting through! the body as a wafer on the tongue!" (Silence and the Word undated). In Windows, a similar sentence, "The wafer melts upon the tongue" is returned to a number of times. Ritual, in this poem, signified through the sacrament, incantation as well as certain forms of imagery, notably Da Vinci's St. Ann and Virgin and Child, ultimately convey a state of 'lirninality'. The term implies pure, sacred and unmediated 'communitas'. In this state, Turner an.!ues, symbolically, everything is possible, there exists an extatic oneness with humanity in the abstract. Auden, in his poem 'Archaeology' expressed the notion in the following way: "Only in rites can we renounce our oddities and be truly entired" (Auden. 'Archaeology') Turner argues that ritual brings together moral rules and natural process taking the participant to a threshold between clear social identities, a position which involves an absence of structure and weak cIassil1cation. (Turner. 1969.) Martin, the sociologist. has described the state as 'a paradoxical combination. a taste of transcendence and an expression of belonging at the same time.' (Martin, 1981). Figueroa, the poet. expresses the experience in the following way in his variation I: "The wafer melts upon the tongue. the glass upon the eyes, and through the blood and brain collects us to a wheel that moving stays

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and staying spins us out to inner space across the threshold to a steady centre:" KYK 1146147 and in the sixth variation the wheel has turned and come hack around. The experienc e combining circular movement through repetition and ritual is described as follows: "A wafer melts upon the tongue: and windows on the eyes; w e arise to a world of s ilence and images tuning into stillness, and still in place until they whirl us through the vortex where we spin by tiniest cracks into illumination;" I suggest that it i s ultimately this attempt. through the structure of ritual and form, to express an all encompassing notion beyond such cares, that gives the poem its distinctive and most innovative feature in its focus of concern. An important issue which the poet appears to leave unresolved is whether the state of liminality achieved in the poem is tleeting or is hoped /expccted to he continuous. It is likely that 'true' liminality a mong mortals can only be a tleeting moment before one is returned to day to d a y structures and concerns. (I3oth Turner and Martin's analyses hold this view.) Figueroa, however, app e ars towards the end of the poem to hold the view that the cont i nuity of this state is likely or at least possible. The last line of poem. for example. refers to: ., A still exploding wheel of stars."

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KYK #46/47 The Language A variety of images from intense whirring, hardship and spectacular comet-like dazzle and light are all conveyed with an economy of language. The language conveying meditation and preparation for the journey at the start is gently alliterative. This is captured by the soft 's'es in the first variation. The impact of the two short variations III and IV are particularly noteworthy. The third variation, although only nine lines long, each line with three words, none the less is made difficult to utter. This is enforced by the choice and juxtaposition of clashing words which, when pronounced, grind against each other. "Round curved green Flat red square Breast grey smooth" The point that the poet seems to make here is that the journey is, to say the least. difficult. Variation V conveys succinctly both the notion of threshold and entry. The location of 'hang', at the cnd of the line, contrasts with the gentle 'tumblings into visionary gracc' three lines further on. Finally, how is the effect of 'hcaven' achievcd? Its presence is built up by thrce dominant images of the poem, the tension between whirling and stillness of the wheel. an association with painting and contrasts of colours, of Autumn and the promise of Spring. These arc all dominated by a form of grand catherine wheel. These images seem to be drawn from the world of painting and it appears that, like Mable Rawls, the poet believes: "heaven is ( .. ) the place where painters go, .. ." Alld the r e ther r e tllm to do work th(lt is God's (Walcott. "Collected Poems", 1986 p.42.)

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KYK # 46/47 Reference s II Auden W H. 'Archaeo logy' in Collected poems. Docherty J j (1957) The Life of contemplation in M G Smith's 'Testament'. Him, Vol.7 no. 25, (pp.36 42.) Figueroa J (1970) (ed) Caribbean Voices: An anthology of West Indian Poetry, Volume II, The Blue Horizons', Evans. '. Figueroa J 1991 Wind o ws: Chartres: Outer and Inner Spacea consort of six variati o ns, Cross Currents Religion and the Intellectual Life, Vol. 41, No.1, pp. 93-96. forde A N (1963) nook r eview of 'Love Leaps Here', /Jim, Vol. 10, no. 37, (pp. 63 64) Hall S (1977) Dook Review Ignoring Hurts in Toczek (et al) 'Melanthika: an anthol ogy of pan-Caribbean Writing' (pp. 38 40) Keane E McG (1952) Some religious attitudes in West Indian poetry. Bim, Vol.lV, No. IS. Martin n. (Inl) A Sociology of Contemporary Culture, mackwell, Oxford. Turner V W (1969) The Ritual Process: Strocture and Anti Stnlcture. Allen Lane. Wallcott D (1986) Collected Poems, Faber & Faber. Walcott D (1990) Omeros. Faber & Faber. (Paper presented a t the Seminar "John Figueroa: A Man of Diverse Themes" University of London, Institute of Commonwealth S t udies and Institute o f Latin American Studies.)

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KYK # 46/47 Book Reviews EtSI KWAYA\A Cosmic Dance (br Harisclwndra Khe1l1raji To tell this life-like, probable once-in-a-lifetiiJ1C comhination of chances, Harischandra Khemraj adopts the identity of Vayu Sampat, GMO at Urghen hospital in a make-helievecountry, Aritia which soon reveals itsel f as ours truly. It is not his vocation, but his friendship with Ramphal, that hrings him into the thick of the events which follow the rape of a young girl in the presence of her father. Our senses anticipate the dance as this father acccpts an immediate promotion f rom his hoss, the offender, and thus raises suspicions of complicity. The offence is also a cross-racial crime and an extremc form of juvenile abuse. The offender is Vernon Ashby the big onc at a state-owned coconut estate, with armed assassins at his disposal. Ramphal learns of Mala's violation from h e r brother Baljit, his promising English student who has recently become absent and distracted. Baljit is later coaxed into confiding in Ramphal who brings his friend Vayu, into the picture. Vayu is mostly offended at the offender s race. This is not unnatural as that kind of rape can leave a permanent visible record which can become a curse within any narrow community Two people see it at once as a capital offence pure and simple Ramphal who has long been waging war against racial stereotypes and Indranee a young lawyer who is later wov e n into the tense, intricate, plot. She says with authority to Vayu "It is more a man-woman thing than a racial thing TIl ere are persons i n the story who grow with the plot. Because they are so feelingly conceived they ring like real persons and not characters and there are those who do not grow. Ramphal and Indranee separately insist that therc is good in the

