“This Is How I Know Myself”

A Conversation with Sandra Pouchet Paquet

• May 2012

Sandra Pouchet Paquet is a pioneer in US-based Caribbean literary studies. In 1992, she obtained a professorship as a Caribbeanist at the University of Miami, one of the first in the United States. The university’s location at the heart of Florida’s rapidly growing Caribbean community was an ideal setting to promote the study of Caribbean literature, and Pouchet Paquet’s efforts enhanced the university’s positive reputation among scholars of Caribbean literature and increased other institutions’ awareness of the field’s value. She has contributed comprehensive critical studies of Caribbean literature to African American and Caribbean scholarly archives, particularly on George Lamming’s work, and she directed the Caribbean Writers Summer Institute, which fostered creativity and a sense of community among authors and scholars of Caribbean literature by providing them with a neutral space for intellectual exchange. Pouchet Paquet launched Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal in 2003 and served as its editor until 2009. Her recent work includes Caribbean Autobiography (2002), which explores the Caribbean subject’s (re)creation of identity through autobiography and stresses the genre’s significance to the region’s history. It was an honor to speak with Professor Pouchet Paquet at her home this past February.


Sheryl Gifford: In your recent work on Caribbean autobiography, you explain that autobiography reflects the intersection and “contradiction of regional identities.”1 What kinds of questions or contradictions arose as you established your scholarly identity within a male-dominated Caribbean critical community?

Sandra Pouchet Paquet: At the time of my first teaching appointment at the University of the West Indies, Mona, I felt welcomed by the male-dominated Caribbean critical community, which included people like Mervyn Morris, Edward Baugh, Gordon Rohlehr, and Arthur Drayton. There were differences in how we read writers and literary/cultural texts, but there was no hostility to contend with. The latter is more a feature of my professional life in the US. UWI, Mona, was a wonderful place to work. I have a reverence for people like Mervyn Morris and Eddie Baugh, because of the kind of people they are—they’re fine, upstanding men—and because of their groundbreaking work in the field. They became my mentors and teachers on another level; they created spaces for me to do everything that the job required and encouraged me.

There were also highly accomplished women like Velma Pollard, Jean Creary D’Acosta, Maureen Warner Lewis, Rosina Wiltshire, Merle Hodge, and Betty Wilson there as well. Maureen Warner Lewis was a classmate of mine at St. Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, and she was married to a Jamaican, Rupert Lewis, who was establishing himself in his own field at that time. These women were professionally accomplished, active scholars, writers and administrators and, to my knowledge, nobody was giving them a hard time. They created a space for me to know more about the field as I finished my dissertation. I got respect and an opportunity to prove myself. Issues of race and class were not impediments among the professional men and women I worked with. Their openness to different perspectives was always clear.

My emigration to the US to live and work was more difficult. For a period of ten years or more I was caught up in establishing and maintaining a professional profile and raising a family. I did not return to the Caribbean campuses to participate in conferences, etcetera, though I actively consulted on examinations at various levels. So I was a stranger to a new generation of scholars like Evelyn O’Callaghan, Carolyn Cooper, and Mark McWatt. My appointment as a Caribbeanist and director of the Caribbean Writer’s Summer Institute at the University of Miami reintroduced me to the Caribbean literary and cultural community. It increased my critical participation in various conferences; it opened up opportunities for professional exchange that enriched my professional life enormously.

SG: You describe autobiography as “emancipatory and adversarial” for writers such as Claude McKay, George Lamming, C. L. R. James, and Derek Walcott.2 As a female Caribbeanist contributing to a patriarchal scholarly community, how might critical inquiry been emancipatory and/or adversarial for you?

SPP: Your question assumes a parallel between the critical quest and the autobiographical quest, and I accede to that. My work allowed me to link my emotional and intellectual lives. It kept the Caribbean close, and renewed this connection continually through my engagement with the finest minds in the region. My personal and professional quest to know and understand what it means to be a Caribbean woman/person of my generation, class, and color merged in a way that is my great good fortune. I was living away from, in a sense, my original place, and it can drift away very quickly. How do you hold on to [that place]? How do you grow with it? You don’t just want to know it superficially. For me, it was growth. And fortunately personal growth meant professional growth, and I felt very lucky that I had those opportunities.

SG: Your connection to Trinidad—home—framed those opportunities for you.

