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Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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Key West Nights & Other Aftershocks

ISBN: 9781934695616
Binding: Paperback
Author: Carolina Hospital
Pages: 94
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 3/10/0019

Carolina Hospital’s new book of poems is a bellwether collection of a woman’s encounters with cultural fragmentation and assimilation, violence and recovery, isolation and acceptance, brutality and love. “Hospital’s latest collection is a thrilling, important contribution to poetry, as well as Cuban-American literature, and the feminist conversation. Where suffering has occurred, Hospital remembers and honors; one could even say her book is a testament to not forgetting our own painful stories, with poetry acting as a bridge between trauma and healing” (Laura Tivey review in Connotation Press, March 2019).


Carolina Hospital, in no-subconscious order, is a poet, a novelist, a professor and a lover, born in Cuba, and raised in the U.S. Eventually she earned a BA in English and a Master’s in Hispanic Literature. She has published six books, including the collection The Child of Exile: A Poetry Memoir; the novel A Little Love, under the pen name C. C. Medina; No Excuses! A Brief Survival Guide to Freshman Composition; and Chapter 6 in the collaborative New York Times bestselling novel Naked Came the Manatee. She teaches writing at Miami Dade College and lives with her husband and lover in Miami and Palm Coast, Florida. Her husband and her two daughters are also writers. They are also lovers of the surf and secluded beaches, and have traveled throughout the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States.

"Key West Nights and Other Aftershocks es un poemario que reclama, que ruboriza, que nos concede los aciertos y las proximidades, el miedo, y la luz...Key West Nights and Other Aftershocks nos invita a transmutar, a vestirnos de mar, de luz, de redencion porque 'lo que quiero darte ahora/ es turquesa ancha y fria/ olas de turqueza envueltas un luz solar...'” 

"Key West Nights and Other Aftershocks is a poetry collection that reclaims, denounces, and concedes truths and near-truths, fear and light...Key West Nights invites us to transform, to take on the form of sea, of light, of redemption because 'what I want to give you now/ is turquoise/ cool wide turquoise/ waves of turquoise wrapped in sunlight.' " —
Jose Emilio Fernandez Linden Lane Magazine, Winter issue, Vol. 37 No. 4, 2018. (excerpt and English translation)

“Snapshots, like a dream,
only I can’t make out the colors.”
~ Carolina Hospital

In the chamber of the mind exists the interplay of both clarity and obscurity; and in the art, on the page, the ongoing but typically unspoken conflict between what a person remembers, and a poet tells. Such is the nature of recall for an artist, but it need not matter for a reader, as always, it is human truth which poetry imparts. What is particularly poignant in Carolina Hospital’s newest collection, Key West Nights & Other Aftershocks, however, is that she wrestles with memory in some of her poems, and there is underlying anxiety over forgetting details of her childhood and her homeland. This struggle is understandable, for this was no ordinary childhood; Hospital, at four years old, left Cuba with her exiled parents, during a stage of development where memories are fleeting, at best. Readers feel her need to recall, to document, as this latent yet metamorphic experience so profoundly acts upon her identity, and her art. As she writes in an earlier collection, The Child of Exile (Arte Público Press, 2004), "The pain comes not from nostalgia…I write because I cannot remember at all." While a motif, memory (more accurately, its ephemeral nature) is buttressed by plenty the poet does remember, and she tells of life in her adopted home of Florida—vividly and deftly moving readers through a tropical kaleidoscope. She also highlights searing feminist themes, bravely refusing to be intimidated by the alarming details of bodily violence; in a way, she speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves, underscoring the difference between what one wants to remember, and what one needs to forget, but which must be said in the aftershock of event.” — Lauren Tivey, October 28, 2018

“Carolina Hospital’s newest work entrances the reader with a lyrical exploration of love and loss, danger and beauty, memory and oblivion. Key West Nights and Other Aftershocks is the work of a mature artist, sure of her voice, grounded in the mysteries of the tropics and its many languages. Muriel Rukeyser claimed that, w
ere a woman to tell the truth about her life, “the world would split open.” Here is evidence of that, manifesting the reverberations of such a powerful opening.” — Holly Iglesias, Sleeping Things

“Writing with candor and conviction, in this new volume of poems Carolina Hospital extends her reach and strengthens her grasp. Part recovery journal, part portrait gallery, Key West Nights takes Hospital into uncharted territory, emotionally as well as culturally. The book confirms Hospital’s place as a strong, distinctive voice in Latino poetry. “— Gustavo Pérez Firmat, The Last Exile

“Rendered with “the brushstroke of memory,” Key West and Other Aftershocks is a haunting, intimate journey through a landscape of loss and redemption. These are poems of abundance and mercy, shaped by the exile’s singular history, and guarded by the better angels of compassion and truth. It’s an elegant and impressive collection.” — Silvia Curbelo, Falling Landscape