Pedro Vergés’ ASHES (BOLERO): AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION WITH MARGARITE FERNÁNDEZ OLMOS.
Sólo Cenizas Hallarás (Bolero), published in 1982, is a classic Dominican novel by professor and diplomat Pedro Vergés, since 2016 the country’s Minister of Culture. A novel of great range and power, it follows a number of characters form different social and political strata as they face the turmoil of the period before and after the assassination of Dominican strongman Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.
HEEDING THE CHANT OF THE CARIBBEAN SEA/AU CHANT DE LA MER CARAÏBE: SELECTED POEMS BY DANIEL THALY.
Bilingual edition in progress. Translations by Mark Andrews and Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, introduction by Mark Andrews. London: Papillote Press, 2020.
Daniel Thaly (1878-1950) was a Dominican/Martinican poet now chiefly forgotten but whose verses had won him extensive fame in the early twentieth century. He commemorated the tragedy of Mont Pelée through poems whose evocation of the Antillean landscape is etched with the searing pain of the loss of so many friends when the town of St. Pierre was destroyed by the 1902 eruption. The loss of twenty-nine thousand lives within minutes of the main eruption touched Thaly profoundly, as he had been for many years a student at the Lycée St. Pierre and lost relatives, former classmates, teachers, and lifetime friends. He will return again and again to the eruption as a theme in his poetry, as a sort of leit motif that permeates all the collections. But the concreteness of Thaly’s evocations are not limited to the destruction of St. Pierre-they form the core of a profoundly autobiographical element in his poetry, through which he often constructs a version of himself as a citizen divided between Roseau and the St. Pierre that vanished under a cloud of ash while he was away.
This edition, the first to make his work available in English, seeks to reclaim a place for him among the most important writers of 20th-century Dominica.
HOW TO GATHER THE SHADOWS OF THE FLOWERS AND OTHER STORIES BY ANGELA HERNÁNDEZ NÚÑEZ.
Edition and Introduction by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo. Translations by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Submitted to the Caribbean Studies Press.
Translation into English of a collection of short stories by Dominican writer Angela Hernández Nuñez. The stories, chosen by the author, represent the best of her work.
Hernández Nuñez is the Dominican Republic’s most prominent contemporary novelist. The winner of the National Literary Prize for 2016, she is a prolific and versatile author whose novels, short stories, poems and essays have been the subject of significant critical attention. Marcio Veloz Maggiolo, one of the Dominican Republic’s most respected critics, once declared that in her short stories Hernández Núñez had reached a summit in Dominican writing; the stories, he argued, surprised as much by the maturity and assuredness of their craft as by their “halo of mystery and a fine sense of poetry,” their “murmuring vision of love and enigmas.” The stories, above all, are characterized by a thrust to unveil what lies behind the worldly, terrestrial, and commonplace, to capture what eludes comprehension, what abides beyond the frontiers of the prosaic.
Image: from the Unalterable Limitations series by Firelei Báez
WHERE THE DREAM ENDS: SHORT STORIES BY JOSÉ ALCÁNTARA ALMANZAR.
Edition and introduction by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Cecilia Graña-Rosa. Translations by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Fort Lauderdale: Caribbean Studies Press, 2018.
The stories included in the project have been selected by the author himself and include representative examples from collections dating back to the early 1970s. He considers this selection to represent his best work. The volume is part of a four-part project that includes my translation of similar collections of short stories by Dominican authors Angela Hernández Nuñez (see below) and Pedro Peix, and my translation of Pedro Vergés’s 1980 novel, Sólo cenizas hallarás: bolero. The four authors are considered to be the Dominican Republic’s best contemporary writers and the completion of the larger project would bring their work some richly deserved international attention.
LOVE FOR AN ISLAND: THE COLLECTED POEMS OF PHYLLIS SHAND ALLFREY
Edition and Introduction by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. London: Papillote Press, 2014.
Edition of the poems of Dominican writer , newspaper editor and politician Phyllis Shand Allfrey. The volume includes the four collections published during her lifetime–Contrasts, In Circles, Palm and Oak and Palm and Oak II–, all the unpublished poems founds among her papers, and a sample of the satirical poems she published in the newspaper The Star under the pseudonym of Rose-O.
