Lasana M. Sekou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lasana M. Sekou at CTO awards ceremony, New York, 2007

Lasana M. Sekou (born 12 January 1959) is a poet, short story writer, essayist, journalist, and publisher from the Caribbean island of Saint Martin.


Lasana M. Sekou has authored over 20 books and is considered one of the prolific Caribbean poets of his generation. Dr. Armando Lampe writes that "he's considered the 'Walcott' of the Dutch Caribbean"[1] because of his prolific output, the range of subject matter and unique literary styling, which often includes the use of Caribbean Creole languages, Spanish, French, and Dutch — sometimes in one poem.

Sekou's titles, such as the critically reviewed The Salt Reaper – poems from the flats[2][3][4] along with 37 Poems, Nativity, Brotherhood of the Spurs, and Hurricane Protocol have been required reading at Caribbean, South and North American, Italian, and United Kingdom universities.[5][6][7] The author is himself a graduate of Howard University (MA, Mass Communication, 1984)[8] and Stony Brook University (BA, Political Science/International Relations, 1982).[8]

Awards and honors include an International Writers Workshop Visiting Fellow (Hong Kong),[9] a James Michener Fellow (University of Miami), a knighthood (The Netherlands),[10] Recognition for literary excellence in the service of Caribbean unity (Dominican Republic),[8] Culture Time Literary Artist of the Decade,[8] and the Caribbean Tourism Organization Award of Excellence.[11]

Sekou's poetry and reviews of his works have appeared in Callaloo,[12] The Massachusetts Review,[13] Del Caribe,[14] De Gids,[15] Das Gedicht, Prometeo,[16] World Literature Today,[17] Caribbean Quarterly,[2] Postcolonial Text,[18] Jamaica Gleaner,[19][20] Caribbean Review of Books,[21] Boundary 2,[22] Harriet,[23] and Calabash.[24] His poems have been translated into Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Turkish, and Chinese.[8] Sekou has presented papers and recited his poetry at cultural and literary conferences and festivals in the Caribbean, North and South America,[25] Africa, Europe[26] and Asia. His recitals usually draw large crowds. In St. Martin he is often invited by schools, cultural organizations, and NGOs to recite his poetry and appears regularly on radio and TV discussing cultural, socio-historical, literary, and political issues.

The author's writings are used in high schools and in carnival stage presentations.[27] He is the editor of National Symbols of St. Martin – A Primer[28] and The Independence Papers, Vol. 1;[29] and the producer of Fête – The first recording of Traditional St. Martin festive music by Tanny & The Boys.[30][31] Sekou can be heard reciting his own poetry on The Salt Reaper – Selected poems from the flats (Audio CD, 2009) with music produced by award-winning digital arts designer Angelo Rombley.[32][33]

Sekou founded House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) in his dorm room at New York's Stony Brook University in 1980. His second book, For The Mighty Gods... An Offering, with an introduction by Amiri Baraka, was the first book published by HNP in 1982. The indie press has been publishing his work (and others) since that time. He remains active as HNP's projects director since establishing the company in Philipsburg, St. Martin in 1984. At House of Nehesi Publishers Sekou secured the publication of literary luminaries and pioneers such as George Lamming,[34] Kamau Brathwaite,[35] Amiri Baraka,[36] Tishani Doshi, Shake Keane,[8][37] Chiqui Vicioso,[8][38] Howard Fergus,[8] Marion Bethel,[39] and the Palestinian author Nidaa Khoury,[40] notable for her concept of post-monotheism. A host of first-time and previously-published authors from St. Martin and other territories and countries such as Ian Valz, Charles Borromeo Hodge, Jennie N. Wheatley, Wendy-Ann Diaz, Jay Haviser, Laurelle Yaya Richards, Patricia G. Turnbull, Sara Florian, Yvonne Weekes, and N.C. Marks have also been published by HNP.[41]

In 2003, Sekou was invited to co-found the St. Martin Book Fair by its founder Shujah Reiph, a leading cultural activist and president of the Conscious Lyrics Foundation.[42][43]

Sekou is an advocate for the independence of St. Martin, which is a colony of France and the Netherlands.[29][44] In the 1994 and 2000 consultative constitutional status referendums that were held in the Southern or Dutch part of St. Martin, Sekou was a leading organizer and speaker for the Independence option as a member of the Independence for St. Martin Foundation, of which his brother and political scientist Joseph H. Lake, Jr., was the founding president.[8]



  • Love Songs Make You Cry (1989)
  • Brotherhood of the Spurs (1997, 2007)
  • Love Songs Make You Cry – Second Edition (2014)
  • Fraternidad de las espuelas (2018)

Poetry collections[edit]

