Place of birth
St Lucia
Place of residence
St Lucia
National identity
St Lucia

Kendel Hippolyte

Short biography
Kendel Hippolyte is a poet, playwright and director and sporadic researcher into areas of Saint Lucian and Caribbean arts and culture. His poetry has been published in journals and anthologies regionally and internationally. He has taught poetry workshops in various countries and performed at literary events within the Caribbean and beyond. His latest collection is Wordplanting, and he is the author of seven previous collections of poetry, including Fault Lines, which won the Bocas Poetry Prize in 2013.

Hippolyte's  work has appeared in journals such as The Greenfield Review and The Massachusetts Review, and in numerous anthologies, including Caribbean Poetry Now, Voiceprint, and West Indian Poetry. Holder of a St. Lucia Medal of Merit (Gold) for Contribution to the Arts,  in 2013 he won the poetry category of the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature for his collection Fault Lines. 

He studied and lived in Jamaica in the 1970s, where he explored his talents as a poet, playwright and director. As a poet, his writing ranges across the continuum of language from Standard English to the varieties of Caribbean English and he has also written poems in Kweyol, his nation language.

He works in traditional forms like the sonnet and villanelle as well as in so-called free verse and in forms influenced by rap and reggae. He has published seven books of poetry, the latest being Wordplanting (Peepal Tree Press, 2019). His poetry has appeared in various journals such as The Greenfield Review, The Massachusetts Review and in anthologies including Caribbean Poetry Now, Voiceprint, West Indian Poetry and others. He has also edited Confluence:Nine St.Lucian Poets, So Much Poetry in We People, an anthology of performance poetry from the Eastern Caribbean, This Poem-Worthy Place, an anthology of poems from Bermuda, as well as student anthologies from creative writing students at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College where he was a lecturer in literature and drama until 2007.

He has participated in poetry workshops by Derek Walcott and Mervyn Morris. He has himself designed and taught poetry workshops in various places such as Ty Newydd in Wales and the UWI Caribbean Writers Summer Workshop in Barbados.
He has performed his work in the Caribbean, Europe and America at events such as the Miami International Book Fair, the Medellin Poetry Festival, Calabash Literary Festival, Vibrations Caraibes, the Havana Book Fair among others. In 2007, he won the Bridget Jones Travel Award to travel to England to present his one-man dramatized poetry production, Kinky Blues, at the annual conference of the Society for Caribbean Studies. He has twice won the Literature prize in the Minvielle & Chastanet Fine Arts Awards, for many years the premier arts award scheme in St.Lucia. He has been the recipient of a James Michener Fellowship to study poetry and an OAS scholarship to study theatre. 

He has also established himself as an innovative playwright and director, authoring eight plays, and directing scores of others, including his own The Drum-Maker (1976), The Song of One (1995) and Triptych (2000), all of which have been published in drama anthologies. In 1984, he co-founded the Lighthouse Theatre Company in St. Lucia, and has long been involved in all aspects of the dramatic arts on the island. He has toured with theatre productions in the Caribbean and the UK. At different times he has been involved as actor, director and administrator in Saint Lucia’s contingents travelling to CARIFESTA. He is an original and continuing member of the syllabus panel for the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Theatre Arts programme and serves as an external examiner.

In 2000, Kendel was awarded the St. Lucia Medal of Merit (Gold) for Contribution to the Arts. Recently retired from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, his present focus is to use his skills as a writer and dramatist to raise public awareness and contribute to active solutions of critical social issues.