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Thursday, 17 April 2008

R.I.P. Aimé Césaire, 25 June, 1913-17 April, 2008

Sad (but not entirely unexpected) news from Martinique this morning: Aimé Césaire, one of the Caribbean's (and France's) major writers, leader of the negritude movement, and author of the seminal Cahier d'un retour au pays natal, has died at the age of 94, after being admitted to hospital last week. In the coming days, tributes will flow from writers across the Caribbean. Here are the first wire service reports: from the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.

... when my turn comes into the air
I will raise up a cry so violent
that I will spatter the sky utterly
and by my shredded branches
and by the insolent jet of my solemn wounded bole

I shall command the islands to exist

-- from "Lost Body", by Aimé Césaire, trans. E. Anthony Hurley


Le Figaro posts a gallery of Césaire images.

Le Monde posts the reactions of senior French politicians, including President Nicolas Sarkozy.


Rethabile said...

Enormous loss. Aimé was indeed loved. He will be missed.

Anonymous said...

UT Press' surrealist series is bringing out a translation of Breton's "Martinique" later this summer. Cesaire was Breton's guide during his time on the island, and Breton pays fitting tribute to him in the book, especially the essay "A Great Black Poet."