Malagasy poetic landscapes: Sites of (post)colonial and (eco)critical recovery

Christie Margrave

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper analyses the poems of two Madagascan poets: Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, writing in the early decades of French colonisation, and Esther Nirina, writing in the decades immediately after independence. Yet, despite bookending the colonial era, both writers find themselves addressing similar issues: injustice (racial, social, and gender-specific), abuses of power, attacks on traditional values, and landscape destruction. In the works of both writers, a symbiotic relationship is established between poet and nature, which permits Rabearivelo and Nirina to engage imaginatively with ecology and landscape at crucial stages in Madagascan history. Edward Said has ‘framed postcolonial writing ecologically, positioning it as a process of recovery, identification, and historical mythmaking “enabled by the land” (DeLoughrey and Handley, 2011, 3), and argues that ‘the land is recoverable at first only through imagination’ (Said, 1994, 77). This paper argues that Rabearivelo and Nirina project Madagascar’s landscapes (and ecology) as sites of poetic imagination from which their contemporary status quo might be criticised and through which recovery might be found.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Dec 2021
EventAustralian Society for French Studies Annual Conference 2021 - University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 8 Dec 202110 Dec 2021


ConferenceAustralian Society for French Studies Annual Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleASFS 2021


  • Madagascar
  • Malagasy poetry
  • identity
  • environment
  • region
  • eco criticism
  • post colonialism

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