SPP: Yes. After graduating from high school, I had been taking UWI extension courses, doing art history and dabbling in intellectual exchange, but I was uncommitted to a field of study as a life course. We were Catholic, and the Catholic institutions were prominent and excellent. The nuns who taught us were also women who had been educated. They had at least first degrees, and some of them had a second degree or a degree in education, so they recognized intellectual possibilities and ambitions before young people did and took them seriously. The principal of my school had been my English teacher in sixth form, and I had done very well. She thought that I should be at university, and she said, “I am going to refer you to Canon Max Murphy for a scholarship to the States.”3 There were quite a few of those [scholarships] at the time; Elizabeth Nunez describes her experiences on a similar [one].4 I went through all the motions and got admitted to college with all my expenses paid, just about. My mother was thrilled, and my father was proud, and I decided that I wasn’t going anywhere! Quite simply, it was because I felt a kind of fear that I wouldn’t be back, a hard-to-define fear that things would change, that I would lose what I valued most, which was my sense of belonging to them and to the place. My mother reasoned with me; she’d say, “Look at this as a great opportunity. You haven’t yet found your direction in life. Try it for a year. Give it your best. If at the end of that year, you don’t want to finish and just want to come home, you can pick up your life [here] again.” So I went, and of course one thing led to another. She probably knew that it would work out that way, but I needed that push.

Yet I did not have the fraught experience that Elizabeth Nunez describes. The US hospitals were recruiting medical graduates for the internship programs here, because even then they were short of doctors, and my sister, who had finished medical school in Ireland, came to the States and went to Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut to do her internship. I was at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, so she was close by. She got a car and she’d drive up on a weekend, any weekend she wasn’t working. She insisted I get my license and she would leave me the car at times, and I would drive down to see her. I think she needed me as much as I needed her, and it was a wonderful time for us. We left the sisterly squabbling behind and became very good friends.

SG: Did you have opportunities to return home?

SPP: Well, my loving, generous sister said she wouldn’t go home without me, and whenever she went home, she bought me a ticket. So I returned for short periods, like during semester breaks. Mainly, I took advantage of the scholarship and went to school every summer. They found me advanced beyond my freshman class, which made sense because I didn’t start college until I was 21. Because I was older, and also had the benefit of the A-levels at my high school and had never stopped reading and learning, they gave me a year’s credit and set me up in an honors program that allowed me to individualize my schedule with the dean of the college. I graduated in two and a half years, and I went straight home. I didn’t even come back for graduation.

SG: How had you changed since you’d left?

SPP: By the time I went back, it had become apparent to me that I wanted to teach. That was my milieu; I really loved the environment of teaching and learning. So I set about getting permission from the Ministry of Education. There was some difficulty [with that], because the nature of the degree that you got from a US university or college at that time was different on paper from what a British university would have given. Because I was an honors student and I’d gotten an honors degree, the resistance was dropped. A position became available at the convent where I went to school—somebody [there] was on maternity leave—and I taught there for one glorious semester. I loved it; I absolutely loved it. When the teacher returned, I was out of a job. The Ministry of Education posted me to Mausica Teachers’ Training College as an English lecturer. I loved teaching older students in a more specialized situation. I was there for a year, and then somebody said that I couldn’t possibly be teaching in a training college without an education degree. I got reassigned to the Diego Martin Secondary School, close to where I lived, and then I didn’t want to teach high school anymore: I’d just had it with sending kids down to the principal’s office for misbehaving. I was taking away razor blades from children in class when they threatened each other, and I didn’t want to manage rebellious teenagers. I wanted an opportunity to do what I had been doing, that is, teaching language and literature, so it became clear that I needed to go to graduate school.

But my life in Trinidad was very good, very rich. My experience at the teachers’ training college was a life-changing experience for me; it took me into social worlds that I otherwise would not have had any chance to enter. The students there were very accepting of me and put up with my peculiarities, [particularly] my American-ness, because my education was American. They took everything I could give them, and it was lovely. Then I came up here to visit my sister, who was then doing her residency at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, and one of her fellow residents told me that the University of Connecticut was looking for people like me. They needed diversity, and in a hurry. At the time I never thought that I would be taking a position away from an African American; it just went right by me. So my sister drove me up to Storrs one day, and I made my application and got my letters in. Before I returned to Trinidad I had a teaching assistantship, and the die was cast.

SG: Was that when you decided to stay in the US?