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KYK # 46147 worst ofus. Vernon Ashby, the villain extraordinary, grows worse and worse. He receives Ramphal who conceives the idea that he can reason with Ashby and play on rus vanity and reputation as a good family man to keep rum from destroying the living evidence of his crime, Mala, and her confidant es. Ashby appears compliant but in reality sees a rival strategist in Ramphal and mov es with lightning speed to kill Ramphal, his chi ld victim and even Vayu, who survives a firearm attack. The primary target, the victim, Mala, is dispatched by other means hanging so that she can be accused of her own homicide. On appeal from Indranee, who has l e t him take her to government receptions n o w and then. Ravi Bissessar, junior Minister and thug-in-good-standing, calls off Ashby's dogs through his allny links. Under this do-gooder's duress, Indranee yields her body, th ough not hersdf at the risk of a precious association with Vayu. who she knows will n o t understand. These developments deepen Vayu's puzzlement at the fateful, erratic dance of life and face him with rus greatest challen!!c. Vayu. as the child of a struggling fisherman, then still poor, had had a best friend, an Afro-Guyane se age-mate. His friend's mother ordered him out of h e r son's life with accompanying racial abuse. but really becau se of his l o w-class status. Years later as a university student, h e sces a first-class railway compa rtment full of African passcngers jointly avert their gaze while a black conductor b erates a feeb l e old woman who ha s strayed without enough money int o the rarified zone. Not only that; the man who assumed to himself the right to speak for all the passengers. on perceiving that Ya yu was about to come to th e woman's rescue. se rved on him a visual injunction to keep out of black people's business. These experiences serve to justify the weight and authority of th e narr ow tradition of 'us' and 'them'. Khemraj se ts a s tandard in his first novel with his sensitivity about delicate issues. In the opening sce ne. as Dr. Yayu Sampat. he is wrestling with the effect of gun-sho t wounds in a hospital bed at his workplace. Thus. we lind o urselv es at o n e of the

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KYK'4IJ47 story's climaxes within an ascending scale of them. And when climaxes of episode peter out, there are those of the psyche left to be experienced in the cosmic dance choreographed out of human drama in Ariti a The mood of the cosmic dance is of comings and goings, c o njoinings and severings, rape, death and other extremes of exist e nce that seem inexplicable and driven by forces beyond human c ontrol. Those who appear to be in firm control find themselv e s suddenly being drawn into the orbit, while others calmly wrench themselves from the mindless currents and strike out on their own to make their own sense of things. The very process o f relating the story seems to be dogged with cosmic will. "Where to begin? At the beginning of course. but there are many beginnings. and my choice among them will inevitably shape what follows that's assuming I do have a choice ... To narrate i s to diston, but hopefully to clarify too". With this high sense of responsible non-responsibility, Vayu presents many imperilled lives. including his own. and does his best to clarify them. in their complex yet logical and still surprising turns and tw i sts. Always sensitive and ruthless with the truth of personality, he knows that he is also in the judgement seat. In this jurisdiction of the imagination, he rules that even fiction must be true. His dream people are not minions to be mocked, but spirits entitled to their dignity. His fine sense refuses to do the narrating alone. So he invites, a little clumsily, the rape victim's brother to witness part of it, but I3aljit can do so only by repeating the victim's agonised narrative. Khemraj seems to regard this as more authentic than h e could manage, even with the aid of his faithful tape recorder. The direct victims have a chance to be heard and escape benign misrepresentation. Khemraj, who is really writing a political thriller. keeps it from being a traditional description of Aritia or a mere pamphlet while bringing out the likely effects not only of one regime but of the whole of history. With a government in control which

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KYK#46147 accommodates with ease the miscreants of the story because their side holds power, an eye is cast over the shoulder for the counterpart opposition since, in Aritira, ethnic guilt is a continuous quest and readers look for balance of treatment. 1l1is is no concern of the writer's, mercifully. So the reader's imagination is saved from the duel of the innocent and is free to join the adventure of people acting without their tags, discovering and sometimes celebrating one another. 'Through the agency and influence of Vayu's guru, Ramphal, the violation of the womanchild grows into a top cause, but only among the guilty and the victim's support group. Most tellingly, no one dared report it to the police, a testimony to the power wielded by the subordinate thugs who show their masters a clean sheet and a loyal cast of spirit. As Ramphal recruits more and more people to be active in Mala's defence, the cosmic dance quickens and taboos are cast aside for a good cause. As it must be, caution is cast to the winds and the price is paid. The attempt to evaluate Indranee is challenging. She is a typical young professional woman in the sense of being both general and strongly indi vidual. As an indi vidual, she seems etched out for innovative thought and action. She has a code of public and private behaviour and is nOl troubled by pre-judgements about life. Many may lament that the author does not employ her as a vehicle of traditional values. They can take comfort that she is not the only model in literature. Shc is not located in a family situation and this gives her more of that freedom which is usually the preserve of men. In order to go to those places where she wanted to be accompanied. she allowed herself the company of Bissessar, a junior minister in the gowrnment and part of the political security arm. Perhaps. just as she is maintaining this role for his own purpose, she is humouring him for her own purposes. nol clear even to her at tirst. Her quiet resolution on hearing of Mala' s fate came like a chance remark, but is really one of the main impulses of thl! plot. Any man who rapes a child should be shot. It becomes part of

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KYK # 46147 her rhythm as she moves to protect Mala from her offender who wants her silenced; she sets all other considerations aside. Weighing the balance of forces. she falls back on Bissessar. She determines to use 'a woman's way'. confident that the weakness of the maJe can be counted on. Her helief in herself does not obtrude on others. She never behaves like the one who saved the side from total loss after the exemplary Ramphal's clumsy blunderin!. The author's other triumph is to lay bare a bloody episode and save it from becoming communal. The nnal ideological climax comes when h e confilll1s to himself what he had long begun to suspect aided b y his discovery at his workplace of the real Gilhert Roy: that the society is indeed one of 'us' and 'them'. hut that in this oi vision. he was grouped with others regardless of race

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AMEENA GAFOOR Tomorrow Is Another Day (by Narmnla Shewchilran ) KYK 1146147 Its publication is an event of no little significance to the Guyanese society in particular. Its author, Narmala Shewcharan, can be considered the first female novelist to have emerged from the Indian diaspora in this former British colony. It has taken more than one hundred and fifty years for the woman of the indentured and colonised canefarming and ricefarming immigrant stock to begin to flourish creatively through the novel and to take her place in the literary arts. Shewcharan is a wdcome addition to the dearth of Guyanese women writers. TIlis fictional work recreates an abyss of human experience. It offers glimpses of individual lives caught in the social and political convulsion of the day. The novel refrains from naming a particular society or identifying a period of time. The work mentions the United Party, the Workers' Party and its Headquarters (where the opposition struggle takes place) and the Official Party and its Secretariat (according to one of the characters. "a political jungle"), the hospital, the market. the prison cell (a virtual torture chamber -the ultimate scene of the dehumanisation of the indi vidual) and, of course. the society itself which is a cage or "open prison". Some readers may see it as a thinly disguised work of an all too familiar, well remembered scenario. And yet this fictional work would be relevant in any society where the abuse of power leads to the victimisation and needless sacrifice of its people. If the reader can recognise himself or others around him or relate scenes and institutions around him in this work, then the work has succeeded, for one of the functions of serious art is to hold up a mirror to society wherein man can see himself. The interpretation of the work is its engagement with the reader. The structure of Shewcharan's novel is clever -a happy fusion of content and form. Like the complex web of human

