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HOSTOS REVIEW REVISTA HOSTOSIANA NÚMERO / ISSUE 14 - 2017

An International Journal of Culture Revista International de Cultura

GESTURES OF MEMORY: SEVEN LATIN AMERICAN/LATINA WOMEN WRITERS OF JEWISH ORIGIN IN THE U.S.

GESTOS DE LA MEMORIA: SIETE ESCRITORAS LATINOAMERICANAS/LATINAS DE ORIGEN JUDÍO EN LOS EE.UU.

GUEST EDITOR/EDITORA INVITADA CARLOTA CAULFIELD

UNA PUBLICACIÓN DEL INSTITUTO DE ESCRITORES LATINOAMERICANOS A PUBLICATION OF THE LATIN AMERICAN WRITERS INSTITUTE OFICINA DE ASUNTOS ACADÉMICOS / OFFICE OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS DEPARTAMENTO DE HUMANIDADES / HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT EUGENIO MARIA DE HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF CUNY


HOSTOS REVIEW REVISTA HOSTOSIANA DIRECTOR / EDITOR ISAAC GOLDEMBERG

diagramación y diseño / layout and design --mutandis-Imagen de la portada, cortesía de / Cover image, courtesy of Editorial del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana es una publicación internacional dedicada a la cultura. Hostos Review / Revista Hostosiana is an international journal devoted to culture. La revista no comparte necesariamente la opinión de sus colaboradores. Articles represent the opinions of the contributors, not necessarily those of the journal. Por favor dirijan toda la correspondencia al Director Please address all correspondence to the Editor. Instituto de Escritores Latinoamericanos Latin American Writers Institute Hostos Community College / CUNY Office of Academic Affairs 500 Grand Concourse Bronx, New York 10451 U.S.A. Tel: (718) 518-6680 E-mail: igoldemberg@hostos.cuny.edu


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La publicación de Hostos Review / Revista Hostosiana es posible gracias al apoyo de las siguientes personas en Hostos Community College The publication of Hostos Review / Revista Hostosiana is made possible by support from the following people at Hostos Community College David Gómez President Christine Mangino Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs Esther Rodríguez-Chardavoyne Vice President of Administration and Finance Alisa Roost Chair, Humanities Department

ISSN: 1547-4577 Copyright © 2017 by Latin American Writers Institute Todos los derechos reservados / All Rights Reserved


CONSEJO EDITORIAL HONORARIO HONORARY EDITORIAL BOARD

MARJORIE AGOSÍN (Wellesley College) CARMEN BOULLOSA (City College-CUNY) JOSÉ CASTRO URIOSTE (Purdue University) CARLOTA CAULFIELD (Mills College) RAQUEL CHANG-RODRÍGUEZ (City College-CUNY) ARIEL DORFMAN (Duke University) AMÉRICO FERRARI (Universidad de Ginebra) EDWARD H. FRIEDMAN (Vanderbilt University) MARIE-LISE GAZARIAN (St. John’s University) MEMPO GIARDINELLI (Fundación Mempo Giardinelli) CHRISTIAN GIUDICELLI (Universidad de La Sorbonne) MARGO GLANTZ (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) FLORINDA F. GOLDBERG (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) EDUARDO GONZÁLEZ VIAÑA (Western Oregon University) OSCAR HIJUELOS (Estados Unidos/United States) SEYMOUR MENTON (University of California, Irvine) LOUISE M. MIRRER (New York Historical Society) EDMUNDO PAZ SOLDÁN (Cornell University) RANDOLPH POPE (University of Virginia) ALEJANDRO SÁNCHEZ AIZCORBE (P.E.N. Club del Perú) STEPHEN A. SADOW (Northeastern University) RÓGER SANTIVÁÑEZ (Temple University) JACOBO SEFAMÍ (University of California, Irvine) LEONARDO SENKMAN (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) MERCEDES SERNA (Universidad de Barcelona) SAÚL SOSNOWSKI (University of Maryland) ANTHONY STANTON (El Colegio de México) ILÁN STAVANS (Amherst College) SILVIO TORRES-SAILLANT (Syracuse University) MIGUEL ÁNGEL ZAPATA (Hofstra University)


GESTURES OF MEMORY: SEVEN LATIN AMERICAN/LATINA WOMEN WRITERS OF JEWISH ORIGIN IN THE U.S.

GESTOS DE LA MEMORIA: SIETE ESCRITORAS LATINOAMERICANAS/LATINAS DE ORIGEN JUDÍO EN LOS EE.UU.


CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION/INTRODUCCIÓN Carlota Caulfield

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POETRY & CHRONICLES / POESÍA & CRÓNICAS Marjorie Agosín

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Magali Alabau

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Ruth Behar

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Alicia Borinsky

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Carlota Caulfield

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Susana Chávez-Silverman

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Achy Obejas

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Selected Bibliography about the authors/ Bibliografía escogida sobre las autoras

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Biobibliographical Notes Notas biobibliográficas About the Authors/Sobre las autoras

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About the Translators/Sobre los/las traductores/as

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CARLOTA CAULFIELD INTRODUCTION

The seven writers gathered in this anthology are all distinguished authors, successsful in the U.S. and widely read in their own countries. They are innovative voices of contemporary Latin American/Latina literatures. Spanning poetry, fiction, literary criticism, translations and the editing of anthologies, their work can be characterized esentially as non-traditional and deserves special attention. Gestures of Memory presents a rich mosaic of their poems, autobiographical poetic-prose and chronicles mixes dealing with personal and family memories, the search for identity, the self, sexuality, historical and political uncertainties, journeys and diasporas. The texts appear as they were written, in Spanish or English. However, the contributions in Spanish are accompanied by their translation into English. There are also texts characterized by a linguistic English-Spanish mestizaje. This issue 14 of Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana originated from a series of conversations with Isaac Goldemberg about poetry. He made me reflect in new ways upon my condition as a Latin American/Latina woman writer of mixed Jewish origin. Agreeing to be the guest editor for Gestures of Memory was a way of acknowledging some of my family’s forgotten memories and a way of reclaiming part of my own cultural heritage. All the writers in this collection are part of different diasporas. In general, their collaborations touch upon their Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewishness in different ways. They pay attention to their diverse genealogies, in many instances questioning discourses of power from feminist perspectives. They succeed in offering, with extraordinary lyricism in some cases and sharp humor in others, unique experiences and reflections on personal and cultural identities.

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*** Marjorie Agosín’s poems open this anthology. Her unique poetic voice is often autobiographical, taking the reader to metaphorical and sensual-descriptive landscapes. She is a widely recognized author, award-winning human rights activist and a literary critic. Agosín was born of Chilean-Jewish parents in Bethesda, Maryland and raised in Chile. Her grandparents and great-grandparents were from Vienna and Odessa. Agosín grew up speaking Hebrew and Spanish. One of the central aspects that shapes her work is her self-identification as a Chilean and a Jew. Some of her recurring themes are the relationship of women and language, the testimonial and the experiences of love and loss. The poems included in this anthology, translated into English by Alison Ridley, are devoted to Jewish experiences and places of memory. They reach the core of sacred Jewish traditions and the Holocaust, creating a lyrical journey through the past and the present. Agosín reconstructs her family and a Jewish communal past with fragmented memories. Magali Alabau, the next contributor, is a Cuban poet of Jewish background. She is currently considered one of the most innovative poets of the Cuban Diaspora. Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, Alabau left the island in 1966. She writes primarily in Spanish and her poems have been translated by Anne Twitty and Manuel Adrián López. Within the body of her work, most notable is the feminist re-writing of classical myths. A distinguishing characteristic of her writing style is the use of dramatic monologues, making the reader a spectator of psychological journeys. What stands out in her poems are the themes of splitting and fragmentation of the individual, cultural duality and exile. The poet writes about the fear of the memory that binds her to experiences of chaos and pain. Her poetic voice is a careful observer of her past, which she considers dangerous. The anthropologist and writer Ruth Behar often recounts in her work the journey of her family and explores her heritage. She was born in Havana, Cuba to a Jewish-Cuban family of SephardicTurkish, and Ashkenazi-Polish-Russian ancestry who emigrated to


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the U.S. in 1962. Her work is known for its humanistic approach to understanding identity, immigration and the search for a home. She has a strong attachment to her Sephardic-Cuban roots as reflected in her work. Behar is the director and producer of Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, a feature-length film about the search for identity and memory among Sephardic-Cuban Jews living in Cuba, Miami and New York. In her poetry, she seeks expression in the tangible and the immediate where Cuba has a central place. Behar’s work is marked by her experience of crossing cultural borders and the acknowledgment of Jewish history. Next we hear the voice of Alicia Borinsky. Her witty and fierce poems are marked by a fluid colloquial syntax. The style of this renowned novelist, poet and literary critic is known for transgressing boundaries and conventions of genres. She was born in Buenos Aires in the midst of a family of Eastern European Jews who fled the pogroms in Rusia and the Nazis in Poland. She left Argentina for the U.S. in 1966. Borinsky’s work has many layers associated with intimate experiences, some of them with Argentine history and society. Usually, her lyrical subject has an alert eye and an ironicsharp voice hovering around contemporary urban life. Her irony invites the reader to enter spaces between play and denunciation, between masquerades and confessions. She is an experimental writer, always taking literary risks. With clean-cut language, she discloses many gestures and likes to engage the reader with the poem. Included in this collection is a selection of her work translated into English by Regina Galasso and Natasha Hakimi Zapata. Carlota Caulfield’s poems follow those of Borinsky. Caulfield’s poetic world is conjectural, marked by the art of permutations. On center stage of her work is the space of the journey, location of experiences and up-rootedness. Born in Havana, Cuba to an IrishCatalan-Sephardic (xueta) Cuban family, her peregrinations took this poet to Zürich, Dublin, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, New Orleans, Oakland and London, until making Berkeley her home in the late 90s. Caulfield’s work finds its most original voice in an experimental combination of styles. Her project of reclamation of

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neglected lives explores the dialogical and the intercultural. She has also delved into Zen Buddhism and Mysticism as in The Book of Giulio Camillo, where the poet carries on a dialogue with Renaissance texts, Oriental Philosophies and the Sefer Yetzirah or Book of Formation. Caulfield often collaborates with Mary G. Berg in the translations of her poetry into English. The next contributor is Susana Chávez-Silverman, another writer whose experience of being Jewish is connected to an ethnic multiplicity. Chávez-Silverman is a Latina Jewish writer from California. Born in Los Angeles, she was raised in Madrid, Guadalajara, México and Northern California and has lived in Argentina and South Africa. She is known for her humorous and witty texts dealing with the acts of remembering. Written in Spanish and English together — as well as in a fusion— her groundbreaking autobiographical work expresses her multicultural experiences with quick-witted style and language innovations. Her texts have many textures and “mestizajes” resembling the crónica/chronicle, the diary, the epistolary and prose poetry. Chávez-Silverman is a gifted storyteller-poet who creates always contrapuntal cross-cultural discourses where individual and collective memories merge idiosyncratically into one. Gestures of Memory concludes with the contributions of CubanAmerican-Sephardic Jewish writer Achy Obejas. Her work explores contemporary Cuba, the Jews of Havana, the Crypto-Jews of Spain, immigration, and queer life in the U.S. She often writes about the struggle between public and private identities and the effects of power and powerlessness. Obejas was born in Havana, Cuba and emigrated with her family to U.S. at the age of six. She is an accomplished journalist, the author of critically acclaimed novels, award winning translations and poetry. Her early poetry focuses primarily on a Cuba she wishes to make hers. In her case, just as in that of Behar, we see a passion for her Cuban roots. Obejas dwells in a personal genealogy decoded at different levels. Memory, experience and identity are predominant themes in her work. Her poems express the vigorous bilingual-bicultural nature of her literary sensibility. The prose-poem Volver, included in this collection, shows a colloquial style and the stream of consciousness of a poetic subject exploring existential angst.


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***

This anthology is not complete, but can any anthology be definitive? All the writers included answered to my queries with great enthusiasm, others thanked me for the invitation, but they did not contribute. There were also lost e-mails or no responses at all. Finally, I wish to acknowledge all those who made Gestures of Memory possible. First and foremost my special thanks to Isaac Goldemberg, director and editor of the Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana for inviting me to be the guest editor of this issue number 14. He also convinced me to include my work in favor of the Kabbalistic number 7. I am also indebted to Stephen A. Sadow and Jacobo Sefamí for being bridges towards some of the writers, included and notincluded here. I extend my thanks to Scott Russell Duncan and Stacy McKenna for their editorial assistance. I am especially grateful to Marjorie Agosín, Magali Alabau, Ruth Behar, Alicia Borinsky, Susana Chávez-Silverman, Achy Obejas and the translators Allison Ridley, Anne Twitty, Manuel Adrián López, Regina Galasso, Natasha Hakimi Zapata and Mary G. Berg without whom this anthology would not have become a reality. I also wish to thank the Office of Academic Affairs of Hostos Community College for sponsoring this publication. The texts included in this collection are published by permission of the authors. Susana Chávez-Silverman’s “Cono Sur Mitzvah Crónica” from Killer Crónicas: Bilingual Memories/Memorias Bilingües (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) and “Axolotl/Bichos Raros Crónica” (PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, UTSePress, 2012) are reprinted by permission of the editors.   Gestures of Memory is dedicated to Antonia Rebeca de Pons i Fuster, my Xueta-Catalan great-grandmother.

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CARLOTA CAULFIELD INTRODUCCIÓN

La presente antología reúne a siete escritoras reconocidas en los EE.UU. y ampliamente leídas en sus respectivos países. Estas autoras son voces innovadoras de la literatura latinoamericana/latina actual. Sus publicaciones incluyen poesía, narrativa, crítica literaria, traducciones y ediciones de antologías. Su obra es esencialmente no tradicional y merece especial atención. Gestos de la memoria presenta un rico mosaico de poemas, prosas-poéticas autobiográficas y crónicas. Entre los temas fundamentales de los textos aquí incluidos se encuentran la memoria familiar y personal, la búsqueda de la identidad, la exploración del ser, la sexualidad, las incertidumbres históricas y políticas, los viajes y las diásporas. Los textos aparecen en el idioma en que fueron escritos. Sin embargo, las contribuciones en español se acompañan de sus traducciones al inglés. También hay textos caracterizados por un mestizaje linguístico en inglés-español. El origen de este número 14 de Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana, se encuentra en una serie de conversaciones sobre poesía con Isaac Goldemberg. Nuestros diálogos me llevaron a reflexionar de una forma nueva sobre mi condición de escritora latinoamericana/latina de origen judío mixto. El haber aceptado ser la editora invitada de Gestos de la memoria fue una manera de reconocer memorias familiares olvidadas y reclamar parte de mi herencia cultural. Todas las escritoras incluidas en esta antología pertenecen a diferentes diásporas. En general, sus colaboraciones se refieren de forma directa o indirecta a su herencia judía ashkenazi o sefardita. Ellas hablan de sus diversas genealogías, cuestionando, en algunos casos, discursos de poder desde perspectivas feministas. Todas logran ofrecernos, con extraordinario lirismo en algunos casos y con humor agudo en otros, experiencias únicas y reflexiones sobre identidades personales y culturales.


