Maureen Boyer: Daily Revolution

Check out “Daily Revolution” below by Maureen Boyer–posted originally in 2011. I love that post! You’ll get to read more of Maureen Boyer soon in One Moore Book’s Haiti Series. One Moore Book will release a series of children’s books by six Haitian authors: Cybille St. Aude, Maureen Boyer, Edwidge Danticat, Michele Jessica Fievre, Katia D. Ulysse and Ibi Zoboi.   Enjoy Maureen’s “Daily Revolution.”

You wake up, no electricity again!

It’s still dark out but if you wake up any later, you will be late. You twist the shower faucets, no water, buckets then, at least you have water.

Do not complain.

You’re finally ready.

The rocks roll under your feet as you make your way down the mountain. You almost trip once.  Twice!

Will you ever make it to the main road?

A giant SUV with tinted windows speeds by, causing a rock to jet toward your ankle. Your heart skips. It’s OK. The car is far now.

You get to the tap-tap station; you are now part of the crowd. You are pushed, shoved. You hold your bag tighter. A tap-tap, finally. You run toward it, but not fast enough.

Another tap-tap stops. This time you reach it in time, but the driver looks back, laughs, and keeps going. You wonder why; aren’t you paying him?

Finally, you are squeezed into the back of a tap-tap. The seats are dusty and someone smells as if he/she had been working the whole night. Someone says something about elections, “I don’t need someone who will be dropping his trousers as my president”; “I prefer that than some old woman” responds another.

The discussion does not go beyond that, everyone agrees that Haiti will never change and starts listing individual reasons why Haiti will not change.

All irrelevant.

You shut up, disappointed.

You get to work, you sit, nothing to do but you need to justify your paycheck so you find things to do. You think, these people are supposed to be here to change things but everyone is too busy justifying their positions.

The big picture is ignored. Maybe a co-worker comes to you repeating what you’ve just heard in the tap-tap or maybe just to have you do their work. You sit in front of your computer, you get angry, you were supposed to have moved to Haiti to make a difference, but you have taken part of the daily routine; you are just living; you are one in the crowd. The tide is too strong. You are now part of the problem.

Frustrated, you leave work later than you have to because you have to wait for a ride, unless you want to go fight to stand in a truck. He comes to pick you up. He loves you. He sees frustration in your face. You complain. You don’t stop complaining. He looks at you, confused, “What are you complaining about, you have everything you need?”

You try to explain. You spill your brain. Do you sound like a crazed patriotic idealist yet? It doesn’t get through. “You’re complaining but you knew moving to Haiti was going to be hard. Then, why did you come?”


You shut up.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe you made the wrong move by coming back home. But he is not right. Your heart tells you that he is wrong. You just know that things can change. They will, really!

You are alone in this thought; no one believes. You are losing your faith, too.

Defeated. You go back up the mountain and into bed. You feel the weight of Haiti on your shoulders. You cry. You force sleep to come. Will tomorrow bring the same day as today?




The Poetry of Gaëlle Hilaire

My name is Claude Léocardie Gaëlle Hilaire. I was born in Port-au-Prince on December 10th, 1987.  I grew up in Jacmel. My love for poetry came from there. Life in Jacmel was like a long poem:

The memory of
my teenage heart bubbling,
the colors of carnival,
my first kisses in the narrow streets,
the festive atmosphere,
the taste of benyen,
the poetry festivals,
the sunsets on the wharf,
my long legs on fire
the gentle and violent breezes of the Caribbean Sea
are unforgettable.

I began to write when I was 12. Writing is for me a necessity. My words express my pain, my joy, and my journey as a woman. Poetry helps me to find and feel the identity still rooted in Haiti.

Even though I live in New York, Haiti is part of my everyday life. Haiti is my soul. I stay connected to my dear country through my relationships with my family and friends who live there. I keep in touch through the food, the languages, my concerns about the social, political and cultural evolution, and the situation of women.

Poetry fills me with inspiration. I believe in the power of words. Words allow us to dream, to hope, to perpetuate our memories; to describe and heal our frustrations.

Now more than ever, this generation of young Haitians faces natural disasters, violence, and extreme poverty. Art represents the best means by which to seek and gain freedom, intellectual fulfillment, peace, and gender equality. We can feel united through Art.

