Aimé Césaire was one of the greatest poets of the last century. His writing was so good that the person who did the illustrations published alongside his poems was Pablo Picasso. Césaire’s best-known works are Cahier d’un retour au pays natal  (1939) and Discours sur le colonialisme (1955), both of which are available in strong translations.

Césaire (born in Martinique in the French Caribbean in 1913) was interviewed by the radical Haitian poet René Depestre in Havana, Cuba, in 1967. Here is one of his remarks:

I have always recognized that what was happening to my brothers in Algeria and the United States had its repercussions in me. I understood that I could not be indifferent to what was happening in Haiti or Africa. Then, in a way, we slowly came to the idea of a sort of black civilization spread throughout the world. And I have come to the realization that there was a “Negro situation” that existed in different geographical areas, that Africa was also my country.

Further Reading

Nostalgia for empire

In late July, all 160,000 members of Britain’s Conservative Party will vote for a new leader. The winner will be Britain’s next Prime Minister. The favorite is Boris Johnson, a Trump-like figure with a nostalgia for Empire.