Friday, 12 December 2008

Influences


"...to all those writers with whom—or sometimes against whom—I have lived. To the Africans: Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ahmadou Kourouma, Mongo Beti, to Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country, to Thomas Mofolo's Chaka. To the great Mauritian author Malcolm de Chazal, who wrote, among other things, Judas. To the Hindi-language Mauritian novelist Abhimanyu Unnuth, for Lal passina (Sweating Blood) to the Urdu novelist Qurratulain Hyder for her epic novel Ag ka Darya (River of Fire). To the defiant Danyèl Waro of La Réunion, for his maloya songs; to the Kanak poetess Déwé Gorodey, who defied the colonial powers all the way to prison; to the rebellious Abdourahman Waberi. To Juan Rulfo and Pedro Paramo, and his short stories El llano en llamas, and the simple and tragic photographs he took of rural Mexico. To John Reed for Insurgent Mexico; to Jean Meyer who was the spokesman for Aurelio Acevedo and the Cristeros insurgents of central Mexico. To Luis González, author of Pueblo en vilo. To John Nichols, who wrote about the bitter land of The Milagro Beanfield War; to Henry Roth, my neighbour on New York Street in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Call it Sleep. To Jean-Paul Sartre, for the tears contained in his play Morts sans sépulture. To Wilfred Owen, the poet who died on the banks of the Marne in 1914. To J.D. Salinger, because he succeeded in putting us in the shoes of a young fourteen-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield. To the writers of the first nations in America – Sherman Alexie the Sioux, Scott Momaday the Navajo for The Names. To Rita Mestokosho, an Innu poet from Mingan, Quebec, who lends her voice to trees and animals. To José Maria Arguedas, Octavio Paz, Miguel Angel Asturias. To the poets of the oases of Oualata and Chinguetti. For their great imagination, to Alphonse Allais and Raymond Queneau. To Georges Perec for Quel petit vélo à guidon chromé au fond de la cour? To the West Indian authors Edouard Glissant and Patrick Chamoiseau, to René Depestre from Haiti, to André Schwartz-Bart for Le Dernier des justes. To the Mexican poet Homero Aridjis who allows us to imagine the life of a leatherback turtle, and who evokes the rivers flowing orange with Monarch butterflies along the streets of his village, Contepec. To Vénus Koury Ghata who speaks of Lebanon as of a tragic, invincible lover. To Khalil Gibran. To Rimbaud. To Emile Nelligan. To Réjean Ducharme, for life."

In his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 7 December 2008, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Czio thanks the writers who have influenced him. Just a bit of catching up for most of us to do there! A terrific lecture, as were Doris Lessing's and Orhan Pamuk's before him.

10 comments:

Dale said...

(o)

Pica said...

It *is* wonderful. Thank you for posting this, Jean, I'd have missed it otherwise.

Rosie said...

what a reading list!

Dave King said...

That's quite a list! I'm impressed.

the psycho therapist said...

Because so much of what we are--not to be confused with essence--is a by-product of exposure(s).

This is beautiful. Thank you.

You know, I really love this space. I do what I can to visit each day.

Dick said...

A fascinating list. So many writers I've never come across but must now chase up. Thanks for these leads, Jean. Ah, the internet - the autodidact's friend!

A small anal point: Wilfred Owen was killed on November 11th 1918, just a week before the Great War ended.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Quite a list! And only two women (assuming Vénus is one)impressed him.

Jean said...

Good point, Natalie!

Philippa said...

Thank you for posting this Jean - I love seeing how others are inspired.

PeterAtLarge said...

Phew! You had me going, there. I thought these were YOUR readings and I thought, my God, I'm way behind the times. A great list, and a poem in itself!