MY MOTHER’S CUBA – by Eva Skrande
Volume 7 of the River City Poetry Series
If the author of the Bible’s “The Song of Solomon” were reborn in Cuba, reared in Florida, and had read Neruda, he might write poetry with the range and rich evocations found in Eva Skrande’s My Mother’s Cuba: “The moon is the émigré’s/dark baggage.” And if Isaiah, the prophet of exile, had lived through the 20th Century and absorbed the poets of post-World-War Europe, he might say, as Skrande does so well, “I wander, too, from Cuba to Florida, to this or that peninsula, and my right hand never forgets Jerusalem.”
—Andrew Hudgins, author of American Rendering and After the Lost War
In My Mother’s Cuba, the poet’s eye sees a world abundant, zooming in on mistrals, pomegranates, olive branches, violet bones, happy alligators, a child eating an apple in three bites. In taking stock, these images glorify the poet’s service to the miraculous, the loved, the unloved and the holy. Resurrecting the forsaken, Skrande deftly puts us in a world peaking and breathless, alternating beat after beat of beauty and imagination.
Skrande dares to transform us through the intricate. As she migrates through Cuba, the U.S., and the imagination, personal voyages become historical. Skrande establishes herself firmly as a master on the tightrope of metaphor, in love with humanity and duende. Readers will discover Skrande bravely rebuilding from ash in the lines: “begs war for mercy,” and “with bushels of hope for a tender night” or “where lilies and peonies ride bicycles to school.” By turning back to her ancestry, Skrande tugs us serenely into the everlasting, the collective, and the sublime.
Eva Skrande’s poems are fascinating for their intrinsic beauty. Abreacting from Eliot’s ideal of an impersonal poetry, most contemporary North Americans have fetishised the personal. But there are other choices beyond the insipidity of this either/or. Eva Skrande’s wonderful poems arise from a tradition which might be termed transpersonal or subpersonal.
—Bill Knott, author of Stigmata Errata Etcetera and Laugh at the End of the World
About Eva Skrande
Eva Skrande was born in Havana, Cuba, and at the age of five immigrated with her family to Miami, Florida. She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a Ph.D. from The Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. In addition to her chapbook The Gates of the Somnambulist, she has been published in The American Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, Maverick Magazine, and Ploughshares, among many others. Skrande has received fellowships from the University of Houston, the Inprint Foundation, and the Houston Arts Alliance. She has taught for Writers in the Schools, the University of Houston, and currently teaches at the High School for the Performing Arts and the University of Houston Downtown. She lives in Houston with her husband and daughter.