M. NourbeSe Philip: Zong! (2008)

26 August 2017, dusan

“A haunting lifeline between archive and memory, law and poetry

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.”

Publisher Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, and Mercury Press, Toronto, 2008
Wesleyan Poetry series
ISBN 9780819568762, 0819568767
xii+211 pages

Reviews: Tyrone Williams (African Am Rev, 2009), Helen Klonaris (sx salon, 2011).
Commentary: Fred Wah (Jacket2, 2013), Janet Neigh, Phanuel Antwi and Veronica Austen, M. NourbeSe Philip, Evie Shockley, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (Jacket2, 2013), Jenny Sharpe (Interventions, 2014).
Interview: Paul Watkins (Toronto Rev Books, 2014).

Companion website
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PDF
Philip reading from Zong! (audio, 2007-2016)


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