17 June 2009

More on Cuban-American novelists

Here's an excerpt from Cuban-American Literature of Exile: From Person to Persona (1998), by Isabel Alvarez-Borland, pp. 153-154: “In addition to the prolific work by Cuban writers in the various literary genres in Miami and New York City, other Cuban-born novelists write in Spanish from other parts of the globe. For instance, Mireya Robles and René Vásquez Díaz visit Miami periodically but permanently reside in South Africa and Sweden, respectively. ... Among this multifarious group of Cuban-American writers producing in Spanish, poet-essayist Lourdes Gil stands out, for she has contributed to her one-and-a-half generation with her poetry and with some insightful essays on the predicament of writers such as herself. The choice of language is crucial for a writer, although in the case of Lourdes Gil the choice of Spanish assures her a place in the margins of the Anglo intellectual community. Most of Gil’s creative and scholarly writings have sought to explain her need to continue to write in Spanish. ... Interestingly, many writers publishing in Spanish are now beginning to translate their works into English in order to acquire a wider readership.”

The situation is similar to that of Filipino writers in the United States. US-based Epifanio San Juan Jr., for example, continues to write poetry in Tagalog, even as he writes his scholarly books in English.


  1. Isagani, I use English for communication of ideas to one audience, Filipino for expression addressed to another audience. Different languages for different intentions, purposes, effects. But I also translate. Mabuhay ka!