Edward Kamau Brathwaite
Today I've been reading through the last of 9 files relating to the poet Edward Kamau Brathwaite. I started processing these files a few weeks ago. They are so rich that I have been taking my time with them, coming back to them inbetween other work and absorbing as much of the spirit of the files as I can. The main impression that will remain with me is the wonderful warmth and humour of the letters exchanged between EKB and John La Rose/Sarah White. At the heart of all their individual and collective achievements lie friendship, trust, generosity and an openness which is so often lacking in human relationships. The encounter with these letters has made me want to go away and write with honesty to all those I love, including friends I haven't contacted for far too long. Just today I came across a fax dated Aug 2003, sent to Sarah White from Kamau Brathwaite, which says "I'm so fortunate to have been born at the time that allows me to have yrself and John as my companeras and friends". In letters sent by EKB to John in 1974, EKB refers to his feeling that a rift has occurred between him and Andrew Salkey because of a review he published of Salkey's work in daedalus. In 1992, so nearly 20 years later, this wound has not fully healed, "so that that now - despite whatever hurt regrets I will always continue to have - becomes part of the weave - part of our history". I thought this captured beautifully how difficult it is to predict the consequences of our own actions - things can't always be undone that have been done, however much we wish they could.
Please note that this material is currently being sorted and catalogued as part of the Dream to Change the World project. As such, it is not yet available to the public.