Tributes pour in for Prof Gordon Rohlehr

Tributes pour in for Prof Gordon Rohlehr

Gordon Rohlehr, UWI professor emeritus.

PROFESSOR Emeritus Gordon Rohlehr, 80, died on Sunday, frightening a flood of tributes from many sectors of society hailing his scholarship of West Indian widespread tradition, particularly calypso music.

Judy Raymond, Newsday editorial marketing consultant, in a web-based tribute stated, “RIP, Professor Gordon Rohlehr. Calypso scholar, critic, essayist, instructor, beautiful man.”
Gillian Moor, singer, stated, “Farewell to the gorgeous Dr Gordon Rohlehr. Thanks to your genius, your imaginative and prescient, your dialog, laughter, and your coronary heart.

“Our deepest sympathies to the Rohlehr household. Individuals, we have misplaced an enormous.”

Final September, when Rohlehr acquired a Chaconia silver medal for his educating West Indian Literature at UWI, the Workplace of the President of the Republic of TT hailed his work.

“He pioneered the tutorial examine of calypso and traced its historic improvement and social relevance,” the President’s workplace stated. “He has researched and authored many ground-breaking publications on the social, historic, linguistic and political currents beneath girding Caribbean actuality and is taken into account to be a number one authority on calypso and Caribbean tradition.”

President Paula-Mae Weekes, as Chancellor of UWI, on Monday prolonged her condolences, recalling his 2022 nationwide award within the spheres of Literature, Tradition, Historical past and Schooling.

Weekes, in her condolences, stated Rohlehr had designed and taught UWI’s first course in West Indian Literature.

She quoted his nationwide award quotation.

“His conviction was that literature had a elementary function to play in creating sufficient self-awareness, with out prejudice to the necessities of the broader world. His publications exhibit perception, crucial consciousness and consciousness of the combination of the various social, historic, linguistic and political currents undergirding Caribbean actuality.

“He has traced calypso’s historic improvement and social relevance and has explored points corresponding to masculinity and gender lengthy earlier than these phrases gained foreign money.”

UWI Prof Emeritus Kenneth Ramchand in a web-based tribute stated, “Surprising and grievous. I’m trembling. We had an extended and impactful working relationship in The Division of Literatures in English.” Ramchand recalled their mutual respect and the meshing of their completely different expertise.

“He was cool. Within the English corridors we had epic conversations, balancing securely on humour, irony and despair, about life, literature, calypso, politics and cricket.

“Condolences to his household, his buddies and colleagues, and to the 1000’s of scholars, academics, and professors who liked and loved his educating and writing, and had been warmed by his embracing presence. I already miss your being on the different finish, Gordon. It by no means crossed my thoughts that both of us might lose our wicket.”

UWI Professional Vice-Chancellor and principal Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, in a launch, remarked that Rohlehr’s “legacy is carried within the college students he nurtured on the St Augustine Campus by dialog and intense enquiry. His former college students and those that thronged his lecture rooms, in addition to the various students and intellectuals who’ve benefitted from his pioneering and intense and thorough analysis, share a deep sense of loss and gratitude.”

Veteran journalist Tony Fraser stated Rohlehr was one of many most interesting West Indian intellectuals, whose examine centered sharply on TT’s inventive literature.

“It was he who positioned calypso on stage as one of many highest expressions of our performing arts. He gave freely of his mental work to the general public.”

Fraser recalled a TTT studio dialogue with Rohlehr, and calypsonians Andrew “Brother Superior” Marcano and Samuel “Brigo” Abraham, concerning the genius of Theophilus “Mighty Spoiler” Philip.

“The Prof tutored a couple of generations of scholars in find out how to totally admire the creations of calypsonians and different writers of literature.”
Fraser hailed Rohlehr’s insightful writings on West Indies cricket together with an essay on his fellow Guyanese nationwide Rohan Kanhai.

“Prof has left behind his unparalleled work in calypso and West Indian literature for the generations to return. We rejoice your life and work Professor. Blessings as you go.”

Veteran broadcaster Dominic Kalipersad hailed Rohlehr as a Caribbean literary scholar who pioneered the tutorial and mental examine of calypso and the calypsonian.

“He was famous for his examine of widespread tradition within the Caribbean, together with oral poetry, calypso, and cricket.”

