When there are good slices left

By: Daniel Céspedes Góngora

“Poor of those who in the rispidity of existence cannot count on the handle of an old poem or an ineffable character of literature. One might wonder whether much of the spiritual poverty that sometimes slaps us does not come from people devoid of the magical arsenal of imagination and poetry.”

Mirta Yáñez

Archivos traspapelados (Ediciones Matanzas, 2018)
Translation Files (Matanzas Editions, 2018)

When finding Translational Archives (Matanzas Editions, 2018), some readers may easily accuse Mirta Yáñez’s new volume of prose. Easy prose? The one that is supposed, by mistake, provokes the incipient writing of journals, confessions, memoirs, testimonies, chronicles of the instant, remembrances, not-so-canonical autobiographies… in short, as if the notes or notes of a vital or professional experience were condemned for brevity and fullness to carelessness, to be less than literary genres.

Under I do not know what analytical procedure or malquerence towards an author, one might think that a book classified as “very personal” has little to do with or desdices from other creative stages; one might think – and this is worse – that the appearance of a book like Translational Archives responds to a need to rescue a writer who has not published for a long time.

If the above were true, the motive would be dodged. It matters the outcome of the print, but no ransom. There’s no favor either. Mirta Yáñez doesn’t ask for it. In fact, writers do not have to be legitimized by the religiosity with which they (they) publish him. The writer’s insistence is another matter. Now, its constancy exceeds the will or indifference of an editorial.

Publishers, of course, influence the construction or reaffirmation of an author. Cuban women – I can say this with knowledge of the cause – often publish to well-known writers or as a condition of having won an award. Happily, rigorous and ossed evaluation committees do diversify the catalog of our book houses.

Mirta Yáñez
Mirta Yáñez

You’d think an author has to be on the sidelines of how an editorial works. Quite the opposite. The author deserves to know whether or not his manuscript is triumphant. It is a right of both the consecrated and the novel. In this sense, there are several drawbacks that any writer in this country has to face, so he has reached the Reader’s Prize, the National Prize for Literature or a stranger.

Continuously published by almost all national publishers and notwithstanding her recognitions in narrative, poetry and essay, Mirta Yáñez knows of the processes, between misreachments and chances, of the book (and the printed) in Cuba, because “despite resources and commitments, there are not yet any beautiful books, pleasing to the eye and touch, and to the smell. And if it comes to pass on to them… or was it that we weren’t lucky enough to have in our childhood some books that seemed beautiful enough to eat it?” She is aware of the fate of other people’s work and hers. He may well have been able to publicize The Transpathy Archives for years, but the volume is coming now and we have to stick to this.

Highlights the ease of the narrated opinion. By calling “Flashes of Creation” a sum by Josefina de Diego about her father, Yáñez rates her own prose. When he asks for clarity and conciseness, he is in the business of literary criticism because he has been applying it. But it’s not enough for him. Hence at another time he says, “The critic, the researcher, the teacher, when he is real and authentically, brings his own demons.” Another issue to address is the commitment to the topics and the caution of holding them from the beginning to the end of the texts. And yet Mirta does not think of bragging about or neglecting some matter, detracting from her prominence, by virtue of the inescapable expression. She does not denies the aesthetic possibility through language; aesthetic possibility where we appreciate your review of references apart from the artificial delight or that fortuitous rejugation of the signifiers.

Notes, notes, book presentations, interviews, testimonies, anecdotes, conference, tribute speech, words of thanks… the transcribed and sometimes the tweaks, the timely appointment without abandoning the critical will consent to rigor and grace. Let us apply the Zambraniano judgment: “So Cuba for the Spanish imagination: grace and lightness, which coincides with the Cuban’s image of himself, for ‘heavy’ is the most denigrating attribute, almost crime, on Creole lips. It may be all but, heavy!…”.1 Mirta seems to be difficult as a person, but she does not fit the intellectual heaviness. “One, as a writer, conscious or not, should always be in an attitude of transgression.” His constant is not so much irony as the insinuating authenticity. “About Albertico,” for example, represents a tribute from a discredited mock. The interview with Ezekiel Vieta (“Ezekiel Vieta, the heretic”) is colossal. Dissertation on Piglia (“Piglia, perennial inclusion”) is a kind of analysis. In “From the Streets of Havana to the Streets of Philadelphia” he exalts the memory as a mediation of these texts, for “he is the drawer from which the writer furnishes his stories”.

Does this book mean for Mirta Yáñez a reserve of her peculiarities as an author? Indeed. It’s like recording archaeology and tracking itself. Convinced that the writer changes, that he can aspire and be remembered for the best of his work, he teaches that authorial bravery is also about exposing other languages from his experiences or vice versa. It is no coincidence that it is again Matanzas Editions that ampare and is already enriched with transpelled archives. Is your strategy secret? Not at all. However, she only participates in her findings who, loyal or curious, with her seeks. Ω


[1] “The Style in Cuba: Quinta San José”, in Unión magazine, No. 5 / January-March, 2004, p. 34.

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