The context of the journey is relevant to the writings in the magazine since the journey/travel/voyage is a conventional trope evident in Black post-colonial writing. Consistent with this theme is the search for a home, real or paradisiacal, in this writing. There is a particular interest in how contemporary Black writers in Canada negotiate 'home' within the framework of alien spaces and signifiers.
The examination of the meaning of the journey is two-fold. First, it relates to the search for 'self within the polemics of self-knowledge and liberation. Second, it is relevant to the context of movement from one geographical location to another in search of a place to call home. There is also the metaphorical immanence of travel consistent with the marginalization of the individual and the conditions of rootedness within a particular geographical space. The journey, then, inevitably centres around the historical as well as psychological dimensions of deracination, orientation, disorientation and reorientation.
In many respects Black Canadian writing underpins many aspects of the dialectics of travel. H. Nigel Thomas's novel, Spirits in the Dark, explores varying strands of the journey. Jerome, its hero, seeks to understand his place within a hostile West Indian environment that ignores his homoerotic identity. Thomas challenges literary traditions by putting the topic in the forefront of a discourse on homosexuality.
Clarence Bayne in his poem, "Dirty Linen," goads the reader into examining the disorientation and reorientation of Blacks within Canadian society. The persona in this poem addresses his mother, presumably in the West Indies, and recounts the many troubling attitudes among Blacks as they orient themselves to Canadian society. Bayne elucidates how Blacks react to police brutality, blatant racism and the fear of self.
Bayne's historicism, through biting satire, calls into question Canada's place as a heaven/haven for Blacks. He examines the nature of displacement and disorientation and demonstrates how fear of self and race lead to dislocation in the Black community. The poem ends with a rhetoric that reorients us to the fact that 'home' is elusive in its physical as well as spiritual dimensions for the Black man: "Mama, brass monkey can't live in this country."
The stories, poems, drama and literary criticism in this issue are linked in different ways to the theme of the journey. We invite you to share this voyage of exploration.
Horace I. Goddard
Horace I. Goddard is a native of Barbados and a naturalized Canadian. He has been living in Montreal for nearly thirty years. He is impassioned by literature and education in general. He is a graduate of Concordia, McGill and Universite de Montreal where he obtained degrees in English, teaching and administration.. He is the author of several collections of poems and a novel, Paradise Revisited (Winston Derek, 1997). He is currently the new editor of KOLA.