Édouard Glissant

Reading notes: On epic, citations

In her work, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry, Evie Shockley reads Gwendolyn Brooks’s “The Anniad,” Sonia Sanchez’s Does Your House Have Lions?, and Harryette Mullen’s Muse & Drudge as epics. She analyzes how their poetics pressure the genre and how their texts “achieve something with the epic that it was not created to do.” Who tells the story for and about the community, and how it is told, is radically transformed. In her analysis, Shockley is also asking questions about reading. She suggests Brooks, Sanchez, and Mullen “require us to accommodate new kinds of heroes and questions, previously unrecognizable as such because of the race, gender, class, and sexual presumptions that have attended the genre of the epic as it developed within the Anglo-American literary tradition.” What do we perceive and what do we render in advance “unrecognizable” when read through a received lens?

 

Litia Perta asks us to think about criticism as a practice of care and not as attack. This suggests a type of attention, a generative reading method that moves alongside a work and not against it. When I write about the authors’ works in my project, I am writing alongside and toward.

In the past month, I’ve begun another, not unrelated, practice of breathing more space into my body.

Women experimental writers working alongside-within a poetic genre can breathe space into it.

Imagined cartographies: Madeleine Campbell in Saint Lucia

Brain Coral photographed by Madeleine Campbell
Brain Coral photographed by Madeleine Campbell

Some waves originate deep in space; others arrive with the wind, cresting the ocean's surface. At low tide, a traveler might walk a long stretch of shore, shifting boundary between land and sea. She might lift spiraled shell to ear, listen for a sound that began in a neighboring galaxy, named after an explorer intent on sailing the globe. She might hear history. “It might sound like this: in the salt chuckle of rocks / with their sea pools, there was the sound /like a rumour without any echo / of History, really beginning.” Such does Derek Walcott locate history's source in a tidepool made of words. Writing in Poetic Intention, Édouard Glissant uses the same materials of construction: “I build my language out of rocks, I write, indeed, with the feeling of some scribe. . . .” In the tides between history and language: poetry, an island that breaks away from the main.

Some waves originate deep in space; others arrive with the wind, cresting the ocean's surface. At low tide, a traveler might walk a long stretch of shore, shifting boundary between land and sea. She might lift spiraled shell to ear, listen for a sound that began in a neighboring galaxy, named after an explorer intent on sailing the globe.

She might hear history.

It might sound like this:

in the salt chuckle of rocks

with their sea pools, there was the sound

like a rumour without any echo

Andrée Chedid and the contradictions of translation

One is the first positive odd number, an integer not evenly divisible by two. Odd, from the Old Norse oddi, point of land, triangle, the odd point sticking out, not lining up. As Dr. Math explains, the words we use are pictures of the shapes a number makes.[1]

Kirsty Hooper's 'Writing Galicia into the World' as co-savoir

Hooper: Writing Galicia into the World -- translation and its challenges

In post 13, when I spoke of Blanchot and translation as a step outside time, I briefly mentioned UK critic and Galician literary scholar Kirsty Hooper. Her landmark book Writing Galicia into the World is also a step outside time, one important to translation in a critical sense and in a wider optic. Its mission is other, but it opens up the stakes of translation itself, in a way that is co-incident with, and that has learned from, ideas of writers such as Édouard Glissant and Gilles Deleuze. Her work allows us to look anew at what it means to cross the borders of language, and better understand literature’s role in this crossing.

To tweak from the press website[1], the book’s “key theoretical contribution is to model a relational approach to a nation’s cultural history, which allows us to reframe a culture often dismissed as peripheral or minor as an active participant in a network of relation that connects local, national and global.”

The exciting thing is that it opens many possibilities to future investigators, and not just to those who study Galician culture (though, please, folks, do study Galician culture!). Hooper’s work is also co-incident and co-intuitive with ideas such as Anne-Marie Losonczy’s “cosavoir,” or “co-knowledge,” a current influence on the production of Quebec poet Chantal Neveu and others.

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