Tag Archives: Michele Jessica Fievre

Josaphat-Robert Large ~ The Final INNERview with Beloved Poet and Photographer.

Josaphat-Robert Large passed away on October 28, 2017.  His family and friends miss him very much, and wish he were here to celebrate November 15, his birthday, with them.

JR was passionate about poetry and photography.  He worked diligently to master both art forms, because he felt his readers deserved his absolute best.  He weighed each word, each photograph. When he was ready to share his work with his audience, we embraced and loved it.  Josaphat-Robert Large wrote in French, Haitian Creole, and in English. He was especially fond of our native tongue, saying the language itself inspired him.

JR–a proponent of Haiti’s mother tongue— joined the ancestors on the day dedicated to celebrating Creole languages worldwide.  We miss him dearly. Rest in peace, Josaphat-Robert Large. Thank you for the rich legacy.

Click here to read Part One of the final INNERview with beloved poet and photographer, Josaphat-Robert Large.

Death is a Six-Course Meal

Akashic Books Photo

Akashic Books Photo

Dark Days in Port-au-Prince is like a lavish meal, served Exquisite Corpse style–over six scrumptious courses–cooked to perfection by six Haitian writers who can’t seem to get enough of working with one another.

michele fievre phto haiti noirTheir work have been published together in various anthologies, beginning in 2001 with Butterfly’s Way: Voices from Haitian in the Dyaspora (Soho Press). Brassage (UCSB, 2005), Haiti Noir 1 (Akashic Books, 2011), So Spoke the Earth (WWOHD, 2013), Haiti Noir 2 (Akashic Books, 2014), a children’s books series, and now this.

Courses 1, 2, and 3 of Dark Days in Port-au-Prince have been served, but that won’t spoil your fine dining experience. If you have not yet savored those scrumptious dishes, they’re readily available on Akashic Book’s website.  The  4th course will be brought to your table on 1/24/14; it will  be hot–that much we can say.  And because Chez  akashicbooks.com is known for its avant-garde menu, each bite will likely thrill your taste buds.  To death.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is the order in which this story unfolds:  Roxane Gay (section 1), Michele Jessica Fievre (section 2) , Ibi Zoboi (section 3), Katia D. Ulysse (section 4), Josaphat-Robert Large (section 5), and Edwidge Danticat (section 6) .

HaitiNoir2_TheClassics-506x800Although many of us would love to know how the story will end, we must wait one week between each installment.

Readers know only what happened in the previous 3 sections. The writers have no clue about what twist will follow their own contributions. Join us at  akashicbooks Friday (1/24/14), before we all bite our fingernails down to the quick.

Since Master Chef, Josaphat Robert Large, always cooks up a fine story, we know his section will be plate-licking good.

Edwidge Danticat, will provide the killer ending, making this final course unforgettable.

In the meantime, dig into Katia D. Ulysse’s Part 4 on 1/24/14. Try not to burn your tongue.

Bon appétit!

Black History Month: The Little Rock Nine, Wayétu Moore, and Fabiola


little-rock-nine-students
It was supposed to the beginning of a new school year–a season charged with expectation and optimism, not a time to be caught in other people’s petty, stale, yet violent wars.

The year was 1957. Teachers, good and refreshed, had prepared thoughtful and engaging lessons. Governor Orval Eugene Faubus–hellbent on preventing children of all colors to sit together in the same classroom–had prepared his own lesson so meticulously that it took federal troops to help him modify it.

Uncertain of his own power to defy the Supreme Court ruling that outlawed segregation (Brown v. Board of Education), Governor Faubus summoned the Arkansas National Guard to hold back little Elizabeth. For extra reinforcement, mobs of grown men, women, and their children took aim, firing their sharpest insults and threats.

Elizabeth Ann Eckford - will_counts1_fElizabeth Eckford had wanted only to go to school–like most ‘normal’  high school students.  Holding her books securely against her chest, she took careful steps toward Central High’s front door.

Bullies disguised as everyday white-folk had gathered to teach Elizabeth their own rigorous lesson.  Their objective: Student will be so completely traumatized and terrorized that she will run/walk/stumble as far away from Central High and everyone’s sight as swiftly as possible.

The bullies won that September morning.  They pumped their fists and spat as Elizabeth walked back to her bus stop, leaving Little Rock’s Central High School. The girl’s face was set like stone. But like any stone thrown violently into a body of water, Elizabeth Eckford caused concentric circles to form and spread.

When Elizabeth returned to Central High weeks after she was forced to walk away, eight other determined students had joined her. The hate-mobs returned as well, but they were like paper dolls in a hurricane. The winds of change would scatter them; history would be made.

d090457Millions of black students walk into schools today with an opportunity to learn because The Little Rock Nine dared. Elizabeth and her schoolmates were like nine stones hurled into the seemingly infinite ocean of racism, causing concentric circles to spread so far and so wide within the Civil Rights Movement that we see them even today.

This Black History Month, VoicesfromHaiti honors Melba Pattillo Beals, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Ann Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Themlma Mothershed, and Terrence Roberts: The Little Rock Nine who risked their lives for a chance to go to school.

We honor Wayétu Moore. This lady has made it her business to illuminate the mindpath of children from countries with low literacy rates. Moore’s young publishing company, One Moore Book, delivers children’s own stories to them.

Wayetu-Moore

Wayetu Moore

Wayétu dedicated the first cycle of books to her beloved father and the children of her native Liberia, saying:  “I will never be able to give my father back the twenty years he spent working to educate us, or the home and life in Liberia he lost. I repay his sacrifice by honoring the education he fought for and offering my art to the world, with stories that make the histories and narratives of my people come alive. . .”

One Moore Book’s current series is dedicated to the children of my beloved Haiti. The six books in the series are written by Maureen Boyer, Edwidge Danticat, Michele Jessica Fievre, Cybille St. Aude, Ibi Zoboi, and Katia D. Ulysse.

Finally, much honor and respect for a little girl named Fabiola who lives thousands of miles away in Toupatou, Haiti. Fabiola does not go to school, not because a stubborn governor has deployed guards to keep her out. Fabiola is a modern-day slave: a rèstavèk. Learn more about rèstavèks in Haiti. Read and share Fabiola’s story. Support One Moore Book’s Haiti Series by buying all six books!

Every child deserves the chance to go to school.

I am ridingI am Riding by Michele Jessica Fievre ~ Illustrated by Jean Patrick Icart-Pierre

The Last Mapou by Edwidge Danticat

 

 

The Last Mapou by Edwidge Danticat ~ Illustrated by Eduard Duval Carrie

 

FabiolacancountFabiola Can Count by Katia D. Ulysse ~ Illustrated by Kula Moore

 

a is for ayiti

A is for Ayiti by Ibi Zoboi

 

 

 

where is lola

 

Where is Lola?

by

Maureen Boyer

 

 

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!