Department Welcomes Nancy Morejón

This year’s Massie Distinguished Visiting Professor, Nancy Morejón, has arrived on campus. Ms. Morejón is a prolific poet, scholar, and translator, as well as a leader in the Cuban arts community. Her poetry has been translated into several languages, and in 2001 she was the first black woman to receive Cuba’s National Prize for Literature. Much of her work centers on the role played by blacks and women in the cultural history of Cuba and in the forging of a Cuban national identity.

As the Massie Professor Ms. Morejón will give a series of seminars for our graduate students, addressing Cuban and broader Caribbean topics. In addition she’ll deliver a public lecture on “Identity, Language, and Literature in the Caribbean” on March 2 at 6 pm (reception at 5), in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge.

Elzbieta Sklodowska, Randolph Family Professor of Spanish and herself an expert on Cuba, describes Morejón’s work: “Nancy Morejón’s writings are deeply embedded in the richly syncretic heritage of Cuban culture. With her incantatory voice she traces the overarching contours of the Caribbean and the Black Atlantic while, at the same time, taking her readers on a parallel journey into the world of intimate stories of love, death, and the endurance of human spirit. Far from the baroque exuberance often associated with Caribbean and Latin American magical realism, she never fails to conjure a sense of wonder out of seemingly minimal resources. The magic of her poetry is, simply, real.”

The Massie Distinguished Visiting Professorship is funded by a generous gift from the Massie family, and it allows us to bring writers and poets from the Spanish-speaking world to our campus. Past Massie professors have included the Chilean writer Antonio Skármeta, the Mexican journalist Alma Guillermoprieto, and the Spanish author Paloma Díaz-Mas.