Zong! by M. Nourbese PhilipZong! by M. Nourbese Philip

Zong!

byM. Nourbese PhilipOtherSetaey Adamu Boateng

Paperback | August 15, 2011

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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.
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.
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Title:Zong!Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.3 × 7.06 × 0.65 inPublished:August 15, 2011Publisher:Wesleyan University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0819571695

ISBN - 13:9780819571694

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me This book is interesting in all of the connotations that interesting can mean. Unfortunately I did not enjoy it, maybe because I didn't "get" it - although I wonder if that was somewhat of the point. It is exactly what the description says it is and it does not become any clearer in reading the book. Perhaps check your local library before investing.
Date published: 2016-12-08

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Os
Sal
Ventus
Ratio
Ferrum
Ebora
Glossary: Words and Phrases Heard on Board the Zong
Manifest
Notanda
Gregson v. Gilbert

Editorial Reviews

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.“Zong! pushes its readers to understand the Zong incident in the complex contexts of both African spirituality, languages, and regions and the British (Western) slave trade and law, with its assumed racism yet sincerely attempted pursuit of justice. The poems work powerfully at the individual level and even more powerfully as a sequence to call attention to the scantiness of our knowledge of the history of African enslavement from any perspective but that of slave holders or legal documents and to question the assumptions about ‘fact’ and ‘value’ assumed by that perspective. Like reconstructed archaeological shards, Philip’s poems give us pieces combined in different orders and to different effects, building a story in such disjointed terms that it implies the tale cannot be simply known or told. As Philip herself says, she is finding ways ‘to “not-tell”’ the story of the Zong—just as Toni Morrison both relates Sethe’s story in Beloved and declares ‘This is not a story to pass on.’” - Cristanne Miller, Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature, University at Buffalo SUNY