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KYK It 46147 relationships it seeks to portray, its episodes are spun and spaced with purpose like the pattern of a spider's web, with bases held together by tenuous links, each point in the web locating and probing dichotomies of human existence and social interaction. The denouement is no t an unravelling or happy clarifying of situations, but the sudd e n and late realisation of being caught in the web, of coming face to face with the seductive monster which none is able to touch and from which all must fall away with deep disillusionment and disappointment, often at the price of life and the fragmentation of family. This work is almost a fullillment of Manin Caner's worst fears contained in these now famous lines: "Like a jig/shakes the loom./ Like a web is spun the pattern! all are involved!! all are consumed!" (Poems oj Resistance. 1954). The helplessness of the poor, the dilemma of the idealistic, the wilfulness of those who hold power, the urge to escape a corrupt and repressiv e dictatorship and, more shockingly, the underbelly of politics w i th its inevitable intrigues, are never more starkly presented than in Shewcharan's novel. Two men choose di fferent paths to seek the same ideal one abandons the workers' cause to align himself with the pany in power. Each believes that he can influence the order of thinl!s to better the lot of the suffering masses and redeem them from the demoralising morass in which the society is bogged down. These choices have traumatic impact on their own lives and on the lives of their loved o nes. Alienation. estranl!cmenl, intril!ue. scapegoatism, tragedy and trauma have become the hallmark of the modern Guyanese n o vel. Anxieties. homelessness. painful s eparation and loss are narrated with sympathy. Yet it is not only the government with its COllupt morality that stands indicted in tills novel. The chief e ngineer of the downfall of the protagonist and. consequently, of this small group of individuals. is an astute, vindictive and shadowy Jago-type character of the opposition ranks who, ironically. turns around and befriends the victjms when they are down. There seems to be a worm in every rose and only the novel has the power and authority to explore aspects

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KYK /146/47 of human nature and human experience with this incisive percepti veness. Almost all the characters in this work show resolute determination in their struggle to survive their hardened state of existence. They all, in varying degrees, suffer disillusionment and victimisation. but the female characters stand out for the great strength of purpose which they exhibit. their vision and resolve to keep the family unit intact at all cost and for their communion and solidarity with each other in the disintegrating society. There is Aunt Adee who has lost a son to the political struggle "it was people like her who gave the lie to stories of racial unrest" -the independent woman struggling to make a living, sleeping on a stall in the market, with her dozens of plastic bags pinned about her. Then there is Kunti, the good Samaritan and comfon to those in distress. And then there is Chandini who soldiers on despite the adversities and summons strength out of her fragility and whose only purpose in life is to meet the uncenain tomorrows her five children wake up to each day. The feminine principle is celebrated in this novel but not romanticised. Positive images of woman are drawn with realism, for example, Chandini "remembered too well her own shattered dreams because. even though her father was a headteacher, she had lived in a village where they did not believe in women wasting timeon books". Her husband. fired with idealistic zeal, relinquishes job and family to work as a voluntary organiser" with the opposi tion party but Chandini never reveals her anguish. In the end and after all his ordeal, the scapegoat Jagru seeks out Adee in the market: "She took his hand and he allowed himself to be led. He became aware that children were staring at them and giggling. Two freaks. he thought. Two more mad people to join the crowd. He began 10 laugh himself, almost without pause .... [H]e continued to laugh and Aunt Adee joined him, thinking that his laughter as a free man was a happy sound". The truth is that Jagru laughs in order to keep from crylOg.

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KYK It 46147 Tomorrow Is Another Day is an important contribution both t o the West Indian and to the Guyanese lit e rary archives. This nove l is a t es timony of the beliefs the dr eams and the reality that make soci ety eithe r functional or dysfuncti onal. It has clear socio-political relevan ce to the postcolonial societies of our regIOn. I'll let Jagru have the last word. Thoroughly disgusted by his experience in the prison cell, Jagru think s (of the inmates): "They were like animal s in a cage. the men across from him. How they had come to be so perverted and sadistic, so merciless in their dealings with their fellow human beings he would not speculate. Whatever, they had no right to walk with the civilised and their place was rig htfully behind bars ... nut at least these men did not hide what Lhey were, unlike the men in suits and ties who sat behind their d esks and inflicted suffering on the masses in order to feed their egos and their bank balances. They were animals, too, but in disguise, predators who ripped out the guts of their fellow creature s' dreams." The tinal truth is that the author has been too sympathetic with this character the novel should have aimed for honesty integrity and brutal frankness.

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KYK #46/47 Walk Good Guyana Boy (by Bernard HeydornJ Bernard Heydorn felt it necessary to preface his recently published novel, Walk Good Guyana Boy (1994) with the following disclaimer: "These stories are a work of fiction, based on personal reminiscences . Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, to events or places is coincidental". The novel is so firmly rooted in a particular historical setting, with names of places and institutions, characters and events and sociolinguistic features so imbued with an arresting social realism that it would not be difticuIt for anyone who has lived through the times depicted in this work to forget the author's disclaimer and identify with this work as a realistic and distinctively Guyanese experience. For the past three or four decades of this century writers in the Caribbean have been recreating the underside of the colonial experience but. at length and at last. a crop of novels which can speak of the traumatic experiences of what may be described as the long Stalinist night in Guyana. is finally beginning to emerge. This book has the power to appeal to our sense of nostalgia as well as to jolt the memory and conscience of a society who may easily slip into complacency with the passing of the years. A society that forgets the function of its am brutalises its history and its cultural heri taf!e. Because of its strong factual base. the texture of the work is semi-journalistic, semi-fictional. Three main themes dominate this book childhood and growing up. poverty and survival and the quest for freedom. Heydorn traces the psychosocial growth from childhood to adolescence of the protagonist. Stephen Sleighton, last son of Ozzie and EI vira Sleighton, a Portuguese couple in colonial British Guiana. Stephen's growth and development and his bid for independence take place within the context of tJ1e struggle of the family for survival and this, again. within the context of the struggle of the country for political

