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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)

Toward the Island

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,
wrapped and beautiful, lethal as a knife.
Look how the lady with the parasol passes.

On the island, the cold moon is a mirror
of a snowfall at the end of the world,
so far from your womb,
so close to disdain.

The voice of no one follows you.
The island is a stretch of fragments:
wave, hill, song, ghost. 


Hacia la isla

Huele a bosque y huele a mar.
Mira como sube la tiñosa
por la escala de los vientos.

Huele a la mujer que te amó
entre las sábanas del desparpajo,
enclaustrada y bella, letal como navaja.
Mira como pasa la señora con sombrilla.

En la isla la luna fría es el espejo
de una nieve de fin de mundo,
tan lejos de tu vientre,
tan cerca del desdén.
La voz de nadie te persigue.
La isla es un trecho de fragmentos:
ola, monte, canto, espanto. 

 

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

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

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
poem

At least once a week
I walk into the city of bricks
where the rubies grow

and the killers await
the coming of doves and cats.

I pass by the homes of butchers
and their knives sharpened by insomnia

to the river of black sails
and the torn-up sea and the teeth of dogs.