SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - St. Martin literature is being studied at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
Hurricane Protocol by Lasana Sekou is the St. Martin poetry book that is being studied for the course on “Afro-Caribbean Literature and Music,” taught by Prof. Thomas Rothe at PUC, a leading South America university.
The section of the course entitled “Contemporary soundings in Caribbean literature,” looks at “polyphonic narration” in A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James and “grounded poetry” through Sekou’s work. Last year Rothe taught Hurricane Protocol for the same course, which “offers a survey of 20th-century Afro-Caribbean literature in English, focusing on the dynamic relationship between written and oral forms of expression, particularly in the genres of novel, poetry and popular music like calypso and reggae.” (https://bit.ly/3f577FJ) The required and complimentary books and recordings for the students to read, analyze, discuss and write about include creative and critical works by authors and artists such as Claude McKay, Louise Bennett, Samuel Selvons, Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs, Kwame Dawes, Kamau Brathwaite, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Franklin W. Knight, Stuart Hall, Blanca Acosta, George Lamming, and Rex Nettleford. In the USA, poetry from Sekou’s Hurricane Protocol is in “a poetry unit about hurricanes for the Dranoff Foundation and Miami Dade Public Schools,” said the curriculum developer Geoffrey Philp. The program includes books and poetry by Derek Walcott, Celia Sorhaindo, Kendel Hippolyte, Lelawatee Manoo-Rahim, and Brathwaite.
In the Caribbean, Sekou’s “my sweet land, come to me, #borderless,” a poem about the St. Martin protest last September 16 at the island’s French-Dutch border, is in the current issue of BIM. The leading Barbados arts journal includes articles by Hon. Mia Mottley, the country’s Prime Minister, Prof. Hilary Beckles, Reparations advocate and UWI Vice Chancellor, and scholar Anthony Bogues, among others.
The yearlong COVID-19 lockdown hasn’t prevented the HNP book Caribbean Counterpoint – The Aesthetics of Salt in Lasana Sekou, from receiving critical reviews.
The ability by the book’s author, Dr. Sara Florian, “to locate Sekou within wider critical and literary debate is ultimately admirable and makes for a better, more satisfying portrait of his poetic universe,” wrote Lucio De Capitani in Il Tolomeo (Vol 22), the European comparative literature journal at Italy’s Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia.
In Guyana’s Kaieteur News, Glenville Ashby pointed to Florian’s “dissection” of Sekou. “We see a man driven by a painful history, a history that collectively cements a people into a worn but redeemable fabric. In Jungian terms, his native land is part of a Caribbean gestalt, part of a historico-cultural archetype that haunts but, at the same time, offers redemption and healing.”
Interviewing the Caribbean, a journal out of UWI in Jamaica, became available this week with new verse by Lasana Sekou, his poetry from Book of the Dead, and an interview with him by the journal’s editor Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa.
The writings of over 30 authors and scholars appear in the final issue of the two-part tribute to the late literary titan Kamau Brathwaite, said Sample.