Marcelo Morales’s The World as Presence/El mundo como ser showcases a challenging, bold, and vivid new voice in Cuban literature.

Marcelo Morales is an established, prize-winning writer, yet he is younger in comparison to most of the Cuban poets known internationally, many of whom were born prior to the 1959 revolution. Morales’s poetry follows a timeline ranging from Martí to Guevara to the day of the 2014 announcement by Obama and Castro that diplomatic relations between the two nations would finally be restored.

As Cuba experiences a series of historically remarkable transitions, Morales emerges from this context to offer an incisive poetic account of this critical moment in Cuban, as well as world, history. The World as Presence/El mundo como ser is both the debut of this work in any language and the first English translation of a complete Morales collection.

Marcelo Morales is the author of the poetry collections Cinema (winner of the 1997 Pinos Nuevos Prize), El círculo mágico, and Materia (winner of the 2008 Julián del Casal Prize), among others. His novel La espiral appeared in 2006.

Kristin Dykstra, recipient of the 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, translated Reina María Rodríguez’s Other Letters to Milena/Otras cartas a Milena and Juan Carlos Flores’s The Counterpunch (and Other Horizontal Poems)/El contragolpe (y otros poemas horizontales), as well as various other books of Cuban poetry.

“Through Kristin Dykstra’s superb translation of The World as Presence/El mundo como ser, we see Marcelo Morales’s never-ending need to articulate, to question, and to be awed by what is important to him as intellectual, as citizen, as family member, and poet. While his concerns are often political, philosophical, and global, they are at the same time intricately and inseparably bound to the body and the personal life of the poet. Morales directly interrogates (in a context that does not encourage or support directness) both the Cuban past and present, and through his work we find reference to a number of important markers of Cuban history and culture. An unforgettable presence for the unforgettable tenseness of the present.”
—Daniel Borzutzky, author of The Book of Interfering Bodies and The Performance of Becoming Human

“In this book, Morales achieves an impressive and deeply engaging balance, never abandoning a passionate commitment to a philosophical (perhaps phenomenological) investigation of the nature of being and presence, an affirmation of love, and ongoing attention to his family, all the while engaging Cuban political/cultural history up to the present moment. The World as Presence/El mundo como ser is the most insightfully contemporary book of Cuban poetry that I have ever read.”
—Hank Lazer, author of The New Spirit, Poems Hidden in Plain View, and Lyric & Spirit: Selected Essays 1996-2008, and editor of What is a Poet?

162 pages / 1 B&W figure
ISBN: 978-0-8173-5884-6 Paper
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9085-3 Ebook