Review by Frank Birbal Singh, Emeritus Professor of Post-Colonial Literature at York University, Toronto, Canada.
“Rosie’s documentary zeal in meticulously cataloguing social, cultural, and political aspects of her experience in Guyana, with a sense of wide-eyed wonder, in spite of frustration and grief, is nothing less than exemplary in Wordsworth’s White Wife. ” Continue reading
Cultures on the Cusp in 1970s Guyana – a review by Chris Cormack
in the Hastings Online Times (http://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/arts-culture/literature/wordsworth-mcandrew)
A newly published book by author and Hastings resident, Rosie McAndrew, gives important insights into the nature of inter-racial relationships and an historically key period in the development of multi-culturalism, namely the 1960s/70s when old cultural props were de-stabilised and emerging nations were to develop a new cultural pride and identity, writes Chris Cormack.
Rosie McAndrew’s memoir Wordsworth’s White Wife works on a number of planes; as a simple memoir of an extraordinary relationship with the odds set against it; as a historic memoir of two nations on the cusp, sixties’ Britain self-questioning of long held hierarchical and ethical codes of society and Guyana (formerly British Guiana) seeking its own new cultural identity after recent independence from Britain in a cultural ‘melting pot’ that reflected multi-racial Guyana. Given Rosie’s philological background (French and Spanish), it is also a fascinating exploration of linguistic melding and development, as creole language and culture is brought to prominence by a remarkable man for the cultural recognition that it undoubtedly deserves. Through the linguistic devices the reader is able to glean important insights into life and culture in 1970s Guyana. Continue reading
– written for the memorial services held for him in New York and London
I first met Mac at the BBC, in London, where he was just finishing a TV course with some guys from Guyana Broadcasting Service. I was doing an extra week’s training in radio there before I went out to Guyana, to do Voluntary Service Overseas at Broadcasts to Schools with Celeste Dolphin.
As it happened, my group shared a lounge with the Guyanese crew, so I was introduced to them all. I was immediately drawn to Mac, and as I had to find someone to interview for a radio project, I rashly asked him if I could interview him about Guyanese folklore and culture. Of course, I could hardly have chosen a subject closer to his heart! He told me all about Queh queh and Cumfa; I found him fascinating, and as we saw a lot of each other for the rest of that week, I invited him down to stay with my family before he went back home. When I arrived in Guyana, some weeks later, I didn’t have to be part of the usual VSO crowd, as I had an open door into his world. Continue reading
These poems were written for my daughter, Shiri,
on the death of her father, Wordsworth McAndrew, in 2008
Lines to a poet, wondering…
Among the many,
The many, many
Delicious definitions of love
That you so passionately researched
For the entertainment of generations yet to come,
Did you ever discover any,
did you register any
Of a father’s
For his child?
To Wordsworth – a lasting legacy
The daughter that you never chose to love,
The one, one day, you didn’t dare to meet,
Whose life you chose to leave a thing apart,
Whose joys and pain you didn’t care to share,
Can you imagine how she chose to mark
Your absence from the absence that she knew?
I do not think you can. Were you afraid
Of her disdain, of her dismissing you?
She went alone and bought a weeping tree
And planted it, because ‘that’s what they do’.
And I, who had not wept for you before,
Was overawed at the magnificence
Of such forgiving love as this for you.
And filled my eyes. I’ve never loved her more.