Category Archives: Global South
Octopus for Christmas
December 25, 2013 No, not salmon, that eminently respectable candidate for a fishetarian dinner. Octopus instead, still exotic and dubious-looking in this part of the world, but a common food staple in Japan and throughout the Mediterranean: in Spain, Portugal, … Continue reading
The Writer and the Politician
December 11, 2013 They had first met in Cairo, in 1961, when she was working for “The Arab Observer,” an English-language weekly, and married to Vusumzi Make. Make and Mandela were political enemies, as were their organizations — the Pan Africanist … Continue reading
Mama Day: The Tempest in the Global South
October 2, 2014 Her name is Miranda (“Mama”) Day — yes, that Miranda, the one who said, “Oh, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!” Gloria Naylor is not the first to take on Shakespeare, of course. … Continue reading
Zora Neale Hurston: American literature as World Literature?
August 14, 2013 The polemical essay, “World Lite,” just out in n+1, is perhaps generating more heat than light. But it does raise an interesting question: what exactly is “world literature”? How broad its scope, and what could be in … Continue reading
James Baldwin and Richard Wright: What quarrel?
August 7, 2013 It was all very public, well documented. Wright had started out being the central inspiration. Baldwin’s essay, “Notes of a Native Son,” and his essay collection also of that title, are obvious tributes to the long … Continue reading
Emily Dickinson’s Africa
June 19, 2013 Whitman’s “Ethiopia Saluting the Colors” (written during Sherman’s Savannah Campaign) has offended some readers; it also has the distinction of being set to music — by the African American composer, H.T. Burleigh. Dickinson’s Ethiopia isn’t so well … Continue reading
On Philip Levine’s “Salami”
“Stomach,” the seat of our most basic, precognitive desires (hunger) and responses (the “gut reaction”), aptly opens a stanza rife with the smells and flavors of Spanish cuisine. But if the stomach is the logical destination of the food being … Continue reading
Beyond a Boundary: C. L. R. James in Glasgow
May 13, 2013 Scotland and the Caribbean? The architecture of Glasgow tells a dramatic story. Here, in the center of town, is the many-pillared Gallery of Modern Art, monumental even for a museum, which used to be the … Continue reading
Elizabeth Bishop: “Brazil, January 1, 2015” or “Manuelzinho:?
May 1, 2015 The Table of Contents, the print anthology as a finite, bounded object — they loom large. While they do that, though, this blog is going to hold out for a little longer, not going there yet. … Continue reading
Brazil: Karen Tei Yamashita, Elizabeth Bishop
April 24, 2013 Both write about human efforts that come to nothing. Bishop’s Manuelzinho begins bravely, planting gardens that ravish the eye: beds of cabbages edged with red carnations, lettuces with alyssum. But then “silver umbrella ants arrive,/ or it … Continue reading