House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) has just released Laurelle “Yaya” Richards’ posthumous work The Frock and other Poems. Gracing the book’s cover is a painting by leading Caribbean impressionist Roland Richardson of Yaya wearing her colorful “folk persona” frock.
President of HNP Jacqueline Sample says that Yaya Richards had completed working on The Frock with her publisher at the time of her death at age 55, on May 26, 2010. Ms. Sample explains: “The well-known St. Martin folklorist hailed from the village of St. Louis where she organized annual food fairs and promoted knowledge of folk-life. The folk, modern, and personal elements are reflected by Richards in poems such as ‘Silk cotton grow,’ ‘Value of a woman,’ and ‘Abandoned salt pond,’ which is dedicated to the last generations that picked salt in the Grand Case Salt Pond.”
Jamaican/US author Geoffrey Philp writes: “Richards grounds her verse in the history and culture of St. Martin. [. . .] The poems celebrate the island and the proud heritage captured in the traditions and music of her people. [The Frock & Other Poems] is at times playful, sometimes stern, the poems do not avoid the conflicts that plague her home and by wider implication the Caribbean.”
The Frock & Other Poems is available at Roland Richardson Gallery, bookstores, and libraries in St. Martin and online at www.houseofnehesipublish.com.