The LTAC is proud to present a conversation between the poet NourbeSe Philip and translator Elena Basile on the topic of the unauthorized Italian translation of Philip’s seminal work Zong!, which appeared in 2011.
The discussion will air on the LTAC’s Facebook page on Monday November 29, at 3pm. It will also be made available on our YouTube page following the premiere of discussion.
A haunting lifeline between archive and memory, law and poetry, Zong! As told to the author by Setaey Adamu Boateng is composed entirely of words from the case report, Gregson vs. Gilbert, related to the murder by drowning of Africans on board a slave ship in 1781. The text is a work of mourning, an honouring, and a defending of the Ancestors, and it is reparative in intent for Black and African-descended peoples. The spiritual architecture of the text is made visible on the page by way of a specific rule of placement of words, one that enacts a “poetics of breath,” which in turn is activated every year in November, through the ritual recitation of the text in collective durational readings. November 2021 marks the 240th anniversary of the massacre.
For an outline of events related to the unauthorized translation and publication of Zong!, please click here.
To sign the petition calling for the immediate destruction of the Italian translation, please click here.
For more discussion on the book, make sure to tune in to CBC Radio One’s Ideas on November 29, at 8pm. To mark that tragedy’s 240th anniversary, NourbeSe Philip joins historians, writers, and artists to read from the poem and discuss its meaning today.