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Articles tagged "Haiti"

\“Agents of the Change We Want to See\”: Atelier Jeudi Soir

Atelier Jeudi Soir is a group of people from different horizons (educators, managers, professionals, students) who came together on a whim of sorts and developed into a viable institution. It started a little over six years ago, with a writing workshop directed by the renowned Haitian writer Lyonel Trouillot, and has turned into a neverending adventure. Some of our members have published individually, but we have also contributed as a group to anthologies and to other writing and cultural...

From the Archives: Moving Around Me

To whom does the story of the Haitian earthquake belong? Whose is it to tell, and in what form? Haitian writer and longtime Montreal resident Dany Laferrière was in Port-au-Prince for a literary festival when the quake struck. His "The World Is Moving Around Me," from our November 2011 issue of writing from the Caribbean, records his impressions of the aftermath. When he tells his nephew he plans to write about the disaster, the younger man shyly reveals that he does, too, and...

Primal Needs

They arrived together, a pair of butterflies with green and yellow wings, dappled and tremulous. They landed here and there on the hibiscus blooms surrounding the pool, and the youth marveled at their casual grace. His palms itched with the urge to paint. He yearned to take up the brushes hidden in the back of his closet, away from the scornful, jeering faces of his friends and the scathing comments of his father, who would much rather have seen him wielding an architect’s...

Season of Grief

Goudougoudougoudougoudou . . .   When the malicious brouhaha finally dozed off at dusk’s feet when in the magic of darkness ribbons of promise turned into sadness with desperation deep in our eyes we held our hands out to dust a drizzle of confetti like fine salt  above our heads   Claws of desolation planted in each neighborhood’s entrails from one alley to the next   God have mercy on the town of Jacmel muted words in deaf...

Under the Rubble

We held our breath close to our bodies sorted words in a straitjacket our lives between parentheses turpentine to make hope last fear sets up a tent on our chest fog invades our minds paralyzes our limbs    Day holds night’s hand evenings play merry-go-round with mornings the days turn in circles  until they feel dizzy we forget all debts, all promises projects overflow like water springs the earth sips in with a straw   Clocks...

Time Stretches Out and My Words Do, Too

Mid-August. The beach, for the first time since the earthquake. The water is warm, just the way I like it. I keep saying that Haiti is neither a postcard nor a nightmare. This Sunday more than ever. I’m exactly in between the water, the sun, the sand, and the sky. Not in a postcard, not in a nightmare. In something that makes my blood sing gently. That’s all. On January 12, time froze; every second was loaded. We were without a past, without a future. In the unique,...

Port-au-Prince on an IV Drip

drip drop port-au-prince’s life slips away drip drop like a canoe ocean waves thrust within the sun’s flames port-au-prince disintegrates drip drop like a bad rain drip drop that refuses to fall even when promised cookies it teases gardens so grownups can complain teases gutters so children can’t bathe one by one port-au-prince counts its dead like a pack of zombies on some big don’s land one by one adds up to a bunch goudougoudou a...

In All Magnitude

I give thanks to the earth, not the same, not mine—my stormy, radiant illiterate—I give thanks to the earth, not my island, that terrible girl, who learned, with her silent “S,” to play Russian roulette morning and night. Thanks, I give thanks to the foreign woman, to the virgin, the all indigo one who fainted and risked losing her heart in a leak of water, a sudden tear of compassion. I give thanks to the earth of men and of humanities. But I abhor… I...

The World is Moving Around Me

My Nephew I stepped out into the yard with my nephew. The little shacks on the other side of the ravine stood up to the earthquake. The old wall collapsed. We sit on the hood of the car. “I’m going to write something,” I say. “OK . . .” “I’m going to write about this.” I still can’t give it a name. “I understand,” he says in a serious voice. It’s like he’s matured overnight. “What are you...

from “La Belle Amour Humaine”

There are seven hours of road between the noise and the silence. Between here in the capital and Anse-à-Fôleur. I suppose it's the same where you come from, one town after another and all different. There are towns that yammer and others that whisper. There are towns that smile and others that sulk. Ones that daub themselves with every color of the rainbow the way a girl condemned to walk the streets disguises herself every evening to go into battle. And other towns that...

Brine, Blood, and Mother’s Milk

For the woman with bound hands, a vacant stare, and an impudent bottom, whom I glimpsed at Corail one morning during the season of storms I’ve turned my skin inside out, but I can still feel the treachery of their gestures and mutterings. Braced against the heaving of the boat, my body rides over the crashing waves. I am capsizing in a sinister darkness where silence no longer exists, and I must patiently reconstruct my solitude. Why does that woman on my right insist on poking...

November 2011


Gandhi’s Admirer

Twelve till midnight. On this Saturday, March 8, he was listening to a recap of the day’s hockey games on the kitchen radio, making a cup of hot chocolate to drink while he watched the film Gandhi, which was to be shown on TV at midnight, when suddenly a news bulletin made him curse. A bomb attack would hardly have elicited a sigh from him. Bomb attacks, like interethnic strife, mass murders, and satanic rituals, had become daily news fodder. Even a plane crash in downtown...

Heading South

At the age of twelve I realized that I could do whatever I wanted with women. That's just the way it is. I can't do anything about it. My sister's friends are always making eyes at me, some are bolder than others. But I'm not interested in girls. I prefer more mature women. I like to see them lose their heads. Especially the serious ones. For some time now, I've been hunting a choice prey: the headmistress at my sister's school. I always make sure I'm here when...

In the Shade of the Almond Tree

Author's Note: Two major obstacles to happiness remain constant throughout the history of Haitian society: social and economic injustice, and totalitarian tendencies. Poverty can be as cruel as dictatorship in its effect on the individual. When the two join forces against the human spirit, the choices are limited: violence and madness, hopelessness and revolt. Because even in the depths of madness, revolt can lie dormant, only to erupt, savagely and uncontrollably, against those who...

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