Cover

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Title, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. ix-ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

To begin, I want to acknowledge those scholars and artists whose work and example has sustained and challenged me. I give thanks and praise to Amiri Baraka, Anthony Braxton, John Coltrane, Charles T. Davis, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Stuart Hall, Deborah McDowell, Valerie Smith, Paul Gilroy, Farah Jasmine ...

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Introduction: Visions of a Liberated Future

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pp. 1-24

In our era of official “color blindness,” where now optimistic, now nostalgic “post-” ’s proliferate, conceptualizing and otherwise attending to time is politically urgent. We not only need to consider historical gaps and erasures but also to think about and produce inhabitable futures on terms other than those of the present, ...

PART 1: WORLD ENOUGH FOR A FIGURE

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1 Broken Witness: Concrete Poetry and a Poetics of Unsaying

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pp. 27-58

The politics of black experimental writing results from intervals—between experience and meaning, between “sense” as sensation and “sense” as meaning— that under the prevailing norms of the ruling order ordinarily appear to be in strict concordance.1 That concordance not only describes ideology, understood ...

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2 Establishing Synchronisms: Sycorax Video Style and the Plural Instant

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pp. 59-96

Naming and defining the contours of an age, increasingly the project of Bajan scholar-poet Kamau Brathwaite’s experimental practice, is one of the most urgent political and epistemological problems for any era. The answers one provides to “what time is now?” largely determine the ways a moment registers, or ...

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3 Between Now and Yet: Postlyric Poetry and the Moment of Expression

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pp. 97-132

The ideology of the stable voice, typified by a certain critical hermeneutics of “the” lyric, is one backdrop against which black experimental writing works, seeking to break the common sense link between poetry as personal and group expression without claiming some reified notion of the “universal.” ...

PART 2: ABOVE WHERE SOUND LEAVES OFF

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4 Sing It in My Voice: Blues, Irony, and a Politics of Affirmative Difference

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pp. 135-170

Reference to music has become such a critical commonplace in discussions of black literature that to invoke it risks collapse into simple conformity to disciplinary consensus—the repetition of the “no-thought” in the discipline of black literary studies. It becomes necessary to refer to it, however, insofar as ...

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5 Exploding Dimensions of Song: The Utopian Poetics of the Cut

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pp. 171-206

Which exists first, sound, writing, song, or the “we” that hears it? What cures are there, or are desirable, for that insistent sense of previousness, that sense of a missing element that was never a part of any whole? What is the facticity of song if song does not flow from a singular “origin” but marks the fleeting moment of ...

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Postscript: Destination . . . Out! Experimentation, Aesthetics, and Racial Time

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pp. 207-214

Throughout Freedom Time, I have emphasized the resonances of black experimental writing, its opening new horizons of thinking by calling into question the grounds of knowledge. In this postscript, an afterword to argue for the continuing resonances of experimental texts, I extend my arguments about ...

Notes

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pp. 215-239

Bibliography

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pp. 241-251

Index

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pp. 253-262