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November 2011

Writing from the Caribbean

Image: Nadia Huggins, untitled, 2005, 16"x12"

This month we present literature from the Caribbean. Writers from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Martinique, and Puerto Rico contribute compelling portraits of their countries and societies. From sober reports on natural disasters and political oppression to antic depictions of sexuality run amok, the pieces collected here testify to the range and vitality of this region's writers. Haiti's Dany Laferrière reports from the rubble of the 2010 earthquake. In an excerpt from his Prix Goncourt-shortlisted novel, Lyonel Trouillot sends a young woman in search of her family history. Cuba's Jorge Olivera Castillo brings a nightmare to life. His countryman Omar Pérez performs a lively regguetón. From Martinique, Suzanne Dracius rides with Amazons, while Johan Moya Ramis struggles with an unruly body part. Évelyne Trouillot gives voice to a madwoman on a turbulent journey. Puerto Rico's Juan Flores presents a tap-dancing sage, while José María Lima speaks from the grave. In poetry from the Dominican Republic, Frank Baez paints a self-portrait, José Mármol communes with nature, and Aurora Arias comes full circle. We trust you'll enjoy this island tour.

The World is Moving Around Me

I understand now that a minute can hold the entire life of a city.

There is No Theorem (A Regguetón)

all things in moderation and the moderation addles.


The Other Day After the Rain

He throws the arm with the machete around my shoulders, the edge of the blade scant centimeters from my neck.


from “La Belle Amour Humaine”

Now that I no longer see, I see no better use of my presence in this world than to look out the window.



The neighbors dream of shooting me.


Brine, Blood, and Mother’s Milk

I still tremble from the child's furtive attention.


Alive or Dead

One of the dogs goes for him as if there were nothing between them to block its way.

Women’s Fantasies

You’ll have no cause for complaint / You’ll be sated


Deus ex Machina

Throw the dice, Lord, your turn has inevitably come.


The Crane

somewhat drunk he tap dances over the wet cobblestones


Invention of the Day

thursday the man who invented death with his blood rested on a rock.


From the Grave of My Grave

stalker-yesterday says slowly / my death has not begun


Bird’s Nest

the honied bodies of whores / hold all the men.



Book Reviews

Anja Utler’s “engulf – enkindle”

Reviewed by E.C. Belli

Utler’s volume snares readers with a haunted, elliptical syntax. The words walk through these poems as in a preserve

Zoran Drvenkar’s “Sorry”

Reviewed by Nina Herzog

Rare is the thriller that surpasses the limits of genre fiction. But Zoran Drvenkar’s Sorry is one such book: a thriller on its face, but also a thoughtful study in guilt and innocence, violence and redemption.

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