ABOUT

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Hello. You’ve reached the internet home of Bronwyn Averett, certified book doctor and reading expert.

Dr. Averett is currently caught under a hefty pile of literature that, quite frankly, is not going to read itself. But if you’d like to leave a message, feel free to do so after the beep.

Beep.

Aside from her professional duties as editor and translator here in Montreal, Bronwyn can also be found on the masthead at carte blanche. Along with Sufia Duez, she produces a monthly musical/literary event called INVENTIONS, which incorporates improvised music and writing in a series of live performances.

She has written in other places as well, and generally reviews books when asked either nicely or compellingly. Or both.

She holds a Ph.D. in French and an M.A. in African Languages and Literature, and you can read about her doctoral dissertation below if you’re curious.

When she tires of books (which is almost never), she cooks food, plays music, explores the sights of this ever delightful city, and hangs out with her family – a very distracting father/son duo.

Thanks for calling. See you soon.

 

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Resurfacing: The Poetics of Water in African and Caribbean Literature

This dissertation examines works of literature by African and Caribbean writers through a concept that I term resurfacing, which denotes a poetic engagement with bodies of water symbolizing the recuperation of the individual and collective past in the present moment. Drawing from the work of Martinican writer and philosopher Edouard Glissant, I seek to explore the subaquatic connections between Africa and the Caribbean as conceived by creators of fiction and poetry. Furthermore, the element of water is at once life-giving and deathly, and the following study shows that such a paradox evokes the lived experience throughout the black Atlantic. Taking the oral literature of West Africa as my starting point, I move to a discussion of the Atlantic Ocean in contemporary Senegalese literature, in order to pursue a comparative analysis that also examines water as an important element within the conceptions of afterlife in Haitian Vodou. Finally, I explore the intergenerational memory of the Middle Passage as conveyed by Caribbean authors living in Canada. Juxtaposing African and Caribbean texts accomplishes two equally important goals. On the one hand, I am concerned with the sustained relationship between Africa and the Caribbean, created by the slave trade, and maintained by the deep cultural roots that continue to thrive and to be rearticulated in new forms throughout the Caribbean and the African diaspora more broadly. On the other hand, the discourse surrounding Caribbean cultures brings to the fore the unique position of these islands to cultivate multiplicity, créolité, and infinite complexity. This position lends itself to a rhizomatic openness that is productively accommodating of difference. Therefore, this dissertation considers what it would mean to see the weblike structures so readily available to an analysis of Caribbean literature and intellectual history at work in the African context. In essence, resurfacing distinguishes a creative process at work wherein the waters of the world symbolically become a vast repository of history, memory, and spiritual and artistic consciousness that is poetically engaged in literature throughout Atlantic spaces.

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