Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution

With a powerful and poignant introduction from Julia Alvarez, Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution, edited by Mark Eisner and Tina Escaja, is an extraordinary collection, rooted in a strong […]


Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution

Authors:Julia Alvarez, Reina María Rodríguez, René Depestre, Kristin Dykstra, Hélène Cardona, Will Vanderhyden, Fernanda García Lao, Kyra Galván, José A. Villar-Portela, Tina Escaja, Mark Eisner


With a powerful and poignant introduction from Julia Alvarez, Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution, edited by Mark Eisner and Tina Escaja, is an extraordinary collection, rooted in a strong tradition of protest poetry and voiced by icons of the movement and some of the most exciting writers today. The poets of Resistencia explore feminist, queer, Indigenous, and ecological themes alongside historically prominent protests against imperialism, dictatorships, and economic inequality. Within this momentous collection, poets representing every Latin American country grapple with identity, place, and belonging, resisting easy definitions to render a nuanced and complex portrait of language in rebellion.

Included in English translation alongside their original language, the 54 poems in Resistencia are a testament to the art of translation as much as the act of resistance. An all-star team of translators, including former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera along with young, emerging talent, have made many of the poems available for the first time to an English-speaking audience. Urgent, timely, and absolutely essential, these poems inspire us all to embrace our most fearless selves and unite against all forms of tyranny and oppression.

Moderated by poet and translator JV Portela.

See below for a video of readings from contributors and a special introduction by Julia Alvarez.

Sponsored by:

Julia Alvarez

Born in New York City in 1950, Julia Alvarez‘s parents returned to their native country, Dominican Republic, shortly after her birth.  Ten years later, the family was forced to flee to the United States because of her father’s involvement in a plot to overthrow the dictator, Trujillo. Alvarez has written novels (How the García Girls Lost Their AccentsIn the Time of the Butterflies¡Yo!In the Name of SaloméSaving the World, Afterlife), collections of poems (HomecomingThe Other Side/ El Otro LadoThe Woman I Kept to Myself), nonfiction (Something to DeclareOnce Upon A Quinceañera, and A Wedding in Haiti), and numerous books for young readers (including the Tía Lola Stories series, Before We Were Free, finding miraclesReturn to Sender and Where Do They Go?). Alvarez’s awards include the Pura Belpré and Américas Awards for her books for young readers, the Hispanic Heritage Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award.  In 2013, she received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama.

Reina María Rodríguez

REINA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ (CUBA, 1952–)
Author of numerous editions of poetry and prose, including Luciérnagas (2017) and Poemas de Navidad (Bokeh, 2018), Ro- dríguez won the 1984 Casa de las Américas prize for poetry with Para un cordero blanco, followed by the 1998 prize for La foto del invernadero. Among her many other awards are the Chevalier medallion of the French Order of Arts and Letters (1999), the 2002 Alejo Carpentier Medal for achievement in Cuban literature, Cuba’s 2013 National Prize for Literature, and the 2014 Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Prize for Poetry. Her latest editions in English translation are Other Letters to Milena (U. of Alabama Press, 2016) and The Winter Garden Photograph (2019, Ugly Duckling Press). 

René Depestre

René Depestre (HAITI, 1926–)A writer of communist convictions, Depestre participated in the student uprisings of January 1943, a youthful act for which he was arrested and later exiled. In France, he contacted sur- realist and Négritude groups in addition to actively participat- ing in French decolonization movements. His participation in these movements led to his expulsion from the country. In- vited by Che Guevara in 1959, Depestre lived in Cuba for an important part of his exile, where he undertook various cul- tural and governmental posts and founded the famous cultural and writing center, the Casa de las Américas. Disillusioned with Castro’s regime, he returned to France in 1978, where he worked as a secretary for UNESCO. His work has been published in countries around the world and his poetry has appeared in many French, Spanish and German anthologies and collections. He has spent many years in France, and was awarded the Prix Renaudot in 1988 for his work Hadriana dans Tous mes Rêves. He lives in Lézignan-Corbières in south- ern France and is a special envoy of UNESCO for Haiti.

 

Kristin Dykstra

Kristin Dykstra is principal translator of The Winter Gar- den Photograph, by Cuban writer Reina María Rodríguez (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2019, with Nancy Gates Madsen), Winner of the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She guest- edited “Out of Alamar,” a dossier about poet Juan Carlos Flores (1962–2016) for Chicago Review in 2018, and her translation of Cubanology, a multilingual book of days by Omar Pérez, ap- peared in the same year. Previously, she translated four books of contemporary Cuban poetry for the University of Alabama Press, including The World as Presence by Marcelo Morales, longlisted for the National Translation Award.

