Artist’s Trust: Emeraude Kouka, art in a broken heart

Les Dépêches du bassin du Congo: How do you define yourself?

Emerald Kouka (EK) : I define myself without further ado, in my artistic practice as in everyday life, somewhat as a jack-of-all-trades person. If in my ordinary solitude I question my soul in its need to be in the world, when I am with my family, my friends and even strangers, I experience all sorts of curiosities.

What shaped your personality?

EC : Spirituality and Culture. I roamed around in quite a few religious circles and initiation groups, often in search of new knowledge. All this taught me to work with myself, to accept differences and to reject systematic opinions. Books and art more generally have given me an autonomy of thought and a concern for relevance that affects each of my commitments.

What is your favorite food ?

EC: that ” ngulmumako », pork with steamed banana, with crushed red pepper. It is a baby specialty. My mother is a baby and she has accustomed me to certain flavors since childhood.

Do you remember your first love story?

EC : Yes ! It was the story that made me realize that the relationships I had known before were romantic adventures, but not love stories. I lived for almost a year the rapture. We were separated by rather compelling circumstances, I wept bitterly. Since then, every new relationship I take on is the effort to endlessly sew a fragmented heart into the reality of love. A genuine Danaïde’s barrel.

Do you have regrets or regrets about a chapter of your life?

EC : In relation to my academic orientation, I realize with hindsight that I went down the wrong path. I studied private law, while I have a very strong political and administrative sensitivity. I would have liked to have studied public law, it would have undoubtedly motivated me to do a thesis. But when I graduated, I wanted to be a paralegal, and the choice I had made seemed obvious to me.

What are your wildest wishes, dreams and fantasies?

EC : I see myself becoming one of the greatest writers of our century. It’s daring, but you have to dream! And if the means were given to me, I would really like to have a one-on-one discussion with God, a fabulous and disarming conundrum!

What is the most tender gesture towards you?

EC : My mother’s first kiss at birth. It is an allusion, as we can clearly see, to the poetry of Tchicaya U Tam’si, but it is really a welcoming gesture, a consecration to love, so necessary for the building of an individual.

What was your biggest disappointment? And what is your biggest fear?

EC : Die without going down in history. In addition to having the conviction to have a calling, a truism always comes to me: humanity is too old and too close to end up in oblivion.

The publishers’ commercialism is my biggest disappointment. When I started writing, I naively believed that the book escaped compromise. It took me time to understand that it is above all a commercial object which must generate profit. You first publish an author because he is marketable. Literary qualities, more and more unpredictable, follow the expectations of the book market.

What musical artist are you listening to on repeat right now? and who are the authors who made you love literature?

EC : Jon Batiste, outstanding American jazz musician, a pleasure for the ears.

The short story ” The sterile palaver » by Guy Menga made me want to share a fantasy and read more. But I read a little less literature during my first three years of college, leaning more toward the social sciences. It is a play by Molière, Smart Women”which revived my passion for literature, and since then books have been a part of my daily life, like eating, drinking and sleeping.

How would you describe your writing style? And what literary genres do you like best?

EC : Coruscan. This adjective, I think, accounts for the singularity of my vocabulary, my use of tropes, and my work with syntax. I like poetry, novels and essays. Rapture, travel and thought. The theatre, I enjoy seeing it on stage more than reading it. The short stories, less dense than the novels, do not grab me much. They don’t let me cultivate the intimacy I seek with a story.

In every book there is the apparent subject and the deep subject. What are the deep themes in your two works? Heriarch the whole lyre »and the last” To biste de nas » ?

EC : My poetry is essentially lyrical. It always arises from the exaltation of a strong feeling, of a feeling. It is an approach that gives my subjectivity an affect, at least pompous, and allows me to approach all possible themes, from the most classic ones such as spleen, love, eroticism, insanity from life, death, nature, beauty, to the most contemporary and even more engaged. In my first collection, I evoke the absurdity of the political crisis that rocked the Pool Department in 2016. In the second, I attack the wooden language and the sophistry of political leaders when they have to give clear answers to problems, the absurd nature of a lot of restrictive measures associated with covid -the pandemic, and the glass ceiling felt by young people, forced to go and find “happiness” in another country.

Between your first collection, Heriarch the whole lyre »and the last, ” To biste de nas », that you have published, do you feel a development? Do you write differently?

EC : There is actually a clear difference. The first collection is more cumbersome, the use of archaisms is more marked, and the verses are mostly written in Alexandrian. There is therefore a tone marked by the rhythm of the fixed verse, separated from the hemistichs, with rhyme. The second collection combines prose with free verse and contains clearer lyrics written in the ballad.

Writers are driven by passion. She is the one who gives them access to genius, according to you. What does literature owe to the empire of the passions?

EC : I would say the escape from the ideal, dear to many masterpieces of literature which The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette, a 17th-century classice century. Passion gives birth, in the story, to strong protagonists with the game of misalliance and gives the story a timeless character. But it’s pretty choppy today. It takes a good deal of creativity to be able to put passion at the heart of a great work in the 21st centurye century. We live in a world where almost everything is written, and in a no less brilliant way!

What is your relationship with reality? and what should the author’s place be in today’s society?

EC : Reality is fiction, which I did not invent, and whose reading grid is found as much in the banality of everyday life as in human work with all that entails. When I write a fiction or a homodiegetic poem, it is always the real that I seek through my ability to reinvent it. in people’s daily lives. To give books, literature, space in one’s life is to honor the authors’ work and, above all, to work for its development.

What is the last book you fell in love with?

EC : “the nomenclature”, an old political essay by Michael Voslensky that talks about an aristocratic class within a communist Soviet Union. It is all the more interesting because it negates the clichés of the heralds of Marxism-Leninism, and it provides information about the underside of the exercise of power.

Projects in sight? side of the heart and in literature?

ONE: On the heart side, I continue my Sisyphean journey. In literature, I can talk about the publication of a third collection of poems in a few months, certainly in 2023. The exact date will be known in time. There is also a novel, but of which I cannot at this level specify the period of publication.

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