This is the epigraph to Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. I just purchased this text and haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet. It is a mixed-media project and along with her work in Citizen: An American Lyric, I am excited to read this as I think about public intellectuals and the humanities.
“Beware, my body and my soul, beware above all of crossing your arms and assuming the sterile attitude of the spectator, for life is not a spectacle, a sea of griefs is not a proscenium, and a man who wails is not a dancing bear.”
– Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
“And if all I know how to do is speak, it is for you that I shall speak. My lips shall speak for miseries that have no mouth, my voice shall be the liberty of those who languish in the dungeon of despair…”