Review of New Impressions of Africa

africa

That would be the New Impressions of Africa, not the new Impressions of Africa, though both are new.

Review here at the new issue of The Critical Flame.

New Impressions of Africa is made up of four cantos, each of which begins by establishing the setting in Egypt and then interrupting itself with a parenthetical thought. This thought is in turn interrupted by another, until we are faced with layer upon layer of parentheses. Mark Ford explains in his introduction:

If, from one angle, the brackets and footnotes of Nouvelles Impressions d’Afrique insistently disrupt and disjoin, frustrating, with their seemingly endless digressions and lists of examples, the reader’s urge for completion, from another they serve as forms of connection, like railway points, that enable the poem to cross over into whole new regions of proliferating analogy and illustration.

The poem, in its original French, is written in rhyming alexandrine (twelve-syllable) couplets alternating between masculine and feminine rhymes. Ford does not keep the original rhyme or the meter in his translation — to do so would probably be impossible — but the non-francophone reader must trust that these are done magnificently well. An excerpt from one of Roussel’s elaborate lists . . .

You Might Also Like:

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. In the United States of Africa Review Chad reviews a book whose premise is that Africa is as rich as the U.S., and the U.S. is as rich as Africa: In the...
  2. Watching the Spring Festival Review The Boston Review has a nice review of Frank Bidart’s most recent book of poetry, Watching the Spring Festival: Bidart’s earlier poems are famous, albeit...
  3. 2666: First Impressions Now that I’ve knocked off a good inch of 2666, I feel like it’s time to say a little about my reactions to it. At...
  4. Tales of Freedom by Ben Okri Review Jay Parini reviews Nigerian author Ben Okri's newest book, Tales of Freedom, which is as of now unlisted on Amazon's U.S. site. Okri has long...
  5. The Good Soldier–How Autobiographical? Julian Barnes has an interesting article in The Guardian, pondering exactly how autobiographical Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier is. As I wrote about this...

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2015. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.