The Cambridge Room is pleased to announce that the Eddy Toussaint Tontongi Papers, 1984-2014 are now available to research.
Eddy Toussaint (aka Tontongi) was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After studying poetry in high school in Port-au-Prince in the 1960s, Toussaint moved to Paris in 1974 and later to Reims to study French literature and philosophy. He has lived in the United States, in the Cambridge area, since 1976. In the 1980s, Toussaint adopted the name his mother gave him as a baby – Tontongi (Uncle Guy or Uncle Gi) – as a pen name.
Poet, critic, essayist, Toussaint writes in Haitian Creole, French, and English. His books of poetry include Cri de Rêve: La Manifeste Poétique de la Poésie Exilée, The Dream of Being: Liberation Poetry, the epic poem, The Vodou Gods’ Joy / Rejwisans Lwa Yo (about his experience growing up in a Voodoo temple), and In the Beast’s Alley: Poems of Conscience. His essays include a study of the first Aristide presidency, La Présidence d’Aristide: Entre Le Défi l’Espoir.
Toussaint has published several newspapers and magazines related to the Haitian Diaspora in the Boston area, including Nouvelle Stratégie (first published in 1984), Haiti-Progrès, Haiti en Marche, Boston Haitian Reporter, Left Curve, and Tanbou. He has contributed to several anthologies, including Vodou: Visions and Voices of Haiti, Open Gate: Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (the first translated poetry book of Haitian Creole), Revolution/Revolisyon/ Révolution: An Artistic Commemoration of the Haitian Revolution, and Liberation Poetry: An Anthology, Poetica Agwe: Essays, Poems, and Testimonials on Resistance, Peace and the Ideal of Being.
Toussaint is the editor of the trilingual literary-political journal, Tanbou (available online at tanbou.com), and the founder of Trilingual Press based in Cambridge, Mass. Tanbou, founded in 1992, seeks to “embody a written, artistic expression of a consciousness that is trapped, mystified and oppressed but which still maintains the struggle against the domination of the absurd.” Works are published in English, French, or Haitian Creole without translations so that equal importance is placed on each language. The first issue was published in January 1994.
Trilingual Press was founded in 2003, as a collective, collaborative and non-commercial press, which advocates the concept of koumbit (helping hand) to help publish work of interest in Haitian Creole, French, English, and other world languages and literatures. In 2004,Trilingual Press published its first book: Love and Other Poems by Haitian Youths by Paul Germain. The Press features local poets, including Dumas F. Lafontant, who lives in Cambridge.
This collection contains journals, pamphlets, and books either written by or published by Eddy Toussaint Tontongi through Trilingual Press. The publications, which include poems, essays, and translations, are bilingual (English/Haitian Creole or French/Haitian Creole) or trilingual (English/French/Haitian Creole) and promote the Haitian Creole language or describe the Haitian Diaspora in the Boston area. The Trilingual Press publishes poetry, novels, essays, and translations.