Review: When the Pipirite Sings

When the Pipirite Sings presents the collected poems of Haitian poet and doctor Jean Métellus, who wrote primarily in French. The collection most notably includes the first English translation of his signature work by the same title. 

Métellus tackles many powerful subjects, from colonial oppression to Haitian spiritual and cultural identity. He uses powerful and at times vivid language to deal with these themes. But make no mistake, the poems in When the Pipirite Sings (digital galley, Northwestern University Press) have a high specific gravity and can be slow to get through.

It’s good to see literary translations from Caribbean countries being published in English. As close neighbors – and the destination of many a vacationer – it’s important that these books be made available so that U.S. readers can better understand the cultural history of the region.

Book publish date: April 15, 2019