click here for NEWS : page last updated October 5th. 2011
click here for a PDF file of +++SaVing CowPastor & the KB Cultural Lynching 2004-2011+
click here for a PDF file of The Namsetoura Papers.
click here for SUGGESTIONS : page last updated May 21st. 2005.
click here for SUPPORT : page last updated May 14th. 2005.
click here to read The Rosie Doc London 16 – 25 May 2005.
click here to read Ogun’s Last Stand, a play by Geoffrey Philp.
click here to read Xtending the CP Discourse, June 2005.
Kamau Brathwaite was born in Barbados in 1930. He graduated from Cambridge University with a B.A. in history in the early ’50s, and received his Ph.D from the University of Sussex in 1968. He lived and worked in Ghana from 1955 to 1962. The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy (1973), the second trilogy, Mother Poem, Sun Poem (1982) and X/Self (1987) defined Brathwaite’s international reputation. He has taught at the University of the West Indies and is currently lecturing at New York University. He lives in CowPastor, Barbados.
Some days ago I received a copy of the email below. Clearly Kamau feels alone and isolated in his struggle. Equally clearly words of support and comfort are precisely that. I hope with this quick weblog to make a space where people can send suggestions of concrete assistance (as well as of solidarity). An email address has been established which will be checked every day (to avoid this site filling with junk). Messages will be transferred to this site so that (a) Kamau can check them and (b) correspondents can contact one another if that seems helpful. I’ve been in touch with Kamau who thinks this useful. Any messages from him will be posted here. Anyone who wishes to link to this site is welcome to: not everyone who might wish to help is on a Poetry Listserve.
The email address is:firstname.lastname@example.org
Kamau Brathwaite and CowPastor
CowPastor, Wilcox Lands, Christ Church, Barbados (see also Hambone 17 (2004), pp.126-173
15 Mar 05/(!!) The Ides of March (!!)/CP 2:43am
The lass days of KB and CowPastor Vandal: My Emmerton 2005
Dear Andrea Nation and all Caribbean artists intellectuals cultural workers &
environmentalists w/in the sound of Marina
I sharing a letter i juss write to a wo at OUP who deals w/permissions payments to authors who want to quote yr work etc. This wo and me – we don’t kno each other – share a wonderful sense of weather and the environment and at the end of my business w/her this midnight, I describe and refer to (un)developments in my life i thot you shd kno
w/the dust choking me from the destruction so that I can hardly eat – the water that we drink returning to like its limestone white residual – and have these DS(3s) and Beverley has already had to go the doc w/a dreadful cough of corridor -
I’ve tried – in vain – to get an appointment w/the PS of the Housing & Lands – a man i long respec & kno. . . and a letter of premonition & desperation I senn in to yr NATION tho promise publication. . . has nvr in fact appeared. . . I try contact Liz Thompson who when she was in NYC sometime ago at an X/hibition of BaJam Wo artists, at which we share both spoke, said yes i shd send her the details of my evident concern. Nuffen of course followed from that. . . I tried lifelines to Dame Billie and Mia – nuffen there neetha. And I note that whenever you respond to me on this, you ask a whole series of Qs about ‘what am I doing’ – as if I doin nothin!!
All I can in the end do – w/out community support – is set afire to myself, as I’ve said before, on this very namsetoura pasture become the criminal. and I don’t really want to do dat, because my spirit flies so high – so many dreamstories and ideas seem to flow & flow – altho of course who’s to kno if they gods not punishing mwe But I don’t think so, or lets say I arrogant enuff to think that I don’t think so – which of course is whe the danger lies. . .
