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translated by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman.

A Note On The Two Aimé Césaire Poems

Aimé Césaire published Soleil cou coupé (Solar Throat Slashed) with K éditeur in Paris in 1948. The collection contained 72 poems. Over the following decade, as he became more and more politically focused he apparently came to distrust the dense animistic, erotic and blasphemous richness of this collection and in the late 1950s eliminated 31 poems, and edited (either lightly or severely) another 29, leaving only 12 poems from the original edition untouched. To the edited version of the book, he added the 10 poems that make up the short collection Corps perdu (Lost Body), and now entitled Cadastre this new collection was published in 1961. For years Cadastre has represented Soleil cou coupé. When Annette Smith and I published Aimé Césaire: The Collected Poetry (University of California Press, 1983), we included a translation of Cadastre. A little over a year ago, A. James Arnold and I decided to translate the unexpurgated Soleil cou coupé and we have now completed our translation which will be published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press. A.James Arnold is the author of Modernism & Negritude / The Poetry and Poetics of Aimé Césaire (Harvard University Press, 1981). Besides The Collected Poetry, Clayton Eshleman has co-translated with Annette Smith Lost Body (Braziller, 1986), Aimé Césaire / Lyric and Dramatic Poetry 1946-1982 (The University Press of Virginia, 1990), and Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (Wesleyan, 2001).


Aimé Césaire


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2010

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