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Contemporary Haitian Poetry

call for papers for edited volume


Danielle Georges, Associate Professor, Lesley University

Anne François, Associate Professor, Eastern University

Cécile Accilien, Associate Professor, Columbus State University

Please submit proposals in abstract form (200-300 words) by the 15th of October 2011 at

Haiti, recently in international news because of the devastating earthquake it experienced on January 11, 2010 (and more recently because of its presidential elections)—has a long and rich literary tradition running parallel to its complex and turbulent history.
Most of the texts written by Haitian writers in the 19th-and 20th centuries are written in French.

In the 1960s Haitian writers, at home and in the diaspora, began challenging the literary use and primacy of French within the context of a bi-lingual nation. For the founders of the modern Creole literature, the choice of Creole as a literary language was a political one—and one that pushed the linguistic and cultural margins of Haitian literature. This period coincided with an increase in women's texts on a traditionally male-dominated topography.

The mid-to-late 1990s and the 21st century have seen a group of Haitian writers emerging within the Haitian diaspora, whose literary texts, have forced yet another consideration of how the language/s used by Haitian writers reflect national culture and identity.

In addition to working in, against, and through French, Haitian Creole, English, Spanish, and other languages, the new generation of Haitian writers builds on the cosmopolitanism of the Haitian literary tradition. They draw on a variety of literary and artistic traditions, including Latin-American and Pan-African, US Black/African-American, and those of other groups situated in the countries in which they find themselves. Some of these writers move fluidly through and participate in literary, cultural, academic, and other communities in the countries where they have grown up and received their educations, and now work and write.

This volume of essays seeks to examine the work of Haitian poets, and the position of Haitian poetry of the late-20th and the 21st centuries—whether in Haiti or in its global diaspora.

We have received initial interest in the volume from an academic press.

General inquiries should be addressed to the editors at by the 15th of October 2011. Completed essays must be submitted by January 30, 2012, following MLA formatting guidelines. Final essays should be no more than 25 pages (including notes, bibliography, etc.).

Potential topics (others are welcomed)

• The work of a particular Haitian/Haitian diasporic poet
• Haitian poetry and nation building
• The image of women in Haitian poetry
• Haitian poetry as resistance
• Haitian poetry and ecocriticism
• Haitian poetry and eroticism
• Linguistic flexibility and codeswitching in Haitian poetry
• Haitian poetry and music
• The intertextuality between Haitian poetry and music
• Haitian poetry and the role of gender
• The use of poetry in coping with/responding to disaster in Haiti
• Haitian poetry and history
• Haitian poetry and exile
• Food as represented in Haitian poetry
• Haitian poetry and religion/spirituality
• Haitian poetry and philosophy
• Children as represented in Haitian poetry
• Haitian poetry for children
• Visual art and Haitian poetry
• The use of oral tradition/orality in Haitian poetry