Poetry. From the afterword: "As poets, we found Cuba's contradictions, juxtapositions, mystery and sensuality provocative and inviting. Traveling family-to-family across the island, our psyches and our poetry were transformed, not by people wanting to leave Cuba for the material promises of life elsewhere, but by those whose priority was to stay. Ones who might—through resistance and creativity—be part of the next Revolution: artists, agriculturists, progressive thinkers, social and political reformers working to guarantee freedom of speech and fair and proper wages for all: street sweeper to surgeon.
With things in flux, what remains is the island's vibrant beauty, the cloud-swept mountains, iridescent playas, fertile valleys, shimmering canefields, lively port cities and the faded pastels of colonial towns. Add the kaleidoscope of cultures, the Afro roots, a trade-wind vibe, the power of Santeria, an inescapable sizzle of music-and the pot begins to boil. Finally, spice the mix liberally with those classic Cuban hallmarks of genuine social living, ones that have largely disappeared in our homeland: immediate camaraderie, spontaneous generosity, a from-the-heart curiosity.
We hope these poems give you a measure, a view into a people and a place that we have been lucky enough to be captivated by for many years, a place that can only make you feel more alive, more enlarged and more embraced than you've known.
Renée Gregorio's books of poetry include five collections of her singular work as well as several book collaborations with other poets. Her poetry is informed equally by the landscapes of New Mexico as it is by her wide-ranging travels to places such as Bali, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mexico, Cuba, and India. She holds a master's degree in creative writing, the rank of sandan in the martial art aikido, and certifications as a master somatic coach, presence-based coach, and professional certified coach. In providing support to writers, she holds an integrated approach that blends her own creative experience with her work in somatics.
John Brandi is an ardent traveler, giving readings of his poetry and exhibiting his visual art in the US and abroad. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, he has published over three dozen books and chapbooks of poetry, haiku, haibun and travel writing. He and his wife Renée Gregorio have conducted poetry classes for students in places as remote as central Bali and Chiapas, Mexico.
They live in the mountains of northern New Mexico.
Author City: EL RITO, NM USA