Reina María Rodríguez on Close Listening and at Kelly Writers House
Sept. 8, 2015, with translator Kristin Dykstra
Close Listening program (1:03:34): MP3
The Cuban poet talks to Charles Bernstein about the situation of poetry in Cuba over the past forty years and her work establishing alternative space for poetry in Havana. Rodríguez describes her focus on personal/subjective aesthetics as a contrast to an often imposed, bureaucratic public voice of the state. She also speaks about bending genres in her work. The blingual conversation, in which Reina also speaks of her connections to American poetry, is translated by Kris Dykstra, who also addresses about her relation to Rodríguez.
Rodríguez was born in Havana in 1952, less than a decade before the Cuban revolution. In Cuba, Rodríguez is recognized not only as a major poet but as an advocate for alternative (non-governmental) cultural spaces. She used her rooftop home, informally known as la azotea de Reina, as an intellectual salon that has been important in Havana for three decades along with “The Tower” in central Havana. In 2013 she won the National Literature Prize, Cuba's top literary prize and the Pablo Neruda Award. English translations of her work include Violet Island and Other Poems, tr. Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen (Green Integer., 2004), La detencion del tiempo / Time's Arrest , tr. Dykstra (Factory School, 2005), and Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena, tr. Dykstra (University of Alalbama Press, 2014) Kris Dykstra is a Distinguished Scholar in residence at Saint Michael’s college in Vermont.
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Reading at the Kelly Writers House as part of the Writers Without Borders Program with translator Kristin Dykstra and an introduction by Charles Bernstein
September 8, 2015
audio (1:18:45): MP3