René Philoctète

René Philoctète

René Philoctète (1932–1995) was born in Jérémie, Haiti. Inspired by Rimbaud, he published ten poetry collections, four plays, and three novels. In the early 1960s, he founded the Literary Haiti group, and then a few years later was cofounder of spiralism—the most marked movement in Haitian poetry of the 20th century. Philoctete’s work is based in Haitian realism, and his writing still has a political urgency to it, always fighting against violence and dictatorships.

Massacre River

by René Philoctète

Translated from the French by Linda Coverdale

With a contribution by Edwidge Danticat

In 1937 the power-mad racist Generalissimo Trujillo ordered the slaughter of thousands and thousands of Haitians—and, as Philoctète puts it, death set up shop everywhere. At the heart of Massacre River is the loving marriage of the Dominican Pedro and the Haitian Adèle in a little town on the Dominican border. On his way to work, Pedro worries that a massacre is in the making; an olive-drab truck packed with armed soldiers rumbles by.…
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The Haitian writer par excellence.
—Lyonel Trouillot
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