Nancy Morejón fearlessly takes on ethnicity, gender, history, politics, Afro-Cuban identity, and the collision of cultures in the “New World” with her poetry. This reading and meet-the-poet talk with one of the first Cuban women to celebrate blackness in poetry will be set against the backdrop of the Bronx Museum’s Wild Noise/Ruido Salvaje exhibition, a survey of Cuban artists both on the island and abroad grappling with issues of identity, community, and the urban experience.
Nancy Morejón is the most internationally successful and widely translated Cuban woman poet of the post-revolutionary period. Morejon was born and raised in a district of old Havana to working-class parents, Angélica Hernández Domínguez and Felipe Morejón Noyola. Her father is of African heritage and her mother of Chinese, European and African extraction.
She graduated with honours at the University of Havana, having studied Caribbean and French Literature, and she is fluent in French and English. She later taught French. She is a well-regarded translator of French and English into Spanish, particularly Caribbean writers, including Edouard Glissant, Jacques Roumain and Aimé Césaire, René Depestre. Her own poetry has been translated into English, German, French, Portuguese, Gallego, Russian, Macedonian, and others. She is as of 2013 director of Revista Union, journal of Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (the Union of Writers and Artists; UNEAC); in 2008 she was elected president of the writer's section of UNEAC.
Morejón was the first black woman poet in Cuban history to be given the opportunity to publish widely and to acquire a professional status as a writer, critic, and translator. Deeply influenced by the black liberation movement, freedom fighters, and intellectuals like Angela Davis in the United States, and in Cuba by the example of her literary mentor, Nicolás Guillén, Morejón was one of the first Cuban women to celebrate blackness in poetry. But like Guillén she has refused to separate black politics from the wider revolutionary process. In her view there is not a distinct African Cuban identity but a Cuban identity-which cannot be understood without taking into consideration the black cultures of the Americas.
Wild Noise/Ruido Salvaje is an exploration of contemporary Cuban art from the 1970s to the present that looks at how Cuban artists both on the island and abroad have grappled with issues of identity, community, and the urban experience. Bringing together over 60 works by more than 30 artists from the Bronx Museum collection and other U.S. institutions and private collections, the exhibition will feature many artworks that will be publicly exhibited for the first time, including a newly commissioned sculpture and performance by Humberto Díaz as the culmination of a three-month residency at the Bronx Museum.