Sunday, August 9, 2009
New Review of Tyrone Williams' On Spec
check out this new review of Tyrone Williams' ON SPEC at ARCH JOURNAL read it here.
In the introduction to Blues People, Amiri Baraka identifies the acquisition of English as "one beginning of the Negro's conscious appearance on the American scene" (xii). Linguistic based formations of identity, such as Baraka's, provide one linage for the excess of speculation Tyrone Williams embodies in his most recent book, On Spec. It is no surprise that Williams' latest effort - a recovery of historical African American outsiders like Thomas Green Bethune, Thomas Fuller and Sam "Boonie" Walton - occasions Baraka's mapping of blues ontology. However, if a serviceable comparison is to made it lies less in the racially relevant findings that both men bring to the table and more in the pressurized negotiation they stamp upon their respective expressions. Baraka - caught between two conflicting histories: white intellectualism and the origins of American Black culture - envisions the moment when the slave decided America was "important enough" to be passed on in some kind of hyphenated language. In so doing, he becomes the dialogic "man [from his own introduction] who looked up in some anonymous field and shouted, 'Oh, Ahm tired a dis mess, / Oh, yes, Ahm so tired a dis mess'" (xii). Likewise, Williams enacts - by way of indefinite embeddings, non-recoverable deletions and ellipses - the incongruity of post-structural literary theory and the vernacular history of black speaking subjects.
visit the OMNIDAWN webpage for more info on the book.