“ Alphabetical Africa ”

“ Alphabetical Africa ”


Some potential questions to explore in this week’s discussion board: 

The “generation” in question in Kwock-Kim’s poem doesn’t seem to be a matter of a historical or biological time-frame–what might the author be referring to here? Why might this piece be broken into numbered sections? What kind of symbolism might numbers like “0” and “1” represent? What other metaphors of birthing does the poet use here? 

Walter Abish’s “Alphabetical Africa” gives a brief and obscure account of some of that continent’s colonial history in an odd prose style emphasizing the first letters of its words—the list of questions that accompanies this reading asks us to consider such letters in a more in-depth fashion than we are generally accustomed.

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