  • Moods for Isis – Picturepoems of Love & Struggle (1978)
  • For the Mighty Gods … An Offering (1982)
  • Images in the Yard (1983)
  • Maroon Lives … For Grenadian Freedom Fighters (1983)
  • Born Here (House of Nehesi, 1986)
  • Nativity & Monologues For Today (1988)
  • Mothernation – Poems from 1984 to 1987 (1991)
  • Quimbé … The Poetics of Sound (1991)
  • The Salt Reaper – Poems from the flats (2004, 2005)
  • 37 Poems (2005)
  • Nativity / Nativité / Natividad – Trilingual Edition (2010)
  • Corazón de pelícano – Antología poética de Lasana M. Sekou/Pelican Heart – An Anthology of Poems by Lasana M. Sekou Edited by Emilio Jorge Rodríguez (2010)
  • Musa desnuda – Selección, introducción y notas Emilio Jorge Rodríguez (2011)
  • Maroon Lives Tribute to Maurice Bishop & Grenadian Freedom Fighters. Revolution As Poetic Inspiration: Grenada in Maroon Lives (2013). Poetry collection by Lasana M. Sekou; with literary essay by Fabian Adekunle Badejo
  • Book of The Dead (2016)
  • Hurricane Protocol (2019)
  • 37 Poems (2020) Second Edition. eBook.


  • Big Up St. Martin – Essay & Poem (1999)


  • The Salt Reaper – selected poems from the flats. Mountain Dove Records, 2009.


  • Tanny & The Boys. Fête – The First Recording of Traditional St. Martin Festive Music. Mountain Dove Records, 1992, 2007.

Edited publications[edit]

  • The Independence Papers – Readings on a New Political Status for St. Maarten/St. Martin, Volume 1 (1990),
  • Fête – Celebrating St. Martin Traditional Festive Music (1992, 2007),
  • National Symbols of St. Martin – A Primer (1996, 1997),
  • Chester York – Making of A Panman (1999),
  • Gassy – Champion Cyclist (1999),
  • St. Martin Massive! A Snapshot of Popular Artists (2000),
  • Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin (2013).
  • Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in Anguilla (2015).
  • Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in the Virgin Islands (2016).


