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#225: Canadian firm publishes poet's works... (fwd)


Published Sunday, July 25, 1999, in the Miami Herald 
 Canadian firm publishes poet's works Haitian native inspired by beauty,
 Special to the Herald 

 In Frantz Rene Mortimer's world, doves are blue, the moon is made of
honey and poets have wings. A native of Gonaives, Haiti, Mortimer said
he knew since the age of 12 that he wanted to be a poet. His father,
Frantz Max Mortimer, always encouraged him to write, he said, and, as a
child, read to him the poetry of Charles Baudelaire. ``My father taught
me how to write. People say that no one can teach you how to
 write, but you need someone to help you get started,'' Mortimer said.
``[My father] taught me that to be an accomplished poet you shouldn't be
limited by style or time. You have to expand your horizons.'' 
 Mortimer's eclectic style and ability to create a fantasy world in a
few lines of poetry are the qualities that perhaps made the Northwest
Dade resident attractive to Guerin, a publishing company in Montreal.
 Guerin included two of Mortimer's poems in its annual anthology, Les
Saisons Litteraires (Literary Seasons), after he submitted a manuscript
of his recently finished book, Lune de Miel (Honey Moon). The poems are
Lune de Miel and La Fille Antillaise (Caribbean Girl).  In June, the
authors published in the anthology met at a workshop in Montreal,
 where Guerin congratulated them. Mortimer was the only non-Canadian to
be invited. ``It was a great honor for me. I was so excited. The authors
there are very successful in Canada. They are people who have made it,''
he said. In three to six months, Mortimer said, Guerin will publish Lune
de Miel. The work contains 50 poems in French and 50 in English.
 ``They are poems inspired by beauty, God, my emotions, passions and
 obsessions,'' Mortimer said. The volume will be his second published
work. In 1995, Miami-based Saint-Fleur Edicion published Les Fleurs
Sauvages (Wild Flowers). Mortimer's poetry has appeared also in a
Florida International University literary magazine and St. Thomas
University's Driftwood magazine. But Mortimer is more than a poet; he
also writes nonfiction. Having minored in psychology at FIU, he wrote a
book called Beyond the Screen of the Mind. In 1996, after two years, the
book was completed and filed with the Library of Congress. The book
reviews the theories of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud as well as those of
 other psychoanalysts and behaviorists. Mortimer said he wanted to find
some common ground between the psychoanalysts and the behaviorists and
also to define some terms he felt the field of psychology had neglected.
 The terms include, he said, potintia language, a characteristic that
Mortimer said most lawyers, politicians and speakers possess. He
describes it as the ability to speak with 95 percent accuracy. He
defines its opposite as mosaic manifestation.  Those exhibiting mosaic
manifestation lack the ability to be articulate, Mortimer said. Instead,
their articulation comes in the form of writing.  Beyond the Screen of
the Mind has captured the interest of several publishers. Mortimer has a
pile of letters to prove it. He says he is overwhelmed and first
 would like to obtain an agent before making a decision. As he waits on
fame and possibly fortune, he spends his time helping his parents
 raise his younger siblings. He also is working on a new manuscript. In
the fall he will return to FIU for a master's in French. He hopes
eventually to obtain a Ph.D. in the language. Mortimer is not a stranger
to the idea of the starving artist. He said he has been lucky to have
moral and financial support from friends and family. For almost six
 years he's had the sponsorship of Cristina Kuntz, Christia Etienne and
Steve Ronald Etienne, Haitian ambassador to Puerto Rico. ``They are like
angels God has put in my path,'' Mortimer said. Kuntz, a French teacher
in Maryland, met Mortimer at FIU where they were both majoring in
French. ``I have faith in him. I've given him a hand, but Frantz always
gives it back, even if it takes him years. He'll pay everything back.
He's very thankful,'' Kuntz said. Christia Etienne, a maternal cousin
and fellow poet, said she helps Mortimer because she is a lover of art
and literature.  ``I admire his writing. I love the language. His
vocabulary is very rich, whether in English or French. He's going to
make it big,'' she said. Etienne feels that sponsoring Mortimer is
beneficial to her, as well. If he makes it, maybe she will, too, she
feels. So far, she has been published only in church-related
newsletters. ``I've been a shadow of his glory and that makes me feel
good,'' she said. Mortimer's new project is titled Nutrimorphosis. With
it he hopes to launch a new literary movement of the same name. The work
is filled with colorful images: juicy seas, succulent songs, lips as
sweet as rum and jasmine, and breasts like fountains that pour milk and
honey. ``It's a new poetic formula where the metaphors used by the poet
have the magic to change themselves in order to give birth to culinary
poetry where the poet-chef is able to draw dish-like or gastronomic
metaphors with art,'' Mortimer said. Through this poetic formula,
feelings and abstract ideas can become more tangible to the reader, said
Mortimer. Success as a poet would not derail his plans to continue his
studies, Mortimer said. ``I want to be a doctor. I want a Ph.D. in
French. I want to be a professor,'' he said. That's my goal.''