In Memory of Dr. Lorris Elliott, Ph.D. (1932-99): A Founding Author and Critic of African-Canadian Literature

By Elliott, Lorris | Kola, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

In Memory of Dr. Lorris Elliott, Ph.D. (1932-99): A Founding Author and Critic of African-Canadian Literature


Elliott, Lorris, Kola


This special issue of Kola is occasioned not merely by its twentieth-year milestone but also by the need to recognize its absolute distinctiveness. Indeed, though its subtitle names it "A Black Literary Magazine," it publishes Caucasian and Asian writers. (For Kola, "Black" does not mean "Black-only" but rather "Black-edited.") Moreover, though the Montreal-based journal issues work by African-Canadian writers, it is so unrepentantly international and cosmopolitan that no Canadian government offers it any meaningful support.

Hence, Kola is fairly unusual among Canadian literary magazines: it is more or less privately funded by its subscribers, contributors (voluntarily) and those who believe in it; it is resolutely Pan-African, but also multicultural, essentially publishing anyone and anything the editors deem worthy, without regard to "race" or nationality. Yet, the only appropriate adjective for a mainly Caribbean-Canadian-edited literary journal that publishes black writers from everywhere as well as works by non-blacks is, well, Canadian.

Looking back over the first ten years of the journal, I see that one effect of the open-submission policy was a de facto domination of Kola's pages by African-American authors. This point is fascinating, for it suggests the mass acceptance of the notion of "Black" as a synonym for "African American." Clearly, African-American writers felt no disjuncture in submitting work to a Quebec-based, Canadian-edited journal, for it was "A Black Literary Magazine" and, thus, automatically, as it were, African-American; that is to say, an international extension of publications such as Callaloo and the African American Review.

There was--and is--nothing wrong with this determination (definition). However, it illustrates that the ideology of "Pan-Africanism" tends to be more American in impetus than truly global.

Ironically, though, Kola is a descendant of West Indian journals such as Savacou, which, in the 1960s and 1970s, from its base in London, England, disseminated the short fiction, poetry, reviews and critical essays of exiles and migrants back to the anglophone Caribbean. Savacou hosted major writers and debated major issues, thus serving to build an audience--popular and critical, domestic and international-for the writings of the first-generation, post-independence, well-educated and travelling Antillean intellectuals.

Intriguingly, if Kola was intended to be a Canadian version of Savacou, it has failed to win such influence. It remains obscure for most African-Canadian writers, of whatever background, and relatively few have published therein. Nor can it be effectively described as an organ of specifically Caribbean-Canadian authors: its pages host little of the Caribbean demotic or vernacular that abounds in Savacou, nor does it have the institutional anchoring afforded the Caribbean Quarterly.

(At this juncture, it is fitting to recall Caribe, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based, African-Canadian literary journal that published from 1979 to 1993. Caribe was also, like Kola, essentially privately funded, but more Caribbean and Canadian in focus than "Pan-African." The story for Black Images, a Toronto-based "little magazine" published between 1972 and 1975, was different again, for it was so adamantly internationalist that few African-Canadian writers appeared in its pages. Its interest was African and West Indian literature, with an occasional American aside.)

Then again, African-Canadian writers, of whatever background, especially the young, do not tend to contribute to literary journals. First, for many, the primacy of voice and audience response motivates them to pursue declamatory recording and broadcasting venues, a mode of production (instrumentation) that marginalizes print. Secondly, the mainstream (Caucasian-established and dominated) lit-crit enterprise-whether amateurish, journalistic or academic-has been viewed as suspect, as disrespecting "black" writing.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In Memory of Dr. Lorris Elliott, Ph.D. (1932-99): A Founding Author and Critic of African-Canadian Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.