Shortlisted for the Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry 2020
Translated by Abigail Parry and Serafina Vick
Legna Rodríguez Iglesias has quickly become one of the most celebrated Cuban poets writing today. Her intense – often confrontational – poetry refuses to conform, subverting expectations and challenging social mores. Particularly arresting is her uncomfortable focus on the human body, which she dramatises in isolation, stripping it of context, making it strange and even obscene. Alongside poems of extreme descriptive vigour, Rodríguez Iglesias irreverently skewers the hypocrisies, clichés and hierarchies of our time.
This selection offers a broad survey of Rodríguez Iglesias’s work, drawing on eight previous collections in Spanish. Throughout, the poems are inflected with Cuban history and explore the tensions between the generation of the Revolution and her own. The consequences of poet’s long-term residence in Miami are forcefully brought home through poems of emigration and estrangement.
The playfulness and verbal dexterity that marks Rodríguez Iglesias’s work in Spanish has been expertly brought to life in English by Abigail Parry, an award-winning poet whose debut collection Jinx was published by Bloodaxe in 2018, working in collaboration with bridge-translator and writer Serafina Vick.
‘Legna Rodríguez Iglesias is, I think, one of the most exciting Cuban voices around. She moved to Miami a few years ago, and writes these intense, sometimes confrontational poems that really skewer the clichés of modern life.’ – Imtiaz Dharker, introducing Legna Rodríguez Iglesias on BBC Radio 4’s Mother Tongue series
‘Un cuerpecito son muchas partes / A little body are many parts, by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias and translated by Abigail Parry, is one of my favourite books of the year. Highlights include a chorus of luminous pumpkins, an astonishing long sequence plus commentary called 'Miami Century Fox', and a thoroughly helpful poem about fire safety in the workplace. It's hard to imagine a translator more in sympathy with her subject; the knockabout strangeness and the verbal felicity throughout might be from Parry's own (Forward-nominated) work [Jinx].’ – John Clegg, London Review Bookshop (recommending new poetry in translation)
‘A sense of rebelliousness and cynicism permeates most of Rodríguez Iglesias’s work, leaving the reader in a state of restlessness. Her poems are full of sharp, staccato-like stanzas, where irony, dark humour, and at times deep sadness, are combined.’ – Leo Boix, The Poetry Review
Spanish-English dual language edition
Co-published with the Poetry Translation Centre
The Poetry Translation Centre gives the best contemporary poems from Africa, Asia and Latin America a new life in the English language, working with diaspora communities for whom poetry is of great importance. By fostering creative collaborations between poets and translators, the PTC produces high-quality translations that extend the audience for international poetry.