Rene Depestre

Rene Depestre is a celebrated and interesting poet from Haiti. He was born in Jacmel, Haiti on August 29, 1926 and was educated at Petion College, and at the Sorbonne (1946-1950).

As a result of his participation in the student-led movements of 1946, during the presidency of Elie Lescot, Depestre was imprisoned and experienced exile.

He lived in Cuba during two different periods: He was first invited by Nicolas Guillen, and later by Che Guevara. Depestre's stay in Cuba led to his writing being influenced by Alejo Carpentier's magical realism. He was also a founder of Casa de las Americas.

Rene Depestre has a vast collection of writings, and in addition to poetry, he has written novels, essays and journal articles. Below is a sampling of Depestre's writings:

  • Etincelles (1945)
  • Gerbe de sang (1946)
  • Un arc-en-ciel pour l'Occident chretien (1967)
  • Poet in Cuba (1973)
  • Le Mat de Cocagne (1979) - a novel
  • Alleluia pour une femme-jardin (1980)
  • Hadriana in All My Dreams (1988)
He won the Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle prize for his novel, Alleluia pour une femme-jardin, and numerous prizes for Hadriana in All My Dreams.

After leaving Cuba, Depestre worked for UNESCO until his retirement to France in 1986. Depestre travelled extensively throughout Europe, South America and Asia.


Janette Dolores said...

Wow, what a well-traveled and interesting poet. Thank you for introducing us to him, Yasmin! I was first introduced to magical realism as a genre upon reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, two enchanting writers.

Blessings to you and yours...

Yasmin Morais said...


Thanks for your comment. Rene Depestre is such an interesting poet. I am really glad to expose the poetry and poets of Haiti, which I am learning more about each day. I just love Marquez and Allende. I actually was introduced to magical realism when I first read Carpentier's El Reino de Este Mundo (The Kingdom of this World) as a part of my Spanish Literature course.

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