House of Nehesi publishes new book on Haiti

POSTED: 11/2/11 12:25 PM

St. Maarten Haiti and Trans-Caribbean Literary Identity/Haití y la transcaribeñidad literaria by Emilio Jorge Rodríguez is the latest book published by House of Nehesi Publishers, which is based here. The book was officially launched in Venezuela on October 19, 2011.

The new English-Spanish book is “a remarkable collection of essays adapted to our Caribbean context,” Haitian author from Canada’s Université Laval Maximilien Laroche said.

“This work of Cuban colleague Jorge Emilio Rodríguez should be listed among the few books that can be said to truly advance the understanding of the subject they address,” Dominican author and Professor Silvio Torres-Saillant added.

The book covers Haitian novel in the 20th century and the search for Amerindian and African origins in the masterful work of Alejo Carpentier. It also covers “Creole transgressions” between Haiti and the Dominican Republic a topic that is expected to raise some eyebrows or even tempers while imparting new intelligences.

“There’s also an utterly rare and captivating discussion placing Cuba’s grand poet Nicolas Guillen on a visit to Haiti and at the “elite” center of the country’s debate on race and culture,” Project Director at the House of Nehesi Publishers Lasana Sekou said.

“The essential subject areas of Haiti and Trans-Caribbean Literary Identity are uniquely interpreted. I would dare say that this book is a missing link for most in our fuller knowledge and experiences of Caribbean literature, of how we think and why we live as we do in this region,” Sekou added.

Professor Douglas Uzcátegui called Rodríguez “one of the most authoritative voices in the Caribbean and from the Caribbean” during the book’s launch.

“His career as a researcher reflects a long and sustained work that exposes a tour on orality and writing of the diverse, complex and rich Caribbean culture,” the professor said.

Rodríguez, who is a well-published author, has lectured at universities and conferences in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States of America. During his October stint in Venezuela he conducted an intensive Caribbean literature course at the Universidad de Mérida.

Maria Teresa Ortega translated the writings to English from the original Spanish. The book’s cover, which was designed by Sundiata Lake, features a brilliant watercolor, “Soul’s Flight,” by famous US artist Keith Mallet.

The English and Spanish edition of Haiti and Trans-Caribbean Literary Identity is available at Van Dorp, Arnia’s,, and bookstores.

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