World Literature in Stereo: Magnetic Tape and the Media Futures of Global Literary History

My essay on the lessons that the tape recorder offers for the future study of literature on a global scale is just out in a special issue of SubStance on “The Postlingual Turn.” My sincere thanks to the editors of the special issue, yasser elhariry and Rebecca L. Walkowitz, for including my piece and to …

Poetry and breath: Resuscitating literature, re-imagining the world

Hā ki roto, hā ki waho. Breathe in, breathe out. It’s the simplest thing, the in- and outflow of breath that keeps us alive, so automatic that, most of the time, we hardly notice it. And yet we ignore breath at our peril in an era when the struggle to breathe has come to symbolize …

“It is not enough” on Kamau Brathwaite’s “Negus”

It was an incredible privilege to speak with Amber Rose Johnson, Huda Fakhreddine, and Al Filreis about Kamau Brathwaite’s “Negus” last November as part of the PoemTalk series. I’m so sorry that Brathwaite is not around to see the recording made public this week. It seems a long time since I visited Penn in November. …

Make It the Same reviewed in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal

I am extremely grateful to Vincenz Serrano for his extensive and perceptive review of Make It the Same in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Here’s how the review begins: In his chapter on Kamau Brathwaite in Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media (2019), Jacob Edmond demonstrates how the Caribbean poet …

Verse Versus Virus

“Language is a virus from outer space,” wrote William Burroughs. It might seem wildly inappropriate to invoke this bizarre statement at a time when a real virus is infecting and killing thousands worldwide, upending the everyday lives of millions, and unsettling the global economy. And yet Burroughs gets at something important: certain ways of using …

Kamau Brathwaite, 1930–2020

I am stunned and saddened to hear of the passing of the great Barbadian poet and historian Kamau Brathwaite. His work was pivotal to Make It the Same, and it continues to shape and change the way I think about poetry, media, culture, globalization, colonialism, imperialism, and history. Despite the recognition that his work received …

Tape as postcolonial medium

Make It the Same grows in part out of my fascination with the effect of new media on how poetry—and culture at large—is made. When I began the book, I was thinking for the most part of digital media. However, in the course of my research I became interested in how some of the changes …

Preview of Make It the Same online now

A preview of Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media is now available through Google Books. You can read a substantial portion of the introduction and a taster from a couple of other chapters. The full version (in hardback or ebook) will not be available until July but you can pre-order …

Never too big to teach—or learn

I learn new things from my students all the time. I learn through reading their essays on topics such as One Direction fan fiction, or online trans poetry networks. But I also learn by developing new approaches to teaching. Chapter 1 of Make It the Same, for instance, would never have been written if I …

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