The sacred relationship I developed with books by Haitian and foreign writers have forged my poetic and literary conscience. My favorites are Edwidge Danticat, Dany Laferrière, Lyonel Trouillot, Yanick Lahens, Jacques Roumain, Oscar Wilde, Stefan Zweig, Maryse Condé, Albert Camus, Charlotte Bronte , Milan Kundera, Pearl Buck. I admire Rene Depestre, James Noël, Georges Castera.

In my teenage world, reading was the passion that enlightened my vision of life ( I am not sure if “enlightened” is the good translation of “a éclairé ma vision de vie”). No matter. Having people read my poems will be a kind of perpetuation of my freedom.


Gaëlle writes in French.  Read her INNERview page. It’s time to  practice a little French, oui?

À l’autre bout de l’Atlantique
L’Odeur d’un homme qui part
Une odeur mi-soleil, mi-maternelle

La beauté de la nudité
De l’odeur
D’un homme qui part…

L’odeur s’en va avec la buée du soir
Je la laisse couler entre mes doigts

Je suis une Femme Libre.


Akashic Books’ Johnny Temple & “Haiti’s Wonderful Literary Tradition”

Akashic Books’  Haiti Noir is now in French. The collection offers short fiction by Yanick Lahens, M. J. Fievre, Madison Smartt Bell, Edwidge Danticat, Ibi Aanu Zoboi, Josaphat-Robert Large, Katia D. Ulysse, Marie Ketsia Pharel, and others.  Now that Haiti Noir has received a second life, I wanted to ask Akashic Books’ publisher, Johnny Temple, a few questions. Here’s how our Q&A went:

Who is Johnny Temple?

Johnny Temple is a strange guy with a gorgeous wife and two beautiful children. For all of his perplexing idiosyncrasies,  he has impeccable taste in literature.

According to Akashic Book’s website, you are “dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers.”  What are the stories you would never read?

There are no stories I wouldn’t read. If there is a story that sounds aesthetically distasteful or politically wrong-headed to me, I may still want to take a look at it up close so that I can judge for myself.

What gave you the idea for the Noir Series?

The series grew out of the success of Brooklyn Noir, which was never intended to be the first in a series that now comprises over 60 volumes (and growing). The idea is to take a city—or sometimes a region or nation—and sketch out its hidden corners through darkly themed short fiction by a diverse array of authors. If the depiction of the place rings true for local residents, it stands a good chance of appealing to a national or international audience as well.

What made you include Haiti in the series?

One of Akashic Books’ missions is to publish top-caliber Caribbean literature, so when the Noir Series started expanding, it was only a matter of time before the arrival of Havana Noir (edited by Achy Obejas), Trinidad Noir (edited by Lisa Allen-Agostini and Jeanne Mason), Haiti Noir (edited by Edwidge Danticat), and most recently Kingston Noir (edited by Colin Channer).

What preconceived ideas did you have about the types of stories you would receive from Haitian writers?

The book was already in progress when the earthquake struck in January 2010, so the direction that the stories would take was unclear. I knew from the start that the stories would be very strong — because of Haiti’s wonderful literary tradition, and because of the level of excellence I knew Edwidge Danticat would bring to the project as the editor. Even so, the stylistic and thematic breadth of the full volume is pretty staggering.

Were you pleased with the compilation?

Beyond pleased. A percentage of the proceeds from the book have been donated to an important organization called the Lambi Fund of Haiti that supports sustainable development, so that has been a particularly heartening aspect of the book’s ongoing success.

When will we see Haiti Noir in Kreyòl?

We would love to do a Kreyòl version of the book. We don’t have any specific plans yet, but it’s something we are very open to!

Thank you, Johnny Temple, for answering a few questions. We look forward to the next Noir Book. And a Haiti Noir in Kreyòl!


Bataille de Vertières & Dr. Carolle Charles: En Avant!

November 18, 2012 marks the 209th anniversary of the decisive battle in Haiti’s Independence War: Bataille de Vertières. We remember Francois Capois, also known as Capois La Mort. When his horse was killed, Capois La Mort charged–on foot–toward France’s army, leading his men with one call: “En avant! En avant!” When a bullet shot the hat off his head, an infuriated and unstoppable Capois advanced with even more determination, screaming: “Forward! Forward!” Capois’ courage so astonished France’s Rochambeau that the general called a cease fire just to congratulate the Haitian.

Today we honor the memory of Capois La Mort and celebrate modern day heroes and heroines like Dr. Carolle Charles. Read the INNERview. VoicesfromHaiti honors the past and celebrates the new journey. En Avant!

Dr. Carolle Charles