Yes, my memoir, A Sky the Color of Chaos (Beating Windward Press, 2015), is available for pre-order!

The book chronicles my childhood during the turbulent rise and fall of Haiti’s President-Priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide—a time of nightly shootings, home invasions, robberies, and the burning of former regime members in neighborhood streets. During the late 1980s and 90s, from when I was eight-years-old to 18, Haiti’s government changed forms eight times; the Haitian people endured fraudulent elections, three military coups, a crippling embargo, and a United Nations occupation.

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I want to thank Dan Wakefield, professor and friend nonpareil, and source of great support, great counsel, and encouragement. My gratitude to John Dufresne for his guidance. I am indebted to the very patient Les Standiford who cheered me on to the finish line. Special thanks to Bruce Harvey and Debra Dean, whose suggestions and advice have been invaluable. Thank you, Edwidge Danticat, Johnny Temple, and Lynne Barrett, for your support.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to Vicki Hendricks, Kim Barnes, M. Evelina Galang, and Madeleine Blais, who had faith in me and who encouraged me as a writer at a time when I needed it most. I will never forget your kindness.

Merci, mèsi, gracias to friends and family who read and commented on this memoir as it was written. A million thanks wouldn’t be enough. Your feedback on the various drafts of my memoir pushed me to be more honest to myself and to my readers. Special thanks to Corey Ginsberg, Fabienne S. Josaphat, Laura “Stella” Richardson, Rebecca N. Carmant, Joe Clifford, and Ellen Ullman for their careful comments and critiques of the entire manuscript.

Thank you, Les Stone and Charlotte Howard, for your artistic talent. Thank you, Kathie Klarreich, Michael Tarr, and Claude Rousseau, for your help with my research. Thank you, Marie-Ketsia Theodore-Pharel and Mahalia Solages, mes inlassables cheerleaders.

Thank you, Raptor Jesus.

I want to extend my appreciation to the entire MFA community at Florida International University, to the Miami Poetry Collective, to VONA/Voices at the University of Miami, to Lip Service, and to the gang of Sliver of Stone Magazine. It’s an inspiration to work with such a talented and giving group of writers.

Thank you, Matt Peters and Melanie Neale: I fell in love with Beating Windward as soon as I met the both of you.

I send my love to God, to my mother Carmita, to my wonderful sisters Nathalie, Jennifer, and Patricia, to my aunt Marlène, to my cousins Marie-Christine and Clarissa, and to Hector Lominy Jr. And finally, in memory of Man Simone and Man Clara, my grandmothers, and my father, Julio.

 

Thank you to the editors of the following anthologies in which excerpts from this memoir appeared: Haiti Noir (Akashic Books, 2011) edited by Edwidge Danticat, Reflections on Home (Holy Cow Press, 2013) edited by Jim Perlman, Deborah Cooper, Mara Hart, and Pamela Mittlefehldt, and The Beautiful Anthology (TNB Books, 2012) edited by Elizabeth Collins.

Sections of this book also appeared in the following literary journals: The Mom Egg (Volume 8: Lesson), Tupelo Quarterly (Issue 7: Pilgrimage, Voyage, and Return), The Caribbean Writer (Volume 25), The Southeast Review (Volume 29.1), and The Nervous Breakdown.

 

Thank you to those who helped me spread the word, particularly The Miami Book Fair, Books and Books, and Lisa Paley, Orange Island Foundation, Wordier Than Thou, Miami-Dade College, The University of MiamiThe Nervous Breakdown, Miami New Times, Origins Literary Journal, Saw Palm Literary Magazine, Color Magazine, The Florida Book Review, and Writing Class Radio. Merci, Abel Folgar, Andrea Askowitz, Anjanette Delgado, Ashley M. Jones, Barbra Nightingale, Danielle BoursiquotFrance-Luce Benson, Grant Stern, Hector Duarte Jr., James Donohue, Jan Becker, Jaquira Diaz, Jennifer McCauley, Jessie Carty, Joe Clifford, Joseph Lapin, Julia GoldbergJustin Bendell, Katia D. Ulysse, Keisha Gaye-Anderson, Kyle Potvin, Laura McDermott, Marc Bernier, Marge Reid, Matthew Sharpe, Maureen Donnelly, Monique Jones, Neil S. Haley, Opal Palmer Adisa, Phillippe DiederichPhoebe Rusch, Preston Allen, Sheree L. Greer, Soy Forde, Tiffany Razzano, Wayétu Moore, and Yaddyra Peralta.

 

Thank you to all my Facebook friends who showed me their support!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!