Black Salt

Black Salt

by Edouard Glissant
     
 

Poet, playwright, novelist, and essayist Édouard Glissant, born in Martinique in 1928, is one of the most important contemporary writers in French. Black Salt collects two decades of Glissant's poetry and makes it available for the first time in English. It is a poetry that is aesthetically distinguished and historically significant, characterized by…  See more details below

Overview

Poet, playwright, novelist, and essayist Édouard Glissant, born in Martinique in 1928, is one of the most important contemporary writers in French. Black Salt collects two decades of Glissant's poetry and makes it available for the first time in English. It is a poetry that is aesthetically distinguished and historically significant, characterized by potent metaphors of local identity.
Published in France as Le Sel Noir, the volume brings together in English translation three separate poetry collections from Glissant's early years, Le Sang Rivé (Blood Riveted), Le Sel Noir (Black Salt), and Boises (Yokes). Read together, these three works embody Glissant's project to develop a Caribbean literature no longer contained by European language. He incorporates conventions of orality and ties the poems concretely to a Martiniquan experience of history and geography/geology, expressing an ongoing search for identity in a struggle between memory and forgetting. From Riveted Blood through Black Salt to Yokes, Glissant can be seen to be developing a poetic instrument that is increasingly stark and increasingly particularized as it undergoes inflections that derive from oral and Creole sources and simultaneously opens to the local landscape, the traditional culture, and the history of Martinique.
Édouard Glissant is Distinguished Professor of French, City University of New York, Graduate Center. His other books in English include Caribbean Discourse and Poetics of Relation, and Faulkner Mississippi, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Betsy Wing's translations include Didier Eribon'sMichel Foucault, and Hélène Cixous's The Book of Promethea.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Poet, essayist, and novelist Glissant was born in 1928 on the Caribbean island of Martinique and currently teaches Caribbean studies at CUNY. He is considered by many to be one of the foremost poets writing in French today; his French, however, is much infiltrated by Creole, incorporating fragments of speech and storytelling techniques. Socioeconomic factors underlie Glissant's writings, with their curious combination of Creole wit and wordplay alongside formal French erudition. To appreciate these subtleties fully, one would need to read Glissant in the original French, but it is not included here--a major and unfortunate omission. Instead, we must rely on Wing's careful but often mysterious translations: "I waited for you, serfs, beside the seas. Here the eager/ Surface. Then rocks. The swaying foam." Glissant himself has written, concerning translations, "There is renunciation when the poem, translated into another language, has let escape a very large part of its rhythm, its secret structure, its assonances and those random chances that are both the accident and the permanence of writing." Still, these poems are hauntingly beautiful, puzzling, often impenetrable but wonderfully mysterious. Recommended for collections of world poetry.--Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780472066667
Publisher:
University of Michigan Press
Publication date:
11/01/1998
Pages:
156
Product dimensions:
5.58(w) x 8.45(h) x 0.58(d)

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