SPP: No, at the University of Connecticut I fell in love with the man I’m married to [Basil Paquet], and we became inseparable. We were both literary people. He wanted to write—he’s a very good poet—and he loved my world, everything about it. We got to know Derek Walcott and George Lamming very well, and he loved their work, and they took him very seriously as a poet. They took us both seriously. That became very important to me later on, when we moved to the Caribbean for about four years. It was an easy decision; [Basil] had become increasingly frustrated with the state of the Vietnam War, and it was driving him crazy. He was a medic and a conscientious objector who refused to carry arms in the army. In Vietnam, he was assigned to a hospital because he was identified as someone who could handle a certain level of training, and they trained him to work in a neurosurgical unit as an assistant. He came back to the USA very frustrated with the state of the war. We were both writing and teaching part time. He got an advance on a novel that he wanted to write and I got a dissertation fellowship, [and] we packed up everything and went to Trinidad. We ran out of money in a year, and that’s when I applied for a job at UWI, Cave Hill, because there were no positions open at the St. Augustine campus in Trinidad. Elaine Savory got the job in Barbados, and I asked to be considered for a position at UWI, Mona. I spent three years there finishing my dissertation, teaching, and learning so much. It was a terrific experience that also defined me professionally. It was a sensitive time in Jamaica when every American was perceived as a CIA threat, and I had a white American husband and was very conscious of that. Our colleagues [didn’t see him negatively], though; everybody seemed to like him and didn’t hold it against me once they got to know him. It was a wonderful place to work. We had a rich social life with people we met in the department and university community. Jamaica is extraordinarily beautiful, full of surprises, and even though we were there during the Gun Court days, everybody around us took it in stride, so we did too. We never ran into any difficulty in terms of direct confrontations or anything like that.

SG: How did your work in that particular setting engage other scholars and writers?

SPP: Well, two of the people who facilitated my entrance into the UWI world were George Lamming and Derek Walcott. They didn’t have to do it, but what they said in effect was, “We take her seriously, and we hope you do, too.” They identified me as a young Caribbean scholar who was worth paying attention to. I believe male creativity operates differently, and the more you learn about men who are poets and novelists and critics, about what inspires their writing, in a sense the better you’re able to define yourself. You’re defining yourself with and against them. I don’t know to what degree I engaged others as scholars. What I was particularly grateful for was a growing acceptance of my status as a US-trained scholar with a different perspective and different teaching and learning and publishing opportunities.

As far as the women were concerned, I hope I offered respect and good fellowship, and modeled a critical approach that served our common goals. In turn, the community of women inspired and fortified me, and [they] taught me a lot about how one might perform feminist scholarship.

SG: Donette Francis characterizes Caribbean feminist criticism as having “fluidity between the creative writer and the critic.”5 How extensively has “fluidity” characterized your relationship to the creative writer?

SPP: I think Donette Francis is right in respect to [a particular] generation of critics and the sympathetic, largely respectful naming relationship between the creative writer and the critic. Certainly, this was a driving motivation behind the Caribbean Writers’ Summer Institute. I don’t know that I would go so far as to characterize the field of Caribbean literary criticism in these terms, though many [creative] writers are also published literary and cultural critics. Where this exists it confirms and stimulates the fluidity that Donette recognizes.

SG: You began your tenure at the University of Miami as West Indian critical feminism started to develop. How did the appointment at UM benefit your scholarship, and vice versa?

SPP: My life as a Caribbeanist really began anew when I came to the University of Miami. I don’t know if there was another position like it in the US at that time, but the English department [had] hired me as a Caribbeanist to develop the field at UM. We had an enlightened chair that saw it as a field to grow in all kinds of directions and as complementary to his specialty in Joyce and Irish literature. That was the late Zack Bowen, a brilliant and affable scholar and administrator. One of the reasons they brought me here was to direct the Caribbean Writers’ Summer Institute. I had this wonderful teaching situation in which I taught graduate courses in Caribbean literature; on an undergraduate level I taught Caribbean and African American literature. I was finally able to breathe deeply as my professional life as a Caribbean scholar began again in earnest. My children were also older, so [I] didn’t have to lean over them while they did their homework, and my husband was very supportive; he loved the work, he loved the writing, everything, and [he] shared in the richness of the experience.

SG: The Caribbean Writers’ Summer Institute enhanced the university’s reputation for having one of the most desirable Caribbean literary studies programs in the US. How did you develop it?

SPP: The institute was meant to create a Caribbean space in a North American institution, and Miami, even at that time, was being redefined in Caribbean terms. So it was a good place; the climate was right and the environment was relaxed. The idea was that we would invite Caribbean writers, wherever they were domiciled, to be in a neutral Caribbean space, learn from each other, hone and refine their skills, and expand their experience beyond wherever they might come from. People who were domiciled in the States, like Edwidge Danticat, also attended. We attracted a lot of people, like Velma Pollard and Zee Edghill. Robert Antoni was a part of it; Michael Anthony and Funso Aiyejina were part of it. It was a space that allowed these writers great opportunities for escape from the demands of daily life. Six weeks was a good length of time to spend in an intimate workshop setting or in lectures, public readings, and group activities. I think that it worked out very well. Not that there weren’t clashes and conflicts, but they were managed so as not to disrupt the overall direction of [the Institute].

SG: How did you maintain that overall direction as contexts changed?

SPP: I wanted [the institute] to be a place where scholars would come and move on equal footing with writers, and the writers with other writers, and I envisioned that as a money-earning enterprise in which the scholars funded by their institutions would support struggling writers. I tried to introduce this kind of financial dimension, and we worked that angle as best as we could. It was a tremendous opportunity for many young Caribbean scholars and scholars of Caribbean writing. For the first time in the US in many cases, [these scholars] were having breakfast and lunch, and going for walks and shopping with people who had the same interests.

The idea of creating an environment that would maximize learning possibilities worked very well until we ran out of money completely. I was not able to secure funding for the Institute. We came very close to a Rockefeller Foundation grant, but that ultimately went to Puerto Rico. I have no quarrel with the University of Puerto Rico for getting the support to build a Caribbean studies program. It was competitive, but even when they told me that they’d used our program as a model, I said, “Well, dissemination means everything.” I continued to have a wonderful working relationship with UPR. I couldn’t get any national funding, because ultimately the primary beneficiaries of funding were noncitizens. We spent every penny we had bringing writers and scholars together.

The university had also started to get anxious, because it seemed to them that we were creating a school within a school that didn’t fall under the parameters of anybody’s control, though it was within the Department of English. It was beginning, I think, to acquire a kind of permanence. I think the University of Miami was the right time and place for it, and I can honestly say I did the best I could with the opportunity, but the one thing I couldn’t do was come up with funding. I didn’t know how to ask for money, and strategically I didn’t know about grant writing. I wasn’t trained [in those areas], and I was dependent on others [to secure funding]. The president at the time attempted to do some fundraising for us and things like that, but it didn’t materialize. I may not have been the right person, but I did the best I could. Maybe at that point what I should have done was design a program which they would fund and then figure out where we would get the rest of the money from, but at that point, I was utterly exhausted, and I’d neglected my own scholarship.

SG: What did you decide to do?

SPP: I took a sabbatical and finished my book. I’d come here with a manuscript for Caribbean Autobiography, and I spent the year finishing that and getting the contract for it. The University gave me a half-year sabbatical, so that helped. I took six months on my own, without support. The manuscript took a shape and a form that were manageable and therefore publishable. I put everything into it that I could, and as much as I’d learned in the five years since I’d first started [at UM], and I felt myself coming into my own as a Caribbean scholar. Then I applied for promotion, and our department’s growth and development took a different turn. The graduate program in Caribbean literary studies started to take off, and I got help in the person of Patricia Saunders. But I was still tired, and everything was still intense. Every time I had an opportunity to add a new dimension to our program, I agreed to it. For example, the journal [Anthurium]; how could I say no to that? It just about destroyed me, because I needed a larger support network than the department and college would provide. I told Patricia Saunders finally that when she was tenured, I was going to retire. I don’t think she believed me; I think she thought I was going to be there forever. But she’s very, very good at managing everything. She just did one better than I was able to do; she got authorization from the new dean for a senior hire to replace me. With a second person in the English department at the senior level, I think the program [will] regain its strength. It will move on. I gave it everything I could without losing my sanity. Ever since leaving the Caribbean, my life has been work and family. Having family was terribly important to me. I [didn’t] care if people said, “Oh, you’re into babies now.”

SG: People said that?

SPP: Yes. My uncle Carl would say, “You have to decide, Sandra, whether you are going to pursue an education and a professional life, or settle down and have a family. You can’t do both.” But I never envisioned life, once I met Basil, without children. Once I got started, I never envisioned giving up my own academic career, either. There’s no person I’m more sympathetic to than a student who is pregnant and trying to finish her dissertation. You just have to be very patient and prepare for the fact that it sets you back, so age-wise you won’t wonder what happened to you later on. You make choices because they’re important to you, and you need to have a ready answer to others’ questions [about them]. It wasn’t one or the other [for me]; I had to have both. I thought that made me a feminist.

