This essay takes the form of a brief tribute to the life and work of Kamau Brathwaite and his first wife, Doris Brathwaite. It is written from the point of view of a writer who knew Kamau personally and who considers herself to be the beneficiary of his immense wisdom and iconoclasm. The essay provides anecdotal accounts of an awards ceremony in London, when Kamau delivered a powerful exhortation to Caribbean writers, and of a New Year’s Day party held at his house in Jamaica, at which Kamau and Doris demonstrated immense thoughtfulness to the assembled guests. It focuses briefly on X/Self, makes mention of the Zea Mexican Diary, and references Rex Nettleford and Philip Sherlock.
Not a Usual Man
Lorna Goodison is a major figure in world literature. She was Poet Laureate of Jamaica (2017–20) and was awarded the 2019 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Other awards for her work include the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize for Poetry from Yale University, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the Musgrave Gold Medal from Jamaica, and the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, one of Canada’s largest literary prizes, for From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People (2007). In addition to the memoir, she is the author of twelve books of poetry (her Collected Poems was published in 2017), three collections of short stories, and a recent collection of essays. Goodison is professor emerita at the University of Michigan, where she was Lemuel A. Johnson Professor of English and African and Afroamerican Studies.
Lorna Goodison; Not a Usual Man. Small Axe 1 March 2022; 26 (1 (67)): 108–110. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-9724107
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