Cuban Poetry

In honor of National Poetry Month, our Review of the Week features a compelling take on Cuban poetry

Only the road = Solo el camino : eight decades of Cuban poetry

ed. and tr. by Margaret Randall Duke, 2016
509p bibl afp, 9780822362081 $109.95, 9780822373858 $28.95

Including the work of Cuban poets living both on and off the island, this beautifully edited work is one of the most comprehensive volumes of contemporary Cuban poetry translated into English. A well-known scholar and herself a poet, Randall carefully chose the poems and translated each so as not to impose her “voice on others.” Her selection of poets is remarkable: she includes poets from before and after the Cuban Revolution, new voices (Hernández, Yuseff) as well as internationally recognized poets (Guillén, Loynaz), both revolutionary and exiled poets, and poets from various regions on the island, not just Havana. Afro-Cuban and LGBTQ voices are also included. The poems themselves cover myriad topics, from the political to the personal. Bilingual readers will particularly appreciate the inclusion of the original Spanish alongside Randall’s faithful translations. Also valuable, especially for those unfamiliar with Cuban history, are the volume’s thorough introduction and the detailed biographies of the poets. A required resource for anyone interested in Cuban literature and poetry and poetry in general.

Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.
Reviewer: Y. Fuentes, Nova Southeastern University
Subject: Humanities – Language & Literature – Romance
Choice Issue: Apr 2017