Kristin Dykstra translating Reina María Rodríguez

the difference
a haunted house on the corner of San Rafael
like a cedar in a line of cedars
mouths, destinies
in Beckett’s South-Eastern Railway Terminus
the one who’s diving (1978)


Reina María RodríguezReina María Rodríguez: These poems were originally published in Reina María Rodríguez’ 1998 book, La foto del invernadero (The Photo of the Greenhouse), with which she won her second Casa de las Américas prize. Previously she published numerous collections, winning not only her first Casa de las Américas prize (in 1984) but also Cuba’s Julián del Casal and National Critics’ prizes and Mexico’s Plural award for poetry. Today Rodríguez continues to live and work in Havana. She is known not only as a poet but as the host of an important alternative cultural salon: for two decades her home has been both a private and a public space. Intellectuals gather at her rooftop apartment, the azotea, to present work and discuss their ideas with a degree of freedom not always found in official cultural institutions. Although she states that the departures of many fellow intellectuals have affected the level of cultural activity on the island, Rodríguez continues to seek new challenges and opportunities. She now works with Antón Arrufat to edit their new magazine about poetry and poetics, Azoteas.

Kristin DykstraKristin Dykstra: Time’s Arrest / La detención del tiempo, a collection of Kristin Dykstra’s translations of poetry by Reina María Rodríguez, was published by Factory School Press in 2001. A.BACUS will feature recent translations in a special 2002 issue dedicated to Rodríguez. Previously, Dykstra co-translated the Rodríguez anthology, Violet Island and Other Poems (forthcoming from Green Integer Press); selections will appear in boundary 2: An International Journal of Literature and Culture and have been published in Hopscotch: A Cultural Review 2:2 and Zazil 1. Dykstra is guest editor of Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas 7 and edited the Factory School web project “Seven Cuban Poets.” Her 2001 interview with Reina María Rodríguez, “Un deseo de querer eso que no es,” is forthcoming in Actual: Revista Literaria.

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