Marlene Rigaud Apollon
B.A., Modern Languages and Linguistics
Baltimore, Maryland

Marlene Apollon enrolled at UMBC in 1976 with a triple challenge: to successfully manage her time and her commitments as a student, wife, and mother of three young children. She remembers there were times when her youngest, a two-year-old, accompanied her to class and sat in on lectures with her. Apollon's hard work and dedication to her academic studies were rewarded in 1978, when she graduated magna cum laude with a concentration in French.

But this strength and determination only begin to describe who she is.

Apollon was born in Haiti and emigrated to the United States in 1964 to escape political oppression. She continues to explore her connections to her people and her past through her writings, which include two books of poetry, I Want to Dance and Calls for Anger, Songs of Hope, and a book of short stories in progress.

As her publisher notes, "Apollon's poetry paints a graphic portrait of a place where starving children must drink from sewers and families are forced to live between walls of cardboard....The experiences of flight, exile, and assimilation are passed to the reader through Apollon's direct style."