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KYK It 46/47 freedom so that all the s e endeavours can be read as a symbiotic quest for individual and national freedom. Ozzie Sleighton's tragic-cornie forays into life are very reminiscent of V.S Naipaul's main character in A House for Mr. Biswas. Where Ozzie is all words, energy, self-made philosopher, his wife i s all simpliCity and tranqUility. His speech is distinctive Portuguese Creole with the "h's" all charmingly chopped off and throug h him the reader gets a first hand exposure to Creole proverbs and rhythmic idioms, folk beliefs, gems of quaint and hilarious colloquialisms which comprise the mystique that is Guyana. When O z zie plays the buffoon. Elvira calls his bluff with her "'ush yuh mout' maan", Language is his metaphor for survival: Ozzie has obviously been created with mischievous delight but together, he and his wife, they form the cement and foundation for the growth of their family, The reader is introduced to a full gall e ry of actors in the drama for survival which is set between Georgetown. New Amsterdam and back again in Georgetown where Ozzie is p os ted each time as a sanitary inspector. be tween the years 1945 and 1963. "doin' duh king's work", Heydron depicts a p lenitude that is Guyana despite its lack of possibilities at the time and a richness in the multiracial. multicultural experiences of his characters with affection, gentleness and sympathy, The more one gets the mental picture of Ozzie, the more one is convinced that we must laugh to keep from crying, Walk Good Guyana Boy is undoubtedly an important document which not only !ills a void in the documenting of the emotional history of elements of our people in the pre-independent Guyan a but which also relates with certainty the sociohistorical facts o f the country and the cultural origins of its peoples. The prime va l Guyana landscape i s described in its pristine eloquence, O f Stephen's trip up the Abary Creek. Heydorn writes: 'Steph e n and one of the men climbed into a ballyhoo, a small bush canoe, made from the bark of a purple

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KYK # 46/47 heart tree. The man paddled up the creek, giving Stephen a guided tour of the jungle. The place had an eerie feeling, so quiet, so still, as if they had gone back in time, back where it all began". On the way back. Stephen "felt that he had seen a secret, a raw and forbidden place, thrilling heart of darkness .... Deep in his heart, he felt that he had shared a secret and a promise, known only to the winds. the trees and the Abary Creek". Heydorn depicts the serenity and the tUlIlloil of Stephen's existence with equal deftness. Back from a futile trip to England where the quest for selfhood with the R.A.F. proves elusive, Stephen is soon again on another boat. this time he is bound to Barbados. Heydorn's eye for detail and his powers of description surpass themselves. with an echo of Edgar Allan Poe: "Suddenly. the dark sky was lit with bright tlashes. The crash of thunderous roars split the night. Fork lightning. darting off the horizon like a snake's tongue. gave way to streaks from on high, racing down to the sea. The heaven s opened and the rains crash e d down in gallons. washing the vessel, seeming intent on tlattening it! A torrent of water. had approached swiftly. It came with a rising wind and a wail as if dozens of devils were let l oose running amok on the ocean. the devil' s dance floor! If this was a hurricane. then it had come too soon! It was only July, and it caught the heavily-laden ship and sailors by surprise". Stephen outgrows the heyday of boyhood pranks and the love and sec urity of the family to the realisation that the quest for individual freedom spells alienation and a profound and unmitigated solitude, his traumatised consciousness resulting paI1ly from the callous political intrigues of the day which consumed many lives needlessly. In his first novel Bernard Heydorn appears to be a born story-teller. This very episodic work has the immediacy of oral story-telling. Were it not for few ribald colloquialisms. Walk Good Guyana Boy could be recommended for young secondary school students. It is a story of innocence, joy. love. escape. deep disappointment and bitter pain. Yet it is delightful. funny,

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KYK # 46/47 nostalgic, refreshing and reflective. Like his pr o tagonist, Stephen Sieighton, the author Bernard Heydorn was born in British Guiana 1945 grew up i n New Amsterdam and left these shores round about the same time that his protagoni st was found in a life-raft in the Caribbean sea trying to escape the Guyana chaos

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297 KYK '46147 JOYCE JONES Sometimes Hard (by Cyril Dabydeen) Sometimes Hard is a novel for teenagers. Set in Trinidad, it tells the story of 12 year old Leroy. whose mother has been raising him single-handedly since her husband left her. Because his mother's method of doing this is by "a word and a blow", Leroy turns for mothering and a listening ear to Mrs. Simcoe, a white American married to a black Trinidadian. One concern Leroy dares not voice to his mother is his awareness that the "Reverend" at the Gospel church his mother attends is in amorous pursuit of this member of his nock. Mrs. Simcoe advises Leroy to try and lind his father before he leaves Trinidad to go and live as planned with his Aunt in New York. He follows the advice. and succeeds in t1nding his father in Port of Spain. The boy's visit prompts a re-uniting of the parents at a grand village ball that climaxes the novel and precedes Leroy's boarding the plane to leave Trinidad. The story line invites comparison with Naipaul's Miguel Street which also deals with a boy growing up in a single-parent home. and concludes with his departure from Trinidad. Leroy. though, unlike Naipaul's narrator. develops a love for Trinidadian culture before he leaves. and is eager to lind stcel band wherever in North America his destiny may take him. Unlike the ironically portrayed inhabitants of Miguel Street. the villagers in Sometimes Hard move to a point of forgiveness. acceptance and reconciliation. At the ball. Indian. African and Anglo-Saxon are all welcome. and all classes mingle freely. Leroy's father smartens up and is re-united with Martha. and the lasci vious Reverend is moved to abandon his hyporcritical stance, ask forgiveness and pray Sincerely for the young boy's success in his new life. A little too unrcalistic for an adult. the novel nevertheless offers hope and optimism for the younger reader. Dabydeen has a plot with potential. but fails to bring it

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KYK #46147 off. We are totally unprepared for any repentance from the Reverend, and, in any case, he is oddly more concerned to apologise for calling Mrs. Simcoe a witch than for making unwelcome advances on a married woman. One would expect that when his parents are re-united, Leroy would be able to stay with them in Trinidad, but no, he is still sent off to his Aunt. While Dabydeen is politica ll y correct in celebrating steel band in Trinidad's culture, we learn little of its posit,ive impact on the lives of the people. And even this political correctness is contradicted by the fact that Leroy is looking forward to achieving fame in Am e rica fame that is not available, we arc told, to even the best pan men in his village. Certainly Leroy, unlike Naipaul's narrator, wants to return to his homeland. but it is regrettable that he must look beyond Trinidad's shores for affirmation of his worth. Stylistically the novel is badly flawed and in need of much more careful editing than it has evidently received. Characterisation is w e ak. and the plot moves too slowly possibly as a result of th e novel's over-dependence on dialogue and a dearth of narrative. R e petition is an annoying fault. Stan Blue's friend, Lavender, (abbr e viated to "Lav"!) is given to belching, for instance. and he performs the feat nine times in six pages. Clear "sniggers" six times in three pages. and "has a hunch" six times in three pages. When the pan men appear, we have an incredibk seven references to swe at in just two pages! To its credit, however, Dabydeen's Sometimes flard deals with topical issues in Trinidad's multiracial society especially the power of the pans and the pull of North America. The experience of growing up in a single-parem home and the quest for a father are both potentially profound themes, but they are glossed over rather superticially. A useful list of topics for study appended at the end of the novel provides us thought-provoking access to the text's SOciological content. Any question. though. that attempted to dir ect the reader to form or style would inevitably point up this novel's serious defects.

