A chat with Max Rippon around the lamp

From January 24 to 26, several events were organized as part of the “Journées du Patrimoine Pointois” with the theme “Mès é Labitid” but the fire of the cinema-theatre La Renaissance located on Place de la Victoire, on Saturday January 25, unfortunately obscured them.

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The night before, these annual meetings about the heritage of the city had however started well. Among these, there was this chat with Max Rippon at the Pavillon de la Ville (former presbytery of the church Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul built in the 19th century and listed historical monument in 1992), on Friday 24 from 6:00 pm. The writer facilitated with his usual plain speaking and above all a lot of humor this evening which took place not inside the building but outside, on the veranda or “anba galri-la” as we used to say in Creole… Incense had been lit to ward off the possible mosquitoes. The seats had been arranged in a circle and there was an oil lamp in the middle of it. It must be said that this lamp was the star of this literary meeting which had attracted about twenty people.

The author, from the island of Marie-Galante (archipelago of Guadeloupe), told many anecdotes of his childhood in the town of Grand-Bourg where he was born in 1944. These stories brought back to this famous lamp which lit the houses as soon as nightfalls because electricity was a luxury at that time and which allowed, among other things, to do the school homework of the next day… He also spoke of his departure from his native land at the age of 12 to integrate the sixth-grade at the Lycée Carnot in Pointe-à-Pitre to prepare for the baccalaureate and then his departure for Bordeaux in France to get a university education, always with memories that amused a lot the audience. Through all these anecdotes, his personal stories, the public was able to travel to Guadeloupe of yesteryear, rediscover our “Mès é Labitid” (Uses and Customs), our beliefs. The author referred, among other things: the “ritual” of the lighting of the lamp each evening; the state of the sky which announced the presence of coulirous in the sea that some of us know; children who are born these days with open eyes, which was rare before; his discovery of peanut butter thanks to his classmates from Saint-Martin; punishments by parents such as nudity etc.

Max Rippon read the attentive participants his famous poem entitled “Lanp-la”, wish is in his first collection “Pawòl Naïf” published in 1987 by Éditions Aïchi. A conversation then took place between the poet and the audience in the sweetness of the night…