March 8, 2022
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$35.00 USD, £25.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
March 8, 2022
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$17.95 USD, £13.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

The Neverending Quest for the Other Shore

An Epic in Three Cantos

In Kandé's epic poem, African history collides with the contemporary reality of migration

Sylvie Kandé's neo-epic in three cantos is a double narrative combining today's tales of African migration to Europe on the one hand, with the legend of Abubakar II on the other: Abubakar, emperor of 14th-Century Mali, sailed West toward the new world, never to return. Kandé's language deftly weaves a dialogue between these two narratives and between the epic traditions of the globe. Dazzling in its scope, the poem swings between epic stylization, griot storytelling, and colloquial banter, capturing an astonishing range of human experience. Kandé makes of the migrant a new hero, a future hero whose destiny has not yet taken shape, whose stories are still waiting to be told in their fullness and grandeur: the neverending quest has only just begun.

Country folk who made themselves belated mariners
their bodies cadence them
to cleave with the oar's tainted tip
the purple mounds of the great salt savannah
which no furrow marks
where no seed takes root
(But to say the sea
earthly words are little suited)
At the point of the dream
they were a myriad
no less and no more
to cross the coral barrier in laughter with its vermilion flowers:
there remain but three barks adrift
full so full to the point of capsizing

About the Author

SYLVIE KANDÉ (New York, NY) is an award-winning poet and scholar. She is the author of three poetic collections published by Gallimard. Gestuaire (poèmes), published in 2016, was short-listed for the Prix Kowalski des Lycéens, and received the Prix Louise Labé in 2017. Having launched the program of Francophone studies at NYU, she now teaches as an Africanist in the SUNY system. ALEXANDER DICKOW (Blacksburg, VA) is a poet, translator, and scholar, and an associate professor of French at Virginia Tech. His books include Trial Balloons and Appetites.


"Kandé deserves unabashed praise for her compelling blend of fiction and facts, dreams and myth, as well as speculative writing to create a new and experimental epic."—Abioseh Michael Porter, professor of English, Drexel University

"This beautiful, unruly epic conjures three unsettling stories, moving between mythic and nightmarish, ancient and contemporary, awe-inspiring and devastating. In evocative, haunting language, Kandé takes us on a journey from which we may never return—at least, not unchanged."—Evie Shockley, author of Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry

"Sylvie Kandé, through the telling of a legendary African expedition, has forged for herself a unique language, open, daring, off the beaten track. She is truly an original, writing at the crossroads of Africa, Europe, and America."—Paol Keineg, professor emeritus of romance studies, Duke University

"Sensuous, desperate, cruel, ecstatic: Sylvie Kandé chants a mythic voyage from ancient Mali as the contemporary passage of migrants fleeing Africa for Europe. Alexander Dickow has found dreamlike, timeless cadences in English for this timeless and timely poem."—Rosanna Warren, author of Max Jacob: A Life in Art and Letters

"Sylvie Kandé's The Neverending Quest for the Other Shore is a 'baroque ruckus,' a saga, set on the Atlantic where waves become 'the valleys, the peaks and the cities of the dead.' The poet imagines the doomed voyage of Abubakar the Second who, according to legend, set sail for the 'extreme limit of the ocean' from Mali in the early 14th century. Bursting with people, spells, cries, chants, and 'whorls of incense' two thousand ships sail towards their destiny which, in Kandé's three cantos, erupt in vibrant lyric. A tour de force of erudition and songs."—Sandra Simonds, author of Atopia
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Poetry Series

9780819580733 : the-neverending-quest-for-the-other-shore-kande
March 8, 2022
$35.00 USD
9780819580740 : the-neverending-quest-for-the-other-shore-kande
Paperback / softback
March 8, 2022
$17.95 USD

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