The CARACOL Association (Observatoire des littératures caribéennes), in association with the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies (University of Warwick), presents the CARACOL Annual Conference 2022 (online): “Caribbean poetics: voices, aesthetics, imaginaries,” to be held on May 6-7, 2022. The keynote speaker will be Fabienne Viala (University of Warwick). [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]
The notion of poetics first referring to a theory of artistic creation has taken on different meanings and has been used in various disciplines over the centuries, showing its versatility and its ability to reflect a wide range of voices, aesthetics and imaginaries. While in the 500 BC, Aristotle’s thoughts focused on the question of Beauty and as such on the question of the craftsmanship or on the poet-craftsman’s process of making and purifying the “line”, new approaches focusing on the “sign” in creative works (M. Heidegger), or on its active rhetorical aspect and as its such poet(h)ic (P. Ricoeur) appeared, excavating the multiple potentiality of the notion.
In the Caribbean context, many thinkers gave the notion of poetics a geographical aspect where space and imaginary meet (K. Brathwaite, The Arrivants: A New World Trilogy: Rights of Passage, Islands, Masks, 1973 ; É. Glissant, Poétique de la relation, 1990; É. Glissant, Introduction à une poétique du divers, 1996; W. Harris, The Womb of Space, the Cross-Cultural Imagination, 1983 ; D. Maximin, Les Fruits du cyclone : une géopoétique de la Caraïbe, Paris, Seuil, 2006). The relationship between literature and world view appears to be particularly central and partly justifies how relevant this notion has proven to be. Édouard Glissant for example, chooses the word poetics to replace that of philosophy as the latter has the tendency to refer to a western way of thinking within systems and leaves little space for diversity and unpredictability. He attempts to think without systems, through literature, poetry and the imaginary. Hence, the term poetics seems to offer the possibility of exploring how literary creation and understanding of the world intertwine. Because for Patrick Chamoiseau who builds on Glissant’s thoughts, “Ecrire en pays dominé” (Writing in a dominated land) also means “inventing” the world to free it/oneself.
Academics also explore these questions as they try to define the limits of a literary field which is as rich as linguistically and culturally diverse. The notion of poetics, often used in a comparatist approach, appears to be a fruitful tool of analysis in academic works but is rarely problematised in relation to the Caribbean space itself. At times associated with thinking the world through literature or literature in the world (Dash, 1994), at other times with a “champ d’exploration” (“field of exploration”, Duff, 2008), “motifs” (Monet-Descombey, 2017), a “sphère” (Boisseron, 2019), or a writer’s practice/aesthetic (Réjouis, 2003), it appears that poetics is often thought of as a “fil conducteur” (“common thread”, Aïta, 2011) which aims at confronting different Caribbean expressions.
This conference proposes to question in an original way the fertility of the notion of poetics for our research into literary practices of Caribbean writers. We particularly encourage reflective works on the notion – the question of aesthetics, writer’s voices, imaginaries and itineraries can thus be explored. What is “poetics” for Caribbean writers? How can a writer’s poetics be defined? Can we speak of Caribbean poetics? What is the relationship between poetics and politics in the Caribbean? Has the notion of poetics been used in the same way in academic research in French, English and Spanish? [. . .]
Scientific committee: Florian Alix (Sorbonne Université), Pierre-Philippe Fraiture (University of Warwick), John Gilmore (University of Warwick), Rocío Munguía Aguilar (Université de Strasbourg), Maeve McCusker (Queen’s University Belfast), Orane Onyekpe-Touzet (University of Warwick/ Sorbonne Université), and Fabienne Viala (University of Warwick).