Friday, September 18, 2009

Wayne Brown and Trevor Rhone

I wrote this to a friend today about Wayne Brown and Trevor Rhone. I know she won't mind my repeating it here. There are tributes aplenty and richly deserved in the media to them both, but I wanted to say a little about what they meant to me, these men with strong personalities and views but without malice or guile – more than can be said for most of us!

"One mourns both men mostly because one will miss them. They are, after all, trite as it may be to say so, past pain, worry and distress at this point. I felt I knew Wayne well, perhaps more than our interaction justified, but he was always warm when one did see him, most recently here for Rachel[Manley]'s launch of HORSES IN HER HAIR... I was very disappointed that the online journal didn't work out. I think it would have given him such satisfaction if it had. Trevor I have known these last 50 years, though I've not seen much of him the last two-three decades! But I was part of the original Theatre 77 group, and we have always liked each other well, and I have always admired how absolutely confident he was from the beginning that he would make a big difference to theatre in Jamaica.

(I'm listening to an interview bet. Peter Nazareth and Wayne at
as I write...)"

The excerpt from my e-mail ends here, but Brown-Nazareth interview connects nicely with a piece by Nicholas Laughlin in CRB's blog from a while back which celebrates crônicas, Wayne among them.

An excerpt:’s occurred to me that some of the most interesting work by contemporary Trinidadian writers does not come in conventional fictional or poetic forms at all, but rather in the form of fragmentary, discontinuous, first-person non-fiction narratives in the periodical press — i.e., newspaper columns — which we may have some difficulty identifying as “literary” — or even identifying as “narratives” — because of the format of their publication. I’d certainly include... Wayne Brown’s “In Our Time” columns, which began appearing in the Trinidad Guardian in 1984, moved around from one Trinidadian newspaper to another, and now appear in Jamaica, where Brown has settled, in the Observer. (Many of these columns — with their supple, acrobatic prose that can swoop from high to low, exalted to demotic, in a single paragraph — were collected in The Child of the Sea in 1989 and Landscape with Heron in 2000, where Brown describes them as “stories and remembrances”; it’s clear he’s thought of these pieces as literary from the start.)

Rest in peace, bredren. We all of us would be happy to have lived lives as worthwhile and as fulfilling as yours.

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