(pron. kee-vin; no accent, no apostrophe, no space)
My name is Kevin Adonis Browne. I am a poet, a teacher, a lover, a deep limer, a friend. I dive, I dance, I photograph, and I archive. Layla and Kyle are my children, and they know me. I count the midnight robber, pierrot grenade, bookman, and diable molassie among my ancestors. There is bwa, which I have yet to take up in more than a symbolic way.
I am a Trini man.
A Caribbean man.
An academic immigrant.
A doer of things.
I am an assistant professor of Rhetoric and Writing at Syracuse University. I think, talk, tweet, and write about Caribbean Rhetoric—wrote a book on the subject, entitled Tropic Tendencies: Rhetoric, Popular Culture, and the Anglophone Caribbean. I recently shared a Call for Papers for an edited collection, entitled Islands in the Mainstream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Caribbean Rhetoric. I’m compiling essays for that project now. I’ve also recently shown some of my photographs in an exhibition, Seeing Blue. The forthcoming book, Seeing Blue: Devils in Paradise, will feature images from the show and a series of essays that discuss the performance of Paramin Blue Devils from a contemporary rhetorical perspective. There are other projects—always other projects.
I do these things because I have an insatiable and inexplicable need to understand my people and—having understood—advocate for them from the vantage point of evolving clarity and a half-negotiated exile. I’m reminded, here, of an interview by Andre Tanker. I feel like this path, this area of study and action, actually chose me. I didn’t choose it. Yes, I went to school and got a degree in English, as reflected on my CV. I chose to do it, but that’s not exactly what I mean.
I mean, instead, that (in spite of the autonomy I crave) I am driven by things.
Some definable idea of my origins and the potential of that idea to make a difference (such that my conversations always seem to have a similar refrain, like a lavway). I am driven by the sublime dynamics of vernacular life—the everyday. There are other things I’d rather do from time to time, but they’re mostly imagined in the context of this pursuit of rhetorical understanding and the desire for what Socrates would have referred to as an “examined life.”
It’s a privilege that I embrace.
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