Sekou’s new Nativity book to launch Saturday in English, French and Spanish

GREAT BAY, St. Martin —Lasana Sekou’s new poetry book Nativity/Nativité/Natividad will be launched at the closing ceremony of the St. Martin Book Fair on Saturday, June 5, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers.

“We are inviting our book party and book fair friends and new guests from all walks of life to the book launch for Lasana’s Nativity” at the Marigot Public Library, at 8 pm, said Sample.

The guest speaker at the cultural affair will be Dr. Christian Campbell, a Rhodes Scholar from The Bahamas who is also a professor at the University of Toronto. The cover of the 220-page book is illustrated with the “Adam” and “Eve” sculptures of the great Colombian artist Fernando Botero.

Nativity/Nativité/Natividad is Sekou’s first title in English with the French and Spanish translations in one book. “In nine haunting segments,” Nativity is “a bold narrative, long overdue (that) centralizes the region’s indigenous, African, Asian connections. A triumph of Caribbean aesthetics,” said Dr. Conrad M. James of the University of Birmingham, UK.

In the book’s introduction Canadian historian Afua Cooper wrote that, “Lasana M. Sekou’s Nativity is a stunning rich, complex, and multilayered narrative poem that is simultaneously dirge, rant, condemnation, protest, prophesy, love chant, and celebration.”

According to literary critic Fabian Badejo, Nativity is written in the canto general style of the Americas. The book ends with a glossary of references to the people, places and symbols that the St. Martin author employs to craft his “epic quality” poetry, said Sample.

References range from Middle Region to Concordia; from Morant Bay uprising to Congo Square dancing in New Orleans; from ancient Mexico to ancient Ethiopia; from Hakka Chinese to Hosay in Trinidad; from maroons in Colombia and Venezuela to white indentured; from jumbie characters to children’s traditional games; from the Haitian quake to insisting on the discipline of science and technology as essential to liberation.

The glossary is also in three languages and works as a quick history lesson, said linguist and literature instructor Rhoda Arrindell. “The poetry and the glossary work together to make the poetry our own, to feel and come to know it, and to understand deeper the myriad of intellectual, cultural, popular, and political movements linking all of these people, places, and aesthetics that inhabit Nativity/Nativité/Natividad,” said Arrindell.

Sekou will recite newer poetry and selections from this new edition Nativity at the book party, which is the highlight of the closing ceremony of the 8th annual St. Martin Book Fair on Saturday. The author will sign autographs after the reading.

Nativity is available at Van Dorp and Arnia’s bookstores and at Amazon.com.

Caption: Nativity/Nativité/Natividad, new book of poetry by St. Martin writer Lasana M. Sekou baring images on the cover from Colombian master artist Fernando Botero.

Caption: Lasana M. Sekou to read new poetry Saturday night at Marigot Public Library

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