SIU Department Name | Page Title

siu logo siupress logo

SIU logo


Main Content Area

Crossroads and Unholy Water

Crossroads and Unholy Water

Add to Cart

Marilene Phipps


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


Additional Materials

About the Book

Marilene Phipps’s poetry invites the reader to share sharp slices of Caribbean experience: Haiti is both stage and backdrop for people who move in various strata of the social scheme and through the three stages of life, in lieu of answers to the Sphinx’s riddle. Through voices, nostalgic and tender, denouncing and shrill, we journey to a mythologizing Caribbean land populated with people whose dramatic intensity and fights for life are turned into sometimes funny, sometimes disquieting, and always richly evocative, palpable poetry.


Marilene Phipps is a poet and a painter who was born and grew up in Haiti. The 1993 Grolier Poetry Prize winner, she has been both a Guggenheim and Harvard University Bunting Institute fellow. She has won fellowships for the year 1999–2000 at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute and the Center for the Study of World Religions, both at Harvard. Her poetry has been anthologized in Beacon’s Best of 1999.


"[T]his wonderful collection embodies a fully initiated voice that dares some old truths through youthful language. These poems are earned; they are woven around the breast-pin of experience. In fact, this collection embraces awe and woe through curses and praise that unearth a meeting place for the unspeakable as well as culminant beauty—a book of acknowledgment and ritual.”—Yusef Komunyakaa