Literature: With “The north wind in the frozen ferns” Patrick Chamoiseau continues the reflection on the art of the storyteller and the Creole tale

35 years after “The Magnificent Solibo”, one year after “The storyteller, the night and the basket”, Patrick Chamoiseau continues his reflection on orality, the Creole word by relying on the situation of the West Indian storyteller in a context of the slave plantation. “Each book opens up new landscapes for me and each new landscape makes me want to discover other landscapes. When I wrote Magnificent Solibo about the death of a storyteller, I didn’t have the same level of consciousness and the same spirit as when I wrote North Wind in the Frozen Ferns. I have other questions, other issues. Creators’ books or the creations of a creator actually mark out a journey of consciousness.. In “The North Wind in the Frozen Ferns”, the last storyteller Boulianno has retired to the hills. Faced with the silence of this master of the Word, a quest begins in the footsteps of this storyteller.

The art of storytelling and storytelling, a powerful culture but which has been “folklorized” according to Patrick Chamoiseau. “We did not perceive the full immensity of this artistic and aesthetic practice, since the storytellers of the great slave dwellings were true artists. It is because they were great artists that they were, I would say, decisive opponents or resisters. The work I do is to try to find it in this tradition, not an essential truth, but to use it as a resource. Resources that should enable us to live better in the contemporary world and to better face this world that we cannot imagine and which will be that of our children.specifies Patrick Chamoiseau.

During this literary meeting, the Martinican writer insisted on the importance of giving back place to creation and culture. “Cultures are only resources. You cannot essentialize a culture. A culture appears, it withers and is constantly renewed. On the other hand, when you are in a country, you have as resource the culture, the traditions, the heritages, the languages ​​of the country. And whoever deserts these resources risks having a lack. So if we consider cultures, traditions, heritages as resources, that means that even if we were born in Martinique, the cultures, heritages, traditions of China and Japan are also common resources. The idea, in the idea of ​​the relationship defended by Edouard Glissant, is that we are rich in all cultures, all traditions, all heritages. These are resources that should allow us to live in relationship in all the richness of what has allowed the diversity of the humanities. The North wind in the icy ferns, evokes this idea from the Creole storyteller”. He recalls that the tale represents “the exploration of something that has been insufficiently valued or badly valued, which is the whole tradition of dancers, tambouyés, storytellers, singers. There, we have an aesthetic breeding ground which is extremely powerful and which can help us to live what we have to live. And all cultures can help us live what we have to say. But there is a human experience that happened at a time when the world was changing. Slave plantations are the end of a world and the birth of the capitalist world that we know. And the storytellers managed to find, I would say, a particular poetics at that time. So we need that experience to continue on our way.

Patrick Chamoiseau also emphasizes that art is fundamental. Like storytelling and oral literature, “these are capacities for opening up consciousness, for mobilizing the unthinkable. “Art allows us to decode, I would say, the unthinkable of reality. An artist who does not give truth does not give an answer. It opens a window to the unknown. When you come across a work of art, you necessarily have an open mind. It’s as if you opened a window and there was a great wind that comes and renews your perception. This is why it is important for our children to visit works of art. All forms of art must be present in the education of our children”.

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