Limbo, Literature and All That Jazz: Caribbean Literature

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Title:
Limbo, Literature and All That Jazz: Caribbean Literature
Abbreviated Title:
Presentation for the Teaching Caribbean Diversity Initiative
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Language:
English
Creator:
Russell, Heather, Ph.D.
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Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )

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Abstract:
Presented as part of the Discovering Caribbean Diversity workshop sponsored by Florida International University, the University of Florida, the Digital Library of the Caribbean and the Foreign Language Educators of Northeast Florida. Events took place January 23, 2010 & February 6, 2010 Funded by the Department of Education Title Six Grant

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Florida International University
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Florida International University
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All rights reserved by the source institution.
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AA00017809:00001


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Presentation for the Teaching Caribbean Diversity Initiative By Heather Russell, Ph.D. LIMBO, LITERATURE AND ALL THAT JAZZ: CARIBBEAN LITERATURE

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CARIBBEAN LITERATURE: The Archipelago

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The Caribbean Archipelago spatiality in which individual island states are reconceived as a group and term is metonymic for Caribbean peoples who are themselves navigating national/regional configurations and identities. For Antonio Benitez Rojo (Cuba) the Caribbean is conceived a meta archipelago which has no center/periphery and hence reconfigures conventional conceptualization of colonial paradigms: center margin, core periphery, metropole outpost. The Caribbean is thus polyrhythmic

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Nobel Laureate (1992) DEREK WALCOTT (St. Lucia) From: THE STAR APPLE KINGDOM (1979) THE SEA IS HISTORY battles, martyrs? Where is your tribal memory? Sirs, in that grey vault. The sea. The sea has locked them up. The

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THE LIMBO GATEWAY THE MIDDLE PASSAGE IS THE SITE WHERE NEW WORLD IDENTITIES ARE BORN: FORMER AFRICAN IDENTITIES BECOME DISASSEMBLED AND NEW WORLD AFRICAN IDENTITIES GET REASSEMBLED. WILSON HARRIS CALLS THIS THE LIMBO GATEWAY. CARIBBEAN LITERATURE IS THUS PRODUCED BY THE LIMBO IMAGINATION

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Countries by Language Anglophone: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Grenada, Belize, Anguilla, Cayman, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guyana, The Bahamas Hispanophone : Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico Francophone: Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana

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Colonial History: Contact Zones: meet, clash and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power such as colonialism, slavery and their Colonial Values Caribbean Values English/Spanish/French Protestant/Catholic Reality v. Fantasy/Myth Fact v. Fiction History: linear, causal Literature: 7 elements: Meaning, Form, Narration, Tone, Character, Use of Language, Structure Nation Languages: creoles Vodoun, Santeria, Myalism/Obeah Magical Realism Storytelling Historiography: Great Time Literatures

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LITERARY COMPARISON of ELEMENTS Colonial Literature Caribbean literatures Meaning: fixed, clear, identifiable Form: genre identifiable Narrative Voice: principle narrating subject (epic) Character: archetypal, fixed Use of Language: consistent Structure: parallelism, linearity, etc. Meaning: flexible, indeterminate Form: mixed genres Narrative Voice: multiple narrating subjects (jazz) Character: unstable, fluid Use of Language: mixed Structure: hybrid, asymmetrical, disruption of linearity

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fragmentation (modernist angst) and linearity (phallocentricity). MICHELLE CLIFF (Jamaica) experience as a writer coming from a culture of colonialism, a culture of black people riven from each other, my struggle to get wholeness from fragmentation while working within fragmentation, producing work which may find its strength in its depiction of fragmentation,

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FROM: No Telephone to Heaven (1987) Michelle Cliff The truck struggled on up through the Cockpits. TELEPHONE TO HEAVEN. How these words had come to him [the owner] they did not Oppression. Recession. Intercession.

