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Articles tagged "Cuban Literature"

A Map With No Edges: Science Fiction Across Cultures

Image: 1970s artistic rendering of “The Cylindrical Colony,” an imagined space colony, by Rick Guidice and Don Davis. From the NASA Ames Research Center. Have you ever wondered: is there an interconnected web that spreads out across all human consciousness, some vast unseen mechanism which dredges up the same stories in different cultures throughout time? Perhaps residing deep within our collective psyche dwells the need to tell particular types of stories,...

From the Translator: On Translating Yoss and Anabel Enríquez Piñeiro

Image: Wikimedia Commons. Hillary Gulley’s translation of Yoss’s “Interstellar Biochocolate Mousse á la solitaire . . . For Two” and Anabel Enríquez Piñeiro’s “Nothing to Declare” appear in the May 2016 issue of Words without Borders: “On Cuban Time: New Writing from the Island,” which she guest-edited with Esther Allen. Join WWB this Wednesday, March 25 at the...

From the Translator: The Song Remains the Same?

Images: David Bowie, 1974; Silvia Pérez Cruz, 2008; Édith Piaf, 1962 (Wikimedia Commons).      Esther Allen’s translation of Erick J. Mota’s “The Bleeding Hands of Castaways” appears in the May 2016 issue of Words without Borders: “On Cuban Time: New Writing from the Island,” which she guest-edited with Hillary Gulley. Join WWB this Wednesday, March 25 at the Bronx Museum of the...

WWB EVENT — Back to the Future: Cuban Sci-fi Now

Image: Douglas Pérez, "Pictopía III: Still I Have a Dream," 2009, Courtesy of the Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection. Celebrate WWB's current issue and discover Cuban science fiction at the Bronx Museum of the Arts! Explore the world of Cuban science fiction at a bilingual reading with Erick J. Mota and Yoss, whose far-out work is featured in the May issue of Words without Borders edited by Esther Allen and Hillary...

From the Translator: Fictions of the Cuban Diamond

Image: Cuba vs. Puerto Rico at the 1986 Baseball World Cup. Wikimedia Commons. Dick Cluster’s translation of Eduardo del Llano’s “Swimming Upstream” appears in the May 2016 issue of Words without Borders: On Cuban Time: New Writing from the Island. Eduardo del Llano’s “Swimming Upstream” inhabits a space where the flying feet of speculative fiction cross the cultural touchstone of home plate. Interestingly, while...

On Cuban Time

A broad promenade runs up the middle of the leafy boulevard, still known to locals by its Spanish colonial name, Prado, that divides Old Havana from Central Havana. On weekends when the weather’s fine, artists offer their work to tourists there: black and white photographs of street scenes, etchings on handmade paper of dancing stovetop coffeepots, luscious Cuban women, Charlie Chaplin, Che Guevara, and Marilyn Monroe, oil paintings of cityscapes that always feature a classic car or...

Project DreamReal

Herson Tissert Pérez reads “Project DreamReal.”  1 The individual who greeted me in the building’s lobby didn’t much resemble the one pictured in the advertising leaflets. He seemed less physically imposing, and his smile, cordial and welcoming in the leaflets, now struck me as that of a man with some kind of secret to conceal. Nevertheless, my excitement was so great that I followed him unhesitatingly down a network of hallways and staircases until,...

Swimming Upstream

“I don’t like ballet,” the doctor admitted. “OK,” Nicanor said, “but it’s different with me. It’s not that I don’t like sports, it’s that they don’t make any sense to me. Like I wouldn’t understand a salmon explaining why it has to migrate. I just don’t get a stadium full of people screaming with enthusiasm or outrage about eight guys who bang a leather ball around better than the other eight.”...

The Bleeding Hands of Castaways

To my love, the Tramontana wind that shook my life forever. A book is a bottle flung into the sea. I want my books to reach the bleeding hands of  castaways. —Samuel Feijóo I found an old mining asteroid of no interest to anyone, rented it for a few Federation kopeks, and built a bar that matches your eyes, though you’re not here. I searched through the tangle of collapsing tunnels until I came upon exactly the right space, its acoustics perfect for your voice. I...

Interstellar Biochocolate Mousse à la solitaire . . . For Two

For Erelvis Jiménez and Roberto Armas Saladrigas This exquisite dessert, so emblematic of our era of space conquest, dates back to the 2103 recipe by Iljon Tichy, though some detractors of the celebrated cosmonaut refuse to accept this theory on the grounds that there’s no mention of the now-legendary delicacy in any of the many volumes of Tichy’s well-known Star Diaries. Great is human envy . . . and extraterrestrial envy is even greater. What remains undisputed...

Royalty Check

For Elisú   I walk into the bank, check in hand, and ask a security guard whether I can cash it. He takes my question to another man who might be a plainclothes guard, then comes back to tell me 1) that I can indeed cash my check at this branch, and 2) that the computer connections have been going down a lot today. I don’t know exactly what this means in technical terms, but I soon see the practical result: slow at the best of times, the bank is putting its full capacity...

Cinderella’s Secret Dream

Years ago, there was a doctor who lived in our town, a wealthy widower. The only family he had left was a beautiful daughter, blond as beer, named Cleis. He had a bad heart and was worried that he’d die and leave his little girl all alone, so he married his housekeeper, a respectable widow who had two daughters named Lotta and Regan, and who seemed very fond of Cleis. I knew that scheming bitch didn’t love Cleis. Far from it. She hated the poor girl and was just faking it. But...

Nothing to Declare

Father traded his life savings for this hole in the waste-recycling compartment. Of course there’s not much space. Anela, Soulness, and I are getting cramped arms and stiff necks, we’re steeping in each other’s hot breath. But we couldn’t have asked for more from our old man. Trembling, he placed the two mega-credits in the spaceport attendant’s gloved hands. He trembled because he feared our trip would be thwarted and we’d have no chance at a second...

Interview with Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Ezio Neyra: Tell me about the origin of the anthology Cuba in Splinters. Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo: Cuba in Splinters is the portable homeland that I brought from Cuba. It´s a literary miracle rescued from the solemn censorship on the Island. It´s a bunker of outlaws resisting the barbarity of cultural collectivism. We met in the early 2000s at book readings and presentations in Havana. Then we edited several alternative digital magazines to circulate our...

If I could live on the vision without trying to say it

What’s real isn’t this thing or that thing my presents that you gave away once they lost the weight and sheen of being given and became no more than fragile objects. What’s real isn’t our clumsy lies or the bodies of others we barely dare to touch. Nor is it doubt—it can’t be doubt— nor can it be hatred, fear, fatigue. My bet is that what’s real is infinitely beautiful. There is a false time set in motion when we fall, but true time is the...

Exilium Ergo Sum

In Cuba, I was an exiled writer. First, because I wanted to isolate myself from that pair of collective hypnoses called the literary field and the national tradition. In Cuba, I didn't need to sail so much as to sink my way upstream. To think dangerously. To fight against the consensuses of the correct, the same in aesthetics as in politics. To be a freak. To practice the word till it was made unknown and, thereby, recognizable. Like someone who invents a new language and must imagine...

The City and the Writer: In Havana with Leonardo Padura

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Havana as you feel/see it? I try to reflect the life of a city through stories, characters, descriptions. Havana is a very diverse, contradictory, attractive, even magical city. It’s a city that faces the sea but that turns its back on...

Harpooned Woman

 Two lonelinesses that sometimes came together to feed the ego of destruction. –Marilin Roque   Upon a bed of frustrations, bed of lost hopes, a ghost ship bed, suddenly too wide, too deep, too chimerical, I watch the smoke of our cigarettes fade in the air, watch the puffs of smoke float and dissipate, disappear without trace, suddenly substituted by other gusts, vaporous and unpredictable. I will never again be able to enter this room. I will never again be able to...

The Christmas Tree

Someone had placed a giant tree in the hotel lobby, a pine made of unrecyclable plastics. We’re in a strange land and Christmas is nearing. We see these things with a particular disdain, a particular apathy of islanders steeped in a system that alternates beauty with politics. Christmas, for us, is nothing more than faint nostalgia, our mothers’ childhoods, the tree in the corner of a color photo from cousins in Miami, the wool purse brought by someone from Russia when the...

There is No Theorem (A Regguetón)

There is no theorem just the combination 10,000 years of going with digressions: I write regguetones, forget the variation. There is no theorem from the mist itself the primates descend in search of phonemes can create regguetones and invite the system. There is no theorem with the mist itself the songs the poems sing themselves everything I hear seems to be a slogan to be or not to be, I think therefore I am god loves you, and if the fish don’t bite? Just paddle...

The Other Day After the Rain

I. Once again, the erection. The body’s first signal, heaving me back into reality every time I awake. The Hebrew Kabbalists say that during the night God takes souls on a mystical journey; the privileged never return to their bodies. Just like Enoch, they remain in eternity. But the Kabbalah reveals nothing about the relation between this mystical voyage and my morning erections. I sometimes wonder where God must have brought me in my sleep for me to wake with a cock so stiff...

The Crane

Aguardiente comes cheap, meat comes dear (somewhat drunk he tap dances over the wet cobblestones, scoring importance from the conjectured case of fractured bone). “Young man, you have to stay thin, in top physical shape, in case the great opportunity presents itself, well, good fortune knocks just once at the door of a house.” “Young man, you have to stay thin, in top physical shape, in case the great opportunity presents itself.” “Young man, you...

Alive or Dead

A metal gate bars his path, and thwarts any hope for the pursued. But then he leaps for it, and easily gains the top. It is his instinct of self-preservation that allows him to accomplish this intricately acrobatic maneuver smoothly. From the other side of the railings he observes with satisfaction the pack of hounds gnawing at the iron bars as if attempting to assuage their sense of impotence. The man continues on in his flight, now at a regular trot. He smiles and manages to exhale...

Shoes

The clamor of children grew more faint. "It's good you came to get me early. Mom always takes forever." "Your mother works late." "Why don't you pick me up every day?" "I had today off. But I'd like to be able to come and get you every day." "I'm already asleep when you get home and then you leave before I get up and you never come and get me at school." "Oh, is that right? What about today?" The boy smiles and squeezes his father's hand. They cross the...

The Arrest of Heberto Padilla and Belkis Cuza Malé

Translator's Note: Belkis Cuza Malé's account of her arrest and that of her husband, Heberto Padilla, reveals intimate household details of what happens after the notorious knock at the door, the dreaded harbinger of the dangers to be faced when the full weight of a totalitarian state falls on an individual. The two Cuban poets, initial supporters of the Cuban Revolution, worked in state-sponsored cultural institutions. Padilla had held several government positions. His...

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