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The Mestizo as Crucible

First page of The Mestizo: The Crux of the Matter.

The very title of this monograph, The Mestizo As Crucible, is a minor example of opening-up words or of unraveling words like a ball of wool. Unraveling Words and the Weaving of Water is the title of a bilingual Spanish/English anthology of poems by Cecilia Vicuña whose forthcoming book is Palabrir (to open-up words). My attempt could be called contagious imitation, except for the fact that both Vicuna and the African-French Maunick practice, in addition to their interest in the actual roots of words, a poetic etymology directly inherited from oral discourse. They listen or “pray” to a word, and the word answers; the universes of sensations, emotions, and memories of things never seen, may often seem nothing but the ultra-subjective self-projection of the poets. The astonishing feat is that they draw the reader into these universes, which, thus, cease to be idiosyncratic and become, well, universal but certainly not in a euro-centric, essentializing sense. The word “universal” is understood here in the strictly etymological sense used and opened up by Michel Serres in his book dedicated to the third man: Universel veut dire: ce qui, unique, verse pourtant dans tous les sens, (universal means that which, although unique, pours into all directions). These poetic universes are independent. They are realms of freedom, as they liberate the reader from the impediments caused by deixis.