Nancy Morejón and Her Commitment to Literature

Poet, playwright and essayist, Nancy Morejón is one of the most representative female voices in Cuban contemporary literature. Yeniela Cedeño (CubaNow) writes:

At present, an anthology on the history of Cuban poetry written by women would be incomplete if it does not include the poems of Nancy Morejón. This is not merely a simple or trivial opinion; it is above all recognition to the literary work of a black Cuban woman that considers herself profoundly committed to the universe of letters.

Of humble origin and with African ancestors on the father’s part, and Chinese and European roots on the mother’s, Nancy Morejón was born in Havana on August 7, 1944. Since a very early age, she was a restless reader and as an adolescent she already had written her first verses. In 1962, in her 18s, she had her first book published, Mutismo.

[. . ] In her work, she emphasizes issues related to the black race and the female universe. Topics such as love, racial integration, the history of slavery in Cuba and in the Caribbean, manners and habits of the people, and the national system among others, break into her poetic discourse. Her first book was followed by other publications that have been worthy of prestigious national and international acknowledgements. In 1994, and for her life achievements, she was granted the Yari-Yari Prize of the University of New York. Other relevant distinctions include the 2001 National Literature Prize, the Macedonian Struga Gold Crown in 2006, and in 2007 she received the Rafal Alberti Prize at the 12th International Festival of Poetry of Havana.

Her book of poems, Persona, published in 2010 by Colección Sur de Ediciones Unión publishing house, and with prologue by prominent Cuban playwright Gerardo Fulleda León, is a search for the identity of being a woman that travels from the individual to the universal space. And this is far from being an incidental fact, because in many of her creations, black women are the protagonists. Critics have termed Morejón a follower of the legacy of poet Nicolás Guillén, and this is attributed to her peculiar way, which we all Cubans have, of making humor, and to her black identity in Cuban culture, both of which she incorporates into her poems.

Poetry is not the only focus in her work, she has written essays on Afro-Caribbean poets, the theme in her Doctors Degree Thesis.  As to national poet Nicolás Guillén, whom she knew, she published in 1982 Nación y mestizaje en Nicolás Guillén. For this book she received two distinctions: the Enrique José Varona National Essay Prize granted by the National Association of Writers and Artists of Cuba and the Mirta Aguirre Prize.

[. . .] World renowned Caribbean celebrities such as Jacques Roumain, René Depestre and Édouard Glissant, among many others, have all been translated by her for Cuban publishing houses.  [. . .] She has been a contributor to many national literature journals such as El Caimán Barbudo, Unión, La Gaceta de Cuba, and Casa de las Américas. In addition to her active participation in events, poetry festivals and congresses in diverse nations, she has lectured on Cuban and Caribbean culture in universities of the United States, Latin America and Spain.

Nancy Morejón is Numerary Member of the Cuban Academy of Spanish Language and Member of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. She was conferred the award Machete Replica of Máximo Gómez and the Official Badges of the Order to Merit of the Republic of France.

For full article (translated into English), see http://www.cubanow.net/pages/articulo.php?sec=7&t=2&item=9705

For Spanish language version, see http://laventana.casa.cult.cu/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6213

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