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, 299 KYK # 46147 Stoning the Wind (by Cyril Dabydeen) In his latest anthology of poems, Stoning the Wind ( TSAR: Toronto,I994). Cyril Dabydeen picks up again themes he has explored before themes inspired by the insider/outsider experience of being a West Indian in Canada, Poet Laureate of Ottawa 1984-87, Cyril Dabydeen has published his work in numerous periodicals and anthologies in Canada,North America. the U,K., Europe, the Caribbean. India. Malaysia and New Zealand, Previous works include Coastland: New and Selected Poems ( Mosaic Press,1989), Dark Swirl (Peepal Tree Press. 1989), The Wizard Swami (Peepal Tree Press,1989) and Jogging in Havana (Mosaic Press. 1992) A keen human rights activist in public life. Dabydeen brings to his poetry an arching awareness of the hope and pain of immigrants in the cities of the First World, Vivid with the memories of his homeland. Guyana. yet vibrant with images of the natural beauty of his adopted country. Dabydecn's poetry stands at the junction between two worlds. mediating the immigrant experience, Dialect is the medium in "Belly Mumma" a poem paradoxically poised between the expectant pride of bearing a child in the adopted country. and the anguish of knowing that the child will certainly grow to reject both his mother and her cuilure: He sa}' YOII fill tnbl e m(/I/fl(/S dis same child who 'Il play ill SIIOH', Dabydeen captures the nostalgia of rootlessness. too: Whe1l YOIl be yeamif/g fo go h{/ck home 10 de same GrH'{/f/{/ or Jamai c a where YOIl think } Oll still helollg (emphasis mine)

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KYK # 46147 The immigrants' s truggle to master the language of the adopted country is portrayed in Grandma's Grammar": this same language suddenly Seals her lips, her tongue still stretching like barbed wire, or again in "Officialdom" where the bank tellcr "grimaces ... because of the foreign accents I still deliver." and a patronising official congratulates the poet on how well he reads, "considering English isn't your language". Caribbean joy, expansiveness and playfulness are celebrated in "Calypsonian", While "La Brea. Trinidad" evokes, on the other hand, dishonoured Caribs calling on their gods and. on the other, Sir WaIter Raleigh and an axe falling in the Tower of London. This collection is the richer for Dabydeen's travels: a visit to Wordsworth's Lake District, to Hugo's Paris and to Martinique with a grave reminder that Black soldiers who fought in the war and East Indians" were never allowed in the French army. Why not?" Problems of multicultural. multiracial societies are the subject of a few poems In "Identities" a young woman exclaims. there are only two races in Canada; all the others must learn to conform. Another poem. "The Immigrant Who Remained Forever an Immigrant" speaks fo r all the nameless. faceless people who mercl y survi ve in the metropolis, while "Alex's Story" sympathises with the disorientation of a Russian immigrant. And then there are the poems that are simply snapshots of life: the couple married for fifty years who now "In silcnce ... mesh the voices oftheir skin": the two youngsters in "Cock Fight" whose latent sexuality is revealed in a brief scrap; the widow must learn to ., Leave! the musk of someone / Else's past / Far behind." And tinally there are the mixed feelings of returning to the tropics, to Guyana: ., the stench. the garbage ... hopes in sewers, the ramshackle hospital or again. the darkwatcred creek / with water hyacinths" and "A nephew pot bellied in the sun."

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JOl KYK,46/47 Stoni", Tit, Wind is a kaleidoscope of vivid imagery and shifting emotions a Caribbean s serious to come to fenDS with living'belween two worlds .

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. JOJ KYK .;/47 AI.. Resurrection at Sorrow Hill (by Wilson Harris) Ever since the appearance of his first novel, Palace of the Peacock (Faber, 1960) Wilson Harris who was born in Guyana in 1921 but has lived in London since 1959, has anracted very special attention as o ne of the most original writers of contemporary fiction. P hilosophy, criticism and tiction writing were unlikely occupations for Harris who was trained and qualified as a land surveyor; but it was his sev e ral work expeditions into the vast, awesome rainforest of the Guianas in the 1940s and 50s that provided base material and inspiration for many of his novels. H i s latest work, Res u rrection at Sorrow Hill (1993) is closely related to this background as it is to his previ ous books which amount to most fascinating cycle of fiction. I t starts with The Guyana Quartet, his first four novels set in Guyana. and culminates with The Camival Trilogy (Faber, 1993) being released at the same time as Sorrow Hill. They are products of the author's profound relationship s with Guyana's interior Amazonian landscape, ancient Ame r indian and European myths; the classics and prolific reading of c ontinental philosophers. He has always enjoyed the highest critical acclaim: among his honours are a Guggenheim Award in 1 972 and The Guyana Prize for Literature in 1987. Both Sorrow Hill and the Trilogy enhance this reputation. The Cam ivai Trilogy brings together in one volume, the group of three novels firs t published separately, Camival (1985), The Illfillite Rehearsal (1987) and The Four Banks of the River of Space (1990). They are linked mainly by the employment of masks and metaphors b o rrowed from the theatre and carnival as well as from mythical or legendary literary figures, particularly Odysseus (Ulysses), Tiresias, Christ. Faust, Dante and Virgil. Harris's charact e rs make Odysscan voyages backwards and forward through time and space, inhabiting the past. present

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KYK # 46147 and future witnessing and re-enacting the calamitous history of mankind. They interrogate the sub-conscious, sometimes assuming sacrificial roles in an attempt to save modern civilisation from destruction brought about by man's own deeds committed throughout history or in the present. Despite its apparent complexity. Resurrection at Sorrow Hill is a dect!ptively neat packaging of concerns and devices similar to some which appeared in the Trilogy. Sorrow Hill which is actually the site of a cemetery in Bartica, Guyana, approximates Calvary Hill and is a microcosm for the tragic home of mankind. It is appropriately located at the very dangerous confluence of three mighty rivers in the interior of Guyana, the Essequibo, Mazaruni and Cuyuni. at which Ruth, the pregnant wife of Dr. Daemon. ont! of the novel's main characters. tragically drowns. The idea of resurrection arises from the fact that the plot's frequent shifts between past, present and future often involves characters moving between life. death and rebirth. For example. the main character. whose name is Hope. leads a perilous existence as the secret lover of Bunerlly. the wife of Christopher D'eath. a jealous, trigger-happy husband who often comes precariously close to discovering them in their secret hideout. But their many narrow escapes are occasionally confused by dream sequences in which they are actually shot by D' eath only to appear resurrected afterwards. The concepts of dying and resurrection are further contained in the erotic connotations of their sexual act. In addition. as Harris's narration (unnecessarily) explains it. there are two profiles to the name Christopher D'eath: Profile Christopher (Christ in everyman), profile D'eath (the gun extending from Death's hand), (p.39). Just as D'cath's antagonist is Hope. death has its redeeming alter ego in the Christ of the resurrection. (The fictional is of course a contrivance from such common Guyanese names as D' Aguiar. D' Andrade ... ) 'The most important significance in the title. however is in the theatre run by Daemon as therapy for the inmates of his asylum.

