What’s on Our Nightstands: “Huracanada”


I just spent some time explaining why I will never again say, “I am not a poetry person” (if you are curious, see previous post). Perhaps I should write, “I will never again say, ‘I am not a poetry person,’” on a blackboard one hundred times. In the meantime, let me repeat what I said about Joan Anim-Addo’s Janie: Cricketing Lady with Carnival and Hurricane Poems; memories of recent hurricanes (like Irma and Maria) are once again fresh on my mind as I prepare to visit my beloved island and mother, so I have been compulsively—but pleasurably—reading poems related to these mystifying natural events. Last January, I was lucky enough to come across Mayra Santos-Febres’s Huracanada (libros787, 2008). It is a stirring collection of poems—deep, beautiful, and haunting—related to all sorts of “hurricanes,” natural, emotional, aesthetic and other. Mayda Colón describes the collection in her editorial foreword:

A hurricane is no small thing. In its wake, podiums are rolled back, and there are just people left, along with their possibilities for life, while they line up and full days loom ahead. Reality centers on the sun. The definition of a hurricane warns us of a devastating force, of a wind spiral that, for a moment, makes everything become nature. [. . .]

After the passage of Hurricane Maria, men and women flung themselves into the street to help others. This book of poems is a humble tribute to their tenderness and their courage. In Huracanada, by Mayra Santos-Febres, we hear a voice that breaks fast in the plural, a voice that looks outside and looks at itself, that looks for an air and is a witness of its time. It is a voice that bleeds, searches, reinterprets, recognizes the snares, the struggles that we always undertake until we understand that there is another time possible, neither consummated nor with the need to be consumed. Huracanada is a female voice without costume or artifice. An intimate and informal voice with which to speak to friends. A voice of non-binary formulation, but rather matter, a poetic act that explores “what is becoming, and how this takes on significance along its trajectory” [lo que va siendo, y cómo esto cobra significancia en el tránsito].

Description excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For more information (in Spanish), see https://libros787.com/products/huracanada and the book’s editorial foreword.

Also see previous post https://repeatingislands.com/2019/07/10/whats-on-our-nightstands-janie-cricketing-lady-with-carnival-and-hurricane-poems/

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