Ballad of the Blood: The Poems of Maria Elena Cruz Varela

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In 1989, Cruz Varela won the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists award; two years later that organization renounced her for her manifesto rejecting the "stale ideologies" of Cuban communism. The next year she was lured outside her home and beaten, while her assailants tried to force her to eat her manifesto. Then came her imprisonment for nearly two years. A feminist whose paradox is the "ancestral solitude" of her womanhood, she would "rather plow the vineyards of rage naked" than train for the roles assigned her by men. Although self-taught and the child of peasants, Cruz has written poems that invoke the likes of Sor Juana, Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf, and Rabindranath Tagore, and in their bitter heroism invite comparisons with Anna Akhmatova, Primo Levi, and Celan. Unfortunately, the translations are unremarkable, but the poet's message and her art are worthy of consideration. Recommended for larger poetry collections.-Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880014274
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed., [Bilingual ed.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

Under the Passage of Fire 3
The Jump 5
The Circus 7
A Face in the Crowd 9
Variation of Helen 11
The Ship of the Insane 13
Eulogy to Beauty 15
Poetic Art of the First Instance 17
400 Blows 21
The Hour of the Star 23
A Prayer Against Fear 25
The Trap 27
Love Song for Difficult Times 29
Declinations 31
The Exterminating Angel 33
Prayer 35
The Wall 37
Self-Portrait with a Cut Ear 39
Prayer Book 41
Reasons for the Flood 43
Ora Pro Nobis 45
Dies Irae 47
Lament for Frida Kahlo 49
If I Could Be 51
I Could Not Be the Sea 53
Adolescent Portrait 55
Let's Cry and Be Happy 57
Away from Paradise 59
The Ones I Love Are Leaving 63
The Hour of the Lonely Ones 65
Version of Far Away 67
Memories 71
Delirium of Sor Juana for Van Gogh 73
Daughter of Eve 75
Intimacy and Fugue 77
It's Raining Outside 79
Poem without a Guitar 81
Riddle 83
Kaleidoscope 85
Ballad for the Blood without Pretext 87
A Toast 89
The Fallen Angel 91
Orphans and Accomplices 93
Legacy 95
Nocturnal 97
Declarations 99
The Angel's Farewell 103
Invocation 105
Poem for a Slinger 107
The Exhausted Angel 109
The Last Hour 111
Testament 113
A Note About the Author 117
A Note About the Translators 119
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