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HI Resident Lecture: Janet Neigh

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
noon–1:00 p.m.
124 Sparks Building
HI Resident Lecture: Janet Neigh

“Repairs Pending: Caribbean Street Poetics and the Decolonial Imaginary”

A Faculty Scholar Resident talk by Janet Neigh, Associate Professor of English, Penn State Behrend.

Many important works of anglophone Caribbean poetry, particularly performance and vernacular-based work, takes place in the street. The focus on street life extends across the twentieth century, both in the Caribbean and in the diaspora, ranging from Claude McKay’s ballads written in the voice of a constable as he walks his beat to Louise Bennett’s market women demanding space and recognition at crowded intersections to Dionne Brand’s documentation of microaggressions and alienation in the streets of Toronto. The fact that so many poems take place in the street, or draw inspiration from its sights and sounds, makes sense given the prominence of street-performance culture in the region. However, this is only part of the story. This talk uncovers how the colonial violence of infrastructure—both in the material environment and in the literary realm—played an antagonistic role in the development of street poetics.

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124 Sparks Building

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