Allfrey, founder of Dominica’s first political party–the Dominican Labour Party–was Minister or Labour and Social Affairs during the short-lived Federation of the West Indies. In addition to her poetry, she wrote short stories (many of them in a volume entitled It Falls Into Place) and was the author of two novels, the West Indian classic The Orchid House and the unfinished In the Cabinet.
She died in Dominica in 1986.
DISPLACEMENTS AND TRANSFORMATIONS IN CARIBBEAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE
[Essays.] Edited with Ivette Romero-Cesareo. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2008.
The geopolitical contours of the Caribbean have changed over the centuries. Amerindian chiefdoms gave way to European colonies that have been replaced by nations of various political flavors. Connections between islands and countries vary almost as much as the languages spoken in the region. As people, cultures, and ideologies have collided over the centuries, the difficulty of describing the region has become ever more complex. Displacements and Transformations in Caribbean Cultures brings together some of the top scholars working on the Caribbean in a wide range of fields. They address a variety of subjects, from the colonial slave trade to the discourse of AIDS in the twenty-first century, from Haitian art of the Botpippel to U.S. imperialist fiction of Cuba. Covering all parts of the region and most linguistic groups, the essays demonstrate that the Caribbean as a multicultural geographic area defies simple classification. Contributors include Peter Hulme, Yolanda Martínez San Miguel, Jalil Sued Badillo, Kevin Meehan, Michael Aronna, and Antonio Benítez Rojo.
“A most stimulating project that presents a critical and unique approach to Caribbean geographies. The variety and scope of the volume is intellectually challenging and refreshing to scholars, yet it is a collection that is accessible to a very wide audience.” JOSÉ F. BUSCAGLIA-SALGADO
CÁLIDOS, PÉRFIDOS FULGORES: CUENTOS DE JEAN RHYS
[Spanish translation of Jean Rhys’ Sleep It Off Lady]. Barcelona: Verdecielo Ediciones, 2006.
Includes my translations into Spanish of the following stories: “Pioneers, Oh Pioneers,” ”Goodbye Marcus, Goodbye Rose,” “The Bishop’s Feast,” “Heat,” “Fishy Waters,” “Overtures and Beginners Please,” “Before the Deluge,” “On Not Shooting Sitting Birds,” “Kikimora,” “Night Out 1925,” “The Insect World,” “Rapunzel Rapunzel,” ”Who Knows What’s Up in the Attic?,” ”Sleep It Off Lady,” ”I Used to Live Here Once,””Making Cocktails,” ”Let Them Call It Jazz,” ”I Spy a Stranger,” ”The Imperial Road,” and “Invitation to the Dance.”
LOS FANTABULOSOS VUELOS: CUENTOS DE MUJERES CARIBEÑAS
Edited with Carmen Esteves. Translations by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. Barcelona: Verdecielo Ediciones, 2005.
An anthology of short stories by Caribbean women. It includes my translations into Spanish of: “Piano Bar” by Liliane Dévieux, “Fleur rouge” by Paulette Poujol-Oriol, “Un potage de lentils” by Marie-Thérèse Colimon-Hall, “Little Cog-burt” by Phyllis Shand Allfrey, “The Day They Burned the Books” by Jean Rhys, “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, “Bright Thursdays” by Olive Senior; “Columba” by Michelle Cliff, and “Station Opéra. Six heures du soir. Pendant des mois” by Jeanne Hyvrard.
IT FALLS INTO PLACE: SHORT STORIES BY PHYLLIS SHAND ALLFREY
Selection and introduction by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert. London: Papillote Press, 2004.
It Falls into Place brings together for the first time the shorter fiction of Phyllis Shand Allfrey, whose novel The Orchid House is a classic of Caribbean literature. These tantalizing stories—set in Dominica, New York and London yet always steeped in an unmistakably West Indian identity—probe beneath the surface of colonial life, often drawing on autobiographical experience. Allfrey’s skill is to lead her characters—of different races and cultures—into unpredictable encounters where miracles can happen. The book was selected as one of the “Notable Books of 2004” by the Times Literary Supplement (London).
