NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 48

In addition to a shared consanguinity with stylistic effects of rhythms and cadences of texts , also detected in the African Diaspora , is an unabated desire to reconcile the angst of displacement and the rupture of an unknowable origin . Still , “ Art is a healing medium ,” discerns Robert Elliot Fox in his appraisal of Derek Walcott ’ s place in a History as Dis-ease :
Though it may sometimes take its inspiration from disturbances in society or the individual , its final effect is to meld the fissures of consciousness through its affirmation of continuity , its testimonial to imagination ’ s procreative powers (“ Derek Walcott : History as Dis-ease ,” Callaloo 27 9 , no 2 ( Spring 1986 ).
Despite the scattering of locations , African Diasporic poets find themselves dredging blood from memories of the Middle Passage and colonial subjugation , relocating themselves with acoustic iconographic narratives that propel texts like that of the St . Lucian Nobel Prize Laureate Derek Walcott ’ s Homage to Gregorias / IV ( 1973 )
I am pounding the faces of gods back into the red clay they
leapt from the mattock of heel after heel , as if heel
after heel were my thumbs that once gouged out as sacred
vessels for women the sockets of eyes , the deaf fowl
of their mouths , and I have wept less for them dead than I did
when they leapt from my thumbs into birth , than my
heels which have never hurt horses that now pound them
back into what they should never have sprung from ,
staying un-named and un-praised where I found them —
in the god-breeding , god-devouring earth !
( Collected Poems 1948-1984:213 )
similarly , from the not-too-distant island of Martinique , the voice of Aimé Cesaire , who had been a leading figure in the Négritude Movement in Paris during the Thirties , seeking renewal in a Return to My Native Land ( 1956 ), an epic work that I was privileged to stage in Chicago in 1976 with the polyphonic music of the 2016 Pulitzer Award recipient , Henry Threadgill , that lifted the text with its surging energy , providing a heightened amplitude in the urgency for spiritual reconstruction :
I want to rediscover the secret of great speech and of
great burning . I want to say storm . I want to say river .
I want to say tornado . I want to say leaf , I want to say
tree . I want to be soaked by every rainfall , moistened
by every dew . As frenetic blood rolls on the slow
current of the eye , I want to roll words like maddened
horses like new children like clotted milk like curfew
like traces of a temple like precious stones buried deep
enough to daunt all miners . The man who couldn ’ t
understand me couldn ’ t understand the roaring of a tiger .
and from the Harlem shoreline of Manhattan island , Larry Neal , one of the guiding lights of the Black Arts Movement in the Sixties , channels the memory of Charlie Parker in Riffin ’ in the Chili House ( in Memory of Bird ):
I churn mad
I churn bright bopping colors
I unwind : hoodoo hollering