Léon-Gontran Damas, 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978

Twenty years before Frantz Fanon had organized the concept of “the colonized personality” into psychoanalytic theory, Pigments, a book of poems published in 1937 by Leon Damas, revealed the anguish of what has come to be known by that term.

Ellen Conroy Kennedy, “Leon Damas: Pigments and the Colonized Personality,” Black World/Negro Digest (January 1972)

Race, ethnie, pays, peu importe le mot, puisque dans les Antilles-Guyane, tout cela se confond. Mais qu’on se le dise, c’est de cela qu’il s’agit quand on parle de poésie de la négritude. Et c’est vrai que Damas a été un poète de la négritude, sans doute le premier d’entre eux.

Aimé Césaire, Hommage à Damas, (31 août 1978)

It may be
they dare to
treat me white
though everything within me
wants only to be black
as negro as my Africa
the Africa they ransacked

Léon-Gontran Damas, excerpted from “Whitewash” (for Christiane and Alioune Diope). First published in Pigments, translated and reprinted in Black World/Negro Digest (January 1972)

[The papers of Damas are held by the New York Public Library. The Académie Guyane hosts a digital archive of poems by Damas. Île en île has a Damas bibliography.]

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7 Comments

  1. Posted March 28, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Léon-Gontran Damas: 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978: http://t.co/YkHSMtfQ #negritude #guyane #archives

  2. Posted March 28, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Léon-Gontran Damas: 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978: http://t.co/YkHSMtfQ #negritude #archives #guyane

  3. Posted March 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Léon-Gontran Damas: 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978: http://t.co/bB42ZChl via @public_archive #negritude #archives #guyane

  4. Posted May 26, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Léon-Gontran Damas, 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978: http://t.co/YkHOeTeW #guyane #negritude

  5. Posted September 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    #Léon-Gontran #Damas, 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978 #Guyane #Negritude http://t.co/fwf62y9J

  6. Posted December 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Léon-Gontran Damas, 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978: http://t.co/53fqGKR7 #negritude #guyane

  7. Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Negritude.A name u NEVER hear“@public_archive: Léon-Gontran Damas, 28 March 1912 – 22 January 1978: http://t.co/VYoNqfqH #negritude #guyane”

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