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14 September 2015

NALIS REMEMBERS ANSON GONZALEZ

The National Library and Information Systems Authority (NALIS) wishes to join the national community in mourning the passing of Anson Gonzalez who passed away on Sunday 6, September 2015, in Wales.
 
Anson Gonzalez was more than just a friend of NALIS; he was our literary guide, a walking resource on all things poetry. He was a Caribbean Poet Laureate, literary activist, photographer, and actor, who spent much of his life as an educator, and mentor, “culling the future voices, launching the promising voices”. 
 
Anson established the annual observance of World Poetry Day on October 15 celebrated across the Caribbean since 1979. He conducted creative writing classes, orchestrated competitions, recitals and workshops throughout the region. In 1996, he was honoured for his service by the University of Miami, Caribbean Writers Summer Institute and in 2007 the University of the Southern Caribbean held a commemorative Anson Gonzalez Day. Anson documented every aspect of his life meticulously and in 2007 donated his entire collection to NALIS.
 
The Collection is a comprehensive reference for poetry in the Southern Caribbean from 1924-2012 and chronicles the literary career (particularly poetry) of over 120 writers. The Anson Gonzalez Collection is located at the Heritage Library, National Library building and it includes 106 manuscripts from notable writers over 2,000 poetry books/ periodicals; photo albums, and museum pieces. 
 
The Anson Gonzalez Collection holds the entire collection of the New Voices Literary Journal which he published from 1973-1993; and the New Voices Newsletter 1981-1993. In publishing the New Voices Journal, Anson guided a community of writers similar to journals like Kyk Over-Al, Bim, and the New World. The journal highlights the work of prominent authors including Jan Carew, Andrew Salkey, Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Mervyn Morris, Dionne Brand, Ian Mc Donald, Jennifer Rahim, Victor Questal and much more. There are letters by contributors better known for their literary scholarship, such as Kenneth Ramchand, Reinhard Sander, Stewart Brown and Gordon Rohlehr. 
 
The Anson Gonzalez Collection represents the coming together of writers and intellectuals in the politically charged atmosphere after the turbulent February 1970 Revolution when Trinidad became the center for literary criticism. 
 
The Heritage Library Division, NALIS has mounted a display showcasing some of the elements of the Anson Gonzales Collection in the Media Room of the National Library. A condolences book is also available for those who may want to record their memories.

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