"Whether the poem turns out well or poorly on the oil of its hinge, kiss it off, Depestre, kiss it off and let Aragon go on about it!"
This full-frontal attack on the poet Louis Aragon expressed in a letter-poem written by Aimé Césaire to Haitian poet René Depestre in 1955 became a historic moment. It is because of it that Césaire, Depestre, Aragon—and through them, France, the West Indies, and Africa—found themselves at the heart of one of the most fertile postwar poetic controversies. It spilled out from literary circles and initiated one of the political overthrows that shook the twentieth century. But why, by way of Depestre, did Césaire react with such ferocity toward Aragon?