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KVK #46/47 Herein lies the most powerful dimension of the book, its delving into the past and its revealing commentary about the tragic state of man's existence in the modem world and the contributions that he made towards this in his acts of the past. After one of his narrow escapes from D'eath, Hope suffers a nervous breakdown and goes to recuperate in the asylum where he takes part in Daemon's theatre. The inmates don masks representing personage s from history or myth by whom they claim to be possessed. Throu g h the impersonations, these 'dead' figures are resurrected, bringing the past theatre of history and myth together with the present, alive. It was a portrait of living hunger. It was a portrait such as one may come upon in Africa, or India, or South America. or Yugoslavia ... 'Here lay the ghost technology that Leonardo sought' ( p.13?). Harris is well known for his complex but creative narrative strategies. In fact. his popularity is undermined by his reputation as an excellent but difficult, sometimes inaccessible writer. In this latest book, however. fae from mystifying readers. he rather seems occasionally to i nclude explanations in the narrative. In his attempt to trace a history that is 'dense with the witness of centuries', he attemp t s to !"erfect his techniques aimed at purporting to p resent first-hand accounts of history. In Resurrection at Sorrow Hill, the story is first narrated by Daemon's grandmother, a re-incarnation of Tiresias, the old seer of Greek legend who is androgynous, both male and female and who has witnessed the e vents of the world throughout its great age. But then, once more typical of Harris. the narrative shifts; lirst to a more conventional omniscience, then to the contents of the 'Dream Book' that Hope writes while he was in the asylum and which contains all the pictures conjured up by the theatrical impersonations and recorded there. That it takes plac e in an asylum is also a factor in Harris's method and in the success and artistic thoroughness of the work. The name Doctor Daemon holds further signi licance because of the ancienl association of insanity with demonic possession.

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KYK,46/47 Stoning The Wind is a kaleidoscope of vivid imagery and shifting emotions a Caribbean man's serious anempt to come to temis with living between two worlds.

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. JOJ KYK'W47 AI.. CREiG IHON Resurrecti o n at Sorrow Hill (by Wilson Harris) Ever since the appearance of his first novel, Palace of the Peacock (Faber, 1960) Wilson Harris who was born in Guyana in 1921 but has lived in London since 1959, has attracted very special attention as o ne of the most original writers of contemporary fiction. P hilosophy, criticism and t1ction writing were unlikely occupations for Harris who was trained and qualified as a land surveyor; but it was his several work expeditions into the vast, awesome rainforest of the Guianas in the 1940s and 50s that provided base material and inspiration for many of his novels. His latest work, Res u rrection at Sorrow Hill (1993) is closely related to this background as it is to his previous books which amount to most fascinating cycle of fiction. I t starts with The Guyana Quartet, his first four novels set in Guyana. and culminates with The CamivaL Trilogy (Faber, 1993) being r e leased at the same time as Sorrow Hill. They are products of the author's profound relationship s with Guyana's interior Amazonian landscape, ancient Amerindian and European myths, the classics and prolific reading of c ontinental philosophers. He has always enjoyed the highest critical acclaim: among his honours are a Guggenheim Award in 1 972 and The Guyana Prize for Literature in 1987. Doth Sorrow Hill and the Trilogy enhance this reputation. The Carnival Trilogy brings together in one volume, the group of three novels firs t published separately, Carnival (1985), The Infinite Rehearsal (1987) and The Four Banks ojthe River of Space (1990). They are linked mainly by the employment of masks and metaphors b o rrowed from the theatre and carnival as well as from mythical or legendary literary figures, particularly Odysseus (Ulysses), Tiresias, Christ. Faust. Dante and Virgil. Harris's charact er s make Odysscan voyages backwards and forward through time and space, inhabiting the past, present

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KYK #46/47 and future witnessing and re-enacting the calamitous history of mankind. They interrogate the sub-conscious, sometimes assuming sacrificial roles in an attempt to save modern civilisation from destruction brought about by man's own deeds committed throughout history or in the present. Despite its apparent complexity. Resurrection at Sorrow Hill is a deceptively neat packaging of concerns and devices similar to some which appeared in the Trilogy. Sorrow Hill which is actually the site of a cemetery in Bartica. Guyana, approximates Calvary Hill and is a microcosm for the tragic home of mankind. It is appropriately located at the very dangerous confluence of three mighty rivers in the interior of Guyana, the Essequibo, Mazaruni and Cuyuni. at which Ruth, the pregnant wife of Dr. Daemon. one of the novel's main characters. tragically drowns. The idea of resurrection arises from the fact that the plot's frequent shifts between past. present and future often involves characters moving between life, death and rebirth. For example. the main character. whose name is Hope. leads a perilous existence as the secret lover of Dutterlly. the wife of Christopher D'eath. a jealous, trigger-happy husband who often precariously close to discovering them in their secret hideout. But their many narrow escapes are occasionally confused by dream sequences in which they are actually shot by D'eath only to appear resurrected afterwards. The concepts of dying and resurrection are further contained in the erotic connotations of their sexual act. In addition. as Harris's narration (unnecessarily) cxplains it. there are two profiles to the name Christopher D'eath: Profile Christopher (Christ in cveryman). profile O'eath (the gun extending from Death's hand), (p.39). Just as D'cath's antagonist is Hope. death has its redeeming alter ego in the Christ of the resurrection. (The fictional name is of course a contrivance from such common Guyanese names as D' Aguiar. D' Andrade ... ) The most important Significance in the title. however, is in the theatre run by Daemon as therapy for the inmates of his asylum.

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J04 KYK # 46147 Herein lies the mos t powerful dimension of the book, its delving into the past and its revealing commentary about the tragic state of man's existence in the modem world and the contributions that he made towards this in his acts of the past. After one of his narrow escapes from D'eath, Hope suffers a nervous breakdown and goes to recuperate in the asylum where he takes part in Daemon's theatre. The inmates don masks representing personage s from history or myth by whom they claim to be possessed. Throu g h the impersonations, these 'dead' tigures are resurrected, bringing the past theatre of history and myth together with the present, alive. It was a portrait ofliving hunger. It was a portrait such as one may come upon in Africa, or India, or South America. or Yugoslavia ... 'Here lay the ghost technology Leonardo sought' ( p.137). Harris is well known for his complex but creative narrative strategies. In fact, his popularity is undermined by his reputation as an excellent but difficult, sometimes inaccessible writer. In this latest book, however. fae from mystifying readers. he rather seems occasionally to i nclude explanations in the narrative. In his attempt to trace a history that is 'dense with the witness of centuries', he attempts to !1erfect his techniques aimed at purporting to p resent first-hand accounts of history. In Resurrection at Sorrow Hill. the story is tirst narrated by Daemon's grandmother a re-incarnation of Tiresias. the old seer of Greek legend who is androgynous, both male and female and who has witnessed the events of the world throughout its great age. But then. once more typical of Harris. the narrative shifts; tirst to a more conventional o mniscience, then to the contents of the 'Dream Book' that Hope writes while he was in the asylum and which contains all the pictures conjured up by the theatrical impersonations and recorded there. That it takes place in an asylum is also a factor in Harris's method and in the success and thoroughness of the work. The name Doctor Daemon holds further signi /1cance because of the ancient association of insanity with demonic possession.

