August 27, 2014

Anthony Phelps

Anthony Phelps [Haiti]


 Anthony Phelps was born on August 25, 1928 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He studied humanities as a young man at the Collège Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague and chemistry at Seton Hall University in New Jersey (1950-1953). Later, he studied ceramics at Montréal’s École des Beaux-Arts.
     Returning to Haiti, Phelps became the director of cultural programming at Radio-Cacique, producing weekly programs of poetry and theater. In the early 1960s, he founded the journal Semences and directed a theater troup, Prisme.
     Phelps was also involved with the establishment of the poets known as Haiti littéraire, which included poets Davertige, Serge Legagneur, Roland Morisseau, René Philoctète, and Auguste Thénor.
     During this same period, Phelps published three volumes of poetry, Éte (1960), Présence (1961), and Éclats de silence (1962).    
     In 1964 Phelps immigrated to Quebec, working first as a cameraman with Productions Ville-Marie and acting at Le Théâtre de l’Estoc, before joining Radio-Canada in Montreal, where he spent many year before retiring to devote himself entirely to his writing.
      The poet, however, also was talented as well in other genres, publishing two volumes of short stories, Mon que voice, suivi de Les dits du feu-aux-cailloux (1968) and Et moi je suis une île (1973), novels, Moins l’infini, Roman haïtien (1973), Mémoire en colin-maillard (1976), essays and dramas.
      Since the 1960s he has continued to produce a great number of other volumes of poetry. He was won the Boursier of the Arts Council of Canada several times, and has twice been awarded the Poetry Prize of Casa de las Americas, Cuba. In 2012 he refused an award from Haiti since he had been forced into exile from the still unprosecuted Jean Claude Duvalier regime.
      In 2014 Phelps won the International Poetry Prize Gatien Lapinte-Jaime Sabines.
      Phelps work has been translated into several languages.


Été (Port-au-Prince: Impr. N. A. Théodore [Collection “Samba”], 1960); Présence (Port-au-Prince: Haïti-Littéraire, 1961); Éclats de silence (Port-au-Prince: Art Graphique Presse [Collection Haïti-Littéraire], 1961);  Points cardinaux (Montréal: Rinehart et Winston, 1966); Motifs pour le temps saisonnier (Paris: P. J. Osward, 1976); La Bélière caraïbe (Havana, Cuba: Casa des las Américas, 1980/Montréal: Nouvelle Optique, 1980); Même le solei lest nu (Montéal: Nouvelle Optique, 1983); Orchidée nègre (Montréal: Triptyque, 1987); Les doubles quatrains mauves (Port-au-Prince: Éditions Mémoire, 1995); Immobile Voyageuse de Picas et autres silences (Montéal: CIDIHCA, 2000); Femme Améique (Trois-Rivières, Canada: Écrits des Forges/Marseille: Autres Temps, 2004); Une phrase lented de violoncelle (Montréal: Éditions du Noroît, 2005); Une plague intemporelle (Montréal: Éditions du Noroît, 2011)

For a poem, “When Writing Becomes Smoke,” go here:

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