A Voice of Homelands and Diasporas

Article excerpt

   There is
   a country in the world
   right in the sun's path.
   A native of the night.
   in an improbable archipelago
   of sugar and alcohol.
                    like a bat's wing
   leaning on the breeze.
         like the trace of a kiss on an elderly
           or daylight on the roof tiles.
   fruitful. Fluvial. And material. And yet
   simply torrid, abused and kicked
   like a young girl's hips.
   Simply sad and oppressed.
   Sincerely wild and uninhabited.

                                                  --Pedro Mir

Mir's best known works date from the period of his exile. He published in Cuba Hay un pais en el mundo (1949) [There Is a Country in the World, 1993], the first of his major long poems, the same year that he completed the essay "Tres leyendas de colores," an illuminating exploration of the historical roots of Dominican and Caribbean cultural identities, followed by Contracanto a Walt Whitman (1952) [Countersong to Walt Whitman, 1993] and Seis momentos de esperanza (1953), both published in Guatemala. Back home, where in the 1960s his public readings attracted crowds of thousands of workers and students, Mir continued to write, publishing four volumes of poetry, including Amen de mariposas (1969) [Amen to Butterflies, 1993], triggered by Trujillo's brutal assassination of the Mirabal sisters, and Huracan Neruda (1975), inspired by the deaths of Neruda and Allende in 1973, plus two novels, a book of short fiction, three volumes on aesthetics, and four books of historical interpretation. …


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