Category Archives: the sea

The poetry of medieval maritime travel

I have been reading Arab navigation manuals and travelogues, and there is such poetry in the navigation manuals in particular. It is the liminality of the navigation texts in particular – between art and science, familiar and wholly other.  I … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, seafaring, the sea, Travels, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Medieval Arab Naviation

“More interesting is the testimony of Ibn al-Mujawir who reports that in 626 A.H./1228-9 A.D. a ship arrived in Aden from Qumr (Comoros or Madagascar); the art of navigation of the people of Qumr impressed him as superior to that … Continue reading

Posted in Middle East, ports, seafaring, the sea, Travels, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The unbearable deaths of thousands in the deep

And yet these unbearable deaths are borne by those who turn away.  As I am left mute with horror, I shall post these poems which I think speak to the deaths of so many in this watery graveyard: from Salt By … Continue reading

Posted in empire, literature, shipping conditions, the sea | Leave a comment

Une Année Sans Lumiere: Encounters before Suez Canal

7 February 2015 15.00 Last night I was invited by the Filipino crew members to one of the crew members’ birthday party. He is an engine -fitter and he will be turning 40 tomorrow.  The crew recreation room unsurprisingly had … Continue reading

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Marsaxlokk-Jabal-Ali: Besotted with the sea

6 February 2015 “For a ship is a bit of terra firma cut off from the main; it is a state in itself; and the captain is its king.” (Melville, White-Jacket – did Conrad plagiarise Melville as I often think … Continue reading

Posted in Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, infrastructure, labour, literature, logistics, Melville, ports, readings, the sea | 2 Comments

Areia de Salamanca: The Razzia in the 16th century

5 February 2015 I borrowed Braudel’s discussion of the presidios on the North African coast yesterday to reflect on logistics… But as I read on, there was also the counterinsurgency element against the colonials (about which Braudel seems remarkably sanguine; … Continue reading

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all subtle and submarine

The Sea is History By Derek Walcott Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs? Where is your tribal memory? Sirs, in that grey vault. The sea. The sea has locked them up. The sea is History. First, there was the … Continue reading

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