Pelican Heart – Cuban critic releases new book about St. Martin writer;

Italian scholar gets Ph.D. on Lasana Sekou’s work 

According to noted Cuban writer Nancy Morejon, the new anthology of poems and literary criticism of the poetry of Lasana M. Sekou from Emilio Jorge Rodríguez, "announces the possibility of a better Caribbean ."

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The erudite Cuban scholar/critic wants to introduce the St. Martin author to a wider Hispanic audience with the Spanish and English book, Corazón de pelícano – Antología poética de Lasana M. Sekou / Pelican Heart – An Anthology of Poems by Lasana M. Sekou Edited by Emilio Jorge Rodríguez.

The 428-page book includes selected poems from 11 poetry collections by Sekou. each poem is in both English and Spanish, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

" Defiance , movement, and renewal come to mind when reading Pelican Heart," said Dr. Ivette Romero-Cesareo, director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Marist College , New York .

The anthology has a critical introduction and research notes by Rodríguez, who selected poems representing developments in the Caribbean author’s writings over 32 years, said Sample. Maria Teresa Ortega translated the poems from the original English.

Published in St. Martin by HNP, the book was launched in May at the Caribbean Studies Association Conference in Barbados , said Sample.

The Cuban release of the title took place at the 30th annual Festival del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba in July. Among the people in the audience at the launch was Abel Prieto, Cuban Minister of Culture.

In related news, the Italian Caribbeanist scholar Sara Florian has completed her Ph.D. study on Lasana Sekou’s work. Dr. Florian is now the newest expert on the literature of the St. Martin author.

Florian’s doctoral thesis is called "Contemporary West Indian Poetry: a ‘Creole’ Aesthetics?" Her postgraduate degree was obtained at Cà Foscari University of Venice. The dissertation was defended in April 2010 at the Faculty of Foreign Language and Literatures – one of the oldest in Italy .

In the comparative study Dr. Florian positions Sekou’s work in relation to his contemporaries such as Merle Collins (Grenada), David Rudder (Trinidad), AJA (Barbados), Kendel Hippolyte (St. Lucia), and younger writers like Joan Andrea Hutchinson (Jamaica), along with senior poetry giants such as Shake Keane (St. Vincent) and Martin Carter (Guyana).

Dr. Florian, like Rodríguez, seems particularly fascinated by Sekou’s use of salt as a poetic metaphor and historic motif with links to St. Martin ’s Great Salt Pond, said Sample.

Chapter 9 of the thesis is entitled "Lasana Mwanza Sekou (1959 – ) The Aesthetics of Salt and Sugar." Dr. Florian’s thesis is in English. The extensive appendixes include Florian’s interviews with the likes of Mutabaruka, Gordon Rohlehr, Kenneth Ramchand, Rhoda Arrindell, and professors Edward Baugh, Maureen Warner-Lewis, and Carolyn Cooper.

Pelican Heart / Corazón de pelícano, the Rodríguez anthology of Sekou’s poetry books from 1978 to 2010, is available at bookstores,,, and