Margaret Randall, Only the Road ⁄ Solo el Camino: Eight Decades of Cuban Poetry

Thursday, March 30 - 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The Poetry Center, HUM 512, San Francisco State University
Margaret Randall

Margaret Randall returns to The Poetry Center after a hiatus of fifty years — she appeared here, reading her poetry, in December 1966, sharing the stage with Mexican poet Sergio Mondragon, with whom she was at the time co-editing and producing the truly singular, internationally renowned literary journal El Corno Emplumado, out of Mexico City. This visit, she will be presenting the most substantial anthology of modern and contemporary Cuban poetry ever to appear for English language readers, and conversing with her audience. This event is free and open to the public.

Featuring the work of more than fifty poets writing across the last eight decades, Only the Road / Solo el Camino (Duke University Press, 2016) is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership. It is distinguished by its stylistic breadth and the diversity of its contributors, who come from throughout Cuba and its diaspora and include luminaries, lesser-known voices, and several Afro-Cuban and LGBTQ poets. Nearly half of the poets in the collection are women. Only the Road paints a full and dynamic picture of modern Cuban life and poetry, highlighting their unique features and idiosyncrasies, the changes across generations, and the ebbs and flows between repression and freedom following the Revolution. Randall, who translated each poem, contributes extensive biographical notes for each poet and a historical introduction to twentieth-century Cuban poetry.

Margaret Randall (New York, 1936) is a poet, essayist, oral historian, translator, photographer and social activist. She lived in Latin America for 23 years (in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua). From 1962 to 1969 she and Mexican poet Sergio Mondragón co-edited El Corno Emplumado/The Plumed Horn, a bilingual literary quarterly that published some of the best new work of the sixties. When she came home in 1984, the government ordered her deported because it found some of her writing to be “against the good order and happiness of the United States." With the support of many writers and others, she won her case in 1989. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, she taught at several universities, most often Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Randall’s most recent poetry titles include As If the Empty Chair / Como si la silla vacia, The Rhizome As a Field of Broken Bones, About Little Charlie Lindbergh, and She Becomes Time (all from Wings Press). Che On My Mind, a feminist poet’s reminiscence of Che Guevara (Duke University Press), and More Than Things (essays, University of Nebraska Press) are other recent titles. Haydee Santamaria, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression was released by Duke in 2015. Exporting Revolution: Cuba's Global Solidarity will be published by Duke in Spring 2017. Randall has also devoted herself to translation, producing When Rains Become Floods by Lurgio Galván Sánchez as well as Only the Road/Solo el Camino. Red Mountain Press in Santa Fe will publish her translations of two individual collections by Cuban poets, and The Operating System will do two more. Randall lives in New Mexico with her partner (now wife) of almost 30 years, the painter Barbara Byers, and travels extensively to read, lecture and teach.

Because We Come from Everything: Poetry and Migration
March 2017 Poetry Center programming appears under the sign of this line by Juan Felipe Herrera, in conjunction with 20+ member organizations from across the country constituting the newly formed Poetry Coalition

Also please note: Margaret Randall will be reading from Only the Road ⁄ Solo el Camino on Friday MAR 31, 4:30pm @ Writers Studio, California College of the Arts, 195 De Haro (at 15th Street), San Francisco, free admission.

Event contact: 
The Poetry Center
Event email: 
poetry@sfsu.edu
Event phone: 
415-338-2227
Event sponsor: 
The Poetry Center