Reading for The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Writing


Join us as we celebrate this landmark volume of Cuban poetry edited by Mark Weiss, The Whole Island (University of California Press, 2009). It makes available the astonishing achievement of a wide range of Cuban poets over the past 60 years. The translations, almost all of them new, convey the intensity and beauty of the accompanying Spanish originals and constitute an essential source for understanding the literature and culture of Cuba, its diaspora, and the Caribbean at large. With poet Lourdes Gil and translators Chris Brandt, Mónica de la Torre, Jason Weiss and Mark Weiss.

Lourdes Gil came to the United States from Cuba in 1961. Her poetry collections include El cerco de las transfiguraciones, Empieza la ciudad, Blanca aldaba preludia, Vencido el fuego de la especie and Neumas. Her poems and essays have been widely published and included in numerous anthologies. She teaches in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program at Baruch College of the City University of New York.

Chris Brandt is a writer, translator and political activist. He teaches poetry and Peace and Justice at Fordham University. His poems and essays have been widely published. His translations of Cuban fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, and his translations of two volumes of Carmen Valle’s poetry were published by the Instituto de Cultura PuertorriqueZa. Seven Stories published his translation of Clara Nieto’s Masters of War, a history of U.S. interventions in Latin America.  

Mónica de la Torre is the author of the poetry books Talk Shows (Switchback, 2007); Acúfenos, published in 2006 in Mexico City by Taller Ditoria; and Public Domain (Roof Books, 2008). She is co-author of the artist book Appendices, Illustrations & Notes, available on and co-edited the multilingual anthology Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (Copper Canyon Press). She is a 2009 NYFA fellow in poetry and senior editor at BOMB Magazine.

Jason Weiss is the author of, among other books, The Lights of Home: A Century of Latin American Writers in Paris. He is currently completing a book on music, Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk’, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America. He recently translated Silvia Baron Supervielle’s latest book of poems, Around the Void.

Mark Weiss’ most recent poetry collection is As Landscape (Chax Press, 2009). He edited, with Harry Polkinhorn, Across the Line / Al otro lado: The Poetry of Baja California (2002). Among his translations are Stet: Selected Poems of José Kozer (2006) Cuaderno de San Antonio / The San Antonio Notebook, by Javier Manríquez (2004), Notas del país de Z, by Gaspar Orozco, and the ebook La isla en peso/ The Whole Island, by Virgilio PiZera ( ). His anthology The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry was published in 2009 by the University of California Press.