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*** Los poemas de Marjorie Agosín dan comienzo a esta variada colección de textos. Su inigualable voz poética es a menudo autobiográfica, ofreciéndonos paisajes metafóricos, sensuales y descriptivos. Agosín es una reconocida poeta, activista de derechos humanos y ensayista. Nacida en el seno de una familia judía-chilena en Bethesda, Maryland, fue educada en Chile. Sus abuelos y bisabuelos eran originarios de Viena y Odesa. Uno de los aspectos centrales que han definido su obra es su auto-identificación como chilena y judía. Algunos de los temas recurrentes en su poesía son la relación entre las mujeres y el lenguaje, lo testimonial, las experiencias de amor y las pérdidas afectivas. Los poemas de Agosín que se incluyen en español, con traducción al inglés de Alison Ridley, tienen como tema la experiencia judía y lugares de la memoria en el tiempo. Ellos hablan de la esencia de tradiciones judías sagradas y del Holocausto, creando un viaje a través del pasado y el presente. Agosín reconstruye la historia familiar y un pasado judío compartido de memorias fragmentadas. La siguiente autora es Magali Alabau, poeta cubana de origen judío. Nacida en Cienfuegos, Cuba, salió de la Isla a mediados de los años sesenta y se radicó en New York. En la actualidad, Alabau es considerada una de las poetas más innovadoras de la Diáspora Cubana. Esta autora escribe fundamentalmente en español y su poesía ha sido traducida al inglés por Anne Twitty y Manuel Adrián López. Una característica sobresaliente de su obra es la reescritura de los mitos clásicos desde una perspectiva feminista. En su poesía abundan los monólogos dramáticos de reflexiones psicológicas. Entre sus temas más relevantes se encuentran la separación geográfica y la fragmentación del ser, la dualidad y el exilio de la voz poética. Alabau escribe sobre el miedo a la memoria que la ata a un pasado de caos y dolor. Su voz poética es una atenta observadora de un pasado visto como peligroso. La antropóloga y escritora cubano-americana Ruth Behar habla con frecuencia en su obra de las diásporas familiares y explora las raíces de su herencia judía. De ascendencia turco-sefardita y

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ashkenasi-polaco-rusa, Behar nació en La Habana, Cuba y emigró con su familia a los EE.UU. en 1962. Su trabajo es conocido por el acercamiento humanista a temas de identidad e inmigración. La obra creativa de Behar refleja sus estrechos lazos con sus raíces sefarditas-cubanas. Esto se refleja tanto en su obra literaria como en su documental Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, sobre la identidad y la memoria histórica entre los judíos sefarditas cubanos que viven en Cuba, Miami y New York. En su poesía, Behar indaga en lo tangible y lo inmediato, mientras Cuba ocupa un lugar central en sus reflexiones poéticas. La obra de Behar se caracteriza esencialmente por incorporar experiencias personales en el cruce de fronteras culturales y el reconocimiento de la historia judía. A continuación escuchamos la voz de Alicia Borinsky. Sus poemas son agudos e irónicos y se caracterizan por una fluida sintaxis coloquial. El estilo de esta novelista, poeta y ensayista es reconocido por transgredir convenciones literarias. Borinsky nació en Buenos Aires en el seno de una familia de judíos europeos que huyeron de los pogroms en Rusia y de los nazis en Polonia. En 1966 dejó la Argentina y se estableció en EE.UU. Esta autora nos ofrece una gran variedad de temas asociados con experiencias íntimas que con frecuencia se refieren a la historia y la sociedad argentinas. La vida urbana ocupa un lugar destacado en su obra. Por lo general, su voz poética posee un ojo alerta y gran agudeza lingüística que nos llevan a espacios donde se confunden juegos y denuncias, mascaradas y confesiones. Borinsky es una escritora experimental que siempre se arriesga literariamente. Con un lenguaje directo, propone múltiples gestos innovadores que nos involucran en el poema. En esta selección se incluyen poemas en español con su correspondiente traducción al inglés por Regina Galasso y Natasha Hakimi Zapata. Los poemas de Carlota Caulfield siguen a los de Borinsky. Nacida en La Habana, Cuba, en una familia irlandesa-catalana-sefardita (xueta) y cubana, sus peregrinaciones la han llevado a Zürich, Dublín, Barcelona, New York, San Francisco, México D.F., New Orleans, Oakland, Londres y Berkeley. El mundo poético de Caulfield es conjetural, marcado por un arte de permutaciones. El tema del viaje, como experiencia y desarraigo, ocupa un lugar central en sus poemas. Caulfield combina diferentes estilos de escritura en sus textos y en esta experimentación encuentra su


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voz más original. Muchos de sus poemas reclaman personajes olvidados de la historia, mientras exploran lo dialógico e intercultural. Caulfield también ha incursionado en su obra en el budismo zen y en el misticismo. Esto se hace evidente en El Libro de Giulio Camillo, donde la poeta dialoga con textos renacentistas, filosofías orientales y el Sefer Yetzirah o Libro de la Formación. La autora colabora frecuentemente con Mary G. Berg en la traducción de sus poemas al inglés. La siguiente autora es Susana Chávez-Silverman, cuya experiencia de ser judía está conectada también a una multiplicidad étnica. Nacida en Los Ángeles, Chávez-Silverman es una autora latino-judía con estrechos vínculos latinoamericanos. Fue educada en Madrid, Guadalajara (México) y en el norte de California, con prolongadas estancias en Argentina y África del Sur. Es conocida literariamente por una peculiar obra caracterizada por humor e ingenio en la que el acto de recordar es central. Sus textos tienen la peculiaridad de estar escritos a la vez en español e inglés y en una combinación de ambos idiomas. El novedoso trabajo autobiográfico de esta escritora refleja sus experiencias multiculturales en un estilo rápido y agudo con innovaciones lingüísticas. Su prosa poética posee una gran variedad de texturas idiomáticas y “mestizajes” de géneros literarios vinculados a la crónica, el diario y el epistolario. Chávez-Silverman es una poeta-cuentista en busca de discursos contrapuntuales donde memorias individuales y colectivas convergen y se entrelazan de forma idiosincrática. Gestos de la Memoria concluye con una selección de Achy Obejas, escritora cubano-americana-sefardita. En su obra encontramos una indagación sobre la Cuba contemporánea, los judíos habaneros, los cripto-judíos españoles, temas de inmigración y queer life en los EE.UU. Obejas escribe regularmente sobre la confrontación entre identidades privadas y públicas. Nacida en La Habana, Cuba, emigró con su familia a los EE.UU. cuando tenía seis años. Destacada periodista y autora de varias novelas aclamadas por la crítica y de traducciones premiadas, su poesía más temprana expresa esencialmente nostalgia por Cuba. En poemas más recientes, Obejas muestra una vigorosa expresión literaria bilingüe y bicultural. Su poema en prosa Volver, incluido en esta antología, expone la dinámica coloquial y el flujo de conciencia de un sujeto poético en reflexiones existenciales.

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***

Esta antología no está completa, pero ¿acaso alguna antología es definitiva? Todas las escritoras incluidas contestaron con gran entusiasmo a la invitación para participar en este número; otras escritoras, aunque respondieron con interés, al final no enviaron sus colaboraciones. También hubo correos perdidos y en algunos casos, solo silencio. Finalmente, quiero agradecerles a todos aquellos que han hecho posible la publicación de esta antología. En primer lugar, un agradecimiento especial para Isaac Goldemberg, director-editor de la Hostos Review/Revista Hostosiana, por haberme invitado a ser la editora de Gestos de la memoria. También por persuadirme a incluir una selección de mi poesía en estas páginas y así favorecer el número cabalístico 7. Muchas gracias por su ayuda a Stephen A. Sadow y Jacobo Sefamí por haber sido puentes hacia algunas de las escritoras presentes y ausentes en este número. Mil gracias a Scott Duncan y Stacy McKenna por su ayuda editorial, y en particular a Marjorie Agosín, Magali Alabau, Ruth Behar, Alicia Borinsky, Susana ChávezSilverman, Achy Obejas y a los traductores/as Allison Ridley, Anne Twitty, Manuel Adrián López, Regina Galasso, Natasha Hakimi Zapata y Mary G. Berg sin cuya colaboración esta antología no hubiese podido ser una realidad. Agradecemos a la Oficina de Asuntos Académicos de Hostos Community College por su apoyo a esta publicación. Los textos incluidos en esta selección se publican con la autorización de sus autoras. Las crónicas “Cono Sur Mitzvah Crónica”, perteneciente a Killer Crónicas: Bilingual Memories/Memorias Bilingües (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) y “Axolotl/Bichos Raros Crónica” (PORTAL Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, UTSePress, 2012) se vuelven a publicar aquí con la autorización de sus editores. Gestos de la memoria está dedicada a mi bisabuela xueta-catalana Antonia Rebeca de Pons i Fuster.


POETRY & CHRONICLES POESÍA & CRÓNICAS


MARJORIE AGOSÍN


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1. La voz del río dulce Desde la muerte, tu voz,  Desde el transfondo helado de la tierra estás, Desde la memoria de tu cielo me llamas Así en una voz bajita y clara, Voz de río dulce, Voz de un cristal roto… Te escucho, Acudo, Te siento. No te encuentro en el libro de las fotografías de un campo de concentración. ¿Qué escondías bajo el cubrecama de terciopelo? Nunca hablaste ni de víctimas ni de victimarios. No me hablaste.  Tan solo cantabas o rezabas, Y eras una voz dulce, Como la de un río que nace, Como la de una casa habitada por la levedad de la risa.   2. Entre los alambres Sentí un llanto muy seco, Un llanto mudo, Como si desde la misma tierra Todo tu dolor se desprendiera… Acudí a ti, Quise aprender de ti Para después contar lo que me decías Desde aquella muerte Donde los días no eran días ni noches, Donde la única certeza era tu voz Amarrada en un alambre. 


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1. Voice of a Sweet River From death, your voice,  From the depths of the frozen ground you call, From the memory of your sky you summon me In a faint, clear voice, The voice of a sweet river, The voice of broken glass… I listen for you, I turn toward you, I sense your presence. I cannot find you in the book of photographs of a concentration camp. What were you hiding beneath your velvet bedspread? You never spoke of victims or victimizers. You did not speak to me at all.  You only sang and prayed, And yours was a sweet voice, Like a river being born, Like a house filled with the lightness of laughter. 2. Entangled in Wire   I heard a withered cry, A silent cry, As though from the depths of the earth All of your pain was being unleashed... I went to you, I tried to learn from you So that later I would be able to tell What you were saying to me From beyond the grave, Where days were neither days nor nights, Where the only sure thing was your voice Entangled in wire. 

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3. Cartografías extraviadas   En el prodigio del sueño vas y vienes, Te deslizas entre las cronologías distorsionadas, Las geografías caducas, Los países rotos, Pero siempre tu mirada abierta y clara, Tu voz cual dulce campana, Tu cabello como una gran manta, Una gran ola, intrépida entre los océanos, Cubriéndonos, ausentándonos, de todo mal.   4. Tu alma liviana como una pluma   Siempre sentí que tu alma era tan liviana Como esa pluma que adornaba tu sombrero vienés. Y estoy ahora para traducir tu alma Para que se teja junto a la mía, Para llamarte Helena del alma mía.   Alma ligera, Alma de lluvias, Alma de una niña vieja Mirando la lluvia danzar sobre los tejados, Alma que me cuenta de los bosques de Viena Como un canto de oboes.   Y he venido a esta ciudad para sentirte, Pero tan solo siento el eco de un violín quebrado, Tan solo siento las manos de tu hijo cubiertas de ácido, Tan solo siento la noche honda de Viena, La noche espesa de pavor. Eso encuentro por las noches.


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3. Wayward Cartographies In the wondrous world of dreams you come and you go,   You glide between hazy chronologies, Withered landscapes, Broken countries, But your gaze is always open and clear, Your voice is a sweet bell, Your hair, like a magnificent blanket, A majestic wave between intrepid oceans, Covers us and shelters us from harm.   4. Your Soul, Light as a Feather   I always imagined your soul as light as the feather That graced your Viennese hat.  And now I am here to translate your soul, To entwine it with mine,  To call you Helena of my soul.      Light soul, Soul of rain, Soul of an ancient child Watching the raindrops dance on rooftops, Soul that tells me the forests of Vienna Are a chorus of oboes.   And I have come to this city to find you, But I only hear the echo of a broken violin, I only see your son’s hands covered in acid, I only feel the yawning Viennese night, The night thick with fear. That is what I encounter at night.

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El amanecer me trae diáfana desnudez, Una posible claridad. 5.  El eco del miedo   Aquella noche, Aquella noche, El eco de aquella noche. El estruendo, El viento maléfico entrando por tus ojos, Rapando tu pelo, Asesinando tu aliento.   Aquella noche El viento conspirando con el ruido de los cristales rotos; Caían las ventanas sobre tu rostro, Caía la  historia, Se caía el mundo.   La noche de los cristales rotos rebanando tu alma, Y de pronto en lo más profundo de ti, de tu ser, Bajaste por las escaleras de hierro De aquella Viena maléfica, De aquella Viena con la elegancia de los pérfidos, Y el viento insidioso te quería cortar el camino, Te quería rebanar los dedos.   Pero era tan grande tu anhelo de la vida, Era tan grande el anhelo de salir de aquella oscuridad, Que derrotaste al viento, A la maldad de los que celebraban tu dolor, Y viajaste intrépida y bella hacia el mar del sur, En tu cabello luciérnagas guiando caminos.


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

The dawn brings me fragile awareness, A glimmer of clarity.   5. The Echo of Fear   That night, That night, The echo of that night. The deafening noise, The wicked wind assaulting your eyes, Slashing your hair, Leaving you breathless.    That night The wind conspired with the din of breaking glass; Glass showered your face, History shattered, The world came crashing down.    The Night of Broken Glass sliced into your soul, And, on that fateful evening, Finding strength in the depths of your being, You descended the iron staircase In that maleficent Vienna, That two-faced and treacherous Vienna, And an insidious wind fought to hinder your passage, To slice through your fingers.   But your desire to live was so strong, Your desire to leave the darkness behind was so fierce, That you conquered the wind, And the evil of those who reveled in your pain, And you travelled fearless and beautiful toward the southern sea, In your hair, fireflies illuminating the way.  

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6. Tu maleta dorada     Tu maleta deslizándose entre tus manos, Tu maleta pequeña que contenía un mundo. La valija dorada, la que llevabas a Praga, a Trieste, Ahora rumbo al sur Donde el cielo nunca se nubla, Donde las hojas de los árboles Se oían caer en la noche. Tu maleta de niña dulce Con un puñado de sal, Con un puñado de azúcar, Con los sonidos de la noche, Con el ala del viento cantándote.   Tu maleta con algunas fotografías… La de Isidoro Halpern que quedó ahí En el cementerio judío de Viena custodiado por tu amor Y por dos ciervos que llegaron a él.   Y pienso en las maletas de las niñas que Se fueron a Auschwitz. ¿Qué llevaban? ¿Cintas de colores? 
 ¿Peinetas de carey? Antes de saber que perderían sus cabellos.    Mi amada Helena, Hoy tu maleta victoriosa junto a mí; La maleta que evadió a las fieras, La maleta que no te quitaron cuando en Hamburgo Te fuiste rumbo al sur, La maleta con tus aretes de granate, La maleta fugaz que también llegó a la vida.  


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

6. Your Golden Suitcase Your suitcase, slipping through your hands, Your small suitcase that contained a world. The golden case you took with you to Prague, to Trieste, And now to the southern hemisphere Where the sky is never cloudy, Where the leaves on the trees Can be heard falling at night.  Your sweet-girl suitcase With a pinch of salt, With a pinch of sugar, With the sounds of the night, With the wing of the wind serenading you.   Your suitcase with a few cherished photographs… The one of Isidoro Halpern who remained behind In the Jewish cemetery in Vienna guarded by your love And by two deers that stand watch.   And I think about the suitcases of young girls Who were sent to Auschwitz. What did they take with them? Colored ribbons? Nacre combs? Before they knew they would lose their hair.    My beloved Helena, Today your triumphant suitcase is here with me; The suitcase that eluded the beasts, The suitcase they did not take from you when in Hamburg You embarked on a journey to the end of the world, The suitcase containing your garnet earrings, The fugitive suitcase that, like you, survived.  

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7. Tu mirada me habla   Tu mirada extraviada, Tu mirada sujetando el dolor, Tu mirada como un faro a la deriva, Tu mirada muda… Y de pronto me contabas de aquella noche Cuando bajaste las escaleras de tu casa Y abriste el viejo portón de fierro, El que todos los días abrías. Tus vecinas te escupieron.  Tan solo te decían “Judía, judía, judía”, Y tú, con la mirada en alto, Con el corazón en calma, Con tus manos color sepia cual fotografía abandonada, Viajaste hacia el sur del mundo, Hacia el azul de un mar desconocido.  Viajaste hacia la vida, Hacia el idioma de un nuevo futuro.   8. Las copas de ámbar   Me enseñaste a hablar con los muertos, Elegir las palabras propicias, Dejar copas de vino dorado en sus puestos ausentes. Eran tantos aquellos, los ausentes. Los nombrabas en una voz secreta y densa, Celebrabas sus vidas en las copas de ámbar. Los días se fueron hilando el uno con el otro, Y en los atardeceres los invocábamos. Así aprendí el arte de la paciencia, Imaginar a tus primas pasearse entre los umbrales, Hablar con los muertos de Helena, Con humildad escucharlos. 


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

7. Your Gaze Speaks to Me Your wayward gaze, Your gaze filled with pain, Your gaze like a light adrift, Your silent gaze… And all of a sudden you began telling me about the night You descended the stairs of your house And opened the old iron gate, The one you opened every day. Your neighbors spat on you.  The only thing they said to you was “Jew, Jew, Jew,” And you, with your gaze straight ahead, Your heart calm, Your hands the sepia of a forgotten photograph, Travelled to the southernmost part of the world, Toward the blue of an unknown ocean. You travelled toward life, Toward the language of a new future.    8. Amber Goblets   You taught me how to speak with the dead, How to choose the right words, To leave glasses of golden wine before the vacant places Of the countless absent souls. You would name each one in a furtive and hushed voice, You celebrated their lives with the amber draughts. Days began to string together, And in the afternoons we would invoke the dead. That is how I learned the art of patience, To imagine your cousins ambling between thresholds, To speak with Helena’s dead, To heed them with humility.  

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9. El entierro azul Tengo yo hoy tu edad, Una vida plena sin grandes pavores,  Pero te veo deslizarte como una reina llena de gracia Por las escaleras de tu casa Con una maleta llena de fotografías De los que serían ahora mis muertos. Quiero darles un entierro azul, El color de la esperanza, El color de la libertad, Que no se me pierdan. Quiero que me oigan, Que los quiero encontrar, Encontrar en mi memoria, Otorgar esta memoria a los otros. 10. Paz   No le temes a la cercanía de la muerte. La viste pasar aquella noche Donde las mariposas se tornaron el color de las sombras. La viste cuando bajabas con la mirada en alto tras las balaustradas Y el ángel de la vida invisible custodiándote.   Ahora los días y las noches transcurren sin calendarios. Perdida en los tiempos Has pactado con los olvidos. Habitas en un pozo de aguas claras Donde tan solo los sueños te guían Desordenadamente sobre los días.  


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

9. The Blue Funeral I am now your age, And I live a life of plenitude, A life devoid of fear, But I see you glide down the stairs of your house Like a graceful queen With a suitcase full of photographs Of those who would now become my dead. I want to give them a blue funeral, The color of hope, The color of freedom, So I do not lose them. I want them to hear me, To know I want to find them, To find them in my memory,  To entrust that memory to others.   10. Peace   You do not fear the proximity of death. You saw her passing by that night When butterflies turned the colour of shadows. You saw her when you were descending the stairs With your head held high And the invisible angel of life watching over you.   Now days and nights exist without calendars. Lost in time, You have made a pact with forgetfulness. You live in a well of clear waters Where only dreams lead you Haphazardly through the days.    

