vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021

NOISY SOUNDS! It's a Listening Affair: Jazz Aesthetic, Improvisation, and Womanism in M. NourbeSe Philip’s She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks
Author:Thao Ho    Time:2021-09-22    Click:

NOISY SOUNDS! It’s a Listening Affair: Jazz Aesthetic, Improvisation, and Womanism in M. NourbeSe Philip’s She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks

Thao Ho

Page 053-069


Abstract: Black writers adapted jazz music to “say the unsayable” or employed the “jazz aesthetic,” which includes improvisation, citation, and variation as a stylistic device to distance their literature from European forms of narration. These elements can also be found in M. NourbeSe Philip’s poetry collection She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1988) which rigorously challenges the way language and words are perceived. Philip denounces the Western ideology of non-ambiguity, dichotomies, and narration altogether by engaging the reader as jazz musicians engage their audience. What role did music play in the Black resistance? What is the “jazz aesthetic” and how is it incorporated into Black diasporic literature? How does jazz music create community and how did Black female musicians speak up in a rather hypermasculine jazz universe? How does Philip incorporate the jazz aesthetic, improvisation, and womanist thoughts in her poems? And what is the intention of noise, dissonance, and (musical) violence?

Keywords: improvisation, jazz aesthetic, African American poetry, womanism, politics of listening


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