“The freshness and quirkiness of Allfrey’s gaze into aspects of colonial life can only delight the reader. She is a West Indian writer startled by the landscape of her imagining and in love with her characters. Allfrey the artist and Allfrey the activist merge in this memorable collection of stories.” DAVID DABYDEEN
“Her delicate touch, discerning eye and a heart wise to the human condition animate these stories. It Falls into Place will confirm Allfrey’s major contribution fo the development of West Indian literature and enchant new readers everywhere.” OLIVE SENIOR
HEALING CULTURES: ART AND RELIGION AS CURATIVE PRACTICES IN THE CARIBBEAN
[Essays]. Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos. New York: Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press, 2001.
The Spanish expression–la cultura cura (culture heals)–is an affirmation of the potential healing power of a variety of cultural practices that together constitute the ethos of a people. What happens, however, when cultures themselves are in jeopardy? What are the “antidotes” or healing modalities for an ailing culture? Healing Cultures addresses these questions from a variety of disciplines–anthropology, holistic folk traditions, literature, film, cultural and religious studies–bringing together the broad range of beliefs and the spectrum of practices that have sustained the peoples and cultures of the Caribbean. Contributors include Brian M. Du Toit, Karen McCarthy Brown, Ester Shapiro Rok, Anna Wexler, Opal Palmer Adisa, and Mayra Montero, among others.
“This blend of historical overviews, personal testimonies, and portrayals of struggles, losses and victories through the various media provide new pathways for exploring cultures and their healing systems.” THE AMERICAS
WOMEN AT SEA: TRAVEL WRITING AND THE MARGINS OF CARIBBEAN DISCOURSE
[Essays]. Edited with Ivette Romero. New York: Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press, 2001.
This collection of essays offers a contestatory discourse that embraces the forms of travelogue, autobiography, and ethnographic accounts as vehicles for women’s rewriting of “flawed” or incomplete accounts of Caribbean cultures and societies. Contributors include José Piedra, Joan Dayan, Luisa Campuzano, and Richard Frohock, among others.
“Productively disruptive, this book could be one of the most useful pebbles ever to be flung into the pool of maritime historiography.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY
“Women at Sea provides a vibrant critical analysis of competing discourses on Caribbean culture in travel writing. Essays show how social landscapes are gendered battlegrounds between nationalism and cultural colonization, patriarchy and female independence. Editors Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero skillfully weave multiple Caribbean exchanges on hybridity, gender-bending, race, autobiography and ideology in the construction of historical narratives. Without a doubt, it is a seminal work in Caribbean literary criticism.” CHOICE
THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: LITERATURE AND CULTURE
Special issue of Callaloo. Co-edited with Consuelo López Springfield. 23:3 [Summer 2000]. 333pp.
Includes my essay: “Allotropes: The Short Stories of Ángela Hernández” and my translations of “Mambrú Did Not Go to War” by Aída Cartagena Portalatín, “Allotropes” by Ángela Hernández, “Commonplaces ” by Ángela Hernández, “The Ghost of El Conde Street” by Pedro Peix, “Females and Ghosts” by Pedro Peix, “Female Intuition” by Pedro Vergés, “The Mountain holds the Treasure” by Viriato Sención, “Eva’s Obsession” by José Alcántara Almanzar, and “Temptations” by José Alcántara Almanzar.
SACRED POSSESSIONS: VODOU, SANTERÍA, OBEAH AND THE CARIBBEAN
[Essays]. Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1997; rpt. 1998, 2000.
Sacred Possessions is an unprecedented collection of thirteen comparative and interdisciplinary essays exploring the cross-cultural dynamics of African-based religious systems in the Caribbean. The contributors analyze the nature and liturgies of Vodou, Santeria, Obeah, Quimbois, and Gaga as they form one central cultural matrix in the region. They ask how these belief systems were affected by differing colonial histories and landscapes, how they affected other cultural expressions (from the oral tradition to popular art and literature), and how they have been perceived and (mis)represented by the West. The book is a unique contribution to the study of the Caribbean as a site of mutliculturalism, demonstrating the linkages between anthropology, religion, literature, and popular culture. Contributors include Joan Dayan, Anna Wexler, José Piedra, Brinda Mehta, Alan Richardson, and Miguel Barnet.
