DO KRE I S / Trace(s)

the magazine of Creole cultures

This new issue is dedicated to the theme "Trace (s) / Mak" with a special homage to the great Reunion poet Boris Gamaleya (1930-2019), whose work intertwined the most classical networks of literary meanings with the most Mascarine poetic traditions.

From the encrypted sign to the tenacious trace, the Creole paths of the world are dotted with reconstructed pieces of memory. On the occasion of its fourth delivery, the magazine Do Kre IS collects it again and again, thanks to the complicit relay of the dazzling voices: in Haiti, of course, but also in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Senegal, Mexico, Togo, Cameroon, Tunisia, Mauritius, Reunion, Mayotte, Seychelles, Belgium, the United States, Norway, Switzerland, France, New Caledonia Kanaky, Trinidad and Tobago, Benin, Mali, Spain, Brazil, India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Few are the words which, like that of trace, will have stirred with as much vigor the literatures of the Caribbean and then, by seismic extension, those of the whole globe. In true archipelago-profusion, the Caribbean of Creole cultures resonates all the more as its sounding boards meet those of other regions of abundance where diasporas and voicemails likewise bear the obsession of traces. Not the fold of looking back but the scrupulous inspection of living bodies; not the unfolding on the table of the parchments duly preserved but the illumination of the expired breaths; not the trace of the imprint buried under some lava, but the invention of the imprint, the fable of the lava.

*Artemot fait le pont*, Martin Coste & Gaëtan Sortet

In this story of braiding the plots, the writing in turn releases another confusing load of solidity and turmoil. Creole societies, perhaps more than others, greedily hunt down what’s left. In post-1492 colonial contexts, the condition of mortality is tested in capture, abduction, genocide, deportation, enslavement, mutilation, unlimited reinvention of violence - but also, slyly, in the extinction of the ancestors. Some traces are erased, denied, or cleverly rigged: a way of constructing the absence of history of a people or a land and making its own noise resonate in it, in a fiction of primacy. Yet, at the very time of these destructions, the miracles of memory operate, infallible. Orality, the perpetuation of gestures, the magical restoration of energies manage to revive everything that has been attempted to snatch and conceal. The example of browning is often given to imagine prodigious dissents, and it is sometimes forgotten that resistance has been established, too, in the very heart of the plantation. We form ourselves, from ocean to ocean, the offspring of this intrusion of the disorder into the dwelling. Thus the voices carried by Dokréis still sing, infinitely, the energetic uprising, the splendid healing, the preservation of secrets, the transgenerational homage, the inflexible love, and all traces bequeathed by what the books call the expression of modern age.

On the occasion of the "Boris Gamaleya decade" organized from September 20 to 30, 2021, the Departmental Library of Reunion digitizes the works of the poet and finally increases the readership eager to discover all of his titles, until then kept with jealousy by the happy owners of vintage prints. The tribute is extended through this issue with specific contributions and, exceptionally, some unpublished fragments of the author. We find there his chiseled verb and his profuse imagination, marked as much by the smoking peaks as by the indentation of the ribs of black rocks.


To read or reread the Reunionese poet today, from the Indian Ocean or any other region of the world, it would perhaps be granting oneself this same vital promise. Yes, perhaps it could be to admit a necessary connection between inspiration and demand. Between the trembling of voices and hope.

Editorial by Estelle Coppolani