Translators’ Note

Katherine M. Hedeen and Janet McAdams

Fina García Marruz is deeply invested in a world infused with the spiritual, and her writing doesn’t easily fit into the very limited canon of Cuban poetry, particularly that translated into English, which tends to locate poets in relation to the Revolution and through conventional ideas about national and cultural identity. “To once more climb the stairway” (“Uno vuelve a subir las escaleras”) is the second in a sequence of twelve short poems, entitled Visitations (Visitaciones), from García Marruz’s collection of the same name. The sequence, and this poem in particular, exemplify an important motif in García Marruz’s work: her speaker recognizes the uncanny nature of a past that is always at hand and sees the possibility of slippage between temporalities. Yet that speaker is not fearful of what cannot be fully known and instead experiences and describes these slippages with tenderness. There is a meditative quality to the poems; their speaker is contemplative, longing to understand, thus we made choices throughout to maintain the poem’s plain style and tranquil pace.


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