GREAT BAY, St. Martin – “For Sekou, the commitment to struggle means working in all areas of literary production, forging communities across borders and languages,” said professor and literary critic Juliana Spahr.
Dr. Spahr introduced the St. Martin writer Lasana M. Sekou to the Mills College Contemporary Writers Series (CWS) in Oakland, California, on February 23, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).
Sekou opened his hour-and-a-half solo “literary event” with two new poems, “Labrish” and “Citizen,” to a full house of students, faculty and other guests in the elegant Mills Hall Living Room, said Sample.
He then launched into varied St. Martin, Caribbean-wide and international-issue poems from his books 37 Poems and The Salt Reaper, both published by HNP.
The students of Spahr, a Mills associate professor, had studied The Salt Reaper before Sekou’s arrival and were ready with questions for the author following his recital.
Spahr’s introduction to Sekou was actually a critique of his work prepared by author David Buuck who called Sekou “a fierce advocate for the independence of his home nation St. Martin.”
Sekou’s California appearance also took him across the Bay Bridge SPT executive director Samantha Giles said, “It was a pretty spectacular night!”
The poem, with music by Angelo Rombley, is from The Salt Reaper CD (2009), which is available in St. Martin bookstores and downloadable online.
The 35-year-old SPT is housed at California College of the Arts-San Francisco. Sekou autographed books at both readings.
“After returning home early last week Lasana got the news that his poem ‘Haiti 200’ was selected by Amazon.com for its Haiti earthquake ‘MP3 albums’ list,” said Sample.
As for the California trip, the author said that he enjoyed meeting the students, professors, community activists, authors such as Patricia Powell and David Buuck, upcoming poets like Raphael Cohen, and the CWS and SPT organizers.
Caption1:(L-R) Mills College prof. Stephanie Young, author Taylor Brady, SPT executive director Samantha Giles, poet Lasana M. Sekou at SPT reading, California. (Saltwater Collection)