By Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún
“Context: The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.”
– Oxford English Dictionary
In the early twenties, Professor Ivor A. Richards, in search of a new way to teach the assessment and appreciation of poetry, came up with an idea that seems commonplace now, but at the time was interesting enough to challenge existing conventions. What he did, an experiment he detailed in his book Practical Criticisms (1929), was to distribute to his students, poems written by a wide range of people from ancient masters to modern practitioners, from Shakespeare to a random poet in the reigning literary magazine, without the names of the authors printed on the pages of the poems.
by Leila Aboulela
New in Town
I pushed open the door that said ‘Black Bastards’ in pen, and stepped into the mosque. A woman was taking off her shoes, untying laces, left shoe then right. I greeted her and after she replied, I said, ‘Where can I get soap and water to wipe what’s written on the door?’
She said, ‘Leave it now, we must be quick’.
I took off my shoes and hurried after her down corridors thick with toddlers, little girls in long braids, fights over bubble-gum.
When I reached the hall, I heard the imam say in a loud voice, ‘Straighten the lines! Straighten the lines and pray as if this is the last prayer.’
by Carey Baraka
Readers of Namwali Serpell’s work are no strangers to her ‘unusual’ and experimental writing style. Her short story, Account, on Enkare Review this week is in the format of a bank statement and the credit card transactions therein, “read slowly and carefully, the way detectives read bank statements,” give us the sad and tragic tale of a young girl.
The entire story, Account, is a bank statement. What was the process of writing this story like?
I was recovering from surgery when I wrote this story. I spent an inordinate amount of time in bed working on the design layout. I wanted it to look exactly like a real bank statement. I was pleased to learn that I succeeded with at least one reader. When I emailed it to my agent, he thought I had been on such strong pain medication that I had deliriously sent him my own bank statement by mistake!