Zenosbooks

9781935744948Return To My Native Land by Aime Cesaire. Brooklyn. 2014. Archipelago Books. 80 pages.  paperback. Cover art: William Kentridge.  Translated from the French by John Berger and Anna Bostock. Drawings by Peter de Francia.  9781935744948 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

  A work of immense cultural significance and beauty, this long poem became an anthem for the African diaspora and the birth of the Negritude movement. With unusual juxtapositions of object and metaphor, a bouquet of language-play, and deeply resonant rhythms, Césaire considered this work a “break into the forbidden,” at once a cry of rebellion and a celebration of black identity. ‘It was in April 1941, while passing through Martinique on his wartime journey to New York, that André Breton chanced on a long poem, “Cahier d’un retour au pays natal”, freshly printed in the magazine Tropiques. He at once declared it a masterpiece and the work of “a great black poet”. Its author was a young Caribbean writer, Aimé Césaire, and the native land of its title was Martinique, to which the author had returned after a long stay as a student in Paris. Composed in 1939, his poem would circulate in various forms until a definitive edition was issued by Présence Africaine in Paris in 1956. An explosive critique of French colonialism, it had become a central text of the Negritude movement. In 1939, the island of Martinique was still an open wound, left septic after French rule. The poem pulls no punches. Now tremulous, now grating, the improvised text drums and jabs in spasmodic phrases and slogans. Each encounter, each twist of idiom, thrusts itself into the reader’s mind as a fierce challenge to understand and to empathize. Breton saw in Césaire’s writing “a quality of mastery in his tone” and was thrilled to discover that Surrealism could erupt in the tropics, the expression of a fresh poetics that shattered the even hum of French colonial discourse. Césaire’s poetry makes for difficult reading. Its headlong progression is accretive and associative, full of repeated phrases and unsettling detours. Its ruling device is the surrealist image, in which words clash and flare, to create tantalizing moments of revelation, paradoxically offering meaning while undermining coherence. The text spills forth in searing details and tableaux, ranging from the whispered evocation of “a little line of sand” to the description of a poverty-stricken black man on a bus, whose decrepit state inspires in the poet disgust and shame, which swiftly modulate into anger. Martinique is an island lost but now found, as the young writer hammers out his portrait of a debased homeland crying out for recognition and redemption. The poem’s uncompromising delivery was thoroughly absorbed and emulated by the translators John Berger and Anna Bostock, who wrestled its outbursts into a forceful yet faithful English equivalent. Their version dates from 1969. To this reissue are added six charcoal drawings by the late Peter de Francia, showing African bodies in poses suggestive of sheer torpor: yet we may take it that tropical languor is but a prelude to decisive rebellion.’ - Roger Cardinal. ‘Return to My Native Land is a monumental tome to our times, and this new translation by John Berger and Anya Bostock possesses the tropical heat of the poet’s sonority. Though, in his refrain, Aimé Césaire intones “the small hours,” there isn’t anything small about the raw lyricism articulated into this incantation of fiery wit. The translators convey the spirit of improvisation, yet, with a deftness of image and music, they deliver this book-length poem as a seamless work of art—an existential cry against a man-made void. What translates is the speaker’s revolutionary psyche on to the page—his fierce affirmation of existence through an eloquent clarity of the real and surreal. Nowhere is Césaire’s passion sacrificed; this translation is a tribute to the poet.’ - Yusef Komunyakaa.

Cesaire Aime  AIME CESAIRE (1913-2008) was a poet, playwright, statesman, and cultural critic, and is best known as the creator of the concept of negritude. His books include AIME CESAIRE: THE COLLECTED POETRY, NOTEBOOK OF A RETURN TO THE NATIVE LAND, and DISCOURSE ON COLONIALISM.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

happy pig    

 

 

 

 

Check zenosbooks.com to see if we have a copy for sale. 

 


 

 


Search

Zeno's Picks

  • Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World Walker, David. David Walker's Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World. University Park. 2000. Penn State University Press. 9780271019949. Edited, with an introduction and annotations by Peter P. Hinks. 5 x 8.5. 2 illustrations. 184 pages. paperback.   FROM THE PUBLISHER - In 1829 David Walker, a free black born in Wilmington, North Carolina, wrote one of America’s most provocative politicaldocuments of the nineteenth[…]

    Read more...
  • Dumas, Henry. Jonoah & the Green Stone

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Dumas, Henry. Jonoah & the Green Stone Dumas, Henry. Jonoah & the Green Stone. New York. 1976. Random House. 0394497910. 170 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Mike Stromberg.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - Henry Dumas was a first-rate writer with first-order intelligence. The publication of his short stories, ARK OF BONES, and poetry, PLAY EBONY PLAY IVORY, was received with spectacular acclaim. Now a novel has been discovered that will satisfy the appetites[…]

    Read more...
  • Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods. London. 2020. 4th Estate. 9780008440428. 71 pages. paperback.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - In this powerful and timely personal essay, best-selling author Otegha Uwagba reflects on racism, whiteness, and the mental labour required of Black people to navigate relationships with white people. Presented as a record of Uwagba's observations on this era-defining moment in history - that is,[…]

    Read more...
  • Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. Durham. 2008. Duke University Press. 9780822341161. 311 pages. paperback. Cover photograph - Claudia Jones in 1948.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - In LEFT OF KARL MARX, Carole Boyce Davies assesses the activism, writing, and legacy of Claudia Jones (1915-1964), a pioneering Afro-Caribbean radical intellectual, dedicated communist, and feminist. Jones is buried[…]

    Read more...
  • Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People

    Zenosbooks - Zeno's Picks

    Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People. New York. 2010. Norton. 9780393049343. 496 pages. hardcover. Cover design by Keenan.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of notions of white race - not merely a skin color but also a signal of power, prestige, and beauty to be withheld and granted selectively. Our story begins in Greek and Roman antiquity, where the[…]

    Read more...
Copyright © 2021 Zenosbooks. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.