Nancy Morejón

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Nancy Morejón (born 1944 in Havana) is a poet, critic, and essayist who lives in Cuba.


  • We also need to see black characters somewhere other than in films about slavery. We badly need something more contemporary and more pertinent.
    • Interview in A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution (2007)
  • The revolution opened doors for us and allowed an enormous social mobility. Many walls that blocked communication were demolished, and taboos were cast out.
    • Interview in A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution (2007)
  • Very often people abroad see us talking about our free education as some sort of empty political slogan but in fact it is a reality and a priority.
    • Interview in A Contemporary Cuba Reader: Reinventing the Revolution (2007)
  • For my family it [the revolution] meant achieving a real, tangible position in the social and political life of Cuba, which Fidel’s bearded revolutionaries [los barbudos] made possible. Those transformations opened the doors of the university to me, something that would have been impossible, given the slender means of my parents.
    • Interview Translated from the Spanish by J. Bret Maney
  • one of its [society's] most sinister creatures: the practice of racial discrimination, a lever that always heightens racial prejudice. Both creatures make up racism.

Interview (2002)[edit]

Translated from the Spanish by Jason Weiss.

  • The purpose of any piece of writing is its existence before a reader’s eyes.
  • For me, writing a poem means enormous enjoyment that reaches its culmination when the poem appears in print.
  • The working class districts of Havana shaped my outlook
  • For my generation and for the generations that came after, Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara preside over an irreversible constellation of heroes and, for that reason, have become integrated into the most beautiful popular imagination on the planet.
  • For many years I have said, following the tradition of Nicolás Guillén, Fernando Ortiz and Alejo Carpentier, that whoever wants to understand Cuba cannot ignore its mestizo condition in which the Hispanic and African components cannot be divided because they have created a cosmovisión that is authentically original.
  • In 1959, when the revolution triumphed, I was an adolescent. I had only lived 14 years in the other society. Today, with the passage of time, we see how different it was in 1959 to have the power of reasoning. I was a person whose sensibility, intelligence, and knowledge were in formation. Various members of my family-and I myself—were the objects of many racist demonstrations. In addition, I was a witness along with them to many others. Thus, the transformations that were starting to take place were obvious, unobjectionable. Notice that I use the word transformations but not changes. I do so because I think that when I’m speaking about transformations the reader must think of a process that moves forward in a progressive way; whereas if I speak about changes, one thinks of a magic leap toward some paradise. We have made extraordinary advances in this terrain. And yet it has been neither easy, nor by way of a magic wand. The social gains in this domain respond to a long-standing, well-defined awareness that supports the full dignity of all Cubans, whatever their class or ethnic origins or their sexual or religious preferences. Racial prejudices still exist, which these 40 years of efforts have not been able to eradicate completely. This is a reality. I can tell you that, in this sense, racial prejudice is defeated but not dead.
  • My whole vision of the world, beyond the perspective of art, literature and specifically poetry, is affected by those three conditions, which cannot in any way be separated...I am not more of a black person than a woman; I am not more of a woman than a Cuban; I am not more of a black person than a Cuban. I am a brief combustion of those factors.
  • We Cuban artists have played a decisive role not only in the Cuban society of today but also in its greatest definition throughout our history. We Cuban artists have contributed to improving our values, to articulating our character, to stimulating the clearest cultural resistance, to understanding ourselves better, to creating a world where, as the poet José Martí demanded, the most important currency is the full dignity of man and woman. We have offered that contribution through our work and, in many cases, through our efforts to transform the country. Sometimes utopian, sometimes feasible, our art operates in the spirit of modernity, service and independence.
  • In Cuba we must respect all those writers who have maintained their space and their dignity beyond the question of making a hit at book fairs or in the commercial world. I respect all of them even if all of them are not to my taste or don’t make me happy.
  • My country will remain there where it is, washed by the Gulf Stream, the Caribbean Sea and by that desire to exist and remain and last with its windows open to the purest elements in human civilization without renouncing social justice. I would earnestly hope that there is a greater understanding between our cultures, in favor of civilization, against war, against terrorism, against every regressive atavism. Art is the magic that will take us by the hand along the most beautiful of paths.

Quotes about[edit]

  • Perhaps Nancy Morejón’s most precious gift to both readers and listeners is her complex portrait of empowered black women.
    • Janet J. Hampton, quoted here
  • Morejón has been recognized as one of the most celebrated and revered writers and intellectuals of the Cuban revolutionary period and one of the most important Caribbean women writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries...Her experiences and her fluency in the languages of the region have endowed her with a profound and rich voice that has helped shape our understanding of the Caribbean as a field of study.
    • Vanessa Pérez-Rosario here

External links[edit]

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