Not prolific but surely consistent, Janie Bogart—fervent, ardent, avid and fiery—is the kind of poetess to whom one can attribute all these adjectives to describe her passion for the poetic verses that can certainly lift the spirits of many readers. Ever since she won the poetry contest in the Antilles back in 2006, Jeanie has been on a mission to reassure reluctant readers that she deserves, like most contemporary Caribbean writers, a rightful spot where grand diseurs, exhilarated star-gazers and midnight cavaliers wait in crimson splendor to take their long and awesome stare at the spring of an exuberant writer.
Un Jour Tes Pantoufles is the synthesis of what the 19th century Haitian poet, Oswald Durand, called: poetry from the soul. Beautifully written in French in Shakespearian style, the main theme of this collection is LOVE—love crafted sometimes in delight and sometimes in gloom to create the true symbiosis between the imaginary and the real.
Un Jour Tes Pantoufles, which can be translated as “The Day You Return With Your Wrinkled Sandals,” is in itself a poem around which the theme of this collection evolves. It is the poem that sets the tone for a series of other poems foregrounded from the same alley— Amour Creole, Maladie D’amour (Sickness of Love), Rêve de Mots (the Words, my Dream) etc… All of them offer an inquisitive taste to hungry readers while weaving through the pages.
However, if LOVE is the theme, one can fairly title this collection as “Love and Remembrance.” One poem enlightens this assertion: Hommage à Master Dji (Tribute to Master Dji), the popular Haitian rapper who died unexpectedly in the early 1990s. Reprends ta place derrière la console Dji. On sait que tu es là. Sispann fè kachkach. (Reclaim your switchboard [behind the microphone]. We know you’re still here. Stop playing hide-and-seek.) Jeanie crafts these words as a metaphor to justify the immortality of the rapper and disk jockey, idol of the Haitian youth at that time.
This collection is not condensed, however. The poems are quite short for the most part. And one can easily go through it in swaying motion in a relatively short moment. But in literature, one does not go for quantity, one goes for quality; and the quality here is high mark.
Jeanie Bogart is not only a poet. Like most poets, she is also a novelist and a playwright. “This collection is just a prelude to some other important works in the making,” Jeanie conveyed to me last week as I reached her by phone from her home in New York. And what’s in the making? A novella and a vignette are already on the runway, ready to takeoff.
If this trend continues, Jeanie Bogart could be well on her way to securing her seat in the pantheon of grand figures of the Caribbean literature.
Note: The book can be purchased on Amazon.com or Amazon.fr and other online bookstores.