The recent controversy around Günter Grass’s criticisms of Germany’s arms trade with Israel is an interesting post-script to the Namibian genocide controversy. The Nobel prize-winning author has written a poem – called ‘What needs to be said’ – which argues that historical guilt is the reason for the sale of arms to Israel, a monstrous form of […]
Towards the final scenes of Restless City, Jessye Norman’s solo soprano voice scales the great buildings and the conveyor belts of vehicles, between all of which a small red scooter navigates, carrying the slim bodies of Djibril and Trina. They are here, in this city, with all their desires clenched in their mouths. It is Norman’s voice, following the music composed by Richard Strauss to the poetry of Herman Hesse, that lifts our two immigrants’ desires up on the currents of her song, skylarks freed into the night sky.
From that same interview that I have been so liberally cutting and pasting from this week—in Comparative Literature–the Communist poet and intellectual, Jeremy Cronin, talks about the conundrum for black intellectuals after the end of Apartheid: … For obvious reasons that I’ve already alluded to, a great premium is placed on unity and loyalty within […]
The daily word of inspiration (cut and pasted from Contemporary Literature) from my favorite, comtemporary Communist, Jeremy Cronin: … At present I am inclined to make my poems much more actively disruptive within themselves, to foreground contradiction and paradox, to enact interruption, to celebrate the parenthetical, to make manifest the unresolved. In the first post-1994 […]
Jeremy Cronin is my favorite Communist. Astute, intellectual and a poet. Cronin is a former political prisoner and now ANC member of Parliament in South Africa. “Even the Dead” is still my favorite poem. I recently chanced upon a 2009 interview he did with the academic Andrew van der Vlies (featured on this blog here) […]
This is from a minute ago, but I had to post it as it features part of my neighborhood. Wright, actor and unassuming Fort Greene, Brooklyn, resident (that’s also my neighborhood) reads his favorite Walt Whitman poem (from his blackberry) in front of the Walt Whitman Houses on Myrtle Avenue in the neighborhood. The reading […]
Jacob Boersema, a Dutch PhD student who works on Afrikaner identity in postapartheid South Africa, recently told me about a new film, “Black Butterflies,” about the life of Ingrid Jonker, the late Afrikaans poet (she committed suicide in 1965), whose work gained renewed interest after Nelson Mandela read one of her poems during his inaugural […]