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Juego con tu cabello y en él encuentro Broches de granate en las mechas plateadas. Beso tus manos y me reconoces. Brilla tu cabello y brilla tu mirada. Estás a salvo. Ni la muerte aún puede encontrarte aquí.


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

As I play with your hair I encounter Garnet highlights amid silver strands. I kiss your hands and you recognize me. Your hair shines as brightly as your gaze. You are safe. Not even death can find you here. Â [Translated by Alison Ridley]

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MAGALI ALABAU


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Vamos a recorrer los cuartos en que anduvimos juntas las casas, las sombras, la noche, el mosquitero, los zumbidos. También la madrugada y los patios. Había dos patios, uno grande donde las gallinas, las chivas y el perro caminaban, había el cementerito verde donde entre dos o tres matas de clavel nacían ajos. Había una ventana y mirábamos 
 y de ella al patio un tramo. 
 Imaginemos un autobús solitario 
 que nos pasea entre los cuartos. 
 La sala, entramos. 
 Se esconden las caras al vernos llegar. 
 El sillón dando vueltas, nos sentamos. 
 Lo imaginamos de carrusel y polvo. 
 Abrimos la ventana y la otra ventana 
 y cerramos las ventanas. 
 Los muebles son negros. 
 La mesa tiene mantelitos bordados. 
 Observamos los muñecos,  
 la bailarina, el elefante, 
 la jirafa y los tres reyes mosqueteros. 
 La peluquería improvisada, los cepillos, 
 la acetona, los algodones, 
 el pelo cortado en el piso es la alfombra, 
 los espejos, tú y yo. 
 Los bombillos arriba y te digo: 
 no enciendas la luz, las cucarachas bailan. 



REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Let us travel the rooms where we were together, the houses, the shadows, night, the mosquito net, buzzing. Dawn too and the patios. There were two of them, a big one where the hens and goats and a dog roamed around: there was a tiny green cemetery where in between two or three clumps of carnations garlic used to grow. There was a window and from it we would look down a way into the patio. Let’s imagine a solitary bus to take us from room to room.
 The living room, we enter. The faces hide when they see us coming. The rocking chair spinning. We sit down. We call it up out of carousel and dust. We open the window and the other window and we close the windows. The furniture is black. Embroidered place mats on the table. We look at the dolls, the ballerina, the elephant, the giraffe, the wise men like three musketeers. The improvised beauty parlor, the brushes, nail-polish remover, the cotton balls; snips of hair form a rug on the floor, you and I are the mirrors. Light bulbs up above and I tell you: Don’t turn on the light, the cockroaches are dancing;

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Los patines tirados, dos de un mismo pie. 
 La saleta guarda los fantasmas 
 que se esconden detrás del sofá,  el radio callado dice que es de noche. 
 
 No puedo seguir en este recorrido 
 porque no estás. Aquí entro, abro las dos o tres cartas que anuncian objetos perdidos.
 La llave se traba, la puerta habla bajito. La luz apagada, una pequeña llama. El baño, los cigarros, la falta de vino para recordar los pasos, el tilo, la cama. Quiero recordarte, pero escapas. La noche hace acordarme que te hubiera traído a un país diferente, como si la enfermedad escapara por la ventanilla de un avión. Se puede traer el recuerdo, dormirlo entre los años, despertarlo en un poema, hacerle una visita como a un presidiario. Siento que tenemos que hurgar como si en la saleta hubiera un tesoro enterrado, como si tuviéramos que escribir una pequeña historia, hacer una islita en el patio, estirar las ramas y vernos dos plantas 
 encaramándose en el aire. La casa tiene sus limitaciones. La cocina es de abuela,  el baño de todos, el comedor de abuelo,


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

roller skates thrown on the floor, two left feet. The parlor is a lair of ghosts hiding behind the sofa and the silent radio says it is night. I can’t go on because you are not here. Here I enter. I open two or three letters, a past full of lost-and-found notices. The key sticks in the lock. The door mutters under its breath. The light off, a small flame. The bathroom, the cigarettes, the need for wine to recall our steps, lime-flower tea, the bed. I want to recall you, but you elude me. Night makes me remember that I would have brought you to a different country. As if sickness could fly out an airplane window. 
 Memory can be brought along, put to sleep among years, woken up in a poem, visited like an inmate. I feel we must dig into this as if there were a buried treasure in the parlor, as if we had to write a little story, create a small island in the patio, stretch out the branches, and reaching into the air as two plants. The house has its limitations. The kitchen is grandmother’s, the bathroom, for everyone,

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la sala de mi madre y los dos cuartos nos pertenecen y nos cortan el paso. Caminamos como las luciérnagas, tuertas las dos paseamos, mirando los percheros, el almidón, la naftalina. La casa la hubiéramos abandonado en cualquier momento.
 Se abriría la nevera, se arrimarían las sillas, trataríamos de recordar los almuerzos, pero no hay vino y la memoria permanece acorazada en el vaso de agua. Es inútil. No tengo emociones, soldados capaces de saltar. Sé que todos se iban cuando regresábamos. Sé que todos cerraban las puertas y nos lanzaban como pedrada a la calle que era la sala. Pero la calle nos empujaba hacia adentro, nos sacaba la lengua, hacía muecas y abría el molar. Los muebles se escondían y se murmuraba: La guerra está a punto de estallar. Los aviones en el parque y los sonámbulos echando balas a la acera, tirémonos al piso, detrás del sofá. Con mi lengua pinto mi nombre. Empecemos a tocar el piso a ver si nos abren. Las balas se mueven rápidamente entre las cabezas. Las muñecas están por ahí, arrastrémoslas, que toquen las puertas ellas. Se van asomando a la puerta. Sí, quisieran


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

the dining room, grandfather’s, the living room, mother’s, and two rooms belong to us and block our way. We are walking like fireflies, one-eyed we are strolling, observing the hangers, starch, mothballs. We would have left the house at any moment. 
 The icebox would open, 
 the chairs be drawn up, 
 we would try to remember meal times, 
 but there is no wine, and memory 
 lies armor-plated in a glass of water. 
 
 It’s useless. I have no emotions. I know they all went away when we returned. I know they all closed the doors and hurled us like stones into the street. I know the street pushed us back inside, stuck its tongue out at us, made faces, opened its jaws. The furniture hid us and muttered: War is about to break out. Airplanes in the park and the sleepwalkers 
 shooting at the sidewalk, let’s throw ourselves to the floor, behind the sofa. I paint my name with your tongue. Let’s start knocking on the floor to see if they’ll open it. Bullets whizz between heads. The dolls are over there, drag them along, let them knock at the doors. People start to appear. Yes, they wish 

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que en esta batalla hubiéramos muerto. Nos sentamos detrás del sofá a peinarnos, a maquillarnos, a ponernos las flores 
 y los algodones. Registran los baúles, el radio, no estamos. ¿Quiénes son los invisibles? Pero estamos acostadas en mi cama gemelas, uniformes, confesándonos, en un frío, y sin colchas frente a un poderoso ojo que me mira insolente mientras dices: Ya pasó. Ahora estás sin cuerpo y yo sin alma, en la cama, y te diré que huía, que mientras más maletas preparaba y más excusas, más oscuridad se asentaba en una isla, un pantano, la pesadumbre. Desgajar la pequeña historia nuestra y querer un papel blanco para pintar un cero. Expandirse sin sogas, sin tus ojos que me hacían un criminal. Y sin embargo yo era la única que entendía y ese entendimiento el único que te liberaba y escapé con él. Ser desertor implica que en cualquier ocasión cuando se habla de honor o de fidelidad, o de amor, o de heroicidad o de qué altura,


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

we had died in this battle.
 We sit behind the sofa to comb our hair, to put on makeup and flowers and cotton balls. They search the trunks, the radio; we aren’t there. Who are the invisibles? But we are lying in my bed, twins, just alike, confessing each other, in the cold, and uncovered facing a powerful eye that watches me insolently while you say: It’s over. Now you are bodiless and I soulless, in bed, and I’d tell you that I fled, that the more suitcases I packed the more excuses I made, the deeper the darkness falling on the island, a swamp, grief. To break our little story, wanting a blank sheet of paper 
 to paint zero on. 
 To expand without ties 
 without your gaze making me feel like a criminal. 
 And nevertheless I was the only one who understood, 
 and that understanding the only thing that could free you 
 and I took it away with me. 
 To be a deserter  means that at any moment whenever people talk of honor or fidelity, or love or heroism or any noble sentiment,

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uno se escurre por donde pueda. Significa quedarse fuera de las conversaciones y si uno se atreve a ponerse una máscara, luego retirarla con alivio de que no había por ahí uno conocedor. Es no comer con fruición, no dormir a pierna suelta, llevar una soga en el bolsillo 
 y ver, en caso de que el recuerdo volviera, dónde aguantar la soga del ahorcado. Es ser Pedro, el gallo y las tres veces, es saber la sentencia de antemano, es leer y no identificarse con la protagonista. Es renunciar a los discursos y a los premios, a las pequeñas alegrías. Es mirar el vaso con la propia dentadura y que nadie te diga por qué lloras.
 De pronto ocurre que hay que cuidar a alguien, que hay que bañar a un perro, que hay que cruzar a un ciego, y la palabra “mentira” salta por todos lados inesperada y fría. 
 Ser desertor es haber dejado los ojos, 
 preparar el suicidio 
 y no llevarlo a cabo.


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

scuttling away through the nearest hole in the wall. It means being left out of conversations and if you dare to put on a mask, slipping it off with relief when you find that your secret is safe. It is not eating your fill, or sleeping at ease, carrying a rope in your pocket  and in case memory returns, looking for a spot where the gallows rope could be swung. It is being Peter, the cock and the three times, knowing the sentence beforehand, not identifying with the protagonist in the book you are reading. It is giving up speeches and prizes, and small joys. It is looking at the glass with your own teeth in it and no one better ask why you’re crying. Suddenly you may have to take care of someone, bathe a dog, help a blind man cross the street, and the word “lie” jumps out at you
 icy and unexpected. To be a deserter is to have abandoned your eyes, to plan suicide and never carry it out.  

 

[From Hermana/Sister. Translated by Anne Twitty]

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Fotos Fotos tomadas por un viejo polaco en las ruinas de tu casa, guardadas en alguna caja sucia, cerca de los huesos de alguien que terminó en un hoyo. Las puertas, la fosa, charcos, agua. Entre el charco y el crimen, la mentira. El crimen puede ser un cuarto ensangrentado o una siniestra escalera para arrastrar los cuerpos. Están duros, hincados van sobre el concreto, sin peligro ya, sin miedo por atrasar la ruta. ¿Cómo extraer el último ay del sorprendido tiro en la cabeza? La tierra seca, amarilla verdosa, disecada, lubrica el terreno con las heces de los siervos y las liebres. ¿Cómo pensar que el demonio vestido de uniforme, multiplicando rifles y soldados sea capaz de tal empresa? Yo no sé su nombre. Se reproduce y aparece en toda época. Es omnisciente, todo lo ve y todo lo oye. No sé si es uno o muchos. Se trata de una dimensión donde la compasión se desconoce. No sé qué nombre tiene este visitante tan famoso que engaña y su belleza nos deslumbra. No sé si es él o ella. Solo tengo referencias aprendidas saboreando dolor y testimonios.


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Photos Photographs taken by an old Polish man of the ruins of one’s house, kept in some dirty box next to the bones of someone that ended up in a pit. Gates, ditch, puddles, water. Between the puddle and the crime, the lie. The crime could have taken place in a bloodied room or a sinister staircase where bodies are dragged. Stiff, thrust over the concrete at least safe and without fear of delaying the route. How can you forget the last burst of that surprising shot in the head? The dry, yellowish green, dissected soil lubricates the land with hares and deer waste. How can one suspect that a demon dressed in uniform multiplying rifles and soldiers could be capable of such undertaking? I don’t know its name. It reproduces and reappears in every season. Omniscient, all-seeing and all-hearing. I don’t know if is one or many; it exists in a dimension where compassion is unknown. I don’t know its name. Its fame deceits us and it’s beauty dazzles. I don’t know if is a he or a she. All I know, I have learned by tasting pain and testimonies.

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Reminiscencias Cuando creí que ya me había olvidado de las imágenes del ghetto de Varsovia, de macilentos cuerpos maltratados, cuando creí había olvidado de cómo les ataron los tobillos y las manos, y desnudos fueron arrojados en las fosas turbulentas de lodo, llegaron las fotos de esos infelices que murieron de frío. Cuando me disponía a tomar el avión para encontrar el territorio del futuro, me han puesto al frente estas imágenes de estrujados cartuchos que pudieron ser tú o yo o uno de ellos con quienes yo jugaba. Cuando apenas me olvidaba del olor a gas o de las filas de seres indefensos que rezaban en cuclillas o de sus cuerpos sin vida inermes en la sala adonde entraron aterrados, descubro tu cara revirada y sin rasgos. Apenas colocando mi maleta de viaje, en la extrañeza de esas aportaciones de la imaginación, llegaron las fotografías.


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

  Reminiscences   Right about when I thought I had forgotten the images of the Warsaw ghetto and of abused, thin bodies, right when I thought I had forgotten how they tied their ankles and hands, and were flung naked in the turbulent, muddy ditches, photos of those miserable, dying from the cold had arrived. Right about when I was getting ready to board a plane to find the land of the future before my very eyes, the images appeared of crumpled paper cones which could have been you or me. Right about when I had almost forgotten the smell of gas or the lines of defenseless beings that prayed while squatting, or their lifeless bodies unarmed in the waiting area where they entered frightened, I discover your twisted face devoid of any features. As I am placing my suitcase upon imagination’s strange provisions, the photographs arrive. They promised my suitcases would follow my path after the allocations and long lines.

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Me prometieron que las maletas seguirían mi rumbo detrás de las asignaciones y las líneas. Entramos dócilmente al camión y, fue ahí donde nos dejaron. Observo tu foto. ¿Cuántos años para hacer de tu rostro una máscara de cal pidiendo auxilio? ¿A qué nivel de una tarde cualquiera me has traído cuando ya había olvidado del orden impuesto en Birkenau o en Auschwitz? ¿Tendrá alguien la imaginación de descartar el orden y ver el caos en este planeamiento de la infamia? Reconocí el cadáver con sogas en las manos. Reposaba ya quieto con su tarjeta de identificación, desnudo, tapándose la pelvis, un noble gesto de pudor. Yo lo conocía, hablábamos. Me enseñó su encía, los dientes que le ardían. Viendo pasar esas maletas por la rampa pienso en aquellos que hicieron lo inimaginable. ¿Qué harías tú si un día


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

We entered the truck meekly, it was there; they left us. I look at your photo. How many years did it take to turn your face into a lime-colored mask begging for help? At which hour of any given afternoon have you brought me, since I had already forgotten the enforced order in Birkenau or Auschwitz? Did it ever occur to anyone to rule out the order and see the chaos behind the approach of this infamy? I recognized the body with soiled rope in his hands. He laid quietly with his identification card naked, covering his pelvis area; a noble gesture of modesty before death. I knew him, we talked many times. He showed me his gums and his burning teeth. Watching suitcases travel thru the ramp I think about Jews and how they suffered the unthinkable. What would you do if one day they knock on your door and they’d tell you to grab your suitcase? Would you be able to swallow the hidden poison,

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tocaran a la puerta y te dijeran recoja la maleta? ¿Tendrías tiempo de tragar el veneno que escondiste por si llega el momento? Debe existir alguien que no pudo aguantar la pesadumbre diaria de estos seres. Sí, alguien que existe en Sobibor o en las afueras del Cotorro o de Treblinka. Alguien que derramó una lágrima cuando Carlos fue arrojado del camión al hueco sin apenas un trapo cubriéndole los ojos. Y tú, este otro sin nombre, ¿qué grito has dado que aún reverberas en mis sueños? ¿Qué gesto de entrega me has confiado para yo recordarte en un poema?


