Neville Giuseppi

Charles Stephen Neville Giuseppi, the son of Charles Rawlinson Giuseppi and Petra Giuseppi, nee Caput, was born in Port of Spain on December 26th, 1909.

He first attended De Suze’s Private School in Port of Spain but when he was eight years old, he came to live with his grandmother, “Ma Caput,” at No. 15 Sorzano Street, Arima, following the untimely death of his father.

His mother had died two years earlier in giving birth to his younger sister, Fleta, who was then brought up by relatives, the Achongs. His other sister, Louise, also lived with their grandmother at Sorzano Street.

Neville Giuseppi received his primary education at the Arima Boys’ R.C. School under Mr. Mitchell, and his secondary education at Reverend Merry’s Private School at St. Jude’s Rectory, Arima.

He grew up to be a shy, retiring individual with a passion for books.

The closest friends of his boyhood were Arnold Thomasos and Rupert Charles and the three of them could often be found sitting in the stands at the Arima Savannah reading.

Neville’s love of reading was something of an obsession. His world was a world of books. He was an expert on English Literature.

His first job was that of a reporter of cases tried at the Arima Magistrate’s Court.

When he was around 20 years of age, his cousin Ray Dieffenthaller, who was a businessman, invited Neville to live with him and his wife, Rachel at San Fernando. Ray obtained a job for him in the Oilfields.

He became very interested in politics and read widely on the subject.
In the 1940s he joined the Civil Service, as it was known at the time, and worked there until his retirement in 1969.

Neville Giuseppi became a free-lance writer, an aphorist, poet and essayist. His first written effort to be published abroad was an essay entitled “The Charm of Style” which was accepted in 1930 by GREAT THOUGHTS, a famous English magazine of the time.

He was a regular columnist for the “EVENING NEWS” during the 1940s.

In 1938, he met the Barbadian Undine Bailey and they became pen friends exchanging their literary work, she too being interested in writing.

They got married in December of 1942, a union that lasted for 57 years until his death.

The marriage produced two children, Diana and Neil.

He published “The Light of Thought,” a book of poems in 1943, “From Grave to Gay,” a compilation of his essays and aphorisms in 1959, “Selected Poems” in 1972 and “In a Nutshell,” a selection of original aphorisms and reflections in 1978.

In conjunction with his wife, Undine, he also compiled “Backfire,” a collection of Caribbean Short Stories in 1973, “Out for Stars I” and “Out for Stars II,” anthologies of Poetry for Caribbean Secondary Schools in 1976 and “Sugar and Spice I” and “Sugar and Spice II,” anthologies of Poetry for Caribbean Primary Schools in 1978.

The B.B.C. gave recognition to some of his poetry on the programme “Calling the West Indies.”

In his youthful days, he took a keen interest in football and was recognised as an excellent left-winger, known by the nickname, “Zeng.”

“Zeng” incidentally is the short for “Zenglay”, a word meaning thin, slender or wiry, according to “The Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago” which was edited by Lise Winer.

Along with Egbert Durity of San Fernando, he took part in the very first football match that was played at Skinner Park.

Neville Giuseppi passed away on Friday, September 10th, 1999.


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