Sent Lisi – Po­ems and Art of Saint Lucia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BOOK REVIEW - By Clau­dia Elei­box

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.”

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