SG: You’d done exactly what you wanted to do.

SPP: Yes, but feminism isn’t the same story from year to year. Different impulses drive the movement. As a teacher, you know yourself as a feminist very early, because your students won’t give you any leeway anyhow. You have to have an honest relationship with them and their expectations of you or you’re not going to be able to teach successfully. Still, it happened from time to time that I would be accused of being patriarchal!

SG: What led to that charge?

SPP: They asked, “How can you assign this book for us to read?” I remember distinctly one conversation about [Jacques] Roumain’s Masters of the Dew.6 I thought I was doing the teacherly, appropriate thing by talking about structure and design and how the book arrives at its meaning. The objection was to the violence, and to the knife images that were associated with sexual encounter. I have no quarrel with that; I think that perception is entirely up for discussion. It’s so marked currently, particularly to their sensibilities, and you’ve got to believe their sensibilities are as valuable as anybody else’s. When I asked, “Should I drop this book from the course?,” the answer was, “Yes.” I said, “No way! How am I going to teach you about this extraordinary sensibility, this extraordinary writer? How else would you know [about it]?” The response was, “We don’t need to know!” That was here in Miami. There were two students. They sat together and the student who was the mouthpiece was very successful. She was actually doing Irish studies, and she was a very outspoken feminist. I understand what a student is doing—I’ve been at it for too long—the whole process of testing ideas and looking for a place. I think her criticism was in many regards appropriate. It was in a class of fifteen or sixteen, so it didn’t become an issue. But I never forgot that. It became one of those markers that made me think all over again when I assigned texts about how I would lay them out, because when students are alienated, you lose them. It diminishes your capacity to teach them. You want to avoid that as a teacher, because you want everybody in the class, particularly at the graduate level, to be thinking positively. Not imitatively, but feeding off your ideas.

SG: Your student wasn’t protesting violent masculinity in her context, but learning about another context’s masculinity and violence. Was her objection characteristic of feminist thought at the time?

SPP: I think it was the moment. There was, it seems to me, a wave of outspokenness in the department at that particular time, or within that class of students. Perhaps they felt oppressed or inhibited. They were exercising their rights. Maybe they wanted me to be a little more outspoken and authoritative, and I was. I just loved [Roumain’s] book. When you read Marie Chauvet’s trilogy, you understand where all that imagery is coming from.7 Roumain is promoting a nationalistic moment, and Chauvet is not. She’s not dispensing with it as a value, but she is deconstructing it with a vengeance. I wish I’d had that book at the time; it would have been the perfect complement. [My student’s] response is not the norm. The norm is exactly the opposite: students want to know the way you read, and what you see, and why you see it the way you do, and then they can play off their own perceptions against where you stand.

SG: Your confidence in your stance inspires students to think about their claims on identity. In this way you’re not unlike Mary Seacole, whose work you discuss in a 1992 essay. Her conviction in her identity as a subject of Empire strategically challenged others’ “boundaries of race, gender, and privilege.”8 How have you positioned yourself as a Caribbean subject in the US?

SPP: As an immigrant Caribbean and one-time African American studies scholar, one is acutely aware of the square-peg-in-a-round-hole syndrome. I knew myself socially and professionally to be the proverbial “gate-crasher,” an individual whose survival depends on challenging the boundaries of race, gender, and privilege within the parameters of the state and its institutions.9 I once had a lawyer tell me rather gleefully that I fell into all four of the most discriminated against categories in the US: I was black, a woman, an immigrant, and over forty. He thought it was hilarious, but it changed my self-perception utterly.

SG: How?10

SPP: As I remember it, he found my naiveté about my status funny. He was right; I’d thought of myself as a child of relative privilege and good fortune that would do well since excellence in performance would be the measure of my success in the US. But this is a Seacole-type perception of what the “I” can do; the weight of the categories of discrimination he identified made me not just know, but feel, how vulnerable I was in each area of identification and deepened my commitment to making my achievements open the doors for others. I don’t mean to sound so smug, but this was an ongoing learning process, the struggle of a lifetime.

SG: You also realized that you held the same contradictory place Natasha Barnes describes Sylvia Wynter as holding. Barnes says that Wynter’s “ideological commitments [of feminism and nationalism] reveal an impasse.”11 As a woman critic who has contributed seminal scholarship on George Lamming’s work to Caribbean literary studies, how would you characterize your work in relation to feminism?

