Tears and Flowers
A Poet of Migration in Old Key West

Feliciano Castro, Edited by Joy Castro and Rhi Johnson

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Available for pre-order. This book will be available October, 2024

A bilingual edition of poetry that provides a unique window into Cuban émigré life  
“These poems collectively constitute a vivid Rivera-esque mural of the place, time, and people in which and among whom they were written, bringing an early twentieth-century period in the history of Key West vividly to life.”—Esther Allen, translator of Antonio Di Benedetto’s Zama  
“Offers readers an intimate glimpse into the life and work of a cigar factory reader and poet in Key West and Tampa. Castro’s poetry, like the man himself, straddles the Old World and the New, revealing with poignant elegance his nostalgia, love of country, wonder, and joy. Tears and Flowers opens a window onto a world long gone. Thanks to its thorough introduction and skillfully translated poems, we, too, can journey back to Castro’s time and experience what he saw and felt through his words.”—Kenya C. Dworkin y Méndez, coeditor of Spanish and Empire  
A rare glimpse into the history of the Cuban community in Key West in the early twentieth century, this book makes the poetry of Feliciano Castro available in English for the first time. A Galician Cuban who lived for decades in the southernmost city of the United States, Castro worked as a lector reading to cigar factory employees, a newspaper editor, a printer, and a writer. He published Lágrimas y flores, a collection of his poetry, in 1918. Translated here by Rhi Johnson, Castro’s poems provide a window into an overlooked literary culture.
Johnson and Joy Castro open this bilingual edition with an introduction detailing the writer’s biography, literary context, and cultural milieu. Tears and Flowers highlights questions of national identity, migration, belonging, and courtship in Cuban émigré society, connects Florida to the Spanish-speaking communities of the Caribbean and Spain, and recovers the literary archive of a rich moment in US and Latinx history for a contemporary audience.  
Feliciano Castro (1892–1982) was a poet, printer, editor, and lector who was born in Galicia, raised in Cuba, and lived for over six decades in Key West. Joy Castro, Willa Cather Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska, is the author of many books, including One Brilliant Flame and Island of Bones. She is the granddaughter of Feliciano Castro. Rhi Johnson, assistant professor of Spanish at Indiana University, Bloomington, is the editor and translator of Because I Want to See the Sea: Poems by Rosalía de Castro.  
Publication of this work made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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