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Zong! / Edition 1

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Overview

In November 1781, thee captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that some 150 Africans be murdered by drowning so that the ship's owners could collect insurance monies. Relying entirely on the words of the legal decision Gregson v. Gilbert - the only extant public document related to the massacre of these African slaves - Zong! tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told. Equal parts song, moan, shout, oath, ululation, curse, and chant, Zong! excavates the legal text. Memory, history, and law collide and metamorphose into the poetics of the fragment. Through the innovative use of fugal and counterpointed repetition, Zong! becomes an anti-narrative lament that stretches the boundaries of the poetic form, haunting the spaces of forgetting and mourning the forgotten.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“At times I’m uncomfortable with both poetry and history, but then a book like Zong! comes along and reminds me how the lyric can shake up history’s limited logics and history can shake up poetry’s occasional evasive sheen.”—Jill Magi, Poetry Project Newsletter

"…as Philip emphasizes, the story of the Zong is ultimately a story that can only be told by not telling. So even in the sea of words that fill up the final pages of Zong!, the registers of silence that mark the text are resounding." —Kate Eichorn, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics

“Nourbese-Philip cannot not ‘create’ a story, even against her own intentions to ‘merely’ document.” "…she treats each page as a field, a canvas—more accurately, the sea. The visual effect of viewing so many de-worded letters, de-sentenced words is astonishing; one seems to be looking at bodies in the ocean, their cries mere noise, sounds that only occasionally coalesce into words, phrases, sentences."—Tyrone Williams, African American Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819568762
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 9/23/2008
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,008,533
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

M. NOURBESE PHILIP is a poet, writer, and lawyer whose previous collections of poetry include She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1989). Born in Tobago, she now resides in Toronto, Ontario. SETAEY ADAMU BOATENG is the voice of the ancestors revealing the submerged stories of all who were on board the Zong.

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Table of Contents

Os 1

Sal 57

Ventus 77

Ratio 99

Ferrum 125

Ebora 175

Glossary: Words and Phrases Heard on Board the Zong 183

Manifest 185

Notanda 187

Gregson v. Gilbert 210

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