BY NANCY MOREJÓN
TRANSLATED BY PAMELA CARMELL
Just released in 2014
The poems in this collection, most translated for the first time, span a broad spectrum of love: love of family and friends, love of homeland and Havana, romantic love, lost love, the exaltation of a goddess of love, and the adoring love of Cuban artists past and present. Of that wide-ranging love, Ms. Morejón has said, "Formo parte de una familia, una comunidad, de una nación de las que no he querido ni podido apartarme sino que las reclamo con amor en cada uno de mis gestos." (I am part of a family, a community, a nation—all of which I haven't wanted to leave behind, but rather to reach out to them with love in every one of my actions [acceptance speech, Golden Wreath Award, Struga, Macedonia, 2006])
Nancy Morejón shares with her countrymen a propensity to be transported to sensual landscapes through the hypnotic rhythms of Cuba's music, the lush world of its nature, the oblivion of Santeria-induced trances, legends treasured through the generations and her ancestors' and countrymen's history of suffering and survival. The reader travels to a destination that seems at once exotic and familiar, with glimpses of his or her own experiences of love. Ms. Morejón's poetry has been translated into more than ten languages, demonstrating its appeal beyond Cuba.
Ms. Morejón integrates and unifies the indigenous, European, Asian and African cultures that contribute to Cuban culture and form her heritage. Sometimes playful, sometimes mournful, her observations about that culture and heritage fill her highly lyrical, intimate, spiritual, even erotic poetry. In her acceptance speech for the Golden Wreath Award, Ms. Morejón sums this up. "He buscado sin tregua darle voz a un coro de voces silenciadas que, a través de la historia, van mucho más allá de sus orígenes, su raza o su género, en mi idioma." (I've searched without ceasing to give voice to a chorus of silenced voices in my language which, across history, have gone much further than their origins, race, or gender.)
Ms. Morejón has described her poetry as "words thrown to the winds with signs of love, firmly fixed in their native soil." (With Eyes and Soul, White Pine Press) In this collection her poetry rides those winds, whether tropical breezes or hurricanes, to landscapes far and wide, and familiar.