The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Calabash International Literary Festival

Posted on: May 27, 2007

I wasn’t in the mood to post anything here today but Nicholas Laughlin’s impressive coverage of the Calabash International Literary Festival at Treasure Beach in the Jamaican parish of St. Elizabeth impelled me to blog.

In rapid succession we had an anti-war dub, a tribute to a stepmother, a poem (read by a girl who couldn’t have been older than ten) about a cat, various poems about freedom and racism and identity, and an odd little story about two boys butterfly-hunting. I was particularly struck by the gentleman from St. Mary who managed, in a poem on an environmentalist theme, to rhyme “untreated faeces” with “diseases”, and then “crop rotation” with “feed the nation”. Another poet incorporated what sounded to my ear like a few lines from Tennyson: “an infant crying in the night, / an infant crying for the light, / and with no language but a cry.”

Visit the Antilles blog (still my current favourite, yet to be dethroned) for the rest of the coverage, and don’t forget to check out photos of the event.


1 Response to "Calabash International Literary Festival"

At least it wasn’t a poem about a squirrel. I remember watching Derek Walcott setting the air on fire around a nice girl who read a poem about a squirrel. (Girl-squirrel: that would get your poetic gentleman going. Somebody needs to guide him into the wacky world of limericks, where his genius could flourish in its proper setting.)

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