Sent Lisi – Poems and Art of Saint Lucia
Ihave almost run out of Saint Lucian prose to read (I have yet to tackle Rick’s), though this weekend it’s fitting that something local be reviewed. Poetry seems to intimidate me on the whole; there are only a few of the classics that I have grown to appreciate, the popular ones from T.S. Elliot, John Keats, and Samuel Coleridge. Then again, my first attempt at local poetry was Derek Walcott’s Nobel Prize winning, Omeros. Not the wisest choice I must admit, because after browsing through Sent Lisi, I realized there are many, beautiful pieces that I could have started with. “Sent Lisi” (creole for Saint Lucia) is a collection of poetry, paintings and photographs by some of Saint Lucia’s most renowned and appreciated artists. The ensemble was put together by writers: Kendel Hippolyte, Jane King, John Robert Lee and Vladimir Lucien. In the foreword by Jane King, the concept of the collection is explained to be a tribute to McDonald Dixon for his seventieth birthday. Dixon is a patriotic Saint Lucian who has spent most of his life contributing to the island’s governing, economics and arts. According to the foreword, Dixon has a special appreciation for the landscapes: past and present and his work as a writer always highlights the history of Saint Lucia and its stories. Dixon has been a long term friend with Sir Derek Walcott and the late Sir Dunstan St. Omer. Both of whom have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to Saint Lucia. The first poem by Derek Walcott shows this oath that he and Dunstan St. Omer had taken. McDonald Dixon and other Saint Lucian artists indirectly kept to this promise too.
“Sent Lisi” easily engulfs everything that represents McDonald Dixon’s love for Saint Lucia. Although all the paintings, photographs and poetry were extracted from already published work from all the artists, the flow and atmosphere of them together makes this collection special. I couldn’t have expressed it better than Jane King: “And remembering, as well, other happenings such as the Christmas Eve squealing of successive slaughtered pigs as the butcher moved from house to house down the street. The juxtaposition and sequencing of the poems in this collection, which have largely been the work of John Robert Lee, Kendel Hippolyte and Vladimir Lucien, have created a rich, nostalgic effect.”