Lyrics from the Central Plateau by Tim Gavin


The poems in Lyrics from the Central Plateau express the tension between the dominant culture and the developing world culture of Haiti, as witnessed by the speaker who is deeply rooted in serving marginalized, yet resilient, Haitians.

These poems are set in the remote place of Cerca, Haiti, which is home to a resilient people who live off the little that the land yields. The poems express the anxiety, joy, regret, anguish, glory and affirmation of the speaker who is trying to collaborate with the church, the villagers and his home in America to bring about peace, prosperity and justice to a small community, which has suffered from the corruption, alienation, and ignorance of government powers – both foreign and domestic. The poems, which appear on one level hopeless, offer on a much deeper level of the true spirit of the human condition’s willingness to survive in the most unfavorable conditions. The poems chronicle the Haitians ability to cling to the “hope buried deep in Haiti’s great mountains." From the rugged geography to the lack of clean water, from those “who farm// In dust and stone” to those who are “ignorant of tomorrow’s promise,” the poems move seamlessly through hope and despair, faith and resilience, and death and resurrection. In a world where the poor suffer and have little representation at the table of plenty, Lyrics from the Central Plateau gives a voice to the Haitian brother who cries out.

About the poet: Tim Gavin is an Episcopal Priest who serves as Head Chaplain of The Episcopal Academy. He has served The Episcopal Academy for over 30 years. In addition, he has supervised the school’s partnership with St. Marc’s School in Cerca, Haiti. The focus of the partnership rests on the principles that every community has its assets and can be developed to become self-sustainable. Therefore, Gavin has overseen the building of school in Cerca, development of clean water, the creation of a farm, and the annual operations of a medical clinic. His theological principles that all people share in the divine nature of God solidifies his faith that people, no matter how different their backgrounds, can work together to make the world a better place for all people. Gavin has been an educator for over 30 years and has taught at every age lever from pre-school through graduate school. His poems have appeared in many literary journals. He enjoys distance running and has retired from racing ultra-marathons and now enjoys running for the sake of running. He loves learning about other cultures and understanding the history and literature that articulates the life of those cultures. He lives with his wife in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania and has two adult sons.

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