Magaly Quiñones: A Puerto Rican and Caribbean Poet for the World


Carlos Esteban Cana (El Post-Antillano) highlights the poetic world and thematic explorations of Magaly Quiñones through more than four decades, underlining her significance as a writer in the Puerto Rican context, the Caribbean at large, and beyond. Here are excerpts of his article (which will be followed by other reviews in El Post-Antillano):

“In my poetry, in my essays, I have always taken that trajectory. I feel very Puerto Rican [. . .] and then I discovered that besides being Puerto Rican, I was Caribbean.” This affirmation by national poet Magaly Quiñones about her identity, cropped up in one of several conversations we have had over time, which confirmed to me the following.

Puerto Rico owes so much to Quiñones, one of the island’s major literary voices during the past four decades; I think the time has come for major institutions and cultural groups in the country—such as the Puerto Rican Academy of the Spanish Language, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the Puerto Rican Athenaeum, or the International Pen Club of Puerto Rico, among others—to honor the trajectory of a writer who has produced strong and enduring verses in about twenty books of poetry that sing to life, love, children, humanity, and nature.

Now that (in October) we celebrate the 45 years since the publication of her first book, Entre mi voz y el tiempo [Between my voice and time], which occurred in 1969, and in the next five years, Magaly Quiñones deserves that her name be proposed for major international awards recognizing poetic excellence (I can say the same, but in the area of narrative, about the novelist Marta Aponte Alsina).

[. . .] I cannot conclude, without pointing out that a writer like Quiñones, characterized by her great capacity for service as well as modesty, deserves what that famous song by El Gran Combo said: “Que me lo den en vida” [May they give it to me in my lifetime].

[Here is a beautiful example of her poetic work; see more in the link below.]

Para grabar tu nombre
Para que yo me cure
el indio que hay en mí baila su danza
quemando la memoria de tus días
frente a la gigantesca fogata.
Y para que yo suba sin resbalar
sobre el despeñadero de mis ansias,
el negro que en mí vive
mezcla yerbas y savias en prietas calabazas
y me obliga a beber tu sudor y tu sangre
en feroz exorcismo.
Y para que yo olvide
el dolor que tu piel dejó en mi piel,
la moral religiosa del colono español que vive en mí,
obedeciendo al dogma desata
la frialdad en mi mano, la firmeza en mis ojos,
mudez en mi palabra.
La última vez que me atreví a salir a enfrentar a mi dolor
las tres razas me dieron de comer
pero no pude contener las lágrimas.
La última vez que quise anochecerte el alma,
vi al sol que se escondía tras mis versos
para grabar tu nombre.

For full article and more, see

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