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Zong! (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

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9780819571694: Zong! (Wesleyan Poetry Series)
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In November, 1781, the captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that some 150 Africans be murdered by drowning so that the ship’s owners could collect insurance monies. Relying entirely on the words of the legal decision Gregson v. Gilbert—the only extant public document related to the massacre of these African slaves—Zong! tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told. Equal parts song, moan, shout, oath, ululation, curse, and chant, Zong! excavates the legal text. Memory, history, and law collide and metamorphose into the poetics of the fragment. Through the innovative use of fugal and counterpointed repetition, Zong! becomes an anti-narrative lament that stretches the boundaries of the poetic form, haunting the spaces of forgetting and mourning the forgotten. Check for the online reader’s companion at http://zong.site.wesleyan.edu.

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About the Author:

M. NOURBESE PHILIP is a poet, writer, and lawyer whose previous collections of poetry include She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1989). Born in Tobago, she now resides in Toronto, Ontario. SETAEY ADAMU BOATENG is the voice of the ancestors revealing the submerged stories of all who were on board the Zong.

Review:

“At times I’m uncomfortable with both poetry and history, but then a book like Zong! comes along and reminds me how the lyric can shake up history’s limited logics and history can shake up poetry’s occasional evasive sheen.”—Jill Magi, Poetry Project Newsletter

“[A]s Philip emphasizes, the story of the Zong is ultimately a story that can only be told by not telling. So even in the sea of words that fill up the final pages of Zong!, the registers of silence that mark the text are resounding.”—Kate Eichorn, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics

“Nourbese-Philip cannot not ‘create’ a story, even against her own intentions to ‘merely’ document ... she treats each page as a field, a canvas—more accurately, the sea.”—Tyrone Williams, African American Review

“Some poems roll off the tongue like a song and others like a cry for help.”

—Victoria Iglesias, Medium

“M. NourbeSe Philip writes a poetry whose innovation—her spells of silence, her stuttering syntax—is not an abstract experiment but a form of mourning for African words prohibited by ‘the ceremony of White ... in the elsewhere of time.’”—Zinzi Clemmons, Literary Hub

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780819568762: Zong! (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

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ISBN 10: 0819568767 ISBN 13: 9780819568762
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press, 2008
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9781551281360: Zong!: As Told to the Author by Setaey Adamu Boateng

Mercur..., 2008
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