The reality of trespass: Wilson Harris and an impossible poetics of the Americas



Robinson G (2013) The reality of trespass: Wilson Harris and an impossible poetics of the Americas. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 49 (2), pp. 133-147.

This article revisits Wilson Harris's early work from the 1940s and 1950s within the context of his interests in the Americas. Looking at his poetry, non-fiction and later novels, I argue that his "geological turn" opens up ways to think about the wholeness of Guyanese, Caribbean and American identities and poetics. In particular, I consider Harris's 1949 essay "The Reality of Trespass" in relation to his 1952 short pamphlet of poetry, Eternity to Season. I show how the notion of trespass is advanced by Harris in order to reimagine the apparently fixed cultural logic of conquest, colonialism and indigeneity in the Americas. Furthermore, I link trespass to his defining beliefs in cross-cultural bridging. The essay traces how Harris's cross-cultural poetics are embedded in a commitment to intimate, even microscopic, geographies of place as well as to the transcontinental sweep of land, sea, river and symbols of belonging and wholeness.

Wilson Harris; Caribbean poetics; the Americas; New World; Guyana

Journal of Postcolonial Writing: Volume 49, Issue 2

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date31/12/2013
Publication date online03/2013
PublisherTaylor and Francis

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Dr Gemma Robinson

Dr Gemma Robinson

Senior Lecturer, English Studies

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