Ugly Duckling Presse

Chronology

Zahra Patterson

Poetry
Fall 2018
Forthcoming"You won't regret living this & you won't be the same."
Taking as its starting point an ultimately failed attempt to translate a Sesotho short story into English, Chronology explores the spaces language occupies in relationships, colonial history, and our postcolonial past. It is a collage of images and documents, folding on words-that-follow-no-chronology, unveiling layers of meaning of queering love, friendship, death, and power. Traveling from Cape Town to the Schomburg Center in New York, Zahra Patterson's Chronology reveals and revels in fragments of the past-personal and the present-political.Excerpt ˇ

Excerpt

TRANSLATION OF TRANSLATION
ATTEMPT 2

You came weeping
I am looking and hoping
Up to now those like dawn are grieved
I am at a loss, medicinal stranger
That I am a fighter
They bocheng. Without reason.
I splintered, full of arrogance
Hello, ha ho poho-peli,
Bull runs without reason
Yes your hair, yes something,
Yes we do drill
We have changed to silence
My surprise is our action to do good in the face of evil.
Close ˆ

About the Author

Zahra Patterson
Zahra Patterson is a writer and educator. Her short fiction has appeared in Kalyani Magazine and The Felt, and a reading of her play, Sappho's Last Supper, was staged at WOW Café Theatre. She learned postcolonial theory in the bookshops of Nairobi and the bars of Cape Town and has an MFA in Writing from Pratt Institute.

Advance Praise

Journal of translation, of friendship, of politics, of document, of witness, of mobilizing, of love: Zahra Patterson walks into a café in Capetown in 2009 and changes the world by reading Marechera's Black Sunlight and meeting an instant soulmate. In trying to translate a short story from a language she doesn't know—Sesotho—Patterson invents a genre in such a generous way that you, the reader, invent one too. Take all this in—this beautiful collage of e-mails, pictures, self-made dictionary entries, theory upturned, letters to the dead, personal takes on whites colonizing blacks then & now, there & here. You won't regret living this & you won't be the same.— Sarah Riggs