cover of book

The White Islands / Las Islas Blancas
by Marjorie Agosín
translated by Jacqueline Nanfito
afterword Michal Held-Delaroza
Swan Isle Press, 2016
Paper: 978-0-9833220-9-2
Library of Congress Classification PQ8098.1.G6A2 2016
Dewey Decimal Classification 861.64

“I only wanted to write about them, / Narrate their fierce audacity, / Their voyages through the channels of the Mediterranean.” So begins a poetic journey through the islands of the Mediterranean that served as homes and refuge for the Sephardic Jews after the Alhambra Decree, which ordered their expulsion from Spain. Inspired by her own journey to Salonika and the Greek Islands, Rhodes, Crete, as well as the Balkans, Marjorie Agosín searches for the remnants of the Sepharad.

Presented in a beautiful bilingual Spanish-English edition, Agosín’s poems speak to a wandering life of exile on distant shores. We hear the rhythm of the waves and the Ladino-inflected voices of Sephardi women past and present: Paloma, Estrella, and Luna in the fullness of their lives, loves, dreams, and faith. An evocative and sensual voyