Haitian Poet Feels The 'Afterworld' In His Native Land

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Jean-Dany Joachim (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)
Jean-Dany Joachim (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)

Nearly two months after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, U.S. troops are withdrawing from Haiti.

With the capital city, Port-au-Prince, still in ruins and more than a half a million people living in encampments, some Haitians fear the departure of American troops is a sign of dwindling international interest.

It is a concern shared by Jean-Dany Joachim, a native of Port-au-Prince and now the "poet populist" of Cambridge. Joachim has just returned from his first visit to Haiti since the quake, and joined WBUR to discuss what he saw, what he felt, and to share a poem on the experience.

"There is a boulevard in Port-au-Prince, it is the main boulevard in Port-au-Prince," Joachim said. "As a child I walk on the streets and see those stores. When I woke up in the morning I went there. That's the way I wanted to do it, alone. I wanted to face it.

"It was so devastated, the feeling I had when I went there, you know, I watched a few movies that described the afterworld, what happened, what Earth would look like. That's what I felt."

WBUR's Lisa Tobin produced this story for broadcast.

This program aired on March 9, 2010.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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