Félix Morisseau-Leroy

Félix Morisseau-Leroy, New York City, April 14, 1991 – photo: Allen Ginsberg, courtesy Stanford University Libraries/Allen Ginsberg Estate

We’re old enough to remember Félix Morisseau-Leroy and Harry Smith sitting in Allen Ginsberg’s kitchen, in the Spring of 1991, late at night, swapping stories, two old men, curiously delighting in each others company.

Félix Morisseau-Leroy  (1912-1998) was a Haitian poet, a heroic figure, a playwright and story-teller, he wrote principally in Haitian Créole, the first significant writer to do so.

‘The Creole Renaissance is your legacy, Morisseau,  wrote fellow Haitian writer, Paul Laraque, ‘You were its pioneer, you are its center-pole”

He, virtually single-handedly, established Créole as a legitimate literary language.  He struggled, successfully, to make it the literary, educational, and official language of Haiti.

Beginning with Dyakout  and Antigòn an Kreyòl (the Créole Antigone, which was performed in Port-au-Prince in 1953 and at the Theater of Nations in Paris in 1959)

Here he is in 1957,  speaking of the importance of Créole in Haiti:

Here is his detailed 1983 note for UNESCO on “The Awakening of Créole Consciousness”

Read Jared Spears extensive essay and overview of Morrisseau-Leroy’s life and achievement – here

Listen to a radio profile by Steven Malagodi and Jeffrey KnappFélix Morisseau-Leroy – A Portrait of the Poet – here 

Here’s Geoffrey Philip‘s memories of Morisseau-Leroy

Here’s a brief note on him at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture 

Felix Morisseau-Leroy  reflecting on his Haitian identity back in 1992:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *