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Article: Raphael Dalleo 4 6

Haiti and the Americas Conference: October 22, 2010

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton

  • Haiti Conference Literary Evening -

    Rose Rejouis reads from her translation of Marie Chauvet's trilogy "Love, Anger, Madness". Rejouis participated in the conference's literary evening with the support of a PUMA.Creative Mobility Award.

The second day of the Haiti and the Americas conference continued panels on scholarly research, and also included presentations on local nonprofit work and volunteerism in Haiti.

Friday began with a keynote lecture by J. Michael Dash about Haiti's status as New World site, neither entirely African nor French. Sibylle Fischer's keynote lecture in the afternoon explored how Simon Bolivar's political thought was shaped by the time he spent in Haiti and his diplomatic negotiations with the newly independent Haitian state.

The afternoon also brought members of Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice in Boynton Beach to campus to talk about their work with Haitian Americans in South Florida, while representatives of Konbit for Haiti and FAVACA talked about projects they have been working on in Haiti since the earthquake. The Digital Library of the Caribbean also discussed their Protecting Haitian Patrimony Initiative, while Florida Atlantic University Ph.D. candidate Susan D'Aloia gave a paper analyzing volunteer work in Haiti.

The day was capped off by a literary evening and reception at FAU's Ritter Art Gallery co-sponsored by PUMA.Creative, where Andrea Shaw, Myriam J.A. Chancy, and PUMA.Creative Mobility Awardee Rose Rejouis read from their literary work.

  • Audience at the Literary Evening -

    Haiti and the Americas conference participants listen to Rose Rejouis read from her translation of _Love, Anger, Madness_. Novelist Myriam J.A. appears in the foreground.

  • Haiti Conference Nonprofit Panel -

    From left to right: Jerry Philogene (Assistant Professor of American Studies, Dickinson College); Rebecca Reichert (Director of Development, Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas); Gayle Williams (co-director of Digital Library of the Caribbean); Daby Sully (Konbit for Haiti); Nicole Toussaint-Prince (Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice); Dieunet Demosthene (Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice)

Comments (6)

Day 2

Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Hope Rose Rejouis' reading went well.

24 Oct 2010, 4:04

Haiti and the Americas Conference day 2


Thanks so much for inviting the writers to participate in the conference. I think these kinds of events include conversations about literary and art without including the writers and artists in the critical dialogues. I enjoyed the readings tremendously and would like to thank you for organizing them, PUMA.Creative for providing support to make it possible, and all of your staff for hosting an extremely successful and critically engaging conference.

24 Oct 2010, 4:14

Haiti and the Americas Conference: October 22

When PUMA.Creative initiated the Creative Caribbean Network, this is exactly what we dreamed of. The art community taking ownership of this forum and using it to connect and share. You do us proud.

24 Oct 2010, 4:26

Celebrating Marie Chauvet-Vieux's Reading of her Own Work

On Friday night, I read an excerpt of Marie Chauvet's 3 novellas, Love, Anger, Madness, in French and in English at the FAU conference, Haiti and the Americas. This was an unusual project for me. It was my first time doing a literary reading and the first time I read Chauvet's work aloud. Standing at the podium with the book in my hands made me ask the audience to imagine the night when Chauvet read her work to family and friends, a night , her sister, Liliane Corvington, who lives with her daughter, her grand-daughter, the artist Sybille Charlier and her great-grand-daughter, still remembers. Who was listening to Marie Chauvet that night, besides her sister? Her husband, other family members, other writers -- maybe Anthony Phelps, Roland Morrisseau, René Philoctète, Serge Legagneur, all members of Haiti Literaire, a writer's group of which Chauvet was an honorary member. That reading was a moment of triumph for Marie Chauvet even though she shocked her audience.

Reaching for the translation of "Love, Anger, Madness" made me discuss how my husband, Val Vinokur and I worked on it. I read the translator's note included in my preface: "When asked how Val and I divide the labor of translating, I often respond: we take turns. When I defend the original, he defends the translation. When he defends the translation, I defend the original."

Although Chauvet writes about Haiti's history of natural and political disasters and the book was published the year of the earthquake, I did not choose to read one of her descriptions of a post-hurricane Haïti. Instead, I chose a moment characteristic of the duality of her masterpiece, a chapter that shows how she combines a politically engaged fiction with a literary prose committed to philosophical questions.

25 Oct 2010, 3:02

Haiti and the Americas Literary Evening

Rose's comment reminds me of what a powerful passage she chose and how much I enjoyed the selection. When my Caribbean literature students read this translation of "Love, Anger, Madness" last semester, it was one of their absolute favorite texts from the class.

The literary evening really was a highlight of the conference for me. FAU's Ritter Art Gallery was a lovely venue to hear creative work presented, and I was very pleased to see a number of FAU's MFA faculty and students join the rest of our conference participants.

25 Oct 2010, 4:32

Haiti and the Americas Conference, Day 2

I really enjoyed Sibylle Fischer's keynote address, "Missing Links: A History of Universal Rights." She gave an excellent overview of how historians predominantly interpret Simon Bolivar's relationship to Haiti as either completely unimportant to understanding the historical figure of Bolivar, or equally uncritically as the major source of Bolivar's racist views (and fear of black revolts). Fischer deftly navigated this conceptual divide, arguing that there is strong historical evidence that reveals how Bolivar's views on establishing an independent Spanish-American nation were very much inspired and in some ways, materially supported, by Haiti's government.

The literary evening with readings by Andrea Shaw, Rose Rejouis, and Myriam Chancy continued this conference theme of challenging predominant historical narratives and representations of Haiti. The literary imagination of the writers offered very nuanced and moving counter-narratives of Haitian life and culture.

26 Oct 2010, 15:25