Fresno States welcomes Afro-Cuban poet Georgina Herrera

Afro-Cuban Poet Georgina Herrera reads a section from her book of poems in the Peters Auditorium, Friday, Mar. 4, 2016. Herrera was joined by Dr. Paula Sanmartin who translated the poems into English from the book, “Grito y se que me hago oir: la voz poetica de Georgina Herrera” which translates to, “I Scream and I Know I am Heard: Georgina Herrera’s Poetic Voice.” (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

Afro-Cuban poet Georgina Herrera is visiting the U.S. to share her published works to a new audience – native English speakers.

Friday Herrera was welcomed to Fresno State by the College of Arts and Humanities.

Herrera started writing when she was 9 years old, and her first poem was published when she was 16, Dr. Paula Sanmartin said. She first met Herrera as a traveling graduate student in Havana in her journey on seeking out African women writers.

Herrera explained that in the early years of writing, she didn’t realize she was writing poetry, and as a child there was little support for what she was doing.

Her writings have been published by Cubanabooks, which is a small independent press devoted to bringing first-class literature from Cuban women to a United States audience, as well as to a global English and Spanish-speaking public.

Herrera, who spoke through a translator, said she likes to write about themes that are meaningful for humanity.

“For me, writing a poem is like taking a picture. It leaves a mark, especially if you take it at the exact moment,” Herrera said.

Her writings are inspired by women of color, war, distress and love. Her writings have been translated in to numerous languages and are now distributed worldwide.   

After her introduction, Herrera read her poetry to the audience.   

She read from her latest bilingual edition of her poetry, “Always Rebellious/Cimarroneando”.

Throughout her career she has also written for television and radio, while the majority of her work is poetry.  

“I am here today because I have read her poems and she’s a wonderful figure,” said Fresno State Spanish major Nancy Gavlera.

Prabnjot Kaur, a chemistry major, said her professor suggested her to go.

“I came to this event to learn more about Cuba and Latin America and how in the pass there were struggles, and to know more,” Kaur said.

Herrera’s visit to the United States comes during a unique time in Cuban-American foreign relations, as President Barack Obama plans to visit Cuba at the end of the month, making him the first American president to visit the country in nearly 90 years.    

Some of her published works include: “África” (Ediciones Manglar y Uvero, 2006), “Gentes y cosas” (Ediciones Unión,1974), ”Granos de sol y luna” (Ediciones  Unión, 1974), “Grande es el tiempo” (Ediciones Unión,1989), ”Gustadas sensaciones” (Ediciones Unión, 1996), ”Gritos” (Torre de Papel, 2004), and ”Gatos y liebres or Libro de las conciliaciones” (Ediciones Unión, 2010). 

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