SPP: First, let me say that a “contradictory” place is exactly where you want to be if you are someone like Sylvia Wynter. As for the idea of an “impasse” between feminism and nationalism in Wynter, maybe so, but an impasse is a moment in time; it does not describe a permanent state of mind and thought. George Lamming was my first teacher of Caribbean literature. He opened my mind to new avenues of thought; he underscored and updated my very nineteenth-century British understanding of feminism; and he introduced me to Black feminist writing in the US and European thought on sexual politics. My enlightenment as a feminist scholar takes off under his direction. He was very self-aware about his own learning curve, which culminated in his fiction with Water with Berries on the one hand, and the magnificent, empowering Natives of My Person on the other.12 I see my work on Lamming as a process of deepening understanding rather than as contradictory. Feminist thought was not a barrier to Lamming, and that was my grounding.

SG: And your scholarship on his work reflects that sense of possibility.

SPP: For Lamming the Caribbean has to be seen as a whole, and you can’t shut out any aspect of the experience. If you do, there’s something you don’t know and something you’re not seeing or understanding. You have to conjure it all up, and you have to see it whether for the better or the worse, often [for the] worse. So he’s very careful about, for example, the white voice. You can’t ignore it. You may not want to pay attention to it, because there are other things that you want to do, but you can’t ignore it. It’s a part of who you are as a Caribbean person; it just is.

SG: What aspect of the Caribbean experience do you want to better understand, and how do you think it will deepen your understanding of yourself?

SPP: I have my own writing to do. Some of it is personal, and I’ve gone back to autobiography. I really haven’t had a space to figure that out yet, and I feel no sense of urgency. The thing that’s absolutely driving me crazy right now is this passion I have for the Amazon. I’m fascinated with it. I feel I’ll discover something about myself when I take a closer look at that world that antedates the colonial world. I think something happened to me when I went on a trip to Guyana and we went through the interior. Something stirred me, excited me. It has to do with the landscape; I felt as we went up the river that I was recovering something. Everything was familiar, but it was on such an enormous scale that it was unrecognizable. It felt very deep to me, and that’s not an unusual response to Guyana and the interior, and I started reading about it for the sheer hell of it. I was stirred by one of my former grad students who’s done some interesting work about voice in relation to the literature of Amazon region, and I kept looking for different angles to see what she could do with it.13 I got swept away, and I haven’t returned from it yet. It’s pulling me in, and I just have to go with it. I have no reason not to go with it.

SG: You’ve always found that tension between the familiar and the unrecognizable intriguing, haven’t you?

SPP: Yes. As a Trinidadian born into a particular family at a particular point in time, this sensibility was embedded in me as far back as I can remember. This is how I know myself. This is who I am.


Sheryl Gifford is a PhD candidate and an instructor of English at Florida Atlantic University.


1 Sandra Pouchet Paquet, Caribbean Autobiography: Cultural Identity and Self-Representation (Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), 6.

2 Ibid, 177.

3 Canon Max Murphy was the Chaguanas parish rector and founder of  Presentation College Chaguanas in Trinidad and Tobago; http://pcc.edu.tt/about/pastprincipals.php.

4 Elizabeth Nunez, Beyond the Limbo Silence (Seattle: Seal, 1998).

5 Donette Francis, “Strategies of Caribbean Feminism,” in Michael A. Bucknor and Alison Donnell, eds., The Routledge Companion to Anglophone Caribbean Literature (New York: Routledge, 2011), 332.

6 Jacques Roumain, Masters of the Dew (London: Heinemann, 1978).

7 Marie Vieux Chauvet, Love, Anger, Madness, trans. Rose-Myriam Rejouis and Val Vinokur (New York: Modern Library, 2009).

8 Sandra Pouchet Paquet, “The Enigma of Arrival: The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands,” African American Review 26, no. 4 (1992): 651.

9 See Samuel Selvon, “Three into One Can’t Go: East Indian, Trinidadian, West Indian,” opening address, East Indians in the Caribbean Conference, University of the West Indies, Trinidad, 1979.

10 While the remainder of this interview was conducted in February 2012, this question was posed in May, as a means of clarifying how Pouchet Paquet’s self-perception changed.

11 Quoted in Francis, “Strategies of Caribbean Feminism,” 333.

12 George Lamming, Water with Berries (Port of Spain: Longman Caribbean, 1971), and Natives of My Person (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972).

13 Lara Cahill-Booth, “Theatre of Arts: Caribbean Intertextuality and the Muse of Place,” (PhD diss., University of Miami, 2010).


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