’im bounce right back

by Nicholas Laughlin on December 2, 2010

Earlier this week, the CRB published F.S.J. Ledgister’s review of Edward Seaga’s two-volume political memoir, My Life and Leadership, plus historian Patrick E. Bryan’s monograph Edward Seaga and the Challenges of Modern Jamaica. Seaga, prime minister of Jamaica from 1980 to 1989 and leader of the opposition for a cumulative two decades, was the last member of Parliament to have entered public life before Independence. I must confess that, copy-editing Ledgister’s insightful review a few days ago, and contemplating Seaga’s sheer political tenacity, I was sorely tempted to title the piece after Prince Buster’s catchy 1967 song “Hard Man fe Dead”. I decided to err on the side of caution, and chose the less irreverent title “Last one standing”.

Also published this week: Brendan de Caires’s thorough, admiring, and rather naughty review of Lise Winer’s Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago, a remarkable reference work that sets a new standard for Caribbean lexicography. For one thing, as de Caires illustrates in detail, “Winer is commendably open-minded about recording ‘all relevant words . . . pleasant or not’”. He goes on:

This level of exactitude in country matters may not be to everyone’s taste, but Winer’s open-eyed approach to language as it is actually used is central to what makes the DECTT so useful.

I think this is the most entertaining review we’ve published in the CRB for a long while, and an excellent demonstration that an intelligent and penetrating book review can and ought to be a fun read.

Finally, this week we publish as well two poems by the US-based Trinidadian poet Lauren K. Alleyne. “The Body, Given” and “Ode to the Belly” are both wry meditations on the eternal tensions between body and soul, and Alleyne is a poet I suspect we’ll be hearing much more from in the years ahead.

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