Zong! (Wesleyan Poetry) (Hardcover)

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Zong! (Wesleyan Poetry) By M. Nourbese Philip, Setaey Adamu Boateng (Other) Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Unlike anything I have ever seen before; Philip tells a story “that cannot be told yet must be told”— In November 1781, the Captian of the slave ship Zong ordered 150 Africans to be thrown overboard to drown so they could collect the insurance money. Phillips takes the only court document related to this massacre and uses every phoneme, word, and fragment from the document to create a piece that is part song, moan, curse, and chant. In doing so Phillips manages to give breath back to those who drowned. Read Zong #1 out loud and listen to what happens.

— Ryan


A haunting lifeline between archive and memory, law and poetry

In November, 1781, the captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that some 150 Africans be murdered by drowning so that the ship's owners could collect insurance monies. Relying entirely on the words of the legal decision Gregson v. Gilbert--the only extant public document related to the massacre of these African slaves--Zong tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told. Equal parts song, moan, shout, oath, ululation, curse, and chant, Zong excavates the legal text. Memory, history, and law collide and metamorphose into the poetics of the fragment. Through the innovative use of fugal and counterpointed repetition, Zong becomes an anti-narrative lament that stretches the boundaries of the poetic form, haunting the spaces of forgetting and mourning the forgotten. Check for the online reader's companion at http: //zong.site.wesleyan.edu.

About the Author

M. NOURBESE PHILIP is a poet, writer, and lawyer whose previous collections of poetry include She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1989). Born in Tobago, she now resides in Toronto, Ontario. SETAEY ADAMU BOATENG is the voice of the ancestors revealing the submerged stories of all who were on board the Zong.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780819568762
ISBN-10: 0819568767
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication Date: March 1st, 2008
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Wesleyan Poetry