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Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena, Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena, 0817358013, 0-8173-5801-3, 978-0-8173-5801-3, 9780817358013, , , Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena, 0817388036, 0-8173-8803-6, 978-0-8173-8803-4, 9780817388034, , , Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena, 0817390111, 0-8173-9011-1, 978-0-8173-9011-2, 9780817390112,

Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena
by Reina María Rodríguez

Quality Paper
2014. 136 pp.
1 B&W illustration
Price:  $18.95 t
Other Book
2014. 136 pp.
1 B&W illustration
Price:  $49.95 t
E Book
2014. 136 pp.
1 B&W illustration
Price:  $18.95 d

Published in Spanish as Otras cartas a Milena, Other Letters to Milena shows Rodríguez confronting pressing issues at the turn of the twenty-first century. These involve a new post-Soviet world and the realities of diasporic existence, which have a profound effect even on people like Rodríguez who have not migrated but continue to live and work in their home nation. The book’s title references Franz Kafka, whose Letters to Milena was published after his death in 1952. This signals that Rodríguez participates in her city’s long cosmopolitan tradition asserted by Cuban writers and scholars of Cuban literature. Rodríguez’s youngest daughter, featured most prominently in the letters making up the collection’s centerpiece, “A Girl’s Story,” was named after Milena Jesenská, the recipient of Kafka’s letters.
With the poems provided in a bilingual format, the collection will be of interest both to English readers in general (this will be the first English translation of a complete Rodríguez collection not excerpted from a larger work) and to Spanish readers unable to obtain the collection in any form, given the difficulty of distributing Cuban literature outside that country.
As an introduction to the book, Dykstra has included a critical commentary. It clarifies many of the author’s references, such as details pertaining to her family history—items Dykstra learned during lengthy discussions with the author about her work—and influences about her choices in the translation. 

Available directly from the University of Alabama Press is a deluxe edition that includes a handmade, limited-edition color linocut print and letterpress-printed poem signed by both Rodríguez and artist Alejandro Sainz. To purchase a copy of this unique item, select the "Other Book" above.

Born in Cuba in 1952, Reina María Rodríguez is the author of more than thirty books of poetry and prose, including Las fotos de la Señora Loss, La detención del tiempo/Time’s Arrest (bilingual edition), Bosque negro, and Violet Island and Other Poems (bilingual anthology). She is a two-time winner of the prestigious Casa de las Américas prize for poetry, having also received multiple Julián del Casal and National Critics’ Awards. She was awarded the Italo Calvino award for her first novel. In 1999 Rodríguez was named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France. In 2013 she won Cuba’s National Literature Prize and in 2014 won the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Award. 

Kristin Dykstra translated Reina María Rodríguez’s La detención del tiempo/Time’s Arrest and co-translated Rodríguez’s Violet Island and Other Poems. She also translated two books by Omar Pérez, and her translations of complete poetry collections by Juan Carlos Flores and Angel Escobar are forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press. Dykstra was the recipient of the 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship.

Other Letters to Milena is not only interesting for its literary and historical value—what makes it compelling is that much of it is addressed to Rodriguez’s daughter. Her daughter, who shares a name with the woman who Kafka corresponds and falls in love with, thus becomes a vehicle with which to explore, often in an intimate and familiar tone, various personal, political, and literary themes.” —Rosa Alcalá, translator of Cecilia Vicuña’s El Templo and Cloud-net

“Reina María Rodríguez is, by many measures, Cuba’s foremost living poet. This collection is unique for both its formal variety (letters, poems, and short essays) and the breadth of literary sources from which it draws. It offers a thoughtful, intimate perspective on life in the confines of post-1959 Cuba but at the same time—and belying the stereotype of Cuban cultural insularity—looks to a broader world of writers, travelers and emigrants.”
—Esther Whitfield, author of Cuban Currency: The Dollar and “Special Period” Fiction and co-editor of Havana Beyond the Ruins and New Short Fiction from Cuba

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