Xamissa

Xamissa

by Henk Rossouw

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Overview

Xamissa is a book-length poem that sounds out the city of Cape Town in a joyful elegy for the city of alternate takes. Xamissa adapts the mythical name for the springs and streams running from Table Mountain to the sea, under the city itself, since before the colonial Dutch ships came—the X of the title standing in for the multiple ways in the languages of the Cape, past and present, the reader may pronounce the first consonant.

A work of documentary poetics that investigates the cost of whiteness in South Africa, Xamissa code-switches at times into Lontara, the subversive Indonesian script that undercuts the prevalence of Dutch in the colonial archive. Through serial questions around the ethics of its address, Xamissa probes the interrelation of language, sociality, and resistance, in its bid to interrogate the archive as a draft of the city’s future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823281107
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Series: Poets Out Loud
Pages: 136
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Henk Rossouw teaches at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Boston Review, and other publications.

Table of Contents

Proloog 1

Rearrival 7

The Dream of the Road 17

Doppler Shift 21

Folding Screen 29

Twin Soldiers 31

The Prisoner 32

Elegy for the Gesture 33

The Water Archives 35

helena | Lena 43

Lontara Translation 111

Sources 113

Notes 115

Acknowledgments 119

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