Born 1928 in Port-au-Prince. Haitian poet; writes in French.
Phelps was educated in Canada and the USA. The poems of his first collections—Summer (1960), Presence (1961), and The Radiant Silence (1962)—are notable for their intellectuality; they are intended for an intimate circle of readers. In later works, Phelps, like other progressive poets of Haiti, expressed the indignation of progressive forces at the terrorist policies of the dictator Duvalier. In 1964, after a short prison term, Phelps emigrated to Canada; his narrative poem “The Four Corners of the Earth” (1964) is dedicated to Montreal. In the collection Thou, My Country (1968), he creates the tragic and lyric image of a beautiful country oppressed by poverty but retaining the hope for liberation and the memory of its heroic past. His free verse is complex and rhythmically varied. Phelps is the author of several plays and the novel Minus Infinity (1973; Russian translation, 1975), which deals with modern Haiti.
WORKSIn Russian translation:
[“Stikhi.”] In Inostrannaia literatura, 1963, no. 3.
[“Dve poemy i stikhi.”] In the collection Vzorvannoe molchanie: Sovremennaia poeziia Gaiti. [Afterword by E. Gal’perina. Moscow, 1968.]
REFERENCESVaksmakher, M. “Nachinaetsia vremia nadezhdy.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1969, no. 11.
Gal’perina, E. “Minus beskonechnost’—tragediia Gaiti.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1974, no. 1.
E. L. GALPERINA