Hélène Cardona

Hélène Cardona is a poet, translator, and actor, the recipient of over 20 honors and awards, including the Best Book and International Book Awards, Naji Naaman Literary Prize, Hemingway Grant, and fellowships from the Goethe-Institut and Andalucía International University. She authored three collections: Life in SuspensionDreaming My Animal SelvesThe Astonished Universe, and four translations: José Manuel Cardona’s Birnam Wood, Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac’s Beyond Elsewhere, Dorianne Laux’s Ce que nous portons, Walt Whit- man’s Civil War Writings for WhitmanWeb. Her work has been translated into sixteen languages. Fluent in six languag- es, she holds an MA in American Literature from the Sor- bonne, worked as a translator/interpreter for the Canadian Embassy, and taught at Hamilton College and LMU. Acting credits include Chocolat, Ford V. Ferrari, Star Trek: Discovery, The Romanoffs, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Happy Feet 2 and Serendipity, among many others. She co-produced the award-winning documentary Femme.

Will Vanderhyden

Will Vanderhyden is a freelance translator, with an MA in Literary Translation from the University of Rochester. He has translated the work of Carlos Labbé, Rodrigo Fresán, and Fernanda García Lao, among others. Vanderhyden’s transla- tions have appeared in journals such as Two Lines, The Literary Review, The Scofield, and The Arkansas International. He has received fellowships from the NEA and the Lannan Founda- tion. His translation of The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán won the 2018 Best Translated Book Award. 

Fernanda García Lao

FERNANDA GARCÍA LAO (ARGENTINA, 1966–)
Fernanda García Lao is a novelist, poet, and playwright. Born in 1966, both of her parents worked as left wing journalists, and in 1975 they were forced to flee to Spain, where they lived in exile for nearly twenty years. When she returned to Argentina in the early nineties, she trained as an actress, playwright, and director. In 1999 her first play “El sol en la cara” / “The Sun on My Face” debuted. Over the next five years, she wrote four more plays, several of which she also acted in and/or directed. Her first novel, Muerta de hambre / Starving, won the Premio de Novela por el Fondo Nacional de las Artes. She was named “one of the best kept secrets of Latin American Literature” at the 2011 Guadalajara International Book Fair. Her novels, stories, and poems have received wide acclaim, won various awards and accolades. They have been published in Latin America, Spain, France, Italy, the United States, and Canada.

Kyra Galván

KYRA GALVÁN (MEXICO, 1956–)
A prolific writer, Galván’s poetry has won many prestigious awards and honors, including the 1980 Mexican National Young Poet’s Prize for her collection Un pequeño moretón en la piel de nadie / A Little Bruise on the Skin of Nobody. She has been a fellow at the National Institute of Fine Arts as well as at the Mexican Writers’ Center. The feminist perspective in her poems also informs her first novel, Los indecibles pecados de Sor Juana / The Unspeakable Sins of Sor Juana, published in 2010. 

José A. Villar-Portela

José A. Villar-Portela, born in Havana, Cuba, is a poet, translator and editor based out of Miami, FL. He is the Editor/Translator of the O, Miami Poetry Festival, Assistant Editor and Head of Spanish-Language Acquisitions of Jai-Alai Books and the Programming Director of Reading Queer. He is also the editor of Jai-Alai magazine produced by University of Wynwood Press. He is pursuing a doctoral degree in Hispanic Literature at Florida International University.

Tina Escaja

Tina Escaja has published extensively on gender, technology and representation at the turn-of-the-twentieth-century and their connections with the current turn-of-the-millennium in Latin America and Spain. She is also an accomplished poet, writer and digital artist. Some of her books include Caída Libre, 13 lunas 13, Código de barras, Respiración Mecánica and her collection Manual destructivista/Destructivist Manual. Escaja has also written fiction and plays, and is the author of experimental and hypertextual works, including Negro en Ovejas, VeloCity, the interactive novel Pinzas de metal, Mora amor, and Robopoem@s. Resistencia: Poems of Protest and Revolution ( Tin House Books), a bilingual collection rooted in a strong tradition of protest poetry, is voiced by icons of the movement and some of the most exciting writers today. With an introduction by poet, novelist and essayist Julia Alvarez, Resistencia explores feminist, queer, Indigenous, and ecological themes alongside historically prominent protests against imperialism, dictatorships, and economic inequality. Within this collection, poets representing every Latin American country grapple with identity, place, and belonging, resisting easy definitions to render a nuanced and complex portrait of language in rebellion. Included in English translation alongside their original language, the fifty-four poems in Resistencia are a testament to the art of translation by a team of translators, including former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Their work made many of the poems available for the first time to an English-speaking audience. Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones, celebrated the collection saying ” The poems in Resistencia do not soothe but shake us awake, and they call on us to do what they have done: to witness, to listen, to not only speak but sing.”

Mark Eisner

Mark Eisner has spent most of the past two decades working on projects related to Pablo Neruda. His Neruda: The Biography of a Poet was published in 2018. He also conceived, edited, and was one of the principal translators for The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (2004). He also wrote the introduction to the English translation of Neruda’s venture of the infinite man. He was also involved in the early stages of the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco, and continues to lead Red Poppy, a literary non-profit focused on Latin American poetry.

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