Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Translated with an Afterword by Kristin Dykstra. In 2002, while temporarily living in Europe (mostly Amsterdam), the poet Omar Pérez began writing in a notebook. His journey began as a short professional visit that shifted into something less defined after he fell in love. Eventually the notebook became CUBANOLOGY, a book of days reflecting on three years of life at a remove from the island: "A memory of a flight, a journey, jour." Along with registering common and uncommon vicissitudes of everyday life, the result presents a fusion of languages. Simultaneously national and polycultural, CUBANOLOGY streams poetic thought and experience, excerpts from other writings in progress, and the coalescence of a new islandic consciousness—scenes reminiscent of many-minded Odysseus, if home were heart. Visual material appearing throughout CUBANOLOGY blends Pérez's sketches with photographs from that period, as well as art he made after returning to his family home on Havana's iconic Malécon.
Omar Pérez @ PennSound
Omar Pérez's books include CUBANOLOGY (2018), Lingua Franca (2010); Oíste hablar del gato de pelea? (1999, translated as DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE FIGHTING CAT? by Kristin Dykstra, 2010); and ALGO DE LO SAGRADO (1996, translated as SOMETHING OF THE SACRED by Kristin Dykstra and Robert Tejada, 2007). His translations include Italian-Cuban novelist Alba de Céspedes's Nadie vuelve atrás (2003); and Shakespeare's As You Like It (as Como Les Guste, 2000). He received Cuba's Nicolás Guillén Prize for Poetry for Crítica de la Razón Puta (2009) as well as its National Critics' Prize for his essay collection La perseverancia de un hombre oscuro (2000). His work has also been featured in the anthology The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry, A Bilingual Anthology (2009). Pérez was born and raised in Havana. He earned a degree in English at the University of Havana and studied Italian at the Universitá per Straniere di Siena. He has worked as a journalist for El Caimán Barbudo, and as an editor for the magazine La naranja dulce. A former member of the Cuban intellectual group Paideia, he edited the poetry magazine Mantis in the '90s. Ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk, Pérez composes poems that engage languages, Zen, and political and cultural transcendence. Author City: Havana CUB
Kristin Dykstra is a writer, literary translator, and scholar. Dykstra is principal translator of THE WINTER GARDEN PHOTOGRAPH (Ugly Duckling Presse), by Reina María Rodríguez, Winner of the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and Finalist for the National Translation Award. With Kent Johnson she co-edited MATERIA PRIMA, a team-translated anthology featuring Berenguer (also from Ugly Duckling), Finalist for the 2020 Best Translated Book Award. Previously Dykstra translated collections by Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Flores, Marcelo Morales, Ángel Escobar, Tina Escaja, and others. Her poetry collection Dissonance: Its Ridgelines / Disonancia: Perfil de laderas, is forthcoming in a bilingual edition with translations by Escaja; excerpts appear in Lana Turner, Almost Island, Clade Song, Seedings, La Noria, El Nieuwe Ac´, Distropika, and Acrobata.