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

reserved, in case the time comes? There has to be someone who was not able to bear these people’s daily grief. Someone… Someone that lives in Sobibor or on the outskirts of El Cotorro or Treblinka. Someone that shed a tear as Carlos was thrown out of the truck into a ditch without a mere rag covering his eyes. And you, another one without a name, what cry have you given that still makes its presence known in my dreams? What expression of surrender have you confided in me, to have me remember you in a poem?   [From Volver. Translated by Manuel Adrián López and Magali Alabau]

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RUTH BEHAR


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Dream of Sefarad Depart and never return They told us   Forget about Spain  They told us   Do not dare to live in any of our cities, towns, and villages They told us   Under penalty of death They told us   Banished, you are banished from all our kingdoms They told us   We have made quince jam from the fruit of the trees We have drunk the wine from the sweet grapes We have bathed in these rivers We have welcomed with our faith the new moon We have loved, brought up our children, buried our dead in this red earth We have written poems in Hebrew, Arabic, Castilian We have built modest synagogues, nothing comparable to your cathedrals We have recited prayers for peace with our souls as open as the sea We have wished for a mazal bueno to those who surrendered to your Cross   We have been here for more than a thousand years, generation upon generation We have put down roots so deep, how can we leave this soil? Cities with such beautiful names— Toledo, Barcelona, Segovia, Zamora, Córdoba   Pretend you won’t remember us Pretend you won’t miss us

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HOSTOS REVIEW

Pretend you won’t see us lurking in the shadows Sefarad is our home, Spain is our Sefarad Who are you to take Sefarad and Spain from us?   Weep for my people, who are shutting the doors and clasping the keys Weep for my people, who are filling the boats at the port of Cádiz Weep for my people, who are sweating in the damp heat of summer Weep for my people, who are carrying the Torah on their shoulders Weep for my people, who are glancing back, seeing only a Moor wave goodbye Weep for my people, who are bemoaning their lives, wishing only to die Weep for my people, who are going forth into another exile Weep for my people, who are furious for having loved Sefarad so much Weep for my people, who are wondering if Sefarad was only a dream   Many autumns have passed Look— Already my people are drying their tears Already my people are bowing to another shore Already a cry rises from my people: I won’t weep anymore I won’t weep anymore   Hijica, hear the song inside our hearts It’s sweet and sad and beautiful and broken It’s all that we kept: the nostalgia for the sad breeze of Spain    


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

The Last Perera In memory of Victor Haim Perera I still remember our phone conversations late at night the desk lamp casting a halo in the darkness of my Victorian house my husband and my little boy sleeping peacefully down the hall you in California and I in Michigan talking about our shared heritage. “Ruth you must claim your Sephardic identity,” you’d say. “Ours is a history like no other, promise me you will take it more seriously.” And I, not to offend, always replied, “Of course I will, Victor, I will, I will.” But then we’d hang up and I wouldn’t do much of anything you could call Sephardic, except listen to all the sad lullabies and love songs that no one had ever sung to me, A la una yo nací, a los dos m’engrandecí, a las tres tomí amante, a las cuatro me casí: alma, vida, y corasón... At one I was born, at two I grew up, at three I took a lover, at four I married: Soul, life, and heart...   Did I disappoint you, dear Victor? For you, being Sephardic was chiseled into your bones, when you went to Toledo the streets felt familiar, you knew without a shadow of a doubt that your ancestors had been there, and in Salonika, you ran into your ghost, sent to Auschwitz, and you were absolutely certain you saw with your own eyes how our largest Sephardic community was devoured and then forgotten in the history books of the Holocaust. And that time you came to Michigan, invited to speak at a Sephardic synagogue, you asked me to drive you there, I who fear all the highways of the world. I was in a panic, hardly breathing, until finally we arrived. We awaited great fanfare in your honor and discovered that only three old men had come to hear you, but this didn’t sadden you, dear Victor, for they spoke our beautiful dying language, our Ladino. When we said goodbye, many hours later, we felt we were among the blessed.   Being Sephardic, for you, dear Victor, was your most sacred badge of honor. But being Sephardic was also a curse that drove your sister to madness. You imbibed the evil eye in your mother’s milk, you said, and you believed it. And so you would have no children, you would be the last of the Pereras.  

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HOSTOS REVIEW

Just when I was starting to take the whole Sephardic thing seriously, you were embarking on a different journey, swimming with the whales. In the ocean depths you found a world that wasn’t cursed, that wasn’t spooked. History no longer weighed you down and evil eyes couldn’t find you… Or maybe they could? While swimming you had a stroke. You recovered, but it wasn’t you anymore. Your soul remained intact, sweet, kind, loving. But your mind had departed. A proud Sefaradí of all times and places, you took your leave early. The day the Angel of Death arrived you smiled: Now take me home to Sefarad.  


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

A Father’s Tatoo He spends his days parking cars He’s a valet at the Betsy Hotel on Ocean Drive I never learned his name Yesterday he came with an umbrella to help me out of the car It was raining the way it rains in the tropics The rain gets inside you, even your heart is soaking wet I was grateful for his kindness, kept thanking him He didn’t seemed to understand why He gave me a slip of paper and took the car away I trusted him, the way you trust a lifeguard   After I was done with my lecture I returned and gave him the slip of paper Someone else went to get my car As we stood waiting I saw a name on his arm “May I see the name?” He turned over his right arm I saw the inside of his arm, soft silky skin In flowing script it was written: Carlota   And who is Carlota? I asked Mi hija, he told me, it was his daughter. He pulled out his phone and showed me pictures She is two, she is dressed in a frilly dress, there’s a bow in her hair She is dreamy-eyed, she smiles, she isn’t afraid   What kind of father has a tattoo of his daughter’s name on his flesh? I thought of Jews, numbers branded into their flesh by the Nazis This was different This was beautiful This was a kind of love I couldn’t fathom I know the love of the sea, the love of the sun, the love of the moon I know the love of an open rose, the love of a wide trunk tree

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HOSTOS REVIEW

I know the love of the road that takes me places and brings me home But the love of a father who treats his daughter’s name Like a blessing That I do not know.    


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

For Three Months I Am Alone in La Habana For three months I am alone in La Habana. I live in a rented apartment in El Vedado, my old neighborhood. They tell me Alejo Carpentier lived around the corner. There are nights when I feel like wandering around my native city. On Calle Línea, I squeeze into an almendrón with my fellow Cubans. I am not afraid as we meander along Calle San Lázaro in the dark. Before we reach the Parque Central, I say to the driver, “Leave me here.” On the Paseo del Prado, I dream of dancing the tango in my red shoes. Mostly I sit and watch for hours, aging woman that I am. Finally, one of the young dancers takes pity on me, as though I were his mother. It is late and I hunt down another almendrón on the corner of Neptuno. “Are you taking Línea?,” I ask the driver. He smiles and says, “Yes, my life. Come sit in front with me, you’ll be more comfortable.” The almendrón fills with people and we plunge into the maze of broken streets. Passing the stairway that rises up to the university, I imagine falling to my death. There isn’t a soul anywhere and even then I am not afraid. I get off on E Street and cross Línea, still feeling brave. I walk the four blocks to the apartment, quiet as a thief. Is someone gazing at me from a window somewhere? I am indistinguishable from the night in black pants, black blouse, black shoes. I feel alone, utterly alone, without a husband, a son, a mother and a father. The full moon lights my path as it did when I was a sad girl growing up in New York. “Thank you, moon, thank you, for never abandoning me.” I keep on talking to myself. “You’re a woman who has come into her freedom at last.” Then I open the door, walk into my bedroom, and lock myself inside with the key. I am not scared; you just never know who’s holding a knife at your threshold. The next morning I awaken and realize how pathetic was my evening jaunt. The words they didn’t say aloud, all who saw me, bounce around in my ears: Look at that foreign woman. So alone, poor thing. So short of love. Como si nadie la echara de menos. As if no one misses her.  

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HOSTOS REVIEW

Saying Goodbye to La Habana in May There’s always that last day in La Habana. When I want to fix the city in my memory. I want to take another walk on the Malecón. I want to feel the sea wetting my eyelids. I want to run after the little girl who walks on the seawall clasping her father’s hand, that little girl who was me, long ago. I want to hear the street musician with his guitar singing Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” And I want to hear myself sing along with him, I who never sing.   There’s always that last day in La Habana. When I want to sit in a rocking chair and listen to the rain pouring despondently from the sky, as if the world were about to end. I want to watch my neighbor Delia caress the potatoes she’s thankful for, the red earth of the island coating her fingers with love. I want to go searching for eggs with my taxi driver, who also needed some, both of us standing in line for almost an hour at El Ten Cent on 23 and 10, each emerging with thirty eggs, happy, the best of friends.   There’s always that last day in La Habana. When I want to lose myself in the hustle and the bustle on Calle Obispo. A woman sweeps its cobblestones with a broom, and she wears a flower in her hair, showing off, posing for pictures with the tourists. I want to feel the palpitations of my heart after too much sweet coffee. I want to eat an entire plate of ripe plantains, fried in lots of oil. And not worry about a thing.   There’s always that last day in La Habana. When I want to fill my suitcase with the orange blossoms of the flamboyant trees. I want to believe Caro won’t ever die, that she’ll braid her beautiful hair in the morning and unbraid it at night before she goes to sleep, forever and ever. All she wants now is for her son, Paco, to return for a visit from Miami. It’s been eight years, much too long, tell him to come soon, she tells me, soon.


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

There’s always that last day in La Habana. On Calle 15, where I once lived, the men are finishing their domino game. Around the corner, at the Patronato synagogue, our sacred Torah is safe. We Jews have nothing to fear in Cuba. Estévez has called from Matanzas to wish me a good trip and make me laugh. Cristy, who’s never flown anywhere, has promised to recite a rosary, yet again, so my plane won’t crash, and says, “Don’t worry, Ruti, you’ll get there just fine.”   There’s always that last day in La Habana. When I want to still be there, but I know I am already far away. Tomorrow, I will be struggling to find the words to explain how I feel. This is my last day in La Habana and I have left, even before saying goodbye.    

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HOSTOS REVIEW

The Sea I spent several months living next to the sea. I awoke to the song of the waves. I fell asleep to the song of the waves. Every afternoon I would collect seashells and bring them home. By the end of my stay I had a little mountain of seashells. I promised myself that one day I would return all those seashells to the beach. They were no more mine to keep than is the air I breathe or the earth below my feet. But when it was time to pack up and go, I found that I couldn’t bear to give back a single seashell. Each was beautiful to me, each felt like a caress in my hands, each, I thought, would serve to remind me of the song of the waves. So I packed them all and took them with me.   Now I am far away from the ocean and those seashells are still packed. I haven’t looked at them or touched them again. They were not mine to keep, but I kept them anyway. Now I cannot return them to the beach. And all I want is to forget the song of the waves.  


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Somebody Told Me, “Enjoy the Sunshine!” Somebody told me, “Enjoy the sunshine!” And the day arose rainy and stormy.   Then in the afternoon the darkness lifted a little. I took my long walk along the seashore. Low tide, waves quieter than whispers.   The ocean was a color I had never seen before: Pale green turquoise, a balm for the eyes. The way we can only hope eternity will look.   On my path, going in the opposite direction I ran into another woman. She smiled and said, “We’re the only brave ones out today.”   I didn’t think myself brave. I had just finished reading Primo Levi’s memoir of Auschwitz. Stretched out on the sofa, legs on a pillow, snacking on cashews.   Page after page, I said to myself, I could not have survived what he survived. Living so intimately among the dead and not dying.   After I put his book down, I was grateful to be in the world. I took pictures of doves flying and sent them to my son. When I went home, an angel grasped my hand.    

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HOSTOS REVIEW

Swim At Your Own Risk/No Lifeguard on Duty Now that I am no longer attractive to men, I spend my free days at the seashore. I welcome the morning that I despised up north, where the day blooms darkly, the sun faded before it’s even shone. I surrender to the nightfall without the least reproach, watching the sea calm the trembling moon.   I am an island child and I have lived far from the sea for too long. All these years the sea has slept like a dove in my heart. My budding wings want to take flight. The sun warms my cold limbs, the blue sky fills my red veins, the waves whisper in my ear, “Don’t delay, time is running out.”   I walk along the seashore at the first light of day and the last light of day. I have always been undisciplined, but I am so regular about these walks you could set your clock by my continual wandering back and forth.   I am easy to spot. Unlike the others who walk unburdened, just a key in their pockets, I am the woman who carries the cloth bag on her shoulder, heavy with the memory of salt and lost horizons and sinking ships.   On my path, I pass the sign, “Swim At Your Own Risk/No Lifeguard on Duty.” And I think, they put this sign up just for me. How did they know?   All my life I have been afraid. I have never taken a step without making sure someone was watching over me. At least I have made it as far as the seashore. Maybe soon I will swim at my own risk, trusting I can go out to sea and return from the sea.   I wait for that moment with excitement… and with trepidation… and with hope. Meanwhile I wander alone, barefoot. I rejoice for the lovers, bodies intertwined in the sand. I suffer for the children weeping for fallen sandcastles.   As the wind hurls the beautiful, delicate kite high into the air, I hold my breath. A prayer bursts forth from me: Roots keep holding me, firmly, on earthly land.  


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Island of Tears For Rolando Estévez Don’t cry anymore it wasn’t your fault take this handkerchief stretch it if you want from Matanzas to Miami then let it go so the wind will carry it very far to that country I know exists made of everything we’ve lost of all the tears that no longer fit inside you or me   let’s create another country where breakfast consists of macaroni and hot sauce and in the night lit up by fireflies you hear Marta Valdés sing, If you return return so that life can flower again…    

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HOSTOS REVIEW

I brought to Art longings and feelings... —C.P. Cavafy

Goodbye, My Love   I am sitting and watching it rain, watching the raindrops fall into the sea. Water, water, everywhere, from the sky and from the earth, as if the world had started weeping.   The truth is it’s the season for storms. The month of July is coming to an end, the joy of summer has put on its sad face of lowering clouds.   Dear friend, it’s almost time for you to leave. You’ve made up your mind, you aren’t and never can be an emigrant, an exile among the exiles. You’re going back to your country, to our country, which waits for you.   I know that this trip has been painful for you. I’ve felt so sorry to see your suffering. I tried so hard to console you, to make you happy that I ended up tormenting you.   You asked me to make an offering to the sea of the cane syrup you had no time to give. You asked me to pray for you, for your smooth return.   The rain has stopped, I’ll go down to the beach now. Many times we’ve met, many times we’ve talked, the time has flown, and now the silence comes.   Goodbye, my love, may Yemayá hold you and keep you and carry you home to sleep in your own bed, peaceful as a babe.


ALICIA BORINSKY


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HOSTOS REVIEW

¿así?  ¿más fuerte?

Si vinieras esta noche me quedaría a esperarte si te dejaras aconsejar por mí podríamos hacer un trato pero encaprichada te alejas vas a ver a tus hijos te pierdes en un vendaval regresas mojada desharrapada a pedirme un préstamo   te lo doy te lo daría te lo refregaría por la cara hijadeputa secreteas secreteas y a mí de tus placeres de tus gastos de tus excesos ni un indicio ni un gesto ni un pellizco acá donde me gusta


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

like this? harder?

If you came tonight I’d stick around for you if you’d let me give you some advice we could make a deal but off you go bullheaded got to see your kids get lost in a windstorm back you are wet ragged to request a loan   I give it to you I’d give it to you I’d scrub your face with it bitch  whisper  whisper  to me your desires your expenses your binges with no smack no action no pinch here where I like it  

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HOSTOS REVIEW

te queda mejor sin rouge

su mejor amiga la convence de que salga así paliducha pobretona vestida de marrón natural querida natural y ella naturalmente deja que le salga la tristeza de adentro deja que se le escape un paisaje de otoño gorriones ese alfajor medio reseco que le dieron distraídos para que se callara la boca de una vez mientras ellos hacían no sé qué cosa deja que se le escape el hedor y la espesura de su aliento para qué para que se espanten y le pidan por favor la próxima vez quedáte en casa si te sentís así la próxima vez no vengas ni llames ni me digas esta canzonetta es para vos no deberías cantar sin cepillarte los dientes no deberías  pavota pavota le dice su mejor amiga  y hay que ver cómo se ríe con sus mejillas coloraditas y esos labios pintados con la forma de tu corazoncito


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

you look better without blush

her best friend convinces her to go out pale drab wearing natural beige darling so natural and naturally she lets the sadness inside her show she lets out a whiff of an autumn landscape sparrows a stale pastry that they gave her absentmindedly so that she’d shut her mouth once and for all while they were doing who knows what she lets the stench and weight of her breath escape for what so that they scare them off and ask her to please next time stay home if you feel like this next time don’t come or call or say to me this little ditty is for you you shouldn’t sing if you didn’t brush your teeth you shouldn’t  turkey turkey her best friend calls her and you have to see how she laughs with her blushed cheeks and those painted lips in the shape of your little heart    

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HOSTOS REVIEW

el comercio estĂĄ repuntado en las calles de mi ciudad hay una esquina donde los inmigrantes venden fotos de parientes equivocados y esconden a los niĂąos para que los padres no los vean nunca desamparados


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

business is booming there’s this one corner in my city where immigrants sell pictures of mistaken relatives and hide children so their parents don’t notice they’re homeless    

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HOSTOS REVIEW

Mascarita Exangüe despintada la ciudad yace sin pulso. Los adolescentes hacen como si vinieran a resucitarla y grupos de turistas dicen a grito pelado que nunca estuvo más hermosa más accesible más tierna.


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Lovely fake

The city weak washed-out lies without a pulse. Teens act like they’ve come to bring her back to life and groups of tourists yell at the top of their lungs that she never looked so pretty so accessible so fresh.  

