Nouvo moun ki pi wo a

Translated into Haitian Creole by Nathan H. Dize and Danielle Dorvil

At age 13, I first felt the gravity of a foreign language. While foreignness and strangeness were common as a white adolescent in one of the United States' most segregated cities, the new element, however, was language. Language has always helped me blend in, assimilate, fly under the radar. It was not until adulthood, when I let my guard down, did I learn that language also had the potential to let people in. That is, if we allow it to. 

Nathan H. Dize is a Ph.D. Candidate at Vanderbilt University. His translation of Makenzy Orcel’s The Immortals (Les Immortelles, Zulma 2011) is forthcoming in 2020 with SUNY Press. 

My experience with immigration started in 2010 when my siblings and I left came to New Jersey after the January 12 earthquake had caused many losses—both human and material—in our native Haiti. As is the case for many immigrants, I did not speak English and did not feel like I fit into this new culture.

Danielle M. Dorvil is a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include Caribbean and Latin American literature and culture from the nineteenth century to the present.

Pa menm jan ak moun wo yo ki soti nan peyi Lagrès la ki rize,
Avèk kat pat pa li a atè nan kat kwen latè a;
Isit nan pòtay lanmè sa a ki benyen nan kouche solèy la pral kanpe
Yon fanm vanyan ak yon tèt gridap, dife li
Ap minote loraj la, e non li se
Manman moun ki pa nan peyi yo ankò. Nan men li ap soti yon siyal limyè
K ap swete tout moun byenvini; je dous pa l ap komande
Pò-pon-anlè de vil sa yo ki kadre.
“Kenbe, tè zanzèt yo, istwa nou yo!” l ap kriye
Ak lèv li yo ki pa fè bri. “Ban mwen moun pa ou ki fatige, moun pa ou ki pov,
Moun pa ou k ap pliye sou yo menm pandan y ap tann pou yo ka respire libète a,
Vagabon yo ki pa vle bò lanmè a ki chaje moun.
Voye moun ki pa gen kay, sa yo ki te jete sou mwen nan yon loray,
M a leve tèt gridap mwen bò kote pòt an lò a!”

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