Castaway

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Duke University Press, 1999 - Poetry - 117 pages
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In Castaway Yvette Christiansė presents an epic yet fragmented poetic story set off the coast of Africa on the island of St. Helena: Napoleon Bonaparte's final place of exile, a port of call for the slave trade, and birthplace of the poet's grandmother. Amid echoes of racialized identity and issues of displacement, the poems in Castaway speak with a multiplicity of voices—from Ferńao Lopez (the island's first exile) and Napoleon to that of a contemporary black woman. Castaway is simultaneously a song of discovery, an anthem of conquest, and a tortured lamentation of exiles and slaves.
Instead of offering a linear narrative, Christiansė renders the poems as if they were emerging from the pages of imaginary books, documents now disrupted and scattered. An emperor's point of view is juxtaposed with the perspectives of various explorers, sailors, and unknown slaves until finally they all open upon the book's “castaway,” the authorial female voice that negotiates a way to write about love and desire after centuries of oppression and exploitation.
Daring and sophisticated, Castaway challenges and captivates the reader with not only its lyrical richness and conceptual depth but also its implicit and haunting reflections on diaspora and postcolonialism. It will be highly regarded by readers and writers of poetry and will appeal to those engaged with issues of race, gender, exile, multiculturalism, colonialism, and history.
 

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Castaway

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Christians 's debut volume is a personal/political/historical narrative that revolves around the poet's grandmother's birth on the island of St. Helena, near Africa (she's thought to be the child of a ... Read full review

Contents

The Name of the Island
1
Letter to General D AlbuquerqueOn the Pleasures of Touch
14
Sleigh Ride
27
Another Strange Night
41
Man in a Room
55
Geography Lesson
57
When All Else Fails
63
Sometimes the Surface of Water Sometimes a Mirror
69
In the Wake
81
Desire
87
Southerly Southerly
93
She Observes the Blue Bird
97
Some of the Women
103
Headwind
108
St HelenaTime Line
113
Copyright

She Feels the Vanishing Sickness Move behind Her Navel
75

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About the author (1999)

Yvette Christianse was born and raised in South Africa. In her late teens her family moved to Australia to escape aparteid. She now lives in New York where she is an Assistant Professor of English at Fordham University.

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