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KYK # 4614" Moreover. the magic of the theatre with its possession experiences may be to some son of Faustian But allowing an into man's actions. 1bey do not work to the same degree of effectiveness, but the more successful resurrections are astonishing i n their against imperialism, its crimes against the New World, the insane materialism of modem civilisation with its violence and poverty. Socrates remarks, for example, 'the hemlock on my lips was the beginning of a long. drawn-out. unfinished process of civilisation. Civilisation would begin to consume the humiliations it had cooked and inflicted on the weak and the powerless.' (p.I77) 1be wrongs against Montezuma. the plundcrofthe by Conez and th\! conquistadores are linked through the spirit and an of Leonardo da Vinci to the European Renaissance its politics; we are able to look 'back into the past. into a studio within Renaissance Europe where of the tl.'Chnology and polities were begin fused.' (p.136) Also resurrected is Ruth. Daemon's drowned wife who comes 'upon a funeral barge' into the twentieth century 'like an avenging angel' and claims to be 'an Egyptian ... an African ... a slave in the eighteenth century. I was the mistress of Gravesande ... commander of the ruined Dutch fon' (p.IS7). Like Dante travelling through the Inferno. Harris uses his own powerful devices to take us through the hells of the past and these they have creatt.'d for us in the prescnt and the future. unearthing spectres of poverty and famine. of a child whose face was 'knuckled. it was veiled bone. it was taut flesh. It was against all the of the contemporary world', Harris seems to be suggesting that it is almost a madness to hope for the survival of mankind among the plethora of wars and genocide and the haunting legacy of the past. (Hope in the story of 50"ow Hill is mad. His hope to defy yet escape O'eath is insane; hence his symbolic nladness in the asylum). Harris however, appears to be a believer in "possibilism".

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306 KYK #46/47 because Hope s boo k written from the experience of journeys through hell, death, d r eam and the unconscious, triumphs. In the end 'Hope (hope?) seized them all with ecstatic gratitude' (p.244). 'The impossible i s possible despite all that is happening, is to happen, has happened. Time is not absolute. In the absurdity of the imagination lies a truth that may liberate us' (p.136) But only m'ldmen would have undertaken Ute journey.

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KYK#46147 FRANK BIRBALSINGH Estate People (by Rooplall Monar) Ian McDonald writes in his Foreword to Estate People. that Rooplall Monar: "has succeeded in establishing himself as a leading, perhaps the foremost, interpreter of sugar plantation life in the West Indies" (p. iv). This is high praise; and it is justified by Monar's main writinl!s: two volumes of stories Backdam People. and High House alld Radio; a novel jalljhat ; and Estate People. his third collection of stories. These writings draw attention to the paucity of fictional studies of life on West Indian sugar plantations. Perhaps this paucity is due to the fact that most West Indian writers have little direct plantation experience. Even the two best known Indo-Caribbean writers Selvon and Naipaul who consider Indo-Trinidadians in their fiction, pay relatively little attention to the plantation aspects of this experience. This is what is different about Monar: he not only grew up among plantation labourers: he makes them the life and soul of his art. Consequently, his stories may be seen to re-create Indo-Caribbean plantation society more accurately, vividly. insightfully and expertly than has ever been done in fiction. In Estate People. as in his previous work. Monar's subject is the manners, mores, history, philosophy and daily agenda of the Guyanese sugar plantation and its environs. The great majority of his characters are descendants of labourers who first came to the Caribbean from India under a system of indenture in 1838. It is the labour mainly of these indentured Indians that. for the last century and a half, has sustained Guyana's sugar industry. and fostered a subculture. part Indian and part Caribbean. within an environment of harsh physical conditions. and elemental if not crude emotional and psychological relationships. Not surprisingly. harshness and crudeness are essential features of the action in the stories in Estate People. In a typical story. "Money Can't Pay", the narrator is an

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KYK#46147 ageing Indian shovel man who recalls an incident when he and his fellow labourers are dri ven by resentment over their starvation wages to confront the estate administration mat is responsible for their plight. Before they know it, police are called in, shots are fired, and one labourer Nankoo is killed. A protest is made to the British governor who promises action; but although the estate manager is put on trial, he is acquitted, and the story ends with an empty-sounding threat of defiance from the nauator: "Me been swear, if me foot been strong me woulda take policeman gun, shoot policeman, manager, overseer bladam and take brukneck in jail" (p.IS). TIlis swaggering self advertisement is futile, for at the end of the story nothin g has changed, and Nankoo is the only casualty. What the narrator says earlier is more reliahle: And all-yuh know things been ruff-and gruff i" estate. Manager, oversee r driver and doctor,uses to knock aile head Estate people coolieman and blackman, us es to knock other h ead. (p.14) TIlis suggests that the sharp division of power relations on Guyanese sugar plantations does not allow for protest, accommodation or change: hence the continuing exploitation and victimization of workers. If Money Can't Pay" illustrates such a grim prospect on Guyanese Sugar estates, "Big-Mouth", surprisingly extracts humour from this prospect. In Monar's stories, humour is generally produced both by exposure of the personal weaknesses of characters or by illustration of the strategies that these characters (employ) to circumvent their grim circumstlillces. Big-Mouth for example, is a dexterous manipulator, adept in using deviousness, connivance and obsequiousness to obtain favours and promote self interest. As the author puts it, Big-Mouth is: "co lleaguing with estate against the people (p.19) One of Big-Mouth s more notori. ous schemes is to steal estate money and dole it out to female workers from whom h e can then extract sexWlI favours. The author 's exposure of Big Mouth's ruthlessness is deftly expressed: Big-Mouth is not only bully, he inside like rockstone." (p.18)

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KYK # 46/47 Monar 's great success is to make Big-Mouth's personal flawshypocrisy, duplicity, bullying and cowardice and his ruthless schemes appear as equally amusing. "Money Can' t Pay" and" Big-Mouth contain suspenseful, expertly shaped plots and acute psychological analysis that evoke both the adverse circumstances of the characters and the humour that emerges out of their daily activities. Considering how grim are the conditions he writes about it is truly astonishing that Monar can find humour in them. He is able to do this partly because of the well tailored structure of his plots. "Big-Mouth", for example, opens as follows: Estate people say, ...... hatever bad things a man do, he bound to suffer dearly for it before he spirit leave his body. Big-Moltth, ...... ho been feel he could bribe God, ...... as no exception. (p.16) Since this proverbial wisdom virtually tells us that Big-Mouth will die or somehow pay for his wicked deeds, we can laugh at his doings and treat them as misdemeanours rather than serious crimes. If his victims suffer, we still laugh because we know from the author's opening sentence that comeuppance is in store for Big-Mouth. And when farcical elements are added, for instance, when Big-Mouth's victims threaten him with violence and force him to flee for safety, it reinforces the humorous effect of his misdeeds as sheer high jinks, uproarious escapades rather than shameful deceit or immoral exploitation of kith and kin who are already victims of exploitation by a brutal plantation system. This pervasively humorous effect is confirmed in the end when the protagonist is afflicted by flu, bad kidneys a'1d stomach ulcers all at o nce for although the pain from his illnesses causes him to moan and groan, his distress arouses little grief: it is as comical as his mischief-making, and represents an essential stage in a fixed moral pattern, whereby wicked or immoral actions lead inevitably to retributi o n in Monar 's stories. Thus encased in a perfectly shaped plot Big-Mouth s story becomes an amusing morality or folk tale in which characters are engaged in relationships that ultimately

