In Mauritian Kreol, Zom-Fam means “man-woman” or “transgender.” Metonymy Press joins us in this edition of Poetry in Motion to share more about this debut book of poetry by the same name from multi-disciplinary artist Kama La Mackerel – a collection that mythologizes a queer/trans narrative of and for the author’s home island, Mauritius. Read on and check out the book trailer below!
In fall 2020, Metonymy Press will be publishing
ZOM-FAM by Kama La Mackerel. The debut poetry collection mythologizes a queer/trans narrative of and for the author’s home island, Mauritius.
Composed of expansive lyric poems, ZOM-FAM (meaning “man-woman” or “transgender” in Mauritian Kreol) is a voyage into the coming of age of a gender-creative child growing up in the 80s and 90s on the plantation island, as they seek vocabularies for loving and honouring their queer/trans self amidst the legacy of colonial silences. Multiply voiced and imbued with complex storytelling, ZOM-FAM showcases a fluid narrative that summons ancestral voices, femme tongues, broken colonial languages, and a tender queer subjectivity, all of which grapple with the legacy of plantation servitude.
Kama is multi-disciplinary artist, educator, writer, cultural mediator and literary translator who hails from Mauritius and now lives in Montréal. Their work is grounded in the exploration of justice, love, healing, decoloniality, and self- and collective-empowerment. Kama’s artistic practice spans across textile, visual, digital, poetic and performative work, and is at once narrative and theoretical, at once personal and political. A firm believer that aesthetic practices have the power to build resilience, to heal, and to act as forms of resistance to the status quo, Kama articulates an anticolonial praxis through cultural production.
Emerging from a creative process in spoken word and live performance, these poems transform the page into a stage where the queer femme body is written and mapped onto the colonial space of the home/island. Interwoven with Kreol, ZOM-FAM showcases a unique lyrical sensibility, a musicality influenced by the both unforgiving and soothing rhythms of the ocean, where the poet enunciates the complexity of their displaced Indo-African roots, “the lineage of silence / that we weave in between our intimacies.” The eponymous performance will have its debut at the MAI in Montreal in October 2020.
Most of those pieces were first written as separate spoken word pieces before becoming a theatrical manuscript, and it is only later that the writing settled on the page as a poetry collection. Throughout, interdisciplinary creation and hybridity were at the core of the writing process: the poet brought the body of the poetic text to life on the page through performative and visual cues, creating a collection of poems grounded in their practice of storytelling, visual arts and performance.
Watch the trailer for ZOM-FAM below!
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Kama La Mackerel is a Montreal-based Mauritian-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, educator, community-arts facilitator and literary translator who works within and across performance, photography, installations, textiles, digital art and literature. Their art practice is intertextual and intertextural. They have exhibited and performed their work internationally and their writing in English, French and Kreol has appeared in publications both online and in print. Their debut poetry collection ZOM-FAM was published by Metonymy Press in 2020.
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