Atansyon: The Colonizers Have Brown Skin
By: Valencia Clement
Atansyon is Haitian-Creole for “be careful,” or “pay attention;” it’s a gesture of love and care. Atansyon is the title of Clement’s third book. Coming a little over a year after her breakout poetry collection, “Pale.Pa Ale: Speak. Don’t Leave,” Atansyon picks up where she left off and takes it in a new direction. In “Pale,” Clement used her voice to speak life and power into her voice and to the master narrative. In “Atansyon,” she wrestles with what she calls the “pedagogy of settler colonialism,” to unpack intersectional encounters with power, hegemony and solidarity.
“Atansyon” has four sections: Professional Decolonization, Love Decolonization, Settler Decolonization and Spiritual Decolonization. Each chapter looks deep into her private and public life to share the intimate lessons learned from reawakening.
The book is heavily influenced by the works of Toni Morrison, Gloria Anzaldúa, M. Shawn Copeland, James Baldwin and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. With these muses in mind, the book uses art and aesthetics to highlight and celebrate the intersectional, historical and spiritual features that helped Clement to preserve her own humanum, humanity.
Let’s meet hegemony with poetry to have an aesthetic and affective decolonization experience. Take the journey with her.