Aimé Césaire's poems have body, a jagged dimensionality. They climb off the page and fill up the room. They feel around for the sun. The poems get hot and explode into energetic shards, only to reform and explode again. The bilingual edition is a must: I don't speak a lick of French but Césaire's masterful sound work extends well beyond "sense." Brilliant writing, writing to be experienced. —Recommended by Elaine Kahn, City Lights Books
Soleil cou coupe (Solar Throat Slashed) is Aime Césaire's most explosive collection of poetry. Animistically dense, charged with eroticism and blasphemy, and imbued with an African and Vodun spirituality, this book takes the French surrealist adventure to new heights and depths. A Césaire poem is an intersection at which metaphoric traceries create historically aware nexuses of thought and experience, jagged solidarity, apocalyptic surgery, and solar dynamite.
The original 1948 French edition of Soleil cou coupe has a dense magico-religious frame of reference. In the late 1950s, Césaire was increasingly politically focused and seeking a wider audience, when he, in effect, gelded the 1948 text—eliminating 31 of the 72 poems, and editing another 29. Until now, only the revised 1961 edition, called Cadastre, has been translated. The revised text lacks the radical originality of Soleil cou coupe. This Wesleyan edition presents all the original poems en face with the new English translations. Includes an introduction by A. James Arnold and notes by Clayton Eshleman.