Nehassaiu deGannes pens “Music for Exile”

[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Howard Campbell (Jamaica Observer) reports on Music for Exile, a forthcoming book by Nehassaiu deGannes. [See previous post TT-born poet shortlisted for Montreal Poetry Prize.]

Born in Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Canada, Nehassaiu deGannes also lived for several years in the United States where she attended university and currently pursues an acting career. That nomadic life inspired many of her poems which can be found in Music for Exile, the title of her first book that is scheduled for release in early 2021.

“Toronto, where I lived for most of my childhood and teenage years and where my mother still lives, has held the UN designation of being the world’s most multicultural city, so for me cosmopolitan has always held this value — as a gathering place of differences, with each specific individual and cultural expression a valid pathway to the universal,” the New York-based deGannes said. “My collection lays claim to that view and there are poems about the many cities I’ve lived in: Philadelphia poems, Providence, Rhode Island poems, Toronto poems, as well as the Caribbean poems. I also write to give voice to the cities’ invisible citizens, those often erased from written historical records and by the newly gentrified gaze,” she added.

DeGannes has done more acting than writing in recent times. Her credits include Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Stratford Festival of Canada; Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel at Shakespeare and Company; Danai Gurira’s The Convert at Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Sarah Burgess’s Kings at Studio Theatre of DC.

Interestingly, deGannes was still in costume while appearing in Nottage’s award-winning SWEAT in Cleveland, Ohio, when she got the news that Tupelo Press in Massachusetts would publish her poems.

Born in Port of Spain, deGannes’ Caribbean roots are widespread. She also has family in Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and Guyana. She migrated to Canada at age three but recalls maintaining ties to the region because her home in Toronto was distinctly Caribbean.

For original article, see

Also see:

Trini Poet Nehassaiu deGannes Revisits her Caribbean Roots in “Music for Exile”
Howard Campbell, South Florida Caribbean News, October 26, 2020

Nehassaiu deGannes’ “Music for Exile” Poetry Collection Will Speak to Our Times
Byron Armstrong, Byblacks, October 26, 2020

Music for Exile will be published by Tupelo Press in 2021.

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