I write to you now as I write earlier to that stranger. but w/the difference that I have faith that as a wo of soul, there is something I sure you can do, if is nothing more than persuade one of yr colleagues who’s still free and fearless – is there any such? – to come out to CP and see whats happening. . . is there no voices in BaJam that can raise can rise? It will be a shame if i hear people saying AFTER I GONE – that Kamau use to talk about these things and no one lissen not a soul do a ting. trapped – SURELY NOT FOR EVER – in our Mental Slavery
The plight of one person. the flight of one sparrow. is worth more than all
the kingdooms of this world. But very few people can live this
What I saying is that my micro case here, is the macro case of us all. The
little done unto mwe, is the burden down upon us all upon us all
All night long, the trucks trundle & boom. Two mornings ago, to destroy more duncks trees, so they cd swathe more space for the tractors, they set fire to the slope under Thyme Bottom. if the Fire Beegrade didn’t come, that fire might have swept down into our yard and run all the way down west to Parish Lands. It was a clear day and a high wind
The destruction of CowPasture to put in an unnecessary and unethical road – when there are two perfectly good xisting road in this quadrant – for some new unxplained access to the airport, involves -
(1) the death of the three dozen cows and flocks of blackbelly sheep that use to ruminate CowPasture
(2) the loss of rumination marks the end of peace & serengetti beauty here and marks the arrival of vandalism. Abandoned houses further pillage, and w/the blood up, even the duncks trees on the pasture under pressure – their limbs & branches torn down this harmattan for their plunder, not picked picked picked between the thorns, as happily traditional
(3) the loss of pasture – here and all over Barbados and all over the CARICOM Caribbean = also the closing down of the last sugar production in St Kitts, and the verge of ditto in Barabados
(4) the loss of pasture – here and all over the island and all over the CARICOM Caribbean = the decline of cricket. Sir Viv and Gary S come from BayLands not from roundabouts, hotels and clogged up death-mark highways
(5) the road here is unethical because of this and because it is an offence not only to the people who choose to live here, who are/were so fortunate to live here to love here – and dispossessed of pristine coral; thru no fault of their own, but via a willful remote control decision by Authorities too arrogant & high & mighty to discuss plans that involve all our futures fortunes w/us ‘out here’, who are still seen – MENTAL PLANTATION MENTAL SLAVERY – as chattel anti-heroes have no voice – cannot afford to be admitted to out voice
(6) even as I write this, therefore, destruction going on – this old plantation well, the little Lake (or Pond) of Thorns – the natural water catchment for this area – filled in and flattened – hence future floods. And near the well, a fledgling BEARDED FIG-TREE (shrine of ancient African & Amerindian spirits) its cinnamon beards just showing. a dear endangered species. cruelly unethically soon to gone . i cd go on an gone . like all the people of Thyme Bottom already gone gone gone. . .
(7) at 3 pm today, tractors break thru the last line of bush & duncks between them and our house my yard. A noise as of bombing and a great cloud of dust – FALOUJA – and now there’s nothing left between ourselves and them – the slave well nxt, the bearded fig- tree nxt – today if not tomorrow. My eyes are full of grit and helpless scars, as if I am the last person in the world the lost poet, really, in the world. Rosina say this morning I shd write it down. But write it down for who for what. . .
I walked out there towards the cloud of dust – the grit – my tears – and my heart as if rebelled inside me, fit to burst w/grief & loss & helplessness & pain
(8) I had also hoped, when we found this place, to found my nation here – my maroon town, resistance palenque. Bring in my archives from their shattered world – shattered in Jamaica since the Gilbert Hurricane of 1988 – an archive stretching back now almost 100 years and covering from Bay Street/Browns Beach/Harrson College days, thru Cambridge, Ghana, SL, 30 years at Mona, the Caribbean Artists Movement (London), Bim, BBC Caribbean Voices, Savacou, Carifestas, paintings, sculpture (inc early postcolonial W Af, early Rastafari), Colly, Timmy Callender, Broodhagen, jazz records, tape recordings from almost ancient Ghana, from nearly every Caribbean voice of say or song
and all this a lament – the loss & dislocation of so much of this in Gilbert (see SHAR. see Carolivia Herron’s ‘SAVING THE WORD’ hear ARK – these are our documents for our last our lost millennium – and still more loss from worm and Ivan (2004) and a terrible break-in (5 March 05) – VANDALL INVASION of our hopes and consciousness
(9) The dream the vision was to in-gather the scatta archives (Ja & NYC) here, try heal them and from this wound of miracle, set up a BUSSA CENTRE for us all – enough peace & space & beauty surpassing any other in the world – in a small sacred bless – to build a place to live to love, a place for the LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA, a conference room, performance outdoor places, chalets for writers, artists – that kind of possible dream – because we had the dream we had the space we had the means – destroyed by my own Govt – w/out DISCUSSION – and digging us down and STRANGLING the holy past & constellation flute & future of this place – the egrets gone because the cattle gone. the woo doves mourn. I itch from deconstruction cement dust
I cannot even die here now. no strength to even burn myself upon this pasture as I want to do. As I still may. Because my love, whe else is there to go, to try to build again at 75? tho I not beggin for your sympathy – tho that good too – I askin you to LISSEN . one mo Emmerton. xcep unlike the Mighty Gabby song which sing & say far more than any prose I prose can say, me na give up. me nvva will accept unrighteousness, If this was SandlyLane wd we be treated so? again today the tractors wheel an thump. I can’t accept to so unfairly go
p/s I’m being told that all this is too late – that time & the tide has pass me by – not enuff effort too late! if that be so, let me then at least hope that you will allow at least my faint words – faintly heard now on the pasture – be at least a verbal memorial to mark the graveyard of this place