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Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
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About the Author

Aime Cesaire is most well-known as the co-creator (with Leopold Senghor) of the concept of negritude. A member of the Communist party and active supporter of a progressive Socialist movement in his native Martinique, Cesaire wrote Notebook of a Return to the Native Land at the end of World War II. Clayton Eshleman, Professor of English at Eastern Michigan University, has published eleven books of poetry since 1968. He has translated works by Antonin Artaud, Bernard Bador, Michel Deguy, Vladimir Holan, and Pablo Neruda. He is also the foremost American translator of Cesar Vallejo (with Jose Rubia Barcia). Annette Smith, born in Algeria, is an Associate Professor of French at the California Institute of Technology. Eshleman and Smith translated Aime Cesaire: The Collected Poetry (1985).

Reviews

" The Complete Poetry of Aime Cesaire is a fundamental work for readers of twentieth century poetry, and those especially interested in the relationships that define a poet's response to his fraught and bloody time."--Alan Graubard, Pacific Rim Review of Books

"This long poem, which shook the French literary world in 1939, examines the ways home is ruptured--or even prevented from existing--by colonialism. And what, the book asks, does that mean? How can one return to a home that was never built?"--Robin Coste Lewis, The Week "Aime Cesaire's brooding exploration of Negritude bristles with the energetic, unique qualities of Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' . . . [Cesaire's] protean lyric, filled with historical allusions, serves to exorcise individual and collective self-hatreds engendered by the psychological trauma of slavery and its aftermath."--San Francisco Chronicle "Martinique poet Aime Cesaire is one of the few pure surrealists alive today. By this I mean that his work has never compromised its wild universe of double meanings, stretched syntax, and unexpected imagery. This long poem was written at the end of World War II and became an anthem for many blacks around the world. Eshleman and Smith have revised their original 1983 translations and given it additional power by presenting Cesaire's unique voice as testament to a world reduced in size by catastrophic events."--Bloomsbury Review "One of the most powerful French poets of the century."--The New York Times Book Review "Aime Cesaire's brooding exploration of Negritude bristles with the energetic, unique qualities of Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself' . . . [Cesaire's] protean lyric, filled with historical allusions, serves to exorcise individual and collective self-hatreds engendered by the psychological trauma of slavery and its aftermath."--San Francisco Chronicle "The greatest living poet in the French language."--American Book Review

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