It is with great sorrow and heartfelt emotions that we have learned of the passing Jean Métellus, Haitian poet, novelist, playwright and essayist. He died yesterday at the age of 76 after a long illness that he reportedly stoically fought. Born April 30, 1937 in Jacmel, Haiti, Jean Métellus migrated to France in 1959, at the rise of the Papa Doc Duvalier bloody dictatorship. In France, he studied medicine with a specialization in Neurology. It was also in France he began his writing career.
Driven by Aimé Césaire, Léon Damas and others of this generation, Jean Métellus won widespread recognition for his works. His first collection of poetry Au pipirite chantant (In the predawn hour) caught the attention of André Malraux and Maurice Nadeau. Antoine Vitez noticed the dramatic and poetic power of his theater in releasing Anacaona at the Théâtre de Chaillot.
Listed in the Anthology of French poetry of the twentieth century, his poems were translated into Italian, Spanish and even cited by some rap groups. In addition to his daily activity as a neurologist, he gradually created a repertoire of an important works. In 2010, he won the Grand Prix de la Francophonie of l’Académie française (the French Academy.)
Jean Métellus collaborated with a number of literary reviews, among them the Paris-based Haiti Tribune. He, like Jacques Stéphen Alexis, was a regular chez Gallimard, the most prestigious publishing house in Paris. CSMS Magazine bows before the oeuvres of this great author who, despite his professional obligations, never ceased to create and publish on behalf of the disenfranchised of his homeland of Haiti.