A Slice of Jamaica

I love travel. While I haven’t yet been able to explore the world nearly as much as I would like, whenever I do travel it’s the culture — the true culture beyond the tourist traps — of the place that fascinates me. The cuisine, the literature, the art, the fashion, the architecture, the people.

For that reason, one of the best possible souvenirs for me is a local newspaper. Recently, I was fortunate enough to receive one from Jamaica.

The Arts and Education section of The Sunday Gleaner

The Arts and Education section of The Sunday Gleaner

Obviously, each page has ads for everything from the local university to sales on appliances. But beyond that were slices of the arts in Jamaica. Local students had been involved in a huge art expo in Kingston, displaying local life and the beauty of flowing water. Next to that, a review of a new book on the life and fiction of a Jamaican author, John Hearne. Photos of perfect flowers, exotic to American eyes, and poems written by locals. (The “poem of the week” was about rum and raisin ice cream. Sounds delicious from the description!)

Perhaps the most intriguing article, though, was on a recent lecture by Kwame Dawes, professor of English at the University of Nebraska, on T.S. Elliot and Caribbean poetry. Though short and lacking details, it did mention a discussion on a fascinating similarity between the two: experimentation with voice and form. It’s been at least seven years since I’ve read Elliot or Caribbean poetry (yes, I did end up in a lit class focused on Caribbean and Latin American literature, though I don’t remember much from it now) so I don’t have much analysis to add on the topic, but it’s enough to inspire me to look into it sometime.

Have you read any foreign newspapers lately? What’s your favorite kind of souvenir?

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7 responses to “A Slice of Jamaica

  • homedreamer07

    I can’t think of a better suveneir. And what a neat article! Whenever I travel I’ll be sure to bring a newspaper home with me.

  • C.B. Wentworth

    I bring home newspapers from everywhere I go. One of my favorites came from Shanghai, China. I got my hands on an English language edition of the newspaper and it was a truly intriguing read. :-)

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    I get the Guardian on my Kindle every day (in addition to the NY Times), and it’s interesting to get the different perspectives on things (also, I have a minor fascination with monarchy and titled aristocracy — which I’m sure I’ll use in a story at some point).

    Sometimes even the ads from other cultures can reveal some things (this is true of _old_ newspapers, too).

    I didn’t get an email notification of this post for some reason, but fortunately I also use RSS. :-)

    • S.B. Roberts

      I love checking out British papers online too, partly for their spelling (colour and lorries and advertisement) and partly for a different perspective.

      Old newspapers are the best. Between my mom and grandmother, my family has a small collection of some very old ones. Early 1900’s, I think. And some related to the second Johnstown (PA) flood in 1936, if I remember correctly.

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