Open Gate is the first bilingual volume of Haitian Creole poetry published in English. Seven years in the making, this anthology is the result of the dedication of its editors and translators, Paul Laraque, Jack Hirschman and the Haitian poet Boadiba, as well as Max Manigat, one of the first teachers of Creole on the university level who was an invaluable advisor.
The editors focus on contemporary Creole poetry that reflects the struggle for human rights in Haiti. The book is divided into three sections: Pioneers of Modern Haitian Creole poetry, beginning with the founder of modern Haitian Creole literature, Felix Morisseu-Leroy (19131998); the flowering of Haitian poetry as represented by the literary movement, "Society of Butterflies," some of whose members were jailed or exiled by the bloody Duvalier dictatorship; and the New Generation featuring primrily those poets in the Diaspora whose work has been published in the last 15 years.
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The poet Paul Laraque was born in Haiti in 1920. At present Laraque devotes his time to his writing and to his work as Secretary of the Association of Haitian Writers Abroad. Jack Hirschman authored more than 25 translations of poetry from 8 languages. His most recent book is Endless Threshold.From Publishers Weekly:
The first such collection available in English, Open Gate: An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry begins with works from the grandfather of Creole literature, Felix Morisseau-Leroy, and rounds out with today's poets in diaspora. Edited by Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman, the collection addresses the poverty, violence and political struggle that characterize Haitian history, but there are also poems celebrating love or nature or simply the quotidian. As George Castera writes in "Blood," "Let's go see the blood flow,/ darling./ For once in a lifetime,/ it's not people's blood spilling,/ for once in the street/ it's not animal's blood flowing,/ let's go see the blood flow,/ darling:/ the sun is setting."
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