Archive for May, 2012

“This Is How I Know Myself”

Monday, 28 May 2012

A Conversation with Sandra Pouchet Paquet 

Sheryl Gifford

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. (more…)

An Interview with Earl Lovelace

Monday, 28 May 2012

Reflections on the 1970 Trinidad and Tobago Black Power Movement in Earl Lovelace’s Is Just a Movie

Sophie Megan Harris

In January of 2011 Trinidadian author Earl Lovelace’s latest and much-anticipated novel, Is Just a Movie, was published.[1] This year, 2012, marks the fiftieth anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence as a nation. The following interview with Earl Lovelace touches on his views on the nature, meaning, and ongoing significance of one of the defining events of the decade following Trinidad and Tobago’s independence: the 1970 Black Power Movement that, for a short while, almost brought the government to its knees. This event and its wider historical significance lie at the heart of his latest novel.

On Lovelace’s veranda, amid the Trinidadian birdsong, foliage, and voracious mosquitoes, with bright sunshine one minute and lashing rain the next, we discussed the role of the movement in his work.[2] We talked of its continuing meaning and legacy for contemporary Trinidadian society troubled simultaneously by different and similar sociopolitical divisions to those that characterized the post-independence era. As we talked, Lovelace kept a lookout for his car to go by; it transpired the car had been stolen the night before, and he was holding out hope that someone might yet drive it by. We laughed and cussed over this—yet it was a stark reminder of the troubled, crime-ridden society that contemporary Trinidad has given rise to, and the continuing importance of seeking change and renewed social consciousness. Recognizing that Trinidad is still haunted in many forms by its many historical demons, the continuing concerns with enslavement, indentureship, colonialism and the responses to them, Lovelace’s novel implores his countrymen and women to acknowledge and work through, with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor, the Black Power and independence era in order to move forward together as a society. (more…)