He stated Rohlehr spent 40 years within the UWI, St Augustine, Division of English doing internationally-acclaimed and ground-breaking work on Caribbean literature, calypso, and tradition.

His educational curiosity and analysis resulted within the manufacturing of an in depth written opus on West Indian literature, oral poetry, calypso, and the favored tradition of the Caribbean.

Rohlehr’s publications embody: Calypso and Society in Pre-Independence Trinidad (1990), My Strangled Metropolis and Different Essays (1992), The Form of That Harm and Different Essays (1992), A Scuffling of Islands: Essays on Calypso (2004), Perfected Fables Now: A Bookman Indicators Off on Seven Many years (2019), and Musings, Mazes, Muses, Margins (2020).

Prof Emeritus Gordon Rohlehr receives the Chaconia silver from President Paula-Mae Weekes on the Nationwide Awards Ceremony, September 24, 2022.

The Bocas Lit Fest was deeply shocked and saddened on the loss of life of Rohlehr, a “literary scholar, cultural commentator, mental mentor, and emeritus professor.”

“He was a beloved instructor and a public mental in the most effective sense, identified for his deeply knowledgeable and insightful writing on calypso, on West Indian poetry, and particularly on the work of Kamau Brathwaite. Prof Rohlehr was a daily participant on the Bocas Lit Fest stage over time, and it was an honour for us when he accepted the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters again in 2014.

“He was a towering presence each bodily and intellectually, and the one comfort for his loss is the extraordinary archive of his scholarship, all the time elegantly and accessibly written, that he has left us.”

The Paper Based mostly Bookshop in St Ann’s stated its workers had been deeply saddened to be taught of Rohlehr’s passing and hailed his “titanic brilliance.”

“For many years, we have been honoured to inventory his books on our cabinets, and to listen to first-hand from readers the impact his beneficiant, insightful scholarship has had on their world-view.

“Maybe better of all, we have been delighted by Prof Rohlehr’s in-person visits to ship copies of his self-published titles, which stay extremely requested by lecturers and non-academics alike. “We treasure these interpersonal chats, stuffed with Gordon’s heat, signature wit, and limitless intelligence. We’ll miss them dearly.”

UNC PRO Dr Kirk Meighoo instructed Newsday Rohlehr had been his college colleague and his passing was “an amazing loss” to TT’s mental life.
“We shared so many issues concerning the cultural integrity and the cultural lifetime of TT and the best way it had fallen down – politics and so forth.”

“Once I used to work with Lloyd Greatest on the TT Institute of the West Indies, we additionally had numerous contact there. He was very a lot related to the entire New World Group.

Meighoo stated this trail-blazing group included “an entire technology of intellectuals” together with Rohlehr, Ramchand and Greatest.

“I’ve to say that I’m saddened that their legacy has not been continued in the identical method.

“Prof Rohlehr did some extraordinarily detailed, excessive mental evaluation of our scenario – our music, artwork, tradition, poetry – in a method that sadly has not been carried on with the identical degree of high quality, mental calibre, erudition, perception, dedication and love. He had all of that.

“I all the time discovered it so fascinating that he was Guyanese, and had this love and data of Trinidadian tradition. It was simply unimaginable.”

The PNM paid tribute in a Fb submit, citing a tribute by former UWI Worldwide Relations professor, Mark Kirton.

“He was a real educational {and professional}, all the time keen to supply recommendation and steering to younger students and college students.

“Unquestionably one of many Caribbean’s most interesting critics and thinkers, his territory covers each literature and widespread tradition, significantly calypso.”

The tribute stated Rohlehr earned a first-class honours diploma in English Literature in 1964 from the College School of the West Indies, Jamaica, then wrote a doctoral dissertation, Alienation and Dedication within the Works of Joseph Conrad, at Birmingham College, England in 1967.

His publications included: Pathfinder: Black Awakening in The Arrivants of Edward Kamau Brathwaite; Cultural Resistance and the Guyana State; A Scuffling of Islands: Essays on Calypso; Transgression, Transition, Transformation: Essays in Caribbean Tradition; and Ancestries: Readings of Kamau Brathwaite’s Ancestors and My Complete Life is Calypso: Essays on Sparrow.

The tribute concluded, “Thanks for the immeasurable effort you’ve got invested in cataloguing and documenting our tradition.”