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CLA JOURNAL 45 44 CLA JOURNAL Marie Sairsingh and allegorical form, contests conventional definitions and explanations provided by some scholars regarding the practice of Myal as a religious form, its derivation, provenance, and core historical and contemporary function in the life of AfroCaribbean peoples.Brodber’s thematization of post-slavery colonial existence,with a clear focus on Afro-spirituality illuminates the novel’s philosophical resonances, and make the argument for a reconfigured definition of the human within the frame of a new (Afro-spiritual) humanist paradigm. Works Cited Bogues, Anthony. Black Heretics Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals. Routledge, 2003. Brodber, Erna. Louisiana. New Beacon, 1994. ---. Myal. New Beacon, 1999. ---. The Second Generation of Freemen in Jamaica, 1907-1944. University Press of Florida, 2004. Chachine, Isaias Ezequiel. Community, Justice, and Freedom: Liberalism, Communitarianism, and African Contributions to Political Ethics. Coronet, 2008. Chavannes, Barry. Betwixt and Between: Explorations in an African-Caribbean Mindscape. Ian Randle, 2006. ---. Rastafari: Roots and Ideology. U of the West Indies P, 1995. Cornell, Drucilla and Kenneth Michael Panfilio. Symbolic Forms for a New Humanity: Cultural and Racial Reconfigurations of Critical Theory. Fordham University Press,2010. Harris, Wilson.“History, Fable and Myth in the Caribbean and Guianas.” Selected Essays of Wilson Harris: The Unfinished Genesis of the Imagination, edited by Andrew Bundy, Routledge, 1999, pp.152-66. ---.“The Life of Myth and its Possible Bearing on Erna Brodber’s Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home and Myal. Kunapipi vol. 12, 1990, pp. 86-92. Henry, Paget.“African and Afro-Caribbean Existential Philosophies.” Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Philosophy, edited by Lewis R. Gordon. Routledge, 1997, pp. 13-36. ---. Caliban’s Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy. Routledge, 2000. McNeal, Keith E. Trance and Modernity in the Southern Caribbean: African and Hindu Popular Religions in Trinidad and Tobago. University Press of Florida, 2011. Odjo, A. Lassissi. Between the Lines: Africa in Western Spirituality, Philosophy, and Literary Theory. Routledge, 2012. Stewart, Dianne M. Three Eyes for the Journey: African Dimensions of the Jamaican Religious Experience. Oxford University Press, 2005. Ten Kortenaar, Neil. Postcolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy: Reading and Writing in African and Caribbean Fiction. Cambridge University Press, 2011. Winer, Lise, ed. Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago. McGill-Queens University Press, 2008. Toward an Understanding of Helene Johnson’s Hybrid Modernist Poetics Robert Fillman Helene Johnson’s entire corpus consists of thirty-four poems published in periodicals and a few undated verses that have only recently found their way into print. For most of the twentieth century, she was a footnote in American literature. But in recent years, feminist scholars and scholars of the Harlem Renaissance have been increasingly drawn to Johnson’s work. In her time, she was praised by her New Negro contemporaries, published in nearly all of the major African American journals and anthologies of her day, and won several awards. In addition to her mastery of traditional verse forms, her reputation rests on her avant-garde representation of the distinctive features of African American culture of the 1920s and 1930s. Her poetry persistently engages social issues—including race politics, the subordination of women, and obstacles faced by the black working class. Her verse also explores the beauty and sensuous pleasures of the natural world. But as quickly as Johnson came on the scene, she disappeared. And unfortunately for us, her sudden departure has prevented critics from grasping the significance of her literary career, something this essay aims to remedy. Helene Johnson was born in Boston on July 7, 1906, to Ella Benson and George William Johnson.1 She was named after her grandmother Helen Pease Benson, but her family and friends called her “Helene,” a nickname given to her by an aunt. Though an only child who never knew her father (her parents separated shortly after her birth), Johnson grew up in a close-knit extended family household. Surrounded by her mother, maternal aunts, and female cousins—including fellow Harlem Renaissance writer, Dorothy West—Johnson experienced a childhood that emphasized education, female solidarity, and a love of the outdoors. The families combined their earnings and, as a result, the poet spent her formative years living in a...


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