título / title

BY Legna Rodríguez Iglesias


ISBN: 9781734317602 (2020)

título / title is a book of poems by the Cuban poet, prose writer, and playwright Legna Rodríguez Iglesias, published here for the first time in Spanish, and in English translation by Katherine M. Hedeen. Rodríguez Iglesias belongs to the so-called Generation Zero in Cuba, those born after 1970 and who publish after 2000. After the fall of European socialism, Generation Zero grew up with few opportunities and little future and its poetry embodies the crisis. title does so by affirming a poetics of ugliness—the quotidian ugliness of poverty. Material need signals spiritual need. In an experimental, asphyxiating rush of repetition and enjambment, title chronicles separation, alienation, unease, madness, illness while it presents readers with a unique vision of queerness, humanity, poetry. None of it is exceptional. These poems do not fall back on exotifying stereotypes. Instead, they offer a critical perspective of all sides. There is a brilliant grayness to this poetry that rejects how Cubans are supposed to write their reality, on either side of the Gulf.

Rodríguez Iglesias discusses the book here.

Legna Rodríguez Iglesias (Camagüey, 1984) has published widely, including the poetry books Mi pareja calva y yo vamos a tener un hijo (Ediciones Liliputienses, 2019), Miami Century Fox (Akashic Books, 2017), and Transtucé (Editorial Casa Vacía, 2017); the short story collection La mujer que compró el mundo (Editorial Los Libros de La Mujer Rota, 2017); and the novel Mi novia preferida fue un bulldog francés (Editorial Alfaguara, 2017). Among her literary awards are the Centrifugados Prize for Younger Poets (Spain 2019), the Paz Prize (the National Poetry Series, 2017), the Casa de las Américas Prize in Theater (Cuba, 2016), and the Julio Cortázar Ibero-American Short Story Prize (2011). Spinning Mill, a chapbook of her work, has recently appeared in English translation with CardBoard House Press (2019, trans. Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann). She currently lives in Miami where she writes a column for the online journal El Estornudo.

Katherine M. Hedeen has translated some of the most respected voices from Latin America. She is a recipient of two NEA Translation grants in the US and a PEN Translates award in the UK and is poetry in translation editor at the Kenyon Review. She resides in Ohio, where she is Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College.

Urayoán Noel:

Legna Rodríguez Iglesias is one of the most celebrated Cuban poets of the post-millennium generation. By turns outspoken, funny, dark, and strange, the highly associative poems in this book bristle with a queer energy, and they gleefully desacralize both Cuba and the U.S. On the surface, Rodríguez Iglesias’s writing is defiantly anti-poetic, yet Hedeen’s translations carefully convey the nested quality of the Spanish originals: love poems and/as political satire (or is it the other way around?).

Rachel Galvin:

Legna Rodríguez Iglesias’s exciting poetry has quickly become essential to contemporary Cuban literature. Wickedly funny, keenly observant, these queer, feminist poems are crafted to resemble the voice of your most cynical, scornful, yet always vulnerably honest friend, who can make both the minutia of daily life as well as large-scale geopolitical insanity into a visceral, sexy, disturbingly hilarious outpouring you’ll follow to the end. “i’d be a Pekinese and if one day i was in an airport i’d go right up to you and bite.” In the dazzling versions of prestigious translator Kate Hedeen, who has a gift for bringing together the lyrical and the colloquial, these poems are propulsive, playful, provocative.