  1. ^ Lampe, Armando. "Examen de libros por la aparición de Double Play." RMC, 10 (2000), 233–240.
  2. ^ a b Mary Hanna, " The Salt Reaper: Poems from the flats by Lasana M. Sekou" (review), Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 1, CARIBBEAN LITERATURE: "The Unity Is Submarine" (March, 2009), pp. 106–109. JSTOR.
  3. ^ "The Salt Reaper : Poems from the Flats". Retrieved 2013-11-05.
  4. ^ "Jamaica Gleaner Online".
  5. ^ "British University Teaching St Martin Poet's Literature At Birmingham; Venezuelan Anthology With 3 Bajan Writers", Bajan Reporter, 22 October 2010.
  6. ^’s-nativity-in-"caribbean-civilization"-class-at-uwi-trinidad/
  7. ^ "Literature. Second university in Italy teaches new Love Songs by Lasana Sekou", SXMinfo, 7 July 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "About the authors", House of Nehesi.
  9. ^ "IWW". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  10. ^ "Sekou Knighted". Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  11. ^ "CTO ready to honour key players | News". Breaking Travel News. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  12. ^ "Lasana M. Sekou", Quimbé 1.
  13. ^ Lasana M. Sekou, "Liberation Theology", The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 35, No. 3/4 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 540–543. JSTOR.
  14. ^ Del Caribe (Revista).
  15. ^ "De Gids | Sinds 1837".
  16. ^ Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín.
  17. ^ Ervin Beck, "The Salt Reaper: Poems from the Flats by Lasana M. Sekou" (review), World Literature Today, Vol. 80, No. 2 (March–April 2006), p. 58. JSTOR.
  18. ^ Chika Unigwe, "The Salt Reaper: Poems from the Flat" (review), Postcolonial Text, Vol. 2, No. 3 (2006).
  19. ^ "Jamaica Gleaner News - Salt of the earth finds voice - Friday | March 17, 2006". Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  20. ^ "Jamaica Gleaner News - Sekou writes with 'erotic power' - Sunday | 5 November 2006". 2006-11-05. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  21. ^ "The Caribbean Review of Books • A quarterly review of Caribbean literature and culture".
  22. ^ Lasana Sekou (20 June 2006). "shiphole II winternights". Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  23. ^ Mark Nowak, "Labor Love", Harriet, Poetry Foundation.
  24. ^ "Lasana M. Sekou : Mariposa" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  25. ^ "Eterno tiempo de siembra (Lasana Sekou, Saint Martin)". YouTube. 5 June 2007. Archived from the original on 2021-12-20. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  26. ^ Remi Raji, "Poetry Africa 2001: Cultural Commitment and the Eruption of Verse", N.I.A. Nigerians In America, 24 August 2002.
  27. ^ "The Salt Reaper - Selected Poems From the Flats" at CDBaby.
  28. ^ "Lasana Sekou Table", ChickenBones.
  29. ^ a b "Lasana M. Sekou", Poetry International Rotterdam.
  30. ^ "Tanny and the Boys: Living Monument from St. Martin", Mike Esposito's Latin and Caribbean Travel Blog, 2 June 2013.
  31. ^ "The Salt Reaper – selected poems from the flats by Lasana M. Sekou". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-05.
  32. ^ "Repeating Islands". Repeating Islands. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  33. ^ "Lasana M. Sekou | The Salt Reaper - Selected Poems From the Flats". CD Baby. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  34. ^ About the authors: George Lamming.
  35. ^ About the authors: Kamau Brathwaite.
  36. ^ About the authors: Amiri Baraka.
  37. ^ Philip Nanton, "Real Keane", Caribbean Beat, Issue 66 (March/April 2004).
  38. ^ Diario Libre.
  39. ^ "Barbadian Poet Praises 'Guanahani, My Love' by Marion Bethel for Magical Realism, As Author Continues Her Book Tour", Bajan Reporter, 16 March 2010.
  40. ^ "Book of Sins (House of Nehesi Publishers) by Palestinian/Israeli poet Nidaa Khoury", Contemporary World Poetry Journal, Spring 2011.
  41. ^ "Geoffrey Philp". Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  42. ^ "Experience St. Maarten/St. Martin - Arts & Culture". 1980-04-29. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  43. ^ "Welcome to House of Nehesi Publishers". Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  44. ^ "Lasana M. Sekou - Writers Unlimited". 2 March 2005. Retrieved 16 January 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allen-Agostini, Lisa, "S'maatin poems." The Caribbean Review of Books Feb. 2006.
  • Badejo, Fabian Ade, "Negritude in the Forgotten Territories: Lasana Mwanza Sekou and Aimé Césaire". Negritude: Legacy and Present Relevance. Eds. Isabelle Constant and Kahiudi C. Mabana. UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.
  • Badejo, Fabian Ade, "Where I See The Sun … I see harvest", Werkgroep Caraïbische Letteren, 01.09.2013.
  • Badejo, Fabian Adekunle, Salted Tongues – Modern Literature in St. Martin. St. Martin: House of Nehesi Publishers, 2003.
  • Balderston, Daniel and Gonzalez, Mike, eds., Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Literature, 1900–2003. New York: Routledge, 2004.
  • Brown, Stewart, & Mark McWatt, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. London: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • CDV – Antillen/Aruba: uit de gunst. Amsterdam: Boom Tijdschriften, Winter, 2005.
  • Fergus, Howard A., Love Labor Liberation in Lasana Sekou, St. Martin: House of Nehesi Publishers, 2007.
  • Ferguson, James, ed., Traveller's Literary Companion – The Caribbean. London: In Print Publishing Ltd., Coleridge House, 1997.
  • Figueredo, D. H., ed., Encyclopedia of Caribbean Literature. Connecticut; London: Greenwood Press, 2006.
  • Florian, Sara PhD, Caribbean Counterpoint: The Aesthetics of Salt in Lasana Sekou, St. Martin: House of Nehesi Publishers, 2019.
  • Gibbs, Jeanean, ed., Gurus and Griots, Poems and Poets of Africa, of America, and the Caribbean. Palm Tree Enterprises Inc., 1987.
  • Kobbe, Montague, The Prose of Diction: Lasana Sekou’s Short Stories. Memo from La-La Land, 29 November 2009.
  • Lampe, Dr. Armando, ed., The Future Status of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba: FUNDINI, 1994.
  • Las palabras pueden: Los escritorios y la infancia/ Words Are Powerful: Writers and Childhood. Panama: UNICEF, 2007.
  • Lasana Sekou to PM and President Hanson: Denounce Dominican Republic's Racist Law Against its Black Citizens. MNI Global Caribbean Media, 8 December 2013.
  • Rutgers, Wim, ed., Tropentaal 200 jaar Antilliaanse vertelkunst. Amsterdam/Antwerpen: Uitgeverij Contact, 2001.
  • Stemmen van Overzee. Toekomstdromen. Amsterdam: KIT Publishers, 2004.
  • Smith, Wycliffe S., ed., Winds Above the Hills. St. Maarten Council on the Arts, 1982.
  • Smith, Wycliffe S., ed., Windward Islands Verse, A Survey of Poetry in the Dutch Windward Islands. 1981.
  • Ward, Rochelle, Tell Me Again: Lasana M. Sekou's Love Songs Make You Cry, RW | Rochelle Ward, 16 July 2014.
  • Writers of Post-colonial English Speaking Countries. Hong Kong: International Writers Workshop, 2004.

External links[edit]