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KYK il46/47 assert the elemental power of good over evil. Whether it is through Big-Mouth's wicked intrigue, Banga's obeah-working schemes, Jamilah's father's desperate attempts to save her from an Hindu suitor, or Lil Boy's life of unmitigated crime, the stories in Estate People portray a subculture in which, apparently out of necessity, people resort to nefarious plotting, devious exploits, crude violence and other harsh measures in the normal conduct of their lives. But the tragic import of such action is miraculously relieved by a vibrant comic sense that transforms Estate People from what might have been a rather solemn record of social protest into a tragi-comic extravaganza that is unique in West Indian literature. One would need to combine the comic inventions of Samuel Selvon with Roger Mais's unsparing documentation of Jamaican urban slums to come up with a West Indian fictional text similar to Estate People. Even then, the largely AfroCaribbean linguistic and urban context of Selvon and Mais would contrast sharply with Monar's rustic Indo-Caribbean speech and milieu. What gives Monar's fiction its unique distinction among other texts of West Indian literature is precisely its beguiling reproduction of Indo-Guyanese speech within a rural setting. The unique flavour of this reproduction is evident in the following proverbial sayings from Estate People: "But don't matter how much time you bum a dog mouth, he still can't stop suck fowl egg" (p.20); "People not fall down from tree-top yuh know. They come from somewhere as me daddy been say." (p.36); "one-one day bucket bottom going lef in wellpipe." (p.48); and "smart fly does end-up in cow-behind." (p.49) Perhaps the closest West Indian parallel to the raw quality of such speech is in Mais' s The Hills Were Joyful Together. But, as already mentioned, Mais's setting is alien. It we try to fit Monar's fiction into the mainstream tradition of modern Guyanese writing that begins with Edgar Mittelholzer and runs through Jan Carew and Wilson Harris to Roy Heath, the fit is doser, but still not exact. While Monar undoubtedly belongs to this Guyanese tradition. he more

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KYK "46147 specifically represents its Indo-Guyanese element which includes older writers like Rajkumarie Singh. Sheik and Lauchmonen. and younger ones like Cyril Dabydeen and Sasenarine Persaud. It is among this group of writers that is best placed, and it is out of this group that he emerges supreme. not onJy through his skill in suspenseful plot building and penetrating character study, but most triumphantly. through his magisterial reproduction of the exact nuances of meaning and timbre of sound in the speech of the characters about whom he writes.

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. Sidney Edward English at : Macushi poet from Rupununi, Guyana Jamaican poet and literary critic. Campus, UWI. of Anna resident of Historian and Editor, born in England and Frank : Born in Guyana; literary critic; senior lecturer in Caribbean Literature, Yark University, Canada. Stewart African : Jamaican poet and lecturer at Centre of West University of UK. Roy : Guyanese now resident of UK. N.E. G u yanese historian, teacher, dramatist and compiler of first of Craig: Vice-ChanceUor of tile University of Guyana; poet and of the Guyana Prize committee. AI CreightoD: Born in Jamaica; literary critic; Senior I ecJUreI' in English at University of Fred D' Aguiar: Guyanese poet, resident of the UK. Vere T. Daly: Guyanese historian and educator. John Figueroa: Jamaican poet, critic. lecturer, broadcaster; now lives in the UK. Ameena Gafoor: writer and literary critic, now lives in Barbados Michael Gilkes: Guyanese Lecturer at the Sir Arthur Lewis poet and literary critic. College in St. Lucia.

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Cy Grant: Guyanese musician and writer resident of the UK. Cecil Gray: Trinidadian poet short-story writer editor and lecturer ; now lives in Canada. Denise Gray-Gooden: Trinidadian poet resident of Jamaica. Stanley Greaves: Guyanese painter and poet now lives in Barbados. Nicola Griffith: Guyanese student and a prizewinner o f the 1995 Commonwealth Trust Y o ung P oets Competition. Keith Henry: B o rn in Trinidad ; professor in African American Studies, State University of New York & Buffalo USA David Jackman: Trinidadian poet and shoI1 story writer. Keith Jardim: Trinidadian shoI1 story writer. Joyce Jonas: Senior Lecturer University of Guyana and literary critic. Born in England now resident of Guyana. Harischandra Khemraj: Guyanese writer and winner of the 1994 Guyana Prize. Eusi Kwayana: Guyanese teacher and writer: veteran activist of local political culture. Mark McWatt: Guyanese poet and Senior Lecturer in English at the Cave Hill Campus,UWI. Pauline Melville: Writer and actress: of Guyanese heritage now resident of the UK. Philip Nanton: Born in St. Vincent: literar y critic and lectur e r at Birmingham University, UK. Brian Pastoor: Tri nidadian poet and editor. Sasenarine Persaud: Guyanese poct. resident of Canada.

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Luis Pumales: Pur10 Rican poet and lecturer at the University of Puerto Rico Ken Ramchand: Trinidadian. distinguished literary critic. histo rian and editor. Profcsso r of Enl!lish at the the St. AU1!ustine Campus. UWI. Rupert Roopnaraine: Guyanese teacher. writer. film-maker and political activist. Andrew Salkey: Jamaican poct. novelist. cdi tor and outstanding litcrary pcrsonality. died rccently in the USA. Clem Seecharan: Guyancsc writer. historian and lecturer in C'arihhcan Studics at th e Univcrsity of North London, Elma Seymour: Guyanese anthologist and author or" A Goodly an autohiography: wi fc and part ncr 'or AJ Seymour. Jan 1.0 Shinebourne: Born in Guyana: no vc list and cultural worker now live s in Lo ndo n U K Kiren Shuman: poet from Belize Dorothy St. Aubyn: Guyanese writer. resc:.;. cher and folklorist. Annt:' Walmsley: Britis h editor of works un Carihhcan writers and painters Jacqueline de Weever: (Jilyanesc poct: pionccr o f KY K. now lives in New Yurko Westmaas: Guyancsc student of histury. political activist: a\'id alllateur rescarcher a nd archhist. John Wil'kham: Barhadiali writer and vcteran edilOr \)f W cst Indian literarv journal. BIM.

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