“A marvelous example of African Diaspora Studies . . . challenges our usual scholarly and everyday articulations of religion, even as it clearly articulates the possibilities and limits of Caribbean African retentions in Vodou, Santeria, and Obeah.” BARBARA CHRISTIAN
PHYLLYS SHAND ALLFREY’S THE ORCHID HOUSE
[New edition with Introduction]. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1996.
First published in 1954, The Orchid House, Phyllis Shand Allfrey’s only published novel, is a classic of Caribbean literature. In this markedly autobiographical story of the three daughters of a once-powerful but now impoverished white family, Allfrey interweaves her family’s history with the history of her home island of Dominica in the twentieth century. The novel is written in a sensuous style and the story remarkably told through the eyes of Lally, the black nurse of the three sisters. Often praised for the clearsightedness of its analysis of the Dominican historical process, The Orchid House stands at a crucial intersection of West Indian politics. It was during this period that the colonized took over from the colonizer the direction of local governments. Allfrey, a Fabian socialist and founder of Dominica’s first political party, articulates in this novel the central tenet of a political philosophy that guided a lifetime of grassroots activism: that profound changes had to take place in the power structures of Caribbean societies to bring social justice to its peoples, and that those who persevered in seeking to revive the past were doomed.
REMAKING A LOST HARMONY: CONTEMPORARY FICTION FROM THE HISPANIC CARIBBEAN
[English translations with introduction]. Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos. Fredonia, NY: White Pine Press, 1995. 250pp.
These diverse stories, all of which were written after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, reflect both the unique and colorful culture of the islands and the social changes that provided the impetus to search for the lost harmony of Caribbean and Latin American culture.”Wow! An important and timely collection of voices long known in the Caribbean…from this vital part of the hemisphere.” JULIA ALVAREZIncludes my translations of: “Corinne, Amiable Girl” by Mayra Montero, “Colonel Bum Vivant” by Rosario Ferré (translated with Rosario Ferré), “Silvia” by Verónica López Kónina, “The Marked One” by Norberto Fuentes, “The Fire” by Hilma Contreras, “Mambrú Did Not Go to War” by Aída Cartagena Portalatín, “What Do You Know, Vivian” by Luis García, “Emilio’s Visitations” by Roberto Montero, “The Blind Buffalo” by Mirta Yáñez, “Requiem for a Wreathless Corpse” by Pedro Peix, “Black Alleluia” by Luis Rafael Sánchez (translated with Margarite Fernández Olmos), “Lulu or the metamorphosis” by José Alcántara Almánzar, “Gnawing on a Rose” by Ángela Hernández, “This Noise was Different” by Olga Nolla, and “Liliane’s Sunday” By Ana Lydia Vega.
DIE FRAU IM SAND: EROTISCHE PHANTASIEN VON FRAUEN
[German translation of Pleasure in the Word by Susanne Keller]. München: Heyne, 1995.
German translation of El placer de la palabra—described below in its original Spanish edition.
CARIBBEAN WOMEN NOVELISTS: AN ANNOTATED CRITICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
With Olga Torres-Seda. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993. 427pp.
This comprehensive, annotated bibliography of works by and about Caribbean women novelists from 1950 to the present covers writings in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and their dialects. Entries on some 150 individual writers are organized alphabetically and comprise a biographical sketch, data on novels with plot synopses, a listing of other known publications in all genres, as well as annotated criticism and reviews. Included are translations, interviews, recorded materials, and broadcast literature.
“The challenge of the compilers of Caribbean Women Novelists was to produce a comprehensive and up-to-date resource on its subject, encompassing the diversity of languages and traditions, in order ‘to provide a useful tool for the comparative study of women’s literature.’ They have succeeded with this comprehensive critical bibliographic study. In large public libraries and in academic institutions, this resource will help fill an information void.” REFERENCE BOOKS BULLETIN
PLEASURE IN THE WORD: EROTIC WRITINGS BY LATIN AMERICAN WOMEN
[English translation with introduction]. Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos. Fredonia, N.Y.: White Pine Press, 1993. Paperback editions: New York: Quality Paperbacks, 1994; New York: Plume, 1995; New York: NAL/Dutton, 1996.