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HOSTOS REVIEW

Mareados

Nada tienen de raro en esta ciudad Recogen guardan transportan ¿hay algo que les sobra? ¿o es todo falta?   De un lado para otro como si no me viera. De un lado para otro con la cabeza baja como si se fuera a desmayar o vomitar o caerse simplemente porque es de noche y puede hacerlo qué importa otro cuerpo tirado a esta hora en esta ciudad entregada ya a su destripamiento, la hermana de Olivia hurga en la basura que acabo de tirar, ve el sobrecito violeta con mi mensaje y lo deja en la vereda.   No puedo con su desprecio pídanle que me mire ojos abiertos fijos en los míos aunque me parta como un rayo


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Tipsy

Nothing odd about this city they collect store get around is there too much of something? too little of everything?   From here to there like she can’t see me. Back and forth head down looks like she’s about to faint or vomit or merely fall over because it’s nighttime anyway what does one more trashed body matter at this time in this city already caving in to its dismemberment? Olivia’s sister rummages through the garbage I just threw out, sees the purple envelope with my message and drops it on the sidewalk.   I can’t stand her contempt beg her to look at me  eyes wide open fixed on mine even though she hits me  hot hard lightening  

[From Las ciudades perdidas van al paraíso/Lost Cities Go to Paradise. Translated by Regina Galasso]

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HOSTOS REVIEW

mi mejor amiga es antisemita nos tiene asco pero le gustan nuestras cosas a solas codicia el oro la cebolla del guiso los sillones tapizados el acné de mi hermano el auto que cree que nos compraremos  diplomas y falta de diplomas  codicia y desprecia        envidia y quiere recuperar todo lo que le falta acusa nos dice usurpadores pule su acento y las joyas de su abuelita    ya lo sabemos    pero igual decimos hola cómo le va qué tal la familia    no no faltaba más pase que no me importa esperar un poco     total en la cola uno se divierte habla con los amigos    pase pase pase sírvase    compartamos el pan     el veneno     la vida  el aire de todos los días


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

my best friend’s an anti-semite we gross her out but she likes our stuff when she’s alone she covets the gold the onion in the stew the upholstered couches my brother’s acne the car she thinks we’ll buy           diplomas and lack thereof  covets and despises  envies and wants to take back everything she’s missing accuses calls us usurpers polishes her accent and the jewels her grandma left her       we know  but regardless we say hi how’re you doing how’s the family  no no of course not go ahead I don’t mind waiting a bit  after all one can have fun in line   chatting away with friends        g’head  g’head  g’head serve yourself   let’s share the bread  the poison  our daily breath    

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HOSTOS REVIEW

no hay mal que por bien no venga

entraron a la casa se llevaron un teléfono inalámbrico pantalones    camisas cuadernos llaves tenedores cuatro cuchillos de plata retratos de familia un reloj de contrabando interrogaron   escupieron  les dieron una paliza a cada uno menos al más joven porque a él le prometieron un viaje en auto y seguro que todavía estarán dando vueltas después de tantos años después de las consignas los abogados las búsquedas estarán dando vueltas en ese auto negro flamante pensar en las malas películas que no vio    cómo se salvó del desempleo y la estupidez de los chistes en esta ciudad desierta


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

every cloud has its silver lining they broke into the house took the cordless phone pants shirts notebooks keys forks four silver knives family portraits a smuggled watch interrogated     spat      beat them all up except the youngest because they promised him a road trip and they’re probably still on the road after all these years after the lawyer’s orders the search parties  they’re still on the road in that brand-new black car just think of all the bad movies he missed     how he avoided unemployment and all the stupid jokes in this deserted city  

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HOSTOS REVIEW

Vivimos en nubes de algodón Para E.R. que voló hacia abajo

te muestro los eslabones perdidos     te admiro cuando [encandilado   te lanzas hacia el precipicio NUBES DE ALGODÓN untamos pan con manteca   decorosamente cuidamos la línea nos cepillamos los dientes      si alguien hiciera un chiste se desmoronarían todas la habitaciones    habría un revuelo de números telefónicos  un aleteo de cosas a medio hacer   por eso hoy te guiño un ojo para que finalmente lo sepas  te veo y te vi   paracaidista secretario de mis pesadillas incesante [espectáculo   día y noche volando murciélago     gorrión     flecha inmóvil pero inminente  


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

We live on cotton clouds For E.R. who flew downwards

I show you the missing links  admire you when blinded by light [….you leap into the abyss COTTON CLOUDS we butter our bread    carefully watch our figures brush our teeth    if someone made a joke our shelters would crumble   there’d be a flurry of phone numbers     a flutter of unfinished tasks that’s why I wink at you now so you’ll finally realize that  I see you and saw you skydiver nightmare keeper    [endless spectacle   flying night and day bat     swallow    immobile yet imminent  arrow  

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HOSTOS REVIEW

si te contara lo que nos espera

viviremos en una ciudad de niños dictatoriales con planes  [que nos incluyen saben cómo usar nuestros desatinos ponerlos en un programa para la computadora volvernos útiles sin interpretarnos acariciarnos sin siquiera advertir nuestra temperatura espléndidos en su juventud apenas nos hablarán    ¿qué pueden importarles las canciones pasadas de moda los celos con que nos disputamos medallas y sacrificios?


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

if you only knew what’s coming

we’ll live in a city ruled by tyrannical kids with plans [that include us they know how to use our blunders feed them into computers make us useful without interpretation caress us without even noticing our temperature beautiful and young they’ll barely speak to us   what do they care about old songs our rivalries  about awards and sacrifices?  

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HOSTOS REVIEW

préstamos y dádivas

me preocupa que el señor del sexto piso no me haya devuelto la sonrisa   debo prestarle más atención acaso lustrarle los zapatos esconder partes de guerra dar una amnistía general      disminuir la deuda pública sonarle la nariz a su novia que siempre está resfriada seguir escribiendo cartas al presidente para que lo condecoren poner mi nombre en la lista de sus allegados cercanos


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

loans and handouts it worries me that the gentleman on the sixth floor didn’t smile back I must pay more attention shine his shoes perhaps conceal wartime news extend a general amnesty     decrease the public debt blow his girlfriend’s incessantly runny nose keep sending the president requests he be decorated for heroism place my name on the list of his closest acquaintances     [Translated by Natasha Hakimi Zapata]

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CARLOTA CAULFIELD


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HOSTOS REVIEW

I I DEL TAMAÑO DE UNA GOTA FUE LA MEMORIA que empezó a transmitir señales, y la boca quedó tibia sin voz   II AYER FUI CÁNTARO DESTROZADO SIN PALABRA, vasija sin canto, sin júbilo, con piel seca a la entrada de la casa   III EL AGUA EN LA NOCHE ME NOMBRABA, abierto el ojo derecho me hizo muda y sospechosa por mirar tan lejos   IV VOZ PRIMERA, SEGUNDA Y TERCERA la de aquellas aguas primitivas que emanan del aire   V ESTABLECIERON LOS PODERES y combinaron los puntos oblicuos y los fijaron en cinco lugares de la boca   VI NO SE LIMPIA CON AGUA ni la memoria ni el cuerpo tatuado, las marcas internas andan a tientas   VII REFLEXIONO CON AGUA FINA DE LA BOCA AL OÍDO un olvido que no deja imagen, una memoria que no tiene público


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

I I THE MEMORY WHICH BEGAN TO TRANSMIT SIGNALS was the size of a droplet, and its voiceless mouth remained without voice   II YESTERDAY I WAS A WORDLESS BROKEN URN a vessel without song, without joy, with parched skin upon the threshold   III THE WATER IN THE NIGHT CALLED MY NAME my right eye open and I was silenced and suspicious upon gazing so far   IV FIRST VOICE, SECOND AND THIRD that of those primitive waters emanating from the air   V THEY ESTABLISHED THEIR POWERS and combined the oblique points and fixed them in five sites in the mouth   VI NOT TO BE CLEANSED WITH WATER neither memory nor the tattooed body the internal marks grope their way   VII I MEDITATE WITH PURE WATER FROM MOUTH TO EAR an oblivion that leaves no image a memory with no audience  

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II I ESCRIBO EN AGUA RÁPIDA el banquete de la mudez: agua pruebo los sabores de la visión: memoria   II MEMORIA SÓLO FUE TU BOCA y la lengua dispersó su fuerza contra el muro, corrió por su mandato, se humilló ante su trono   III DESPUÉS EL AGUA SE HIZO REDENTORA se esculpió en pilares frescos, esperando más prudencia, menos terror   IV LA MEMORIA TAMBIÉN ES BUENA cuando se derrama, cuando se alza sin súplicas   V Y LEYERON MI MEMORIA SALIDA DE LOS HUESOS y la quemaron para adivinar como herida sagrada en sagrado vaso   VI FUE CORTA LA MEMORIA y el recuerdo del recuerdo mismo dejó que la mano retuviera la palabra   VII NO SÉ SI PUDE TOCARLA tejido o textura, tela urdida con nombres de ciudades


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

II I IN SWIFT FLOWING WATER I WRITE the banquet of silence: water I taste the flavors of vision: memory   II YOUR MOUTH WAS ONLY MEMORY and your tongue dispersed its energy against the wall, it raced at your bidding, it humbled itself before your throne   III LATER THE WATER BECAME REDEMPTIVE it sculpted itself into newly made pillars waiting for more prudence, less terror   IV MEMORY IS ALSO GOOD when it overflows when it rises up without supplication   V AND THEY READ MY MEMORY DRAWN FROM MY BONES and they burned it to divine like a sacred wound in a sacred vessel   VI MEMORY WAS BRIEF and the memory of the memory itself allowed the hand to retain the word   VII I DON’T KNOW WHETHER I TOUCHED IT interlaced threads or texture cloth woven with names of cities  

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III I MEMORIA CONVERTIDA EN MENSAJERA DE ALIENTOS de memoria hecha saliva en muchas bocas, de memoria vuelta multitud de ojos   II OJO VISUAL ES EL OJO DE LA MENTE detrás del escenario la materia prima se mezcla   III PARA ALZAR LOS SIETE PILARES que la memoria le pide a la sabiduría, la reminiscencia es simple mirada   IV MEMORIA Y MANO ABRAZADAS bajo el umbral del agua y el vuelo del pájaro   V PRESAGIO QUE SE AFANA AL VUELO de una mudez que oye el hálito del aire   VI SIBILANTE COMO EL FUEGO LA PIEL se acopla con un heliotropo a la mira del cielo   VII ASIR Y RETENER SON DOS PODERES de la estancia: memoria de la travesía: mano


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

III I MEMORY CONVERTED INTO MESSENGER OF BREATHS of memory turned to saliva in many mouths, of memory become a multitude of eyes   II VISUAL EYE IS THE MIND’S EYE back stage prime matter is mixed   III IN ORDER TO RAISE THE SEVEN PILLARS that memory asks of wisdom, reminiscence is simple gaze   IV MEMORY AND HAND EMBRACING beneath the water’s threshold and the bird’s flight   V PREMONITION THAT YEARNS FOR FLIGHT from a silence that hears the sigh of air   VI WHISTLING LIKE FIRE, SKIN couples with a heliotrope within the sky’s view   VII TO GRASP AND TO RETAIN ARE TWO POWERS of being: memory of crossing: hand   [From EL LIBRO DE GIULIO CAMILLO (modelo para un teatro de la memoria)/THE BOOK OF GIULIO CAMILLO (a model for a theater of memory). Translated by Mary G. Berg in collaboration with the author]

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Irish Snapshots I The city always dirty and grey. Seen with daring eyes, the dust is a mere curiosity after the rain. And so, I hurry. Dawson Street is a carefully saved photograph of the year 1957. A four year old girl dressed in a red velvet dress, white gloves, and black shoes makes a face. Behind the camera, my father. At his side, my mother smiles. I toss the postcards in the trash. There’s a perfect place in my memory. All in black and white. II An avalanche of voices. Always the same. I see it all from a hiding place. Over there, the tourists. Here, you and I and he, motionless. That inexorable destiny, mine, next to the statue of Oscar Wilde. III Cities with bridges invite celebration. Bridges are the doorway to outings or to speed. Always beautiful. Some remind one of naked bodies. Others are purely visual traps. Others, arteries between urban passageways to unknown places. Those others, a daily walk between the familiar and exhaustion. And those with historic names, happiest in their fame. I have crossed many bridges. Some have invited me to die. On others I have been caressed with devotion. On others I have known fear, others have given me thirst and the night. Almost all have presented me with a rotten smell, impertinent glances and everything a trip implies. I remember that bridge and this other one, all the many bridges. I commune with two: The Ha’penny Bridge, my Dublin skin in tatters, And the other, the Ponte dei Sospiri, my forgotten Venetian bones. I destroy all bridges between yesterday and today.


SUSANA CHÁVEZ-SILVERMAN


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Cono Sur Mitzvah Crónica 7 July 2001 Buenos Aires Para Susana Lustig de Ferrer ¿En qué otro lugar del mundo, a quién más except to me podrían pasar estas cosas raras, insólitas? Pero por otra parte, absolutamente coherentes con mi modo de ser (en el mundo). ¿Cómo a alguien con mi historia, con mis pasiones e inclinaciones, me tocó de landlady precisamente la muy judía, muy inmigrante Susana Lustig de Ferrer, wife de Aldo Ferrer, el Ministro de Economía under Frondizi? Cuando tengo familia perished en el Holocausto, y a mi tía Gertrude, princesa vienesa venida a menos (and never let anybody forget that) porque se casó with my dad›s Uncle Morris Leviloff, hermano de mi abuela paterna, después de haber sido la UNICA sobreviviente de toda su familia de un campo de concentración and somehow she escaped, de niña, and came to the U.S. pero de MUCAMA, as a maid to a rich family in Connecticut, y fue allí donde conoció a Uncle Morris, who at the time was a carpet layer. No importa que después se convirtiera into one of the wealthiest induhtrialistas de Los Angeles: for Gertrude the stigma, the shame of first having been somebody y entonces ser la ex-maid esposa del carpetlayer, nunca se le quitaría del todo. Y ni hablar having been a child survivor, la única de su estirpe.   Te podría hablar horas y horas of how I learned to read Vogue magazine en casa de la Aunt Gertrude a los 9 años. (Mi mamá usaba muy poco makeup y si bien era hermosísima y muy elegante, she sewed many of her own clothes y definitely NO leía Vogue ni era vanidosa or fashion-conscious en el sentido convencional). I could tell you de como Aunt Gertrude y el Tío Morris tenían de vecinos, en esa enorme casa en Encino Hills, a Sonny and Cher (te lo juro!). De como la tía nada más comía cucumber sandwiches para stay slim. De sus miles de cirugías estéticas (when very few were having them) de su pausado, powdery acento vienés, elegantísimo, of her beautiful, perfectly-coiffed hairdo and the zillion pairs of identical designer tennis shoes lined up perfectly en su closet. Todo perfect. Her self. Su mundo. Cuando le pregunté una vez a mi papá, daddy, why does Aunt Gertrude have so many pairs of tennis shoes all the same? Me contestó, well, these things, her possessions are the one thing she can control, y me contó de como el resto de su vida había sido una impotencia y un horror tras otro, y...well, I was about 10 cuando comenzó a explicarme eso. Las neurosis adquisitivas y ordenadoras de la tía.  

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Pero anyway la Dra. Susana Lustig, my landlady en Buenos Aires, vino de Austria a América as a little girl, just like my aunt. Primero a Venezuela y luego a Buenos Aires, hija única, con sus padres. They waited and waited hasta poder mudarse a este departamento en Malabia, overlooking the Botánico, y allí se crió. Y allí vivieron sus padres, y luego de la muerte del padre en el ‘80, en plena dictadura, la madre se quedó, hasta su muerte en 1998. That’s when la Dra, grudgingly, y sólo a gente “muy especial,” began to rent it. Do you have any idea what it has meant to me, the serendipity (was it?) de tener estas wild palmeras de vista, every day, aquí en el sur?   La Dra. Susana me había pedido que le comunicara si me había encariñado con algo de la casa, para vendérmelo, pues al volver nosotros a California she would probably sell the apartment, y le convenía desprenderse de algunas cosas. Getting too costly to maintain this aging beauty. Con todos los estragos acuáticos (remember? la primera crónica, or maybe la segunda, que mandé? Sobre all the leaks, el pantanoso olor a moho, falling water everywhere!), las ancient cañerías: este departamento needs a complete overhaul, un refaccionamiento total, como dicen aquí. Me interesaba el libro de Pichón-Riviere on Lautréamont, pero supuse que it would be precious to her, a la Dra. Susana, como es psicoanalihta and it’s a signed copy. Pero ofreció regalármelo. Just like that! Sé cuánto te puede significar eso, she said. Y es sólo una persona muuuy especial que puede necesitar este libro.   Pero lo que me apasionaba más que nada es una small acuarela que hay en la recámara principal, her mother’s bedroom. Es como si fuera a child’s drawing: telúrico, magic, pale, fruity tropicolores. Se llama “Un lugar en el mundo” y la artista (ehtoy convencida de que es mujer) parece llamarse (it’s hard to decipher the signature) “Cid Herrera,” and it was painted in 1975. Just one year before all the unleashed horror. Y es “un lugar” idílico, calm, edenic, con una mujer-niña de perfil en el centro. Y quién sabe what it’s worth, pero pensé well, it’s worth a try, a ver si me lo vende. Le mostré una foto que había sacado e inmediatamente me dice la Dra. ah, yo sé por qué te gusta, es porque se parece a los dibujos que hacía Alejandra Pizarnik, no es eso?   how happy, how happy I’ve been in your apartment. Era como heredar la vida de alguien muy erudito, conocido, querido. Me sentí como en casa y a la vez no. Free from the trappings of my former self (digo life, en mi casa en Califas) y le conté que


