What is Irish Town? Irish Town is one of the largest and most important archives of Caribbean literature and culture in the Caribbean. It contains a record—since I keep almost everything—of one of our writer’s progress drafts, unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, artifacts, books books books… The largest collection of Caribbean poetry in the world, records. All going back to 1949. You have to be concerned with the sources of a poet’s inspiration, and try to protect, care for, as best you can those sources. His or her health, well-being, comfort, but above all the archives, that written record of his/her life, history, art. Because if you can applaud him/her as he stands before you, if you can congratulate him/her, if, as I assume, you feel that he/she has something important to say, to contribute, then you’ve got to be concerned with the whole thing. Don’t wait until you hear that so and so is dying of whatever, that so and so ain’t got no money, castaway in him garrett or ghetto. Don’t wait until you hear that a fire or flood destroy Brathwaite house to say you feel sorry and start running around about what to do, how we can help. As far as I can see our Carib culture is too much a reaction, if not reactionary plantation culture. We are not prepared to foresee to forestall, to help in that real way we prefer to help after the accident, after the death, after the hurricane, so that everyone can see what we doing, and how much we doing. I call that a John Crow scavenger culture.

Kamau Brathwaite