Sunday, April 13, 2008

Junot Díaz: 2 days after the Pulitzer in conversation with Albert Raboteau and Emily Raboteau


OK, that post title was because of the funny thing about time and the seeming "before" and "after" of certain cultural anointings: 2 days after the Pulitzer, 2 weeks after the Pulitzer, 4 weeks before the Pulitzer, 6 months before the Pulitzer...? Wherever you might point to on that timeline, this is a great writer. Period. Thusly, I'm glad he and his work have been recognized.

Here's my offering from that evening: Photos. Among said photos, an image of Díaz listening appreciatively as Albert Raboteau reads the main epigraph from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), an excerpt from the first section of Derek Walcott's poem, "The Schooner Flight":

"Christ have mercy on all sleeping things!
From that dog rotting down Wrightson Road
to when I was a dog on these streets;
if loving these islands must be my load,
out of corruption my soul takes wings.
But they had started to poison my soul
with their big house, big car, big-time bohbohl,
coolie, nigger, Syrian, and French Creole,
so I leave it for them and their carnival—
I taking a sea bath, I gone down the road.
I know these islands from Monos to Nassau,
a rusty head sailor with sea-green eyes
that they nickname Shabine, the patois for
any red nigger, and I, Shabine, saw
when these slums of empire was paradise.
I’m just a red nigger who love the sea,
I had a sound colonial education,
I have Dutch, nigger, and English in me,
and either I’m nobody, or I’m a nation,"

Derek Walcott, “The Schooner Flight” from Collected Poems 1948-1984. Copyright © 1990 by Derek Walcott.














(below l-r: novelist/professor Emily Raboteau, her father, esteemed religion professor Albert Raboteau, and Díaz)














Endnote:


Counterpunch Interview (circa March 7, 2008) with Junot Díaz by writer/playwright Wajahat Ali.

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