Return to my Native Land
A work of immense cultural significance and beauty, this long poem became an anthem for the African diaspora and the birth of the Negritude movement. With unusual juxtapositions of object and metaphor, a bouquet of language-play, and deeply resonant rhythms, Césaire considered this work a "break into the forbidden," at once a cry of rebellion and a celebration of black identity.
"The greatest living poet in the French language."--American Book Review
"Martinique poet Aime Cesaire is one of the few pure surrealists alive today. By this I mean that his work has never compromised its wild universe of double meanings, stretched syntax, and unexpected imagery. This long poem was written at the end of World War II and became an anthem for many blacks around the world. Eshleman and Smith have revised their original 1983 translations and given it additional power by presenting Cesaire's unique voice as testament to a world reduced in size by catastrophic events." --Bloomsbury Review
"Through his universal call for the respect of human dignity, consciousness and responsibility, he will remain a symbol of hope for all oppressed peoples." --Nicolas Sarkozy
"Evocative and thoughtful, touching on human aspiration far beyond the scale of its specific concerns with Cesaire's native land - Martinique." --The Times
About this Author
Poet and politician Aimé Césaire was born in Basse-Pointe, Martinique on June 26, 1913. He attended high school and college in France. While in Paris, he helped found the journal Black Student in the 1930s. During World War II, he returned to Martinique and was mayor of Fort-de-France from 1945 to 2001, except for a break from 1983 to 1984. He also served in France's National Assembly from 1946 to 1956 and from 1958 to 1993. In 1946, he helped Martinique shed its colonial status and become an overseas department of France. Some of his best known works include the book Discourse on Colonialism, the essay "Negro I Am, Negro I Will Remain", and Return to My Native Land. He was being treated for heart problems and other ailments when he died on April 17, 2008.
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