Archipelago Thinking

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In today’s Süddeutsche Zeitung (but unhappily not in their online edition) Edouard Glissant, who, besides being one of the two or three major Caribbean poets alive, is also the preident of the new cultural center devoted to the history of slavery in Martinique, speaks of his “archipelago thinking” and of the necessary creolization of languages and cultures. Here’s a tiny extract:

“If you take African rhythms and Western instruments such as the saxophone, violin, piano, trombone, then you get jazz. That’s what I call creolization. I am certain that the Asians and Hispanics, the Whites and the Blacks in the cities of California will some day create something new, that will be just as wonderful jazz.”
Glissant is one of the most under-translated major poets – and should, in my opinion, have gotten the Nobel in the year he was short-listed and when it was given in the end to Derek Walcott, a far less interesting and innovative poet and thinker.
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2 Responses

  1. dax says:

    I was wondering, what book would recommend first for a novice reader of Glissant?

  2. Pierre Joris says:

    If you read French, a good place to start is:

    Le Sel Noir. Paris: Seuil, 1960. (reprinted by Gallimard poésie & shld still be in print)

    Introduction à une Poétique du Divers (essays) Gallimard 1996

    In English:

    Black salt poems, traduit du français par Betsy Wing, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1999.

    Collected Poems of Edouard Glissant, traduit du français par Jeff Humpreys, University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

    (I haven’t read these, so cannot comment on qulity of translation)

    Caribbean Discourse : Selected Essays, translated by Michael J. Dash, Charlottesville, Virginie, University Press of Virginia, 1989, pb, 1992.

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