Past Features

October 11, 2005 (Vol. 2, No. 3)

Distinguished Haitian Poet to Visit Lehman October 20

Anthony Phelps
Anthony Phelps
Poet and journalist Anthony Phelps will talk about his newest volume of poetry, Une phrase lente de violoncelle, when he visits the Lehman campus on Thursday, October 20. A founding member of the1960 group Haïti-Littéraire, Phelps will also discuss the other poets and writers in the group, play audio excerpts of their work, and read from his own poems. The talk, which will be given in French, begins at 12:30 p.m. in Room C14 of Carman Hall. This talk is free and open to the community.

Author of over a dozen volumes of poetry, three novels and a number of radio plays, Phelps's voice is often compared to a "diseur," or teller and reader of tales and poetry. He has been instrumental in the promotion of Haitian authors for over 40 years through his company, Les Productions Caliban, which has recorded a number of Haitian poets.

Most recently, Phelps re-released in CD format the 1968 recording of Pierrot le Noir, a text written and performed by Jean-Richard Laforest, Émile Ollivier and Phelps, and includes transitional songs by the famed actress and singer Toto Bissainthe.

Other members of the Haïti-Littéraire group include Davertige, Serge Legagneur, Roland Morisseau, René Philoctète and Auguste Thénor. The group would often meet at the home of Haiti's great dame de lettres, Marie Chauvet. Most were forced into exile during the Duvalier dictatorship.

In 1964 Phelps moved to Montréal, where he still resides. Now retired after a distinguished career in broadcasting as a journalist for Radio-Canada, he often returns to Haiti, where he has maintained a unique role in the diffusion of Haitian letters.

For more information on Phelps's biography and bibliography, and to read excerpts of his poem "Mon Pays Que Voici" (read by the author), visit http://www.lehman.cuny.edu/ile.en.ile/paroles/phelps.html.