Reviews

Ninth Letter is pleased to present the work of Regine Rousseau. A poet born in Chicago who grew up in Haiti, Rousseau was a semi-finalist for the 2011 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic competition, and is the author of the poetry collection Searching for Cloves and Lilies…At the recent AWP conference in Chicago I participated on a panel organized by the writer Andy Johnson, “The Book and the Flame: Expatriate Writers in Africa,” and when fellow panelist Regine Rousseau read and sang her poem “After the Quake,” she put panelists and audience in a trance as well.

Philip Graham, Ninth Letter

“Rousseau grew up in Haiti. After reading several more poems, she said that she wanted to end with one about Haiti called ‘After the Quake.’ She had actually written it before the earthquake of 2010, she said, but later added some lines to refer to that disaster, and also used some lyrics from songs by Boukman Eksperyans, the famous Haitian band. She read the poem in a voice that was both light and mournful, and, when she came to the song lyrics, she sang them. The tune descended to an unexpected combination of notes at the end of each refrain, and the simplicity and strength and heart with which she sang stopped the whole of the Hue-Man Bookstore in its tracks. People elsewhere in the store lifted their heads to listen; applause came from many directions when she was done. She asked her audience for final questions, but nobody said anything. They were still in a trance.”

Philip Graham, Ninth Letter

ABSTRACT: Talk story about a reading by Regine Rousseau at the Hue-Man Bookstore and a meeting of the Freedom Socialist Party at Freedom Hall in Harlem.

Ian Frazier, The New Yorker

“Oh, I read SfCaL by the way. It came in the mail a few days ago. VERY good! EXCELLENT in fact….I’m STILL laughing….”

Randell S. Chicago, IL

“Ms. Rousseau, I purchased your book after I saw that Nancy posted on her page. My Searching for Cloves and Lilies came in the mail yesterday and your work is just delightful. Deeply spiritual, steeped in love and connection. Amazing. Thank you.”

Melody W. Chicago, IL

“..at last got a chance to sit down with Cloves and Lilies. I enjoyed reading it! Such a wide range of poems. Some of them were fun and steamy 🙂 but actually I found a lot of the poems very serious and melancholy. Very interesting. I thought the book turned out well, I hope you’re pleased with it!!”

Rebecca W. New York, New York

“Got your book. I love it!”

Tye J. , Chicago, IL

“It’s always amazing to me how sometimes, a person you may have known only a precious few weeks can come to understand and articulate your essence better than souls that you may have known a lifetime. Very few things in this life have been more humbling to me than the poem that my friend, Regine Rousseau, penned about me–of all people–which is now included in her new book, Searching for Cloves and Lilies.”

Ron E. Childs, Chicago, IL

When a new author jumps on the scene and honors you with a poem written on your behalf…well, what can you do but send BIGGUPS! Self promotion set aside, the poems are personal, fluid, hilarious, serious and thought-provoking. Check out this event…and most of all, enjoy the book!!”

Nancy Deller, Paris , France

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