The Sun Under the Weapons: Correspondence and Notes from Algeria

Jean Sénac, edited and trans. from the French by Kai Krienke. CUNY Graduate Center (SPD, dist.), $15 trade paper (106p) ISBN 978-0-9888945-3-2
This eye-opening collection introduces Anglophone readers to the work of Sénac, a poet born in Algeria in 1926, who became a fierce advocate for the country's independence from France even though he was of European descent. This volume includes new translations of Sénac's manifesto, "The Sun Under the Weapons"; notes from the publication of a literary magazine; and previously unpublished letters. Krienke provides extensive context with an introduction and biographical notes depicting Algeria's "eight years of war against the French and 10 years of war against itself." In the 1950s and early '60s, Sénac was at the heart of Algerian resistance literature. "The Sun Under the Weapons" expressed his desire for poets from different backgrounds to unite around his cause, beginning with the declaration that "Poetry and Resistance are the cutting edges of the same sword." He brought this goal to a radio program, "Poetry on All Fronts," featuring poems of protest from many countries, including from the American Beats. However, Sénac's calls for free speech and European ancestry alienated him from Algeria's new post-independence governments, and he was murdered in 1973 under mysterious circumstances. This is a compelling look at an important writer who has been undeservedly set aside. (June)
Reviewed on: 09/21/2015
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