» POETRY & THE POLITICAL IMAGINATION: Aimé Césaire, Negritude & Surrealism

by Robin D. G. Kelley

 

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“The Jungle” – Wifredo Lam

Aimé Césaire demolishes the old maxim that poets make terrible politicians. Known in the world of letters as the progenitor of Negritude (the first diasporic “black pride” movement), a major voice of Surrealism, and one of the great French poets, Césaire is equally revered for his role in modern anticolonial and Pan-African movements. While it might appear that the poet and politician operated in separate spheres, Césaire’s life and work demonstrate that poetry can be the motor of political imagination, a potent weapon in any movement that claims freedom as its primary goal.

 

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