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

I’d been happier this year than for many many years, y cuánto había escrito, pero cosas diferentes, “nada que ver” con lo académico sensus strictu, quizás. Y allí veo que la Dra. casi casi is going to cry y me dice pues no sabes lo contenta que me pone escuchar eso. Estas cosas no ocurren, no? Y... no te voy a hacer valuar la acuarela. My heart plummeted y pensé, oh well. It’s too precious for her, para Aldo, y sus tres hijas pero en eso I emerge de una mini-fog de amargo disappointment y le escucho decir que es porque me la va a regalar. No la puedo creer and oh god, qué horror, get over yourself, girl, I’m like an Annie Lennox song on constant replay, here come those tears again y no puede ser que padezca estas daily sob sessions: qué carajo me pasa? Bueno la verdad, siempre he sido bien shorona and sappy (se me irán a acabar las lágrimas, como a mi Abuela Eunice? She can’t cry any more. Really! No more tears: las gastó todas en mís tías Sylvia y Elizabeth, en mis primos, en my Grandpa Eliacim muerto, en tanta sadness in her life, siempre signada by sadness, her beautiful, sad, aquamarine eyes, en la enfermedad de la única hija que le queda, June Audrey: my mom). Pero esto, esto de hoy is just too much y la idea de llevarme esa acuarela...   Le prometí a la Dra. I’d take it under my arm if I have to, on the plane, y ella me entiende porque ella y Aldo bring things under their arm de todos los viajes. De Haití trajeron a gorgeous huge profusion of green, un tropicuadro que cuelga en la pared del estudio de él. Pero no son ostentosos, son simplemente CULTOS and art lovers y algo así como la casa de mis padres es la casa de los Ferrer on Liberator Ave., with shelves of lechucitas and weird cachivaches de sus travels y libros libros libros y las dos almost llorando en la despedida y tomando un whisky on the rocks a las 11 de la mañana.   Me han dicho que estas cosas me pasan por tener good karma. Recuerdo, por ejemplo how I put all the stuff out on the curb by my house, un día antes de partir para la Argentina, last July, y no vino y no shegó la jodida troca del “Disabled Veterans Boys Home” pa pick it up, y en eso, muy a la tarde y sho desesperada to get rid of the stuff, pasó una mujer, una Latina cleaning lady de los vecinos (casi todos tienen la bola de criados y jardineros y a mí eso me saca de onda; nunca he querido tener gente en casa que me limpien, me parece a weird invasion, entre otras muchas cosas más ideológicas, pero anyway…). Pasaba esta mujer en su troca, with her little boy, and I started to offer her some stuff, quiso comprarme the stroller—finally I was getting rid of the Juvenile’s carrito y acabé diciéndole, sabe qué? Lléveselo. Todo. Todito. Era la

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ancient abandoned computadora de mi ex-estudiante argentina, Alelí, that she’d left at my house for 2 years. Eran ex-juguetes del Juvenil. Ropa, libros, platos, una mesita y sillitas de cuando Joey tenía 3 años. Mucho era. Ay señita, me dijo, gracias gracias. Well anyway, como hago cosas más o menos así todo el tiempo, quizás esto—digo esta onda con la Dra. Susana and the watercolor (y sobre todo el haber encontrado precisamente este apartamento en el Botánico, y toda la vida que en él y de él se ha desprendido this year) sea just a little bit of karmic payback.   Me abrazo on the densely overcast and wet Recoleta winter streets, walking back home bajo los now-blossomless jacarandaes and fancy cheto balcones de la Avenida del Libertador. Happy happy happy. No voy a tener que despedirme de mi adorado “lugar en el mundo” argentino.   [From Killer Crónicas. Bilingual Memories/Memorias Bilingües]


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Axolotl/Bichos Raros Crónica Buenos Aires/Los Angeles 29 julio, 2001/25 mayo, 2010 Para Julio Cortázar y Alejandra Pizarnik, in memoriam. And for Wim Lindeque and James Zike, for (y)our way of seeing Viéndome sentada allí, en ese vinyl-topped, uncannily casi ’50s Califas-style table, gazing embrujada into the little tank,—¿Qué son? me pregunta una casi-hip, slightly concheta mujer. Me lo pregunta a mí, cual si yo fuese la dueña del lugar, de este PoMo lite, matte oxblood-red painted bar en el “pop hotel” [sic] Boquitas Pintadas, owned by una romántica pareja de young Germans y del cual había estado leyendo todo mi año en Buenos Aires pero I’d never actually made it here, y ahora. Now, just days before leaving quiero engushirlo, engushirte Buenos Aires. Toda. Anygüey, esta mujer asks me, casi como si yo fuese la dueña, también, de ellos. De los axolotl. Son axolotls, le digo. Ajolotes, les dicen en México. Como en el cuento de Cortázar, ¿te acordás? Son aztecas. La mujer smiles distractedly, pero she’s already backing away from me, slowly, cual si fuese sho la eccentric, backing up back to her comfortable table para comentar a su boyfriend que esa mujer staring into the fishtank a esas raras criaturas está chiflada. Seguro que le está diciendo something like that. ¿Pequeñito reptil? No. Minúhculo anfibio. About 10 inches long. Hay dos. Pale yellow (son albinos, luego me contará el hipster German hotel owner), entre banana slug y baguette. Y oh, cómo te encuentro aquí, at last, chiquititos, bichitos raros, with your pale, smooth, mottled skin, tus teensy froggy forelegs y cuatro deditos like a doll’s starfish. Los bracitos extendidos, posed like a miniature Gila monster, like a South African likkewaan through the looking glass, mirando fijamente hacia arriba, hacia ninguna parte. Tienes tres star-prong branquias above each would-be oreja. De repente, rítmica, involuntariamente se caen patrás, flat to your triangular head. Se agitan las cilias delicadas, ínfimas, rosadas como mucosas, like the inside of a chirimoya o una guayaba. Your tiny, gold-disk eyes de centro rosado siguen mirando fijamente.

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En eso, Julio, about their eyes, tuviste razón. Pero no sé (ay, argentinihmo) ... no sé si en todo lo demás. Aquí, ahora, here in Buenos Aires, vengo a descubrir que eso que escribiste eras todo vos. (Well, what/who the hell else did you expect it to be, nena?) Bueno OK, sí, admito que hay una fuerte pulsión de espiritualidad in that gaze, en esa praying mantis, mini-legavaan pose, en este absolute stillness que mira, looks right into me, through me, past me. Suddenly, out of the acuario-shadows otro de Uds. se lanza en movimiento. (De esta modalidad, Julio, nunca escribiste.) Rapidísimo te desplazás, meneando la colita de polliwog like a hula dancer. Vos, Black Beauty, I’ve never heard of your kind. (Pero ¿de qué color se supone que deben ser? No me acuerdo). Me tinca que sos varón. Además, hombre atrapado. Contenido. Ahí dentro. Como boxeador. Like an outclassed middleweight against the ropes. O un toro acorralado entre picador y banderillero. Ay, Black Beauty. Acometés, branquias flattened, teensy tiburón. Tu flat, wide Aztec boca slightly open, tus negros, pencil-lead ojos straight ahead. I bend and crane my head. Mi café irlandés se enfría en la otra mesa. Pero I can’t get inside esos ojitos negros. Ay, minidinosaur, te lanzás. Tropezás contra el cristal. Tus delicados dedos rozan, no penetran. Tus blondas girlfriends estólidas, fofas y vos tanto embiste tanta ansia, insatisfacción en tu pequeño cuerpo. Pero no sos mutable. Ninguna metamorfosis posible. Tanto rozar y chocar pero no lográs salir de ahí ni sho entrar. En vos. Julio, you were wrong, carnal. O este no es el que vos viste, the one you switched places with en aquel Jardín des Plantes de París. A vos, Black Beauty, te bautizo mi axolotl porteño. Sos como yo. Bicho oximorónico, fronterizo, uncomfy, intersticial. En constante movimiento. Los de Julio apenitas se movían, sluggishly rozándose, politely ASUMIDOS en esa su essential inmobilidad parisina. Pero vos no. Can’t keep track of you. Mercurio. Tu pasión es palpable. Y ahora heme aquí. En el Boquitas Pintadas Pop Hotel en la calle Estados Unidos en el barrio de Monserrat, Buenos Aires. Y estas rubias, calladas criaturas, mos def femeninas. Raised up on their fragile, transparent forearms. Parece que rezan. Meditan en el más ashá... Axolota: versión #2 Or: are you the girl, Black Beauty? ¿me habré quedado identificándome inconsciente, pendejamente con el (sha superado, OB-vio, y tan politically incorrect) Lector MACHO?


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

The horror, the horror... Ay, why did I do this? Pero tan poco inspiring la otra alternativa, ¿no? La insípida, ‘irracional,’ predictably FEMININE, dreaded Lector HEMBRA. Just the word makes me tremble with rage, con toda esa y su fuerza atávica, biológica. How could you, Julio? La poeta Andrea Gutiérrez insiste en que el negro—mi negro—es hembra. Y no sólo eso: she says she’s big like that—henchida—y activa porque she’s pregnant y busca escaparse de los confines del aquarium para parir. The blond ones, en cambio, según esta versión muy a lo Monique Wittig, muy amazónica, serían unos concubinos súbditos. Y por eso tan teensy, so docile. Me intriga esta teoría. Pero confieso que I’m shaken. No sé si me convence del todo... ¿Seré una convencional? Una boludehcamente happily-ever-after kinda girl, after all? La dueña alemana concuerda contundentemente con mi versión, pero she freely admits que they’ve never had babies. Y finalmente, after much quizzing, confiesa que directamente no se sabe si son machos, hembras, hermafroditas o in-between. Y el dueño alemán, her hipster hubby, tells us emphatically que lo único que se sabe es que no se sabe. Here I am, gazing embelesada a estos prehistoric Mexican axolotl, pero no en un acuario en París: so much your city, Julio, y la tuya, Alejandra. And, for a brief time, en ese icy, cold-water flat winter de 1983, my city too, con mi prima Lee, remember James? Ahora estoy en un hotel bar en Buenos Aires, city of my sueños. This city still (y)our city, aquí en el Sur, oh, a pesar de, no obstante—o quizás por—vuestra, nuestra indiscutible extranjería. Sin explicación posible (ni necesaria), then. Sho. Buenos Aires. Vos. Y ellos, los axolotl. Buenos Aires: the force of inevitability pero pronto, ay, way too soon, la partida. Perhaps por eso esto ahora, entonces. The dense, compact perfection of this rush of experience and memory. Toda esta desconcertante, bewitching, noncoincidental simultaneidad. Ambiguas criaturas. Bichos raros. Ambas readings, entonces. Both/and. Y más. Siempre más.

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Explosión Suave/GIFT Crónica 26 mayo, 2009 Thompson Creek Trail Claramonte, Califas Para mi Montenegro And for Wim, who was there   Who would’ve thought, hey Montenegro? Pero henos aquí, this quarter-siglo later, encarando kind of shockingly similar metas. You wanted to get in on the ground floor, me dices ahora: help rebuild your country from the nalga arriba. That’s why you stayed there, stayed in South Africa. So here you are, 15 años post-apartheid, pero OJO: con un SIDA-denying, ducha-taking, “bring me my masjien gun”-exhorting presidente. Post-Madiba. El friggin’ Zoom-Zoom. U’Showa, como le digo. OMG.   Y heme aquí, en el corazón del (¿post?) imperio, welcoming, celebrating a black president. Bueno, mestizo, more precisely. Mixed, como yo.   ¿Quién hubiera dicho que esa invention tuya—con esas inverosímiles initials, GIFT (“gas-induced fracture technology,” me explicaste proudly. Uf, sounds more like a bad case of pedo atravesado, digo yo)—who would’ve ever dreamed that that soft— or softer—blasting invention sirviera de perfect allegory, un símbolo contenedor (however straining at the seams), for us both?   I couldn’t see through your eyes, back then, back en los 80’s. Couldn’t see this far ahead to your world, to you in your world, from within your world. Back then. No podía ni imaginarte a ti, former Head Boy en Michaelhouse, el finest (Englishspeaking) boys’ school del país, a ti, Bedfordview’s golden boy, building a better South Africa, one “soft blast” at a time.   Me hablas del “minimal high-velocity fly rock,” del “negligible air blast.” De las “improved environmental consequences” y de las “residential and commercial applications” de tu GIFT. Por eso le puse ese nickname oximorónico: soft-blast technology. Una explosión suave. Me encanta la idea.  


REVISTA HOSTOSIANA

Wim says you (oh laconic, bordering-on-terse, emo-verkrampte doble-capricornio), you need that GIFT applied to you! Wim says I am your GIFT. Una explosión en tu vida. En tu corazón. (¿suave? Not so sure about that…). Deflagration, you call it. Más bien conflagration. Esa era yo, back then. In the 80’s. I shudder now at the hubris. Pero back then, I was more about building a better bomb. How could I have been otherwise, living under apartheid, admirando como admiraba al ANC, even ETA?   Ah, Montenegro. Remember how we used to spar? Yo estaba rabiosamente a favor de “one man, one vote” y tú insistías, on the other hand, on “evolution, not revolution”? But then we’d look at each other, deep into each other, and desire (and hope) would flare and take over y allí estábamos: al otro lado (¿o en la tightwire?) de la duda y de la polémica. Our bodies—nuestro corazón compartido—a bridge to the other side.   And yet: that was what broke us apart, en tu país. ¿o no? Doubt. Words. A la vez too many and not enough. Not the right ones. And place. Sobre todo eso, quizás: plek. Lugar.   LITTLE EYE: Your mother didn’t help either. Not one bit. Hay que recalcar esto (she says, not without bitterness).   Anygüey, heme aquí, ahora, en Los Angeles. And it suddenly strikes me with a nearfrightening clarity: we are both building now, ¿que no? Tú este tu nuevo país, South Africa, en el después. Post-apartheid, yebo. Pero post-Madiba too. En tu actual avatar (independent mining consultant), dealing with intractible mine directors, constantly fretting about your “calcs,” as you call them, que números por aquí y por allá, p’arriba y p’abajo. Mountains of paper-werk. Pero there you still are. Gotta hand it to you. You keep on believing, building. One soft blast at a time. Firmly but gently.   As I remember your hands on me.   ¿Y yo? Testing the edge, construyendo este mi lugar, mi mañana mestizo. With my words. También herramientas. Materiales. Imbued with the materiality and weight of my body-memory.

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So go ahead, Montenegro, amor. Switch off your computer, lock up your office, vuelve a casa. Back to your northern suburbs of Joburg Southforky stronghold. Oops, tee hee. Casi escribí “stranglehold.” Sé que estás muuuuy tired, del day to day. So, te doy permiso para hacer switch off. Go play catch con tu big black dog. Listen to CNN. Track the fate of gold shares en el NASDAQ.   No me preocupa tu day-to-day sustenance. Pero you crave other nourishment. Te conozco. I’ll be that—I’ve always been that—for you. Allow yourself to feel it: el hambre. Die honger. To remember and to yearn. Eso es para mí. That’s me, us. Non ti scordar.


ACHY OBEJAS


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heroes in exile   after the threats and the hunger strikes and the years in the cold wet prison and the beatings after the headlines and the dramatic rescue or the negotiations for release by honorable or not so honorable delegates after the reunion with family and those in solidarity and the media interviews and the stipend from the private foundation that’s good for only a month or two after the white house coffee with the sub secretary to the assistant to the adviser to the vice president of an international commission on human rights heroes in exile stand on the shoulders of a smaller atlas and ponder how their lives have taken such an oneiric twist they accept awards and write editorials plot returns and fundraise go to the doctor to check for long term effects and disabilities they meet with olympians who gift them with medals and struggle to decipher

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prescriptions and insurance heroes in exile give speeches filled with polonian precepts promises or disappointments admonishments or bitterness and sometimes genuine hope they wait for applause and for the car to get an oil change read a newspaper eat a bagel heroes in exile listen to their critics with compassion or envy or fear and reflect or take revenge or hide from shame in the cloak room or kitchen the back room packed with nostalgia and regret heroes in exile sing kaddish quote lincoln and mandela sanger and havel but especially havel though his real exile if generosity permits came later after the revolution and his presidency and the splitting in two of his country heroes in exile compose aurorean letters they never write but consider while lolling in the garden tending yellow tulips and daffodils fields and fields of daffodils Â


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Volver   You are returning, you are going back to where it all began, careful to engage the necessary oblivion of the circumstances that took you away in the first place. You will hold your breath and pretend enough answers have been provided to satisfy your pride, your urge to be here, on the threshold of what might have been home if not for upheaval, if not for the price of sugar and oil on the world market, if not for the assurance of safety and comfort elsewhere, if not for revolution and exile. Y aunque no quise el regreso, siempre se vuelve. Here is the sea, the jeweled sea, flickering with caution. The sea, soaking you, stopping you in your tracks, impeding your salt-encrusted progress. And here too is the sea, its waves knocking you off balance so you must reconsider what you know of the view: an arresting vista, the promise of atonement in your return. Someone is saying, Put your mouth on mine, put your mouth on mine and let us create a pleura to sustain us. Put your mouth on mine, put your mouth on mine and walk carefully, this way, side to side to the water’s edge, tilting our heads together to see: the empty inner tube, the vacant skiff, the remains of a flying machine. Put your mouth on mine, breathe and don’t worry about the aftertaste. Es un soplo la vida. Oh, yes, you have returned and you want to drop to your knees and kiss the ground, embrace the columns in the old city, the neighbor who remembers you when you were a newborn and not yet in exile, not yet marked for departure, by air or water, solo or accompanied, legal or illegal. Behind you you hear someone saying, You, returnee, what did you bring me? But no, don’t turn your head, stay here, disseminating emotions in our shared spit. Put your mouth on mine, put your mouth on mine. Your step is halting: You’re obeying this ritual – a convention with which you’re utterly unfamiliar – and have surrendered to this breathing down each other’s throats like a native.   Later, you will confuse the beginning and the end of the journey, the packing and unpacking and repacking of your bags. You will forget what you brought to give away and what you brought to put back in its proper place. El olvido que todo destruye. You will be confused about what to take, what to accept, what to leave behind. You will weep while walking on the boulevards and you will notice that, as you pass, the students on the seawall are also weeping, as are the young mothers and the pickpockets, the new entrepreneurs and the masturbators. Someone will say, Put your mouth on mine and someone else will say, We are all weeping because you weren’t here, we are wrecked because you weren’t here, how can we have talked

