The three featured poems (“Delicates,” “Snow in Havana,” and “Déclassée”) from Ropa Interior (Delicates) by Wendy Guerra translated from the Spanish by Nancy Naomi Carlson and Esperanza Hope Snyder will be sure to blow you away. At their core are the breadth, power, and profundity of a devious girl from Havana, Cuba who grows up into a woman who keeps the childhood photographs of the mother in her purse.
Je suis déclassée, Guerra declares. Yet, in its very iteration and articulation, and in the beauty of its lyricism is the slipping beneath and beyond the system of power over women of color, the “black sheep in the concert hall populated with white animals.”
Ropa Interior (Delicates) is forthcoming from Seagull Books in April 2023.
Biography of Author and Translators
Wendy Guerra is a critically acclaimed Cuban poet and novelist. She has published three collections of poetry, and her works have been translated into thirteen languages. Todos se van (Everyone’s Leaving), a novel, was adapted into a screenplay. In 2016 Guerra published Domingo de Revolución (Revolution Sunday) in Spain, the story of a Cuban author who publishes a book of poems in Europe and is the object of suspicion by both the Cuban government and Cuban dissidents. Of note is that Guerra’s Ropa Interior was also published in Spain, perhaps due to its sensual and steamy content. Indeed, Guerra, who quotes Anais Nїn in an epigraph at the start of this poetry collection and has translated her work, has been described as “a sort of descendant of Nin.”
Esperanza Hope Snyder is a native of Bogotá, Colombia. Her poems and translations have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, Poetry Northwest, Blackbird and other journals. Former poet laureate of Shepherdstown, Esperanza Hope Snyder was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her poems and translations have appeared in Blackbird, Free State Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, International Poetry Review, OCHO, 32 Poems, Poetry Northwest, and other journals. Assistant Director of Bread in Sicily and co-coordinator of the Lorca Prize, her poetry book, Esperanza and Hope, was published in 2018 (Sheep Meadow Press). She’s written two novels, Orange Wine and Holy Viagra, and a play, The Backroom. Delicates, her co-translation (with Nancy Naomi Carlson) of Wendy Guerra’s poetry collection is forthcoming in spring 2023 (Seagull Books).
Nancy Naomi Carlson is a poet and translator whose translation of Khal Torabully’s Cargo Hold of Stars: Coolitude (Seagull, 2021) won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and was shortlisted for the Sarah Maguire Poetry Translation Prize. Decorated with the French Academic Palms and twice awarded NEA literature translation grants, she’s the author of An Infusion of Violets (Seagull Books, 2019), named “New & Noteworthy” by The New York Times. Piano in the Dark, her new collection of poems, is forthcoming from Seagull Books in May 2023. Carlson is the Translations Editor for On the Seawall.