Image: Stivenson Magloire, Untitled (detail), acrylic on canvas. 24 X 20 inches, circa 1993. From the collection of Dr. Jacques Bartoli. Photograph courtesy of Ridge Art.
Three years ago this month, a massive earthquake shook Haiti, devastating a country already battered by poverty and disease. In this issue writers describe both the immediate and long-range effects of the disaster on Haiti's people and its literature. In a raw tale written only days after the quake, Évelyne Trouillot documents the survival instinct. Kettly Mars paints a grim picture of life in the camps. Lyonel Trouillot searches for survivors. Yanick Lahens reflects on faults and time. In poetry, Guy-Gerald Ménard enters a season of mourning, while Louis-Philippe Dalembert finds a city on life support, and James Noël speaks to the dead. And Nadève Ménard describes the resilience of the Haitian literary community. As new catastrophes drive earlier disasters out of the headlines and off the radar, these writers remind us that Haiti's recovery is far from complete. In a special section on Bangla literature, Anwara Syed Haq's tinkerer has his hands full with a deathly project, Mashiul Alam follows an Indian citizen to his funeral pyre, and Ahmad Mostafa Kamal watches the banks of an all-consuming river.
Was there still a second floor? Don’t think about it.
Time Stretches Out and My Words Do, Too
I keep saying that Haiti is neither a postcard nor a nightmare.
from “At the Borders of Thirst”
You needed a guide, one of those men who lived off the flesh and blood of the camp.
January 12, 2010
We already know there are no words for saying some things.
Port-au-Prince on an IV Drip
drip drop / port-au-prince’s life slips away
Season of Grief
Entwined concrete houses / perform pirouettes on both sides of the street
Under the Rubble
Fear sets up a tent / on our chest
Neverending Story: Haiti’s Vibrant Literary Sphere Endures
The temblor of January 10, 2010, has become part of Haiti’s literary landscape.
Reviewed by Heather Cleary
History, for Gelman, is something both deeply personal and inherently communal, just as poetry can be both politically charged and aesthetically refined
Reviewed by Christopher Tauchen
Love is grasped at but never secured. Each person is exhausted, weary, and alone.
Reviewed by Anderson Tepper
This is Laferrière’s own take on the cataclysmic effects of the quake, both political and psychological.
Reviewed by David Varno
These instances abound: life imitating art, while art reflects back images of life.