What’s on Our Nightstands: Cuando narradoras latinoamericanas narran en Estados Unidos

The Argentine newspaper La Capital, recently featured the two-volume anthology Cuando narradoras latinoamericanas narran en Estados Unidos [When Latin American Women Writers Write in the United States](Editorial Fundación Ross, 2009), the first in the series Semillas de Eva [Seeds of Eve], dedicated to Latin American women writers. This anthology was a labor of love, edited by Puerto Rican writer based in New York, Lourdes Vázquez.

Authors from the Caribbean Diaspora include Giannina Braschi (Puerto Rico), Sheila Candelario  (Puerto Rico), Jacqueline Herranz Brooks (Cuba), Madelline Millán (Puerto Rico), Myrna Nieves (Puerto Rico), Sonia Rivera (Cuba), and Lourdes Vázquez (Puerto Rico). In this latest volume these writers join forces with other Latin American writers such as Dinadipiero Didonato (Venezuela), Selfa Chew (Mexico), Minerva Laveaga-Duarte (Mexico), and Alicia Borinsky (Argentina), to present a highly diverse array of poems written from the standpoint of the hybrid territory of voluntary or compulsory exile. Writers, critics, academics, photographers, graphic artists, dancers, social activists, and/or students with diverse Latin American roots, what these writers have in common is their passion for writing and what Vázquez calls “the supernatural occurrence of territory,” the fact that they are all based in the United States.

La Capital defines this anthology as a meeting of voices of diverse tones and hues, “like the varying sunsets observed by the women on the balcony of Millán’s ‘Island with Sunsets;’ multiple like the gathering of eleven writers in one country [. . .] under circumstances that inevitably modify the personal relationship with writing.” Vázquez explains that these writers “have built a portable room of their own, with different openings and movements, like a great labyrinth of bifurcations going towards the inside and the outside.”

The article quotes some of the writers’ impressions of writing from an “other” space. For example, Cuban writers Sonia Rivera and Jackeline Herranz Brooks agree that “to write in Spanish in a country where the [official] language is foreign implies a stance of cultural resistance, taking into account that language is power.” For Sheila Candelario, from Puerto Rico, writing in Spanish is a battle, a challenge, an “indomitable weapon facing all that strangeness.” Some of the other Puerto Rican contributors concur with Candelario, agreeing that to write from outside of the island implies an erasure of the imaginary border; the motherland becomes “our daily creation, multilingual, multi-spatial, multi-chromatic.” They insist that preserving the mother tongue does not hinder the appropriation of “the music of languages, the intersections, the ambiguities, the wealth gained with barbarisms” (Millán).  Others, like Nieves, want to have both, the discovered paradise and the one lost, and Braschi expresses the desire to be/feel confused, the sense of being lost. She add “that the foreign invades the native and the native modifies the native; in a country where foreigners become natives and natives become foreigners, languages should be demolished and reestablished beyond the confines of national flags.”

Lourdes Vázquez’s latest works include Tres relatos y un infortunio (Fundación Ross, 2009), the chapbook A Porcelain Doll with Violet Eyes, Staring into Space. . .  (2009), Samandar: Libro de viajes/ Book of Travels (2007), Bestiary: Selected Poems (1986-1997) (2004), La estatuilla (2004), and Salmos del cuerpo ardiente (2004), which was republished as an artist book with prints by Consuelo Gotay, Consuelo Gotay, Salmos del Cuerpo Ardiente (2007).

For full review in Spanish), see http://www.lacapital.com.ar//ed_senales/2010/4/edicion_77/contenidos/noticia_5080.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s