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We is in Babylon. Yes mi dear Bredda NO TELEPHONE TO HEAVEN. Maybe the line it is bodder wid de likes of we. God nuh be Hinglish God be their enemy? The seawater which hid their history was not at fault. The moon which lit the brown widow. The thick stands of Black Mangrove. None of these were the enemy. They were tired of praying for those that persecuted them. (17) *NO TELEPHONE repetition like a jazz riff; Blended prose poetic form; Platform English/Jamaican blended

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JAZZ AND THE WEST INDIAN NOVEL Kamau Brathwaite (Barbados) Indian Novel normal course of things, will hardly be an epic. Dealing with a specific, clearly defined, folk type community, it will try to express the essence of this community

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revolutions. I think however, that language does really have a role to play here, certainly in the Caribbean. But it is an English [French/Spanish] that is not the what I call, as I say, nation language I use the term in contrast to dialect ..Dialect is thought of Dialect is the language when you want to make

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Brathwaite submerged area of that dialect that is much more closely allied to the African aspect of experience in the Caribbean. It may be in English, but often it is in an English which is like a howl, or a shout, or a machine gun, or (266).

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Earl Lovelace (Trinidad) you know they coulda never hold people here surrendered to the sea, every green leaf and tangle of FROM: Salt (1997)

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keep people in captivity. Four hundred years! And it to poison people. Port of Spain had to burn down. A hurricane had to hit the island. Haiti had to defeat Napoleon. People had to run away up the mountains. hold people in captivity here. But now they had another problem: it was not how to keep people in captivity. It was how to set people at *History v. Historiography; Excerpt provides BOTH alternative/resistant history to conventional narrative of Slavery and Emancipation and alternative/resistant historiography: through its form

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MIGRATION STORIES Home Adopted Country Developing nations: post independence, post industrial, globalization Political upheavals: political instability, economic instability class/color stratification Cultural homogeneity: religious syncretism, creoles/nation languages, music, dance, food, customs, sports, national pride Developed nation: free market, economic alienation for many immigrants: credit system, legal status issues, underemployment Political stability: high numbers of non citizenship, limited representation Racism, ethnocentrism Cultural diversity: cultural enclaves, nostalgia, displacement, cultural memory, border crossings

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Migration Story 1: Angie Cruz (Dominican Republic) FROM: Let it Rain Coffee (2005) more insatiable she became. God, can you help me out help her win the lottery she played on Sundays. Within days of her prayers, she found a letter in the mail. Esperanza Colon: You have been preapproved. After working as a home health attendant for five years, Esperanza

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was eligible for a credit card, her very own five hundred You have been preapproved for up to 1,000 dollars. Preapproved. Esperanza mouthed the words in front of drawer. She planned to pay them when she had extra 4).

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Migration Story 2: Edwidge Danticat Haiti FROM: Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994) My mother came forward...She tried to lift my body into the front seat but she stumbled look like the picture Tantie Atie dark circles under her and sunburned. It was a though she had never stopped working

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Danticat the mother I imagined for myself was like Erzulie, the lavish Virgin Mother. She was the healer of all aged in one day, as though she had been through a time machine, rather than an airplane. Welcome to New York, this face seemed to be saying: Accept your new life. I greeted the challenged as

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Two South Florida Caribbean Poets Geoffrey Philp (Jamaica) Florida Bound (1995) For our exile will never end until we free of those who teach only the whip and rope. black land without facing the drawn bayonets of those who exact lives as payment, who disown with a kiss our martyrs, our prophets. so we end in the hot and homeless cities of the South to be free of them. The last dry months, like bitter molasses. Tired of dreams, New Jerusalems.

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Donna Aza Weir Soley (Jamaica) First Rain (2006) fly north in every season leaving warmth in search of dreams that sometimes leave us cold. Like birds of a feather we fly in formation, vulnerable at hunting season yet do not stop or break our ranks when one of us falls victim But Caribbean people fly north in every season Leaving the warmth of familiarity and family In search of dreams that sometimes leave us freezing in the snow.

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FROM: Edouard Glissant (Martinique) Caribbean Discourse (1989) peoples once reputed to be without history come fertilization of histories means repossessing both a true *******************************