House of Nehesi’s Caribbean writers for US universities: Debbie at University of New Orleans, Howard and Lasana at Yale University

Dr. Howard Fergus - author & scholar

Skin by Drisana Deborah Jack is in the company of Caribbean greats at the University of New Orleans (UNO), said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

The poetry collection by the St. Martin poet/artist is now required reading for “Modern Anglophone Caribbean Poetry.” The Fall 2011 course is taught by Prof. John Gery, an Ezra Pound scholar.

The English Dept. course includes books by Kamau Brathwaite, Lorna Goodison, Claude McKay, and Derek Walcott, all world-acclaimed authors. The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse, edited by Stewart Brown and Mark McWatt is also among the nine main texts that will be studied for the class, said Sample.

This is another step in having the work of St. Martin writers recognized as part of the canon of Modern Caribbean literature; it’s gratifying to have another collection of poetry recognized this way,” said Jack after learning that Skin will be studied at UNO.

Skin, published in St Maarten by HNP in 2006, is Jack’s second book used in a US university course.

The students enrolled in the UNO course will study Caribbean poetry in English since 1900; look at the history, culture, politics, and languages of the region; interpret specific poems, and recognize significant themes, stated the course description.

Last Spring another HNP book published in St. Martin was involved with a US university course,” said Sample.

Love Labor Liberation in Lasana Sekou by Howard A. Fergus was a curriculum support text for “Music and Narrative in the Hispanic Caribbean,” a 300-level Spanish course taught by Prof. Anibal Gonzalez-Perez at Yale University.

Drisana “Debbie” Jack (L) with fellow poet Rene Violenus at the St. Martin Book Fair 2011. (CLF photo)

The selected bibliography that included the critical book about the St. Martin writer’s work was prepared for the Spring 2011 class by Lidia Uziel, Librarian for Western European Languages and Literature. Yale’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese has been ranked #1 in the USA by the National Research Council.

Dr. Fergus, the author of the book of literary criticism, hails from Montserrat.

The Yale University Library has also identified Love Labor Liberation as a book to study topics such as “Language and Literature” and “Criticism and interpretation” in the category of “Caribbean Area Civilization.”

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