"A wonderful book, strong, with enormous energy, fast-paced, truly poetic, with a varied and rich vocabulary ranging from the vernacular to the exalted. This is poetry to be said aloud, sometimes chanted, sometimes shouted, sometimes sung . . . a book that is both original and significant."—Cola Franzen, translator of Horses in the Air and Other Poems, by Jorge Guillen
"A much-needed contribution to Afro-Cuban and Caribbean studies."—Vera M. Kutzinski, Yale University
The first-ever bilingual anthology by the Afro-Cuban poet Excilia Saldana contains a wide-ranging selection of her work, from lullabies to an erotic letter, from lengthy autobiographical poems to quiet reflections on her Caribbean island as the inspiration for her writing. She celebrates her African ancestry with poems that are filled with the flora and fauna of Afro-Cuban rituals. She explores her feminine rites of passage in the context of her country's momentous journey. In these poems, Saldana weaves the personal, the mythical, and the literary, bringing together the domestic with the transcendental, the temporal with the eternal.
Known in Cuba as a poet, essayist, translator, and professor, Saldana won the prestigious Nicholas Guillen Award for Distinction in Poetry in 1998 and the La Rosa Blanca Prize for La Noche, a children's book, in 1989. Before her death in 1999, most of her work had appeared in Spanish exclusively in Cuba with only scattered translations. This collection emphasizes her construction of a personal and poetic autobiography to reveal the identity of one of the best Afro-Caribbean poets of the twentieth century.
Foreword by Nancy Morejon
Introduction by Flora Gonzalez Mandri
The Wife's Monologue
Through the Looking Glass
Lullabies: Lullaby for an Elephant Out for a Stroll, Lullaby for the Child-Cosmos, Lullaby for My Naughty Child, Lullaby for the Missing Daughter
I'm Thirsty, Grandmother
My Faithful One
My Name (A Family Anti-Elegy)
Unfinished Danzon for Night and Island
Afterword by Cintio Vitier
Flora González Mandri, professor emerita of writing, literature, and publishing at Emerson College, is the author of Guarding Cultural Memory: Afro-Cuban Women in Literature and the Arts and José Donoso’s House of Fiction: A Dramatic Construction of Time and Place. Rosamond Rosenmeier (1928–2011) was professor emerita at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and was the author of Where Light Answers Light: Poems from Prince Edward Island.
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