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Before a Mirror, The City - Nancy Morejón - Translated by David Frye, Introduction by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook
$17.00 - ISBN 978-1-945680-38-0 

The African Cuban poet Nancy Morejón set out at a young age to explore the beauty and complexities of the life around and within her. Themes of social and political concern, loyalty, friendship and family, African identity, women's experiences, and hope for Cuba's future all found their way into her poems through bold metaphor and tender lyricism. Although Morejón does not sympathize as much with intellectualized feminism as with "street" feminism (the kind that erupts with force as it confronts daily life), her poems illuminate issues in women's existence. Without intending to, she has revitalized contemporary Caribbean feminist literary discourse. One can find in her work the tensions between colonizer and colonized, dominator and dominated, and at the same time enjoy the sheer beauty of images depicting suffering, strength, and hope.


“A collection of exquisite sensibility, masterfully edited by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook and translated by David Frye. In these poems, Nancy Morejón's voice dazzles and moves us. She carries us off to a luminous island and an unforgettable Havana. I am moved by this book, by this poetry, and by the voice of one of the great poets of the Americas.”

                              —Marjorie Agosin


“Naked, beautiful and truthful, Nancy allows us to love them both: her and her city, if our senses are able to understand them, but without surprising us, since, who could be astonished by that ability in someone who, since her first poetry book, lives in that uninterrupted passion sustained by reconciling fairness and beauty? This is a book in which a city confronts the world, and the world, in contrast, appears poor and fragile. “


                             —Georgina Herrera

“Morejón’s poetry is infused with an understanding of her African heritage and modern Cuban identity. Her poems capture the essence of encounters with family, friends, literature, art, landscapes, politics, history, and Cuban reality. Her poems are lyrical, compassionate, complex and dazzling in their subtleties. This fine translated version of her work will encourage more research, more critical analysis and more dialog among scholars of poetry and Latin American culture.”

                              —Jayne Cortez 


“Nancy Morejón’s poetry gives us a mighty Cuba. A laughing Cuba. A determined Cuba. I see  the politics of  people’s eyes. Hands. Bodies. Living. Surviving. Being. Walking in beauty in their country. Undefeated.”

                              —Sonia Sanchez

Nancy Morejón is one of the best known poets of  Cuba. Her work addresses contemporary issues of ethnicity, gender, history, and Afro-Cuban identity. She is currently the Director of Caribbean Studies at Casa de las Americas in Havana, Cuba. 

David Frye is a professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and a translator of many books from Spanish. His recent works of translation include: Super Extra Grande by Yoss, The Weeping Woman by Zoe Valdes, and Simone: A Novel by Eduardo Lalo.


Juanamaría Cordones-Cook is a professor of Romance languages at the University of Missouri. Cordones-Cook extensive scholarly work includes research and publications on Spanish American writers and artists such as Luisa Valenzuela, Nancy Morejón, Jorge Luis Borges, Roberto Zurbano, and Belkis Ayón among others. 

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