Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11th International Conference on Caribbean Literature

This year, the Eleventh International Conference on Caribbean Literature took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and featured in addition to excellent academic papers, a keynote address by acclaimed author Earl Lovelace, a literary tour of Trinidad, and an excursion to Tobago.

Owing to a terrible rain storm in Dallas, I missed my flight to Trinidad on Tuesday and so did not arrive at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain until late afternoon on Wednesday.

And while I missed academic sessions, I did arrive in time
for the exciting opening ceremonies that included in addition to greetings from a variety of people steelpan music, dance, and slam poetry

The evening also included performances by stunning Hindi dancers, for the convention took place during Diwali Feast, the Hindu Festival of Lights.

Enjoy a slide show of the opening celebrations from Day One in Trinidad.

Earl Lovelace

As the photographs from Thursday, Day 2, indicate, the conference activities moved from the hotel in Port of Spain to the beautiful University of the West Indies--St. Augustine campus just outside the city.

In addition to afternoon academic sessions, the day's schedule included the conference keynote address by award-winning author Earl Lovelace.

Circumstances allowed me to sit in the front of the auditorium to record the author's
talk with the HD camera. I posted the thirty-five minute talk in four installments.

Anyone interested in Caribbean Literature will find what Earl Lovelace has to say of special merit. Make sure to watch on the highest HD level:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

After the conference schedule concluded, my wife and I and five others--we called
ourselves The Hyatt Seven--made arrangements to take a taxi to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary to experience the evening perch of the magnificent Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.

Photographs from the adventure appear with those linked previously for Day Two.

The staff at the Hyatt and the people at the sanctuary worked wonders to get us to the tour on time, ferrying us to the lead boat.

We also thank Sherman--pictured on the left--whom the five of us who drove with him and back have decided is one of the World's Greatest Taxi drivers.

In addition, to photographs of our adventure with the beautiful Scarlet Ibis, you can also watch a video of these birds' coming in to perch for the evening on a mangrove island in the swamp not far from Port of Spain.

Five of the Hyatt Seven

Day Three of the conference featured the first excursion, a literary tour of Trinidad that featured places associated with Earl Lovelace, V. S. Naipaul, and Michael Anthony, from Port of Spain to Toco.

As the slide show for the day indicates, Michael Anthony--pictured on the left--greeted us in his studio at his home in Port of Spain.

The group also visited two homes important to V. S. Naipaul.
We also stopped at the house about which Naipaul writes in A House for Mr. Biswas, a book I must read.

Rain fell, so we did not get to swim in Toco, but we did dine outside despite the downpour at an excellent Guest House in the country. I must get information about the owner, who I think is the father of a famous Calypso singer.

The Nylon Pool

Well, our final day in Trinidad took a group of us via the airlines to a day in Tobago. The highlight of the day: a plunge in the famous Nylon Pool near Pigeon Point, a white sand area of shallow water protected by Buccoo Reef.

As with the other slide shows, you can download all of individual photographs from Day Four--the files are large enough to make excellent 8 X 10 or larger prints.

Enjoy the videos and the photographs from the Eleventh International Conference on Caribbean Literature. I look forward to returning to Trinidad and Tobago.

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