"It is not enough to come together in celebration of our culture and heritage, unless we know why we are meeting on this very significant occasion. As artists and academicians we have a very clear definition of our work and the purpose which that work is intended to achieve. - It is not enough to produce these works which reluctantly have been accorded praise , works which we ourselves know are worthy of that praise. But in the work itself, must be the germ of a re-birth of consciousness, a discovery of ourselves, as we are today, and as we ought to be..."
Austin Clarke, Forward 1992 CELAFI Catalogue
CELAFI 1992 & 1997's literary programs brought national and international published and unpublished writers to the fore, in readings, print, workshop, panels discussions and interactive dialogue.
Dub Poetry, Storytellers, Comedy, and now RAP (Rhythmic America Poetry) have historically been the artistic response to political, social and economic realities. The oral tradition has evolved into a rich hybrid and has reached new levels of popularity across North America. CELAFI programs paid homage to this heritage in a series of performances and presentations.