Brierre, Jean–Fernand (1909–1992)

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Brierre, Jean–Fernand (1909–1992)

Jean-Fernand Brierre (pseud. Jean-François; b. 28 September 1909; d. 24 December 1992). Haitian writer and government official in Haiti and Senegal. In 1932, after serving as secretary to the Haitian Embassy in Paris (1929–1930), Brierre founded the opposition newspaper La Bataille. The paper was suspended and Brierre was imprisoned. After an appointment as inspector of schools in Jérémie, Brierre finally became ambassador to Argentina under President Paul Magloire. Imprisoned again by President François Duvalier in 1961, Brierre left for Jamaica. He settled in Dakar when Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor offered him a position in the ministry of culture.

Brierre's writing has been characterized by a celebration of the suffering and the triumphs of black people, especially Haitians. Addressing both slaves and his contemporaries in "Black Soul," Brierre wrote that "the black serpent of pain ripples through the contortions of your body." A current of Christian ideology informs even his more erotic poetry. Brierre published copiously from his early twenties into his seventies in Haiti, Argentina, Paris, and Dakar. His name has been associated variously with the Haitian Indigenist poets as well as with the negritude poets.

Works by Jean-Fernand Brierre include: Le drapeau de demain (play, 1931); Chansons secrètes (poetry, 1933); Nous garderons le dieu (poetry, 1945); Les aïeules (drama, 1945); Black Soul (poetry, 1947); Belle (drama, 1948); Dessalines nous parle (poetry, 1953); Au milieu des flammes (drama, 1953); Les horizons sans ciel (novel, 1953); Pétion et Bolivar, avec Adieu à la Marseillaise (poetry, 1955); La Source (poetry, 1956); La Nuit (poetry, 1957); Hommage au Maître Occilius Jeanty (poetry, 1960); Cantique à trois voix pour une poupée d'ébène (poetry, 1960); Or, uranium, cuivre, radium (poetry, 1961); Découvertes (poetry, 1966); Un autre monde (essay, 1973); Images d'argile et d'or (poetry, 1977); Un Noël pour Gorée (poetry, 1980); and Sculptures de proue (poetry, 1983).

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Naomi M. Garret, The Renaissance of Haitian Poetry (1963), pp. 148-158.

Maurice A. Lubin, "Jean-F. Brierre and His Work," in Black World 22, no. 3 (1973): 36-48.

F. Raphaël Berrou and Pradel Pompilus, Histoire de la littérature haitïenne illustrée par les textes, vol. 3 (1977), pp. 190-237.

Max Dominique, L'Arme de la critique littéraire: Littérature et idéologie en Haïti (1988), pp. 173-203.

Additional Bibliography

Pierre-Louis, Ulysse. L'univers poétique de Jean F. Rrierre [sic]: Une obsédante quête d'identité. Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Editions Christophe, 1997.

                                           Carrol F. Coates