Monday, January 28, 2013

Havana Journal

Salkey, Andrew, Havana Journal, England: Penguin, 1971.

Reviewed in The Hispanic American Historical Review © 1972.

Andrew Salkey (30 January 1928 - 28 April 1995) was a novelist, poet, freelance writer and journalist of Jamaican and Haitian origin. Salkey was born in Panama but was raised in Jamaica. He died in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he had been teaching.

From the author’s Foreword:
May 1967: An extremely interesting meeting with Pablo Armando Fernández the Cuban poet, at an impromptu committee session of the Caribbean Artists’ Movement, held in the North London flat of H. Orlando Patterson, the Jamaican novelist and sociologist. Those present: Orlando and his wife, Nerys, the anthropologist, now lecturing at the University of the West Indies; George Lamming, the Barbadian novelist; Edward Brathwaite, the Barbadian poet and historian; John La Rose, the Trinidadian poet and publisher; and Aubrey Williams, the Guyanese painter. Pablo’s no stranger to London; represented the Revolutionary Government in Britain as Cultural Attaché. His interest in West Indian writing and art is sympathetically West Indian and not without the telling curiosity of an intellectual whose society has, fairly recently, said no to colonialism and neo-colonialism. Apart from the usual overseas visitor’s fatigue at 9:30 p.m., a shattering toothache made him look desperately tired. Told us about at least two major conferences in Havana to which it was hoped West Indian delegates would be invited: Salon de Mayo, an international congress and exhibition of art, from May to July, and Congreso Cultural de la Habana, a world-wide gathering of writers, scientists and technologists, in January 1968. Asked if I’d be his contact and ‘lists’ man in London. Agreed… He came to a curry lunch at my flat and talked with Pat and me about poetry, novel writing, broadcasting, class and race relations in pre-Revolutionary Cuba, and remarked on traditional Cuban miscegenation ages before Batista and after, and mentioned the black and white alarm that Pat and I, arm in arm down a busy Havana street, would cause, for some, before Fidel.

No comments:

Post a Comment