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About this poet

Pablo Medina was born in Havana, Cuba, and moved to New York City with his family at the age of twelve. He received a BA and an MA from Georgetown University.

Medina is the author of several poetry collections, including The Island Kingdom (2015), The Man Who Wrote on Water (Hanging Loose Press, 2011), Points of Balance/Puntos de apoyo (Four Way Books, 2005), The Floating Island (White Pine Press, 1999), and Arching into the Afterlife (Bilingual Review Press, 1991). With Carlos Ordonez, he published thephotography and poetry book Calle Habana (PhotoStroud) in 2013.

He is also the author of the memoir Exiled Memories: A Cuban Childhood (University of Texas Press, 1990) and several novels, including Cubop City Blues (Grove/Atlantic, 2012). Also known for his work in translation, Medina translated Federico García Lorca’s Poet in New York (Grove/Atlantic, 2008) with poet Mark Statman.

Medina is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, among numerous other honors and awards. Medina served on the board of directors for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs from 2002 to 2007 and as president from 2005 to 2006. He currently teaches and directs the MFA program at Emerson College. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
The Island Kingdom (2015)
The Man Who Wrote on Water (Hanging Loose Press, 2011)
Points of Balance/Puntos de apoyo (Four Way Books, 2005)
The Floating Island (White Pine Press, 1999)
Arching into the Afterlife (Bilingual Review Press, 1991)

Prose
Cubop City Blues (Grove/Atlantic, 2012)
The Cigar Roller (Grove/Atlantic, 2005)
The Return of Felix Nogara (Persea Books, 2000)
The Marks of Birth (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994)
Exiled Memories: A Cuban Childhood (University of Texas Press, 1990)

1958

translated by Eloisa Amezcua & Pablo Medina 

The sun stung like never before. The fields of Matanzas
bright red. We drank water from the irrigation stream
like a sacramental act (thirst is like that), the clouds large
                                                                                      /sheets,
the cattle grazing, the buzz of flies
                                                            /adding to the silence.
The world came to me as I named it. Everything in its place, everything
in the thick of summer, the final one, the one that gave me
the mockingbird, the lizard, the owl, and yagruma.
Erroneous order, erroneous chaos that sacks order,
erroneous the simple waking to the tyrant attitude of the sun,
fatal monster. We thought one thing and it was another,
levity. It means nothing, is nothing.
To think like an acrobat. Day light, night lacks light.
Heat, cold. Sun, stars. To feel yourself winged, flying
fish, lover of the headwaters offshore. 


1958

Ardió el sol como nunca. Campos de Matanzas
en rojo vivo. Tomamos agua del chorro de la irrigación
como un acto sacramental (tal es la sed), las nubes grandes
                                                                                      /sábanas,
el ganado pastando, el zumbido de las moscas
                                                            /incorporándose al silencio.
Se me hizo mundo al nombrarlo. Todo en su lugar, todo
en la espesura del verano, ese último, el que me dio
el sinsonte, el chipojo, el búho y la yagruma.
Erróneo el orden, erróneo el caos que destituye el orden,
erróneo el simple despertar a la actitud déspota del sol,
monstruo fulminante. Pensábamos una cosa y era otra,
levedad. Nada quiere decir, quiere ser.
Pensar como saltimbanque. Día luz, noche ausencia de luz.
Calor, frío. Cielo, astros. El sentirse alado, pez
volador, amante de las cabezadas mar afuera. 

 

Copyright © 2018 Pablo Medina and Eloisa Amezcua. This poem and translation originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2018 Pablo Medina and Eloisa Amezcua. This poem and translation originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

 

Pablo Medina

Pablo Medina

Pablo Medina is the author of The Island Kingdom (Hanging Loose Press, 2015). He teaches at Emerson College and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

by this poet

poem
Let the aroma of need
waft across the river to New Jersey:

all the snow and hills,
a sky that moves and moves.

I saw a rose in the clouds,
I saw happiness on fire.
poem

translated by Eloisa Amezcua & Pablo Medina

It smells of forest and it smells of sea.
Look how the vulture rises
on the ladder of the winds.

It smells of the woman who loved you
between sheets of abandon,

poem
for Karen Bentivenga
Sometimes in the heat of the snow
you want to cry out

for pleasure or pain like a bell.
And you wind up holding each other,

listening to the in-between 
despite the abyss at the edge of the table. 

Hell. Mulgrew Miller plays like a big 
bad spider, hands on