English translation of El placer de la palabra—described below in its original Spanish edition.Includes my translations of: “Ausencia’s Tale,” from María Luisa Mendoza’s De Ausencia; “How to Gather the Shadows of the Flowers,” short story by Angela Hernández, “The Witness,” short story by Cristina Peri Rossi, “The House of the Angel,” from Beatriz Guido’s La casa del angel, “Alirio,” from Albalucía Angel’s Estaba la pájara pinta sentada en el verde limón, “Albino Orma,” short story by Silvina Ocampo, “Ca Foscari,” poem by Cristina Peri Rossi, “I Soar on the Wings,” poem by Nemir Matos, “On This Sunday’s Painful Loneliness,” poem by Gioconda Belli, “Amora,” from Amoraby Rosamaría Roffiel, and “The Final Mist,” from María Luisa Bombal’s La última niebla.
GREEN CANE AND JUICY FLOTSAM: SHORT STORIES BY CARIBBEAN WOMEN
[English translations with introduction]. Edited with Carmen C. Esteves. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1991; rpt. 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998. 273pp.
This collection of short stories—chosen as a New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly “Notable Book” for 1991—features moving tales from the rich Caribbean oral tradition, stories that question women’s traditional roles, present women’s perspectives on the history of Caribbean slavery and colonialism, and convey the beautiful cadences of the language of Caribbean women. It offers the general reader a broad selection of the themes, styles, and techniques characteristic of contemporary women’s fiction in the Caribbean. Along with stories by well-known writers such as Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid, Michelle Cliff, Maryse Condé, and Rosario Ferré, the anthology also includes first-rate stories by lesser-known but equally talented writers. Includes my translations of “Piano Bar” by Liliane Dévieux, “Red Flower” by Paulette Poujol-Oriol, “How to Gather the Shadows of the Flowers” by Angela Hernández, “The Mane” by Hilma Contreras, “No Dust is Allowed in this House” by Olga Nolla, the anonymous “Tétiyette and the Devil,” and “A Pottage of Lentils” by Marie-Thérèse Colimon-Hall.
“Unique . . . a wonderful collection that will receive much attention.” BARBARA CHRISTIAN
“The panorama of insights and visions is vast . . . the context of women’s writings is a broadening link, connecting these writers with their contemporaries in other cultures around the world.” GREGORY RABASSA
“Provides wonderful insights into writing by women from the Caribbean.”J. MICHAEL DASH
EL PLACER DE LA PALABRA: LITERATURA ERÓTICA FEMENINA DE AMÉRICA LATINA
Edited with Margarite Fernández Olmos. Mexico: Planeta, 1991. 227pp.
This unique compilation traces the erotic thread in 20th-century Latin American women’s writing, featuring stories, poems, and fiction by 32 women writers from Central and South America. Well-known writers like Isabel Allende, Luisa Valenzuela, Rosario Castellanos, Rosario Ferré, Gioconda Belli, and Ana Lydia Vega, along with other important Latin American and Caribbean writers, are introduced to the American audience.
“An important chorus of our south of the border sisters for us Latinas to hear… Here we have much knowing and glorying from Argentina to Brazil to my own Dominican Republic — toes to waist to breasts of the hemisphere!” JULIA ALVAREZ
LUZ Y SOMBRA DE ANA ROQUÉ
[Critical edition.] Río Piedras: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico/Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1991; rpt. 1994, 1996. 197pp.
A much-reprinted critical edition of the 1903 novel by one of our suffragist leaders. The novel, which had disappeared from the Puerto Rican literary canon until this edition came out in 1991, is now recognized as a classic of feminist fiction in the island. The edition includes my critical introduction, notes, and biographical sketch of the author and a bibliography by my late and much missed collaborator Olga Torres-Seda.