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Products for grant FT-260081-18

The Role of Poetry in Contemporary African Literary Communities
Nathan Suhr-Sytsma, Emory University

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Reading for lyric in the African digital litmag (Article)
Title: Reading for lyric in the African digital litmag
Author: Nathan Suhr-Sytsma
Abstract: This article asks what we are reading for when we read poems in African-run literary magazines that are increasingly online. How can we begin to theorise the significance of publication and experience of reading in digital formats? In the wake of a debate in literary studies about lyric reading, the author suggests that reading African poetry in digital litmags gives us an opportunity to rethink how exactly poems are entangled with history – and that reading for lyric involves attending to how a poem might aspire to outlive its initial historical context. Drawing on unpublished sources as well as online and print materials, the article discusses such African-run litmags as Sentinel Poetry (Online), Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Jalada, Saraba and Agbowó. For poets including Ogaga Ifowodo, Tsitsi Jaji, Jumoke Verissimo and Logan February who have chosen to publish in these litmags, political liberation entails reimagining sociality, subjectivity and sexuality. Ultimately, the article argues, their poems should not only be located in the recent past but also recognised as opening up temporalities of recurrence and futurity that show up the limitations of the present.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies
Publisher: Taylor & Francis