A Kiss to the Land
by Denizé Lauture,
Poems selected and introduced by Antonino D’Ambrosio
Invoking the dreams of his Haitian ancestors, who now haunt his memories, Denizé Lauture’s poetry is imbued with a sense of never forgetting, reminding us all that the story of enduring must continue to be written, spoken, and dreamt. Writing and performing in Creole, French, and English, it’s impossible to turn away from Lauture’s moving and delightful poetry, which reverberates with all that he has experienced. At once a meaningful protest through the medium of words and sounds as well as a celebration of bearing witness, Lauture’s poetry retains an indefatigable spirit. There is something in Lauture’s work that emanates a quiet insurgency. It may come from his country’s history. Haiti defeated not one but three European powers—Britain, France, and Spain—on its way to securing independence after a successful slaves revolt. Lauture’s life’s work ensures that history doesn’t evaporate into the mist sprayed by those who want to tell a different story, one made unreal by spectacle and corrupted by the complicity of silence. We should read, see, and listen to Lauture who knows it’s the poet that shows us that it’s not about if we can but that we must —and will—prevail. –From Antonino D’Ambrosio’s essay, The Floating Homeland
Denizé Lauture lives in the Bronx and teaches at Saint-Thomas Aquinas College across the Hudson River in Sparkill. Born the son of humble peasants, he left Haiti in 1968. Lauture was then a machinist and welder, and had not graduated from high school. He worked as a welder in Harlem and attended evening classes at The City College of New York. Lauture received a B.A. in Sociology in 1977, a M.S. in Bilingual Education at CCNY, and a M.A. in Spanish Literature at Lehman College; he did additional graduate studies at Fordham University and at the Graduate Center. Lauture writes in Haitian Creole, English, and French. He has published ten books including poetry and stories for children.