ABOUT THIS BOOK
Alamar, the home of award-winning Cuban poet Juan Carlos Flores, is the setting for his collection, The Counterpunch and Other Horizontal Poems) / El contragolpe (y otros poemas horizontales). Constructed as a self-help community in eastern Havana, Alamar is the largest housing complex in the world. Flores’s highly structured texts, organized into “art galleries,” present prose paintings of a big place in very small form.
Flores builds a poetic landscape with repeating structures that mirror Alamar’s five-floor walkups. Exploring life and dream on the flat surfaces of the poems, he gives fleeting glimpses of perception and survival at the urban margins. As the poet ages, so ages Alamar itself. Yet both find renewal through poetry.
The eighty poems in this bilingual edition offer the first English translation of a complete Flores collection. It will also be of interest to Spanish-language readers seeking access to Cuban literature abroad. Award-winning scholar and translator Kristin Dykstra has compiled an introduction in which she presents Flores, his literary contexts, and references in his poems. Because Flores made specific requests regarding translation, fascinating notes also clarify and expound on choices Dykstra makes in the English version.
A deluxe edition with a handmade, limited-edition color linocut print, including a letterpress-printed poem signed by the author, is available directly from the University of Alabama Press.