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about progress without your input, how can we have contemplated the beauty of the sea without your voice in the national discourse? We are weeping because there is a hole in the nation where you should have been, a deep and painful hole, a black hole with your name on it. Now put your mouth on mine and breathe carefully, walk warily, hold on, put your mouth on mine and let’s tilt our heads toward the abyss and be careful not to fall. Put your mouth on mine and don’t worry about the aftertaste, it’s nothing, it’s the taste of nothing, the wind, a goose egg, a knot on the quipu. Put your mouth on mine and let the wind become a voice that tells the story in which the goose egg is you. Tengo miedo del encuentro. Tengo miedo de las noches que pobladas de recuerdos encadenen mi soñar. Tengo miedo de decirte que te quiero y no quererte. You ever feel like nobody never understands you but you?   Cultivo. Cultivo una rosa blanca. Cultivo una rosa blanca en junio como en enero. The sea. The blue sea. The blue sea beneath the battleships, the U-2 boats. The blue sea beneath us, beneath the empty inner tube, the vacant skiff, the remains of the flying machine. It’s a short distance. A meager expanse.   Put your mouth on mine. Put your mouth on mine.   Y qué, eh, y qué?   You have returned to shake hands with everyone, with sworn enemies and innocents, con el amigo sincero, con el cruel que me arranca, with the carefully selected audience that has been prepared for your performance. You shake some hands with reluctance and others eagerly, but you shake and shake until someone hands you a script and then you stop and stare. Oh you recognize this – a lullaby, a presidential address perhaps – but, goddamn it, how do you read that accent? How do you bring all the eloquence of your heart to the moment when your tongue stumbles and falls like a tourist who’s gone too far out on a tamarind limb?   Cultivo una rosa blanca, carajo.   You set out to write your autobiography, which will be a collective biography of all the people who were exiled with you. You want to be understood, you want to be precise, so


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you leave out metaphors, you leave out anything that could be symbolically confusing, you leave out the politics, you leave out the part about exile and your mouth on mine. Using a long goose feather quill, you write: I have come back to extend my hand in kinship. You write: Sometimes the most important changes happen in small places. You write: The tides of history can leave people in conflict and exile and poverty. You write: It takes time for those circumstances to change. You write: The recognition of a common humanity, the reconciliation of a people bound by blood and a belief in one another … You tilt your head towards the water’s edge, the black hole. Put your mouth on mine. It’s an order, man, do you not understand?   Exile is actuality, animation; exile is endurance and presence, the rat race, the real world; it’s the journey and the entity you sleep with every night, the subject of every memo, every recipe, every instruction manual, every warranty and contract. Exile is everything, everything possible within the possibility of return.   Finally you go to that one boathouse, the one you’ve never seen, the one you were born in. You read all about it in the guidebook on the bus on the way there. How it’s surrounded by palm trees growing out of the water, how it’s guarded by angry geese that bark when you near it. When you get there, the colors are beautiful, long splashes of orange in the sky, a circuit of white orchids ringing their bells. You want so much to feel, to gasp with wonder, to identify. You want the geese to bark, to bite your ankles and maybe draw a little blood. But they are tired, curled like kittens on the water’s edge. You want desperately for someone to approach you and ask you to put your mouth on their mouth and breathe some kind of warmth but it’s lonely here, lonely, and soon very dark. You break into the boathouse, which is dilapidated and slippery with moss. You let yourself fall into the moss, make a bedding from it, smoke some. You entertain yourself making nautical knots you learned abroad: the Alpine Butterfly Loop, The Trucker’s Hitch, The Zeppelin Bend. The wind is blowing through the boathouse and it’s a lovely music. When you wake up the next morning, you need a moment to remember where you are. You decide not to eat your provisions, not to open your thermos. You will, instead, live today like those who never went into exile. When you peel away the moss and lift up the floorboards to get at the water, you realize the boathouse has been unmoored. You lean over the edge and, swatting away the geese, you drink from the sea, you drink and drink the salt water until your belly bloats. En junio como en enero, cultivo. This is a pain you can live with.

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ABOUT THE AUTHORS BIBLIOGRAFÍA ESCOGIDA SOBRE LAS AUTORAS Bajini, I. “¿Qué se te perdió en Cuba?’ la doppia diaspora della comunità ebreo-cubana nelle pagine di Ruth Behar e Achy Obejas.” Altre Modernità (2014): 200-209. Barquet, J. J. Escrituras poéticas de una nación: Dulce María Loynaz, Juana Rosa Pita y Carlota Caulfield. La Habana: Unión, 1999. —. “Círculos concéntricos de violencia en la poesía de Magali Alabau.” Unión: Revista De Literatura y Arte 9.36 (1999): 34-41. Baumgarten, Murray. “Exile and Jewish Identity: Marjorie Agosín and urban diasporic possibility.” In P. Lassner and L. Trubowitz (Eds.), Antisemitism and Philosemitism in The Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: Representing Jews, Jewishness, and Modern Culture. Newark, DE.: University of Delaware Press, 2008. 217-233. Berg, Mary G. “The Multiple Poetic Cartographies of Carlota Caulfield.” Cerise Press. A Journal of Literature, Arts & Cultures 3.7 (Summer 2011) www.cerisepress. com/03/07/the-multiple-poetic-cartographies-of-carlota-caulfield Blend, Benay. “The writer as witness: Latin American Jewish Women’s testimonio in the works of Marjorie Agosín, Sonia Guralnik, Alicia Kozameh and Alicia Partnoy.” Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal 4.2 (2007): [n.p.]. Bolaños, A.,G. “Dulce María Loynaz y Carlota Caulfield escriben cartas de amor: Hacia una literatura insular de signo infinito.” Caribe: Revista De Cultura y Literatura 6.2 (2003): 65-83. —. “Conversando con Carlota Caulfield.” Caribe: Revista De Cultura y Literatura 6.2 (2003): 84-87. Breckenridge, Janis.“No laughing matter: Violence and the comic in Alicia Borinsky’s Mina cruel.” Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association 39.2 (2006): 93-113. Caulfield, C. “Exilio, subversión e identidad en la poesía de Magali Alabau.” Latinos in the U.S. Review 1 (1994): 40-43. —. “Texturas de caos o la extremaunción diaria de Magali Alabau.” Monographic Review/Revista Monográfica 13 (1997): 384-393. —. “Nueva York en la poesía de Magali Alabau.” Ínsula: Revista De Letras y Ciencias Humanas 667-668 (2002): 13-16. Curry, J. “Behar, Ruth.” Current Biography 66.5 (2005): 10-17. Davis, R. G. “Vulnerable observation in an island called home: Ruth Behar’s story of the Jews of Cuba.” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History 31.3 (2011): 263-286.

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Foley, Jack. “Carlota Caulfield.” Visions & Affiliations. A California Literary Timeline: Poets & Poetry 1940-2005. Part Two: 1980-2005. Oakland: Pantograph Press, 2011. 82-84. Franzen, Cola. “Alicia Borinsky.” In Darrell B. Lockhart (Ed.), Jewish Writers of Latin America: A Dictionary. New York: Garland, 1997. 41-45. Gil, L. M. “A Balancing Act: Latin American Jewish Literature in the United States (or Towards a Jewish-Latino Literature).” In C. Caulfield and D. J. Davis (Eds.), A Companion to US Latino Literatures. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK & Rochester, NY.: Tamesis, 2007. 177-190. Goldman, D. E. “Next year in the diaspora: The uneasy articulation of transcultural positionality in Achy Obejas’s Days of Awe.” Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 8 (2004): 59-74. Gordenstein, Roberta. “The Chilean Jewish Voice of Marjorie Agosín.” In F. A. Lomelí & K. Ikas (Eds.), U.S. Latino Literatures and Cultures: Transnational Perspectives. Heidelberg, Germany, Universitätsverlag Winter, 2000. 99-111. Granados, Pedro. “La poesía de Alicia Borinsky: Algunas aproximaciones.” Inti: Revista De Literatura Hispánica 49-50 (1999): 225-230. Grosjean. François. “Code-switching and borrowing.”[Susana Chávez-Silverman]Chapter 5 of Bilingual: Life and Reality. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2010. 143, 259. Harper, J. “Dancing to a different beat: An interview with Achy Obejas.” Lambda Book Report: A Review of Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Literature 5.3 (1996): 1-7. Hernández, A. M. “Tres poetas cubanas: Magali Alabau, Lourdes Gil y Maya Islas.” In P. R. Monge Rafuls (Ed.), Lo que no se ha dicho. New York: OLLANTAY, 1994. 217-238. Hernández, Librada. “Oscuridad divina” and “34th Street and other poems.” [Carlota Caulfield] The Americas Review V (Fall-Winter, 1989): 187-189. Hincapié, L. “She speaks with the serpent’s forked tongue: Expulsion, Departure, Exile and Return.” Life Writing 8.4 (2011): 447-455. Horan, Elizabeth Rosa. “Marjorie Agosín.” In Darrell B. Lockhart (Ed.), Jewish Writers of Latin America: A Dictionary. New York: Garland, 1997. 7-13. Kandiyoti, D. “Sephardism in Latina literature.” In Y. Halevi-Wise (Ed.), Sephardism: Spanish Jewish History and Modern Literary Imagination. Stanford, CA, Stanford UP., 2012. 235-255. Lauret, Maria. Wanderwords: Language Migration in American Literature. [Susana Chávez Silverman] New York & London: Bloomsbury Scholars, 2014. 14, 31-38, 213-217, 235-279. Lennon, Brian. “The Antinomy of Multilingual US Literature.”[Susana Chávez- Silverman] Comparative American Studies 6.3 (Sept., 2008): 203–224.


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—. In Babel’s Shadow: Multilingual Literatures, Monolingual States. [Susana Chávez Silverman] Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010. 155-164, 224. Lockhart, Darrell. B. “La representación de lo judío en la escritura de Marjorie Agosín.” In E. Sepúlveda and T. Morgan (Eds.), Memorial de una escritura: Aproximaciones a la obra de Marjorie Agosín. Buenos Aires: Cuarto Propio, 2002. 45-61. López-Cabrales, María del Mar. “Pasiones ocultas y fragmentación: Una entrevista a Alicia Borinsky.” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica De Cultura y Literatura 13.2 (1998): 171-180. Martínez, E.M. “Erotismo en la poesía de Magaly Alabau.” Revista Iberoamericana 65.187 (1999): 395-404. Marx, J. F. “There’s no place like home; exploring the Jewish Diaspora in Cuba in Ruth Behar’s Una isla llamada hogar.” MACLAS: Latin American Essays 28 (2015): 78- 84. Mayans Natal, M. J. “La poesía de Carlota Caulfield o el lenguaje de la posmodernidad.” Explicación De Textos Literarios 24.1-2 (1995): 123-135. Montilla, Patricia. “The Book of Giulio Camillo.” Caribe: Revista De Cultura y Literature 8.1 (2005): 123-126. Newman, David. “Interview: Susana Chávez-Silverman Speaks (with David Newman)” New Delta Review 27.1 (2010): 223–233. Niebylski, Dianna. “Spectacle and nomadic bodies in Alicia Borinsky’s Mina cruel and Cine continuado.” Letras Femeninas 27. 2 (2001): 54-67. Olivas , Daniel. “Interview with Susana Chávez-Silverman.” LaBloga (April 19, 2010) http://labloga.blogspot.com/2010/04/interview-with-susana-chavez-silverman. html Pérez-Anzaldo, G. “Diasporic Subjects and Hybrid Identities in We Came All The Way From Cuba So You Could Dress Like This? by Achy Obejas.” Label Me Latina/o, 2011.  http://labelmelatin.com/ Salgado, M. A. “Familia, mito y metafísica en Electra, Clitemnestra de Magaly Alabau.” The Americas Review: A Review of Hispanic Literature and Art of the USA 21.2 (1993): 77-88. Saumell-Muñoz, Rafael. “Carlota Caulfield.” In María Claudia André and Eva Paulino Bueno (Eds.), Latin American Women Writers. An Encyclopedia. New York and London: Routledge, 2008. 113-114. Scott, N. M. “Marjorie Agosín as Latina writer.” In A. Horno-Delgado, E. Ortega, N. M. Scott, N. S. Sternbach and E. N. Miller (Eds.), Breaking Boundaries: Latina Writing and Critical Readings. Amherst, MA.: U Mass Press, 1989. 235-249.


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Socolovsky, M. “Deconstructing a secret history: Trace, Translation, and Crypto-Judaism in Achy Obejas’s Days of Awe.” Contemporary Literature 44.2 (2003): 225-249. Spyra, A. “Language, Geography, Globalisation: Susana Chávez-Silverman’s Rejection of Translation in Killer Crónicas: Bilingual Memories.” In C. Alvstad, S. Helgesson & D. Watson (Eds.), Literature, Geography, Translation: Studies in World Writing. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2011. 198-208. Tompkins, Cynthia. M. “Re/presentación/es: Entrevista con Alicia Borinsky.” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica De Cultura y Literatura 17.1 (2001): 112-116. —. “Ironía, parodia y performatividad en Mina cruel, Sueños del seductor abandonado y Cine continuado, de Alicia Borinsky.” In M. Balboa Echeverría (Ed.), Borinsky: Tatuajes, tango y la escritura hologramática de Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires: Nueva Generación, 2008. 29-44. Torres, Lourdes. “In the contact zone: code-switching strategies by Latino/a Writers.” Melus 32.1 (2007): 75-96. Wolfenzon, C. “Days of Awe and the Jewish Experience of a Cuban Exile: The case of Achy Obejas.” In V. Pérez Rosario (Ed.), Hispanic Caribbean literature of migration: Narratives of displacement. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 105-118.


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BIOBIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES ABOUT THE AUTHORS NOTAS BIOBIBLIOGRÁFICAS SOBRE LAS AUTORAS

MARJORIE AGOSÍN has been teaching at Wellesley College for more than thirty years. Apart from being an academic, she is also a poet, a novelist, and a human rights activist. Considered one of the most prolific and versatile writers in the Americas, she has been recognized by the United Nations with the Human Rights Leadership Award, and by the Chilean government with the Gabriela Mistral prize. She is the author of more than fifty books that include poetry, narrative, theatre and memoirs. Among her numerous publications are Brujas y algo más/Witches and other things (Trans. by Cola Franzen. Pittsburgh, PA: Latin American Literary Review Press, 1984); Hogueras (Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitaria, 1986); Hacia la ciudad espléndida/Toward the splendid city (Trans. by Richard Schaaf. Tempe, Ariz.: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 1994. Winner of the 1995 Latino Literature Prize); Querida Ana Frank/Dear Anne Frank (Trans. by Richard Schaaf. Washington, D.C.: Azul Editions, 1994); The Angel of Memory (Trans. by Laura Nakazawa. San Antonio, Texas: Wings Press, 2002); The Fullness of Invisible Objects/La plenitud de los objetos invisibles (Trans. by Laura Rocha Nakazawa. Santa Fe, NM: Sherman Asher, 2007); The Light of Desire/La luz del deseo (Trans. by Lori M. Carlson. Chicago: Swan Isle Press, 2009) and The White Islands/Las islas blancas. Afterword by Michal Held (Trans. by Jacqueline C. Nanfito. Chicago: Swan Isle Press, 2016). Among her scholarly books are Pablo Neruda (Trans. by Lorraine Roses. G.K. Hall, Twayne Publishers, 1986) and Gabriela Mistral: the audacious traveler (Ohio University Press, 2003). She is the editor, among others, of the anthologies A dream of light & shadow: portraits of Latin American Women Writers (University of New Mexico Press, 1995); The House of Memory Stories by Jewish Women Writers of Latin America (Feminist Press at The City University of New York, 1999); Uncertain Travelers: conversations with Jewish Women Immigrants to America (University Press of New England, 1999); Memory, Oblivion, and Jewish Culture in Latin America

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(University of Texas Press, 2005) and Writing toward hope: the literature of human rights in Latin America (Yale University Press, 2007). Among her most renowned books is I Lived on Butterfly Hill (Atheneum Books, 2014), winner of the Pura Belpré Prize. Her poems have been included in many anthologies, among them One more stripe to the tiger: a selection of contemporary Chilean poetry and fiction (University of Arkansas Press, 1989); In other words: literature by Latinas of the United States (Arte Público Press, 1994) and A Chorus for Peace: a global anthology of poetry by women (University of Iowa Press, 2002). Agosín divides her time between Concón Chile, Wellesley Massachusetts, and the coast of Maine.   MAGALI ALABAU settled in New York in 1966 where she worked as an actress in productions of Greenwich Mews Theater, INTAR (producing Latino voices in English since 1966) and LA MAMA Experimental Theater Club. Alabau also worked as theater director and co-founded the bilingual theater project Teatro Dúo/ Duo Theater with Manuel Martín, Jr., in the Lower East Side. In 1976 she co-founded the influential lesbian theater Medusa’s Revenge with the writer Ana María Simo. In the mid-1980s, Alabau retired from the theater and began writing poetry. Her first book of poems Electra, Clitemnestra was published in 1986 by Editorial El Maitén, Chile. In 1992, she was awarded the Latina/Latino Poetry Prize by the Latin American Writers Institute of New York. She is the author of La extremaunción diaria. Introducción de Nicolás Miquea (Barcelona: Ediciones Rondas, 1986); Ras (New York: Ediciones Medusa, 1987); Hermana. Prólogo de Librada Hernández (Madrid: Betania, 1989); Hermana/Sister (Trans. by Anne Twitty. Madrid: Betania, 1991); Hemos llegado a Ilión (Madrid: Betania, 1991. Second edition: Prólogo de Milena Rodríguez Gutiérrez. Madrid: Betania, 2012); Liebe (Trans. by Anne Twitty. Coral Gables: La Torre de Papel, 1993); Dos mujeres. Prólogo de Carlota Caulfield (Madrid: Betania, 2011); Volver. Prólogo de Ileana Álvarez Gutiérrez (Madrid: Betania, 2012); Amor Fatal. Prólogo de Manuel Adrián López (Madrid: Betania,


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2016) and Ir y venir. Poesía reunida 1986-2016. Prólogo de Legna Rodríguez Iglesias (Leiden, Nederland: Bokeh, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies, including Voces viajeras. Poetas cubanas de hoy (Torremozas, 2002) and Indómitas al sol. Cinco poetas cubanas de Nueva York (Betania, 2011). After living for more than 27 years in Manhattan, she moved to Woodstock in upstate New York where she is devoted to writing and the rescue of abandoned pets. RUTH BEHAR is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellows Award, she is known for her interdisciplinary thinking about the search for home in our global era and her bold approach to writing in a variety of genres that straddle ethnography, memoir, fiction, and poetry. She is the author of Poemas que vuelven a Cuba/Poems returned to Cuba (Art work by Rolando Estévez Jordán. Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1995); An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba. Illustrations by Humberto Mayol. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007); El dolor gemelo: 2 poemas (Art work by Rolando Estévez Jordán. Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 2014); Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys (Durham, NC.: Duke University Press Books, 2014) and Una isla llamada hogar (Barcelona: Linkgua Ediciones, 2010). She made her fiction debut with the autobiographical novel for young readers, Lucky Broken Girl (Penguin Random House, 2017). Her scholarly books include The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village (Princeton UP, 1986, 1991), Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story (Beacon Press, 1993, 2003), and The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart (Beacon Press, 1996). She is co-editor, with Deborah Gordon, of Women Writing Culture (University of California Press, 1995). Ruth frequently visits and writes about her native Cuba and is the author of An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba (Rutgers UP, 2007) and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys (Duke UP, 2013). She is the editor of the pioneering anthology Bridges to Cuba/Puentes


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a Cuba (University of Michigan Press, 1995) and co-editor, with Lucía Suarez, of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World (Macmillan, 2008). Her poetry is included in many collections, among them The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry (University of California Press, 2009) and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011). For more about the author, visit her webpage at www.ruthbehar.com

ALICIA BORINSKY is a widely published fiction writer, poet and novelist who writes both in Spanish and English. She is the author of La ventrilocua y otras canciones (Buenos Aires: Cuarto Poder, 1975); Mujeres tímidas y la Venus de China (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1987); Mina cruel (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1989); Timorous women (Trans. by Cola Franzen. Peterborough, Cambs., England: Spectacular Diseases Press, 1991); La pareja desmontable (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1994); Sueños del seductor: novella vodevil (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1995); Madres alquiladas (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 1996); Dreams of the abandoned seducer (Trans. by Cola Frazen. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1998); La mujer de mi marido (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2000); La pareja desmontable/The collapsible couple (Trans. by Cola Frazen. London: Middlesex University Press, 2000); All night movie. Foreword by Luisa Valenzuela (Trans. by Cola Frazen. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2002); Golpes bajos: instantáneas/Low blows: snapshots (Trans. by Cola Frazen. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007); Frivolous women and other sinners/Frívolas y pecadoras (Trans. by Cola Frazen. Chicago: Swan Isle Press, 2009); Lost cities go to paradise/Las ciudades perdidas van al paraíso (Trans. by Regina Galasso. Swan Isle Press, 2015) and My Husband´s Woman (Trans. by Natasha Hakimi Zapata with the author. Houston, Texas: Literal Publishing, 2016). She is professor of Latin American and Comparative Literature at Boston University and Director of the Boston University Cultural Studies in Buenos Aires Program. Her books of criticism include Intersticios: lecturas críticas de


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obras hispánicas (Universidad Veracruzana, 1987), Ver/ser visto: notas para una analítica poética (A. Bosch, 1978), Theoretical fables: the pedagogical dream in contemporary Latin American fiction (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993) and One Way Tickets: Writers and the Culture of Exile (Trinity University Press, 2012). She is the recipient of several awards, including the Latino Literature Prize for Fiction and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her poetry has been included in a myriad of anthologies such as Catorce poetas hispanoamericanas de hoy (Providence College, 1984), The renewal of the vision: voices of Latin American women poets, 1940-1980 (Spectacular Diseases Press, 1987) and El coro: a chorus of Latino and Latina poetry (University of Massachusetts Press, 1997). CARLOTA CAULFIELD is a poet, writer, editor, translator and scholar. She is the W. M. Keck Professor in Creative Writing and Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Mills College, California. In 1988, she was awarded with the Ultimo Novecento Prize, Poets of the World in Italy. She received the First Hispanoamerican Prize Dulce María Loynaz, Spain-Cuba in 2002. Her poetry collections include 34th Street and other poems. Introduction by Jack Foley (San Francisco: Eboli Poetry Series, 1987); Oscuridad divina. Introducción de Juana Rosa Pita (Madrid: Betania, 1987. Italian edition: Oscurità divina. Trans. by Rosella Livoli & Carlos Vitale. Pisa: Giardini Editori e Stampatori, 1990); Angel Dust/Polvo de Angel/Polvere D’Angelo (Trans. by Carol Maier (English) & Pietro Civitareale (Italian). Madrid: Betania, 1990); A las puertas del papel con amoroso fuego. Introducción de Marjorie Agosín (Madrid: Torremozas, 1996. English edition: At the Paper Gates with Burning Desire. Trans. by Angela McEwan with the author. Oakland: InteliBooks, 2001); Autorretrato en ojo ajeno. Prólogo de Fernando Operé (Madrid: Betania, 2001); Movimientos metálicos para juguetes abandonados (La Laguna, Tenerife: Ediciones del Gobierno de Canarias, 2003); The Book of Giulio Camillo/El Libro de Giulio Camillo/Il Libro


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di Giulio Camillo. Introduction by John Goodby (Trans. by Mary G. Berg with the author (English) and Pietro Civitareale (Italian). Oakland: InteliBooks, 2003); Quincunce/Quincunx (Trans. by Mary G. Berg with the author. Published as Special Book Supplement. Puerto del Sol, New Mexico State University, 2004); A Mapmaker’s Diary. Selected Poems. Introduction by Aimée G. Bolaños (Trans. by Mary G. Berg with the author. Fredonia, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 2007); Fashionable. Una poeta adicta a la moda. Introducción de Robert Davidson. Madrid: Torremozas, 2013. English edition: Fashionable. A Poet’s Passion for Style. Introduction by Robert Davidson (Trans. by Angela McEwan with the author. Madrid: Torremozas, 2016); JJ/CC (Las Cruces, New Mexico: Ediciones La Mirada, 2014); Alfabesi (ABCD ario). Introduction by Bartolomé Ferrando (Valencia: Ediciones Canibaal, 2015); Cuaderno Neumeister/The Neumeister Notebook. Introduction by Antoni Clapés (Trans. by Mary G. Berg with the author. Limerick, Ireland: hardPressed poetry, 2016). Caulfield has edited the anthologies Voces viajeras. Poetas cubanas de hoy (Torremozas, 2002), The Other Poetry of Barcelona Spanish and Spanish American Women Poets (with Jaime D.Parra, Corner, 2004) and No soy tu musa. Antología de poetas irlandesas contemporáneas (Torremozas, 2008). Her poetry has been included in numerous anthologies among them Looking for Home. Women Writing about Exile (Milkweed Editions, 1990), These are not Sweet Girls. Poetry by Latin American Women (White Pine Press, 1994), So Luminous the Wildflowers. An Anthology of California Poets (Tebot Bach, 2003), Times and the Words: Contemporary Jewish Latin American Literature and Culture (Hostos Review, 2006) and Looking out, Looking In. Anthology of Latino Poetry (Arte Público Press, 2013). From 1998 to 2002 she was the editor of Corner, an on-line magazine dedicated to the avant-garde. For more about the author visit her webpage at www.intelinet.org/Caulfield.


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SUSANA CHÁVEZ-SILVERMAN is the author of the acclaimed books Killer Crónicas: Bilingual Memories/Memorias Bilingües. Foreword by Paul Allatson (Chicago, IL.: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) and Scenes fom la Cuenca de Los Angeles y otros Natural Disasters. Foreword by Paul Saint-Amour. Afterword by Michael Shelton (Chicago, IL.: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2010). She teaches Latin American and U.S. Latin@ literature and culture at Pomona College. As a scholar of Latin American and U.S. Latino/a literature, she co-edited Tropicalizations: Transcultural Representations of Latinidad (UPNE/Dartmouth, 1997) and Reading and Writing the Ambiente: Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American and Spanish Culture (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2000). She has published on Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, as well as on other Latin American and U.S. Latino/a authors. Her code-switching bilingual crónicas are widely available in print and online. Her work has been included in numerous anthologies such as The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (W. W. Norton, 2010) and in Ambientes: New Queer Latino Writing (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2011). ChávezSilverman’s current book project is Our Ubuntu, Montenegro: del Balboa Café al Apartheid and Back.

ACHY OBEJAS is the author of The Tower of The Antilles & Other Stories (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Akashic Books, 2017) as well as the critically acclaimed books of fiction We Came All the Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This (Pittsburgh, Penn.: Cleis Press, 1996); Memory Mambo (Pittsburgh, Penn.: Cleis Press, 1996); Days of Awe (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001); Aguas y otros cuentos (La Habana, Cuba: Letras Cubanas, 2009) and Ruins (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Akashic Books, 2009). She authored the poetry collection This is what happened in our other life (New York: Midsummer Night’s Press, 2007). She edited and translated, into English, Havana Noir, a collection of crime stories by Cuban writers on and off the island


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(Akashic Books, 2007) and translated Mexico Noir (Akashic Books, 2010). She has since translated Junot Díaz, Rita Indiana, Wendy Guerra and many others. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translations. Obejas currently serves as the Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College in Oakland, California. In the summer 2016, Mills debuted its low-residency MFA in translation, a program conceived by Achy Obejas, which she directs. Her poetry is included in, among other collections, Little Havana Blues: a Cuban-American literature anthology (Arte Público Press, 1996), Burnt sugar/Caña quemada: contemporary Cuban poetry in English and Spanish (Free Press, 2006), Catedral sumergida: poesía cubana contemporánea escrita por mujeres (Instituto Cubano del Libro, Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2013) and Todo parecía. Poesía cubana contemporánea de temas gays and lésbicos (Ediciones La Mirada, 2015). For more about the author, visit her webpage at www.achyobejas.com.


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ABOUT THE TRANSLATORS SOBRE LOS/LAS TRADUCTORES/AS

MARY G. BERG is a Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, Boston, Massachusetts. Her translations include poetry by Juan Ramón Jiménez, Clara Roderos, Marjorie Agosín and Carlota Caulfield. She translated novels by Martha Rivera (I’ve Forgotten Your Name), Laura Riesco (Ximena at the Crossroads), Libertad Demitropulos (River of Sorrows) and edited the anthologies Open Your Eyes and Soar (White Pine Press, 2003) and Cuba on the Edge: Short Stories from the Island (coedited with Pamela Carmell and Anne Fountain. New Ventures, 2015). Her most recent translations are of collections of stories by Olga Orozco and Laidi Fernández de Juan. She writes about Latin American writers, including Clorinda Matto de Turner, Juana Manuela Gorriti, Soledad Acosta de Samper, and contemporary Cubans.

REGINA GALASSO is Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on questions of translation and cultural exchange in modern and contemporary Iberian and Latin American literatures. Her most recent volume of poetry in translation from the Spanish is Lost Cities Go to Paradise (Swan Isle Press, 2015) by Alicia Borinsky. She has also translated into English the work of Cuban writers Miguel Barnet and José Manuel Prieto, among others. Together with Carmen Boullosa, she is the editor of a special “Nueva York” issue of Translation Review featuring scholarly articles and literary translations associated with Hispanic New York. She is currently completing a book manuscript titled Translating New York: The City’s Languages in Iberian Literatures, as well as an edited volume titled Translation and the City: Avenues of Confluence in Iberian and Latin American Literatures.


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NATASHA HAKIMI ZAPATA is the Poetry Editor at the awardwinning website Truthdig and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Literature at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. She also holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received the May Merrill Miller Award for Poetry in 2008 and 2010, the Ruth Brill Award for short fiction in 2010 and the Falling Leaves Award in 2010, as well as the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in 2012. MANUEL ADRIÁN LÓPEZ was born in Morón, Cuba in 1969. His work has been published in various literary journals in Spain, the United States and Latin America. His published books are: Yo, el arquero aquel (Poetry, Editorial Velámenes, 2011), Room at the Top (Short Stories, Eriginal Books, 2013), Los poetas nunca pecan demasiado (Poetry, Editorial Betania, 2013. Awarded Gold Medal by Florida Book Awards in 2013), El barro se subleva (Short Stories, Ediciones Baquiana, 2014) and Temporada para suicidios (Short Stories, Eriginal Books, 2015). He is a currently a frequent contributor to ViceVersa magazine. ALISON RIDLEY teaches Spanish at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. She received her doctorate from Michigan State University.  She wrote her dissertation on silence in the Spanish picaresque novel, but her current scholarly work focuses on the theatre of Antonio Buero Vallejo.  She has published articles in Gestos, Neohelicon, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and Estreno; book reviews in Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Romance Quarterly, Hispania, Estreno y Revista de ALCES XXI; and translations (six poems and one short story) in two books edited by Marjorie Agosín: What is Secret: Stories by Chilean Women (White Pine Press, 1995) and These Are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women (White Pine Press, 1994 & 2001). Currently Alison is translating two new works by Marjorie Agosín: a collection of poetry and the sequel to the novel, I Lived on Butterfly Hill.


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ANNE TWITTY has been a writer, translator, and editor of the section of myth and spiritual traditions for Parabola magazine. Her translations have been awarded First Runner Up in the Richard Wilbur Poetry and Translator Prize, and second prize from the Latin American Writers Institute in 1991. She has translated the Cuban poet Magali Alabau (Hermana/Sister, 1992; Liebe, 1993). Anne Twitty’s previous translations include Maria Negroni’s Islandia, for which she received the PEN Prize for Poetry in Translation in 2008.

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LATIN AMERICAN WRITERS INSTITUTE (LAWI)

INSTITUTO DE ESCRITORES LATINOAMERICANOS

Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY) Office of Academic Affairs/Oficina de Asuntos Académicos Humanities Department/Departamento de Humanidades

The Latin American Writers Institute (LAWI), housed at Hostos Community College of CUNY since 1992, was founded in 1987 at The City College of New York and it has since become an invaluable resource for all those involved in the creation and promotion of Latino and Latin American literature in the United States. LAWI received in 1991 the Manhattan Borough President’s “Excellence in Arts Award.” The Latin American Writers Institute develops new talent and encourages understanding of and public interest in new writers by hosting and co-sponsoring writing workshops, readings, and conferences. LAWI also presents the work of Latino writers to different audiences, by publishing books under it’s imprint The Latino Press; Hostos Review/ Revista Hostosiana, an international journal devoted to culture. LAWI also functions as a clearinghouse on Latino and Latin American literature. Its services are available to professors, journalists, reviewers, translators, editors, and publishers who are interested in writers for readings, conferences, and workshops and who might need skilled Latino writers for editing, teaching, translation, and writing projects. In keeping with its goal of increasing intercultural understanding, LAWI seeks to recognize and encourage cultural diversity in its membership and in all of its programs. For further information, please contact Professor Isaac Goldemberg, Director, Latin American Writers Institute, Humanities Department, Hostos Community College, 500 Grand Concourse, Bronx, N.Y. 10451. (718) 518-6680. Email: igoldemberg@hostos.cuny.edu


HOSTOS REVIEW REVISTA HOSTOSIANA An International Journal of Culture Revista International de Cultura

In this issue/En este número

MARJORIE AGOSÍN MAGALI ALABAU
 RUTH BEHAR
 ALICIA BORINSKY CARLOTA CAULFIELD SUSANA CHÁVEZ-SILVERMAN ACHY OBEJAS

ISSN: 1547-4577 ISSUE / NÚMERO 14 2017

UNA PUBLICACIÓN DEL INSTITUTO DE ESCRITORES LATINOAMERICANOS A PUBLICATION OF THE LATIN AMERICAN WRITERS INSTITUTE OFICINA DE ASUNTOS ACADÉMICOS / OFFICE OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS DEPARTAMENTO DE HUMANIDADES / HUMANITIES DEPARTMENT EUGENIO MARIA DE HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF CUNY

Hostos Review #14  

GESTURES OF MEMORY: SEVEN LATIN AMERICAN/ LATINA WOMEN WRITERS OF JEWISH ORIGIN IN THE U.S. --- GESTOS DE LA MEMORIA: SIETE ESCRITORAS LAT...

Hostos Review #14  

GESTURES OF MEMORY: SEVEN LATIN AMERICAN/ LATINA WOMEN WRITERS OF JEWISH ORIGIN IN THE U.S. --- GESTOS DE LA MEMORIA: SIETE ESCRITORAS LAT...

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