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René Depestre[René_DEPESTRE]

 
  René_DEPESTRE

Ville de résidence: Jacmel, Haïti
A une langue maternelle A une langue maternelle


Biographie René Depestre

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Biographie René Depestre

Écrivain haïtien né le 29 août 1926 à Jacmel (Haïti). Son enfance est marquée à la fois par la mort de son père, de graves soucis matériels et l'émerveillement que lui inspirent la mer, la nature et le surréalisme mystique de la vie en Haïti. À dix-neuf ans, il publie «Étincelles», son premier recueil, qui lui vaut un succès immédiat et lui permet de rencontrer de grands intellectuels, parmi lesquels André Breton et Aimé Césaire.
Au cours de ses diverses pérégrinations et de son séjour à Cuba, René Depestre poursuit une œuvre poétique importante. En 1978, il s'installe dans le sud de la France à Lézignan-Corbières. Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle en 1973 avec "Alléluia pour une femme-jardin" ; prix Renaudot en 1988 avec "Hadriana dans tous mes rêves". Il reçoit le prix Apollinaire pour son recueil poétique "Anthologie personnelle" paru aux éditions Actes Sud en 1993. Depuis 20 ans, il travaille sur le thème de la négritude et se rapproche des écrivains de la créolité moderne ; il publie des essais littéraires où il analyse la contribution des noirs à la culture occidentale. En 2006, paraît « Rage de vivre. Œuvres poétiques complètes » aux éditions Seghers.

Principaux recueils de poèmes :

•Étincelles. Port-au-Prince: Imprimerie de l'État, 1945.
•Gerbe de sang. Port-au-Prince: Imprimerie de l'État, 1946. Étincelles suivi de Gerbes de sang. Port-au-Prince: Presses Nationales d'Haïti, 2006.
•Végétation de clartés. (préface d'Aimé Césaire). Paris: Seghers, 1951.
•Traduit du grand large. Paris: Seghers, 1952.
•Minerai noir. Paris: Présence Africaine, 1956.
•Journal d'un animal marin. Paris: Seghers, 1964.
•Un Arc-en-ciel pour l'Occident chrétien. Paris: Présence Africaine, 1967.
•Cantate d'octobre (édition bilingue). La Havane: Institut du Livre; Alger: SNED, 1968.
•Poète à Cuba. (préface de Claude Roy). Paris: Oswald, 1976.
•En état de poésie. Paris: Éditeurs Français Réunis, 1980.
•Au matin de la négritude. (préface de Georges-Emmanuel Clancier). Paris: Euroediteur, 1990.
•Journal d'un animal marin (choix de poèmes 1956-1990). Paris: Gallimard, 1990.
•Anthologie personnelle. Arles: Actes Sud, 1993.
•"Adieu à la Révolution" et "En fils créole de la francophonie". In: Écrire la «parole de nuit»; la nouvelle littéraire antillaise. Paris: Gallimard (folio, essais), 1994: 53-55; 56-57.
•Non-assistance à poètes en danger (recueil). Préface de Michel Onfray. Paris: Seghers, 2005.
•Rage de vivre: oeuvres poétiques complètes. Paris: Seghers, 2006, 528 p.


***


René Depestre (born 29 August 1926) is a Haitian poet and communist. He lived in Cuba as an exile from the Duvalier regime for many years and was a founder of the Casa de las Americas publishing house. He is best known for his poetry.

The city of Jacmel, his birthplace, is often evoked in his poetry and his novels, in particular Hadriana In All My Dreams (1988). He did his primary studies with the Breton Brothers of Christian Instruction. His father died in 1936 and Rene Depestre left his mother, his two brothers and his two sisters to go live with his maternal grandmother. From 1940 to 1944, he completed his secondary studies at the Pétion college in Port-au-Prince.

Étincelles (Sparks), his first collection of poetry, appeared in 1945, prefaced by Edris Saint-Amand. He was only nineteen years old when the work was published. The poems were influenced by the marvelous realism of Alejo Carpentier, who planned a conference on this subject in Haiti in 1942. Depestre created a weekly magazine with three friends: Baker, Alexis, and Gerald Bloncourt: The Hive (1945–46). “One wanted to help the Haitians to become aware of their capacity to renew the historical foundations of their identity” (quote from Le métier à métisser). The Haitian government at the time seized the 1945 edition which was published in honor of André Breton, which led to the insurrection of 1946. Depestre met with all his Haitian intellectual contemporaries, including Jean Price-Mars, Léon Laleau, and René Bélance, who wrote the preface to his second collection, Gerbe de sang, in 1946. He also met with foreign intellectuals. He took part in and directed the revolutionary student movements of January 1946, which led to the overthrow of President Élie Lescot. The Army very quickly seized power, and Depestre was arrested and imprisoned before being exiled. He pursued his studies in letters and political science at the Sorbonne from 1946 - 1950. In Paris, he met French surrealist poets as well as foreign artists, and intellectuals of the négritude (Black) movement who coalesced around Alioune Diop and Présence Africaine.

Depestre took an active part in the decolonization movements in France, and he was expelled from French territory. He left for Prague, from where he was driven out in 1952. He went to Cuba, invited by the writer Nicolás Guillén, where again he was stopped and expelled by the government of Fulgencio Batista. He was denied entry by France and Italy. He left for Austria, then Chile, Argentina and Brazil. He remained in Chile long enough to organize, with Pablo Neruda and Jorge Amado, the Continental Congress of Culture.

After Brazil, Depestre returned to Paris in 1956 where he met other Haitians, including Jacques-Stephen Alexis. He took part in the first Pan-African congress organized by Présence Africaine in September 1956. He wrote in Présence Africaine and other journals of the time such as Esprit, and Lettres Francaises. He returned to Haiti in (1956–57). Refusing to collaborate with the Duvalierist regime, he called on Haitians to resist, and was placed under house arrest. Depestre left for Cuba in 1959, at the invitation of Che Guevara. Convinced of the aims of the Cuban Revolution, he helped with managing the country (Ministry for Foreign Relations, National Publishing, National Council of Culture, Radio Havana-Cuba, Las Casas de las Américas, The Committee for the Preparation of the Cultural Congress of Havana in 1967). Depestre travelled, taking part in official activities (the USSR, China, Vietnam, etc.) and took part in the first Pan-African Cultural Festival (Algiers, 1969), where he met the Congolese writer Henri Lopes, with whom he would work later, at UNESCO.
His work has been published in the United States, the former Soviet Union, France, Italy, Cuba, Peru, Brazil, Vietnam, Argentina, and Mexico. His first volume of poetry, Sparks (Etincelles) was published in Port-au-Prince in 1945. Other publications include Gerbe de sang (Port-au-Prince, 1946), Végétation de clartés, preface by Aimé Césaire, (Paris, 1951), Traduit du grand large, poème de ma patrie enchainée, (Paris, 1952), Minerai noir, (Paris, 1957), Journal d'un animal marin (Paris, 1964), Un arc-en-ciel pour l'occident chrétien poeme mystère vaudou, (Paris, 1966). His poetry has appeared in many French and Spanish anthologies and collections. More current works include Anthologie personnelle (1993) and Actes sud, for which he received the Prix Apollinaire. He has spent many years in France, and was awarded the French literary prize, the prix Renaudot, in 1988 for his work Hadriana dans Tous mes Rêves.

He is the uncle of Michaëlle Jean, the current Governor General of Canada.

Selected works
Etincelles (1945)
Gerbes de Sang (1946)
Végétations de Clarté (1951)
Traduit du Grand Large (1952)
Bonjour et Adieu la Négritude
Hadriana dans Tous mes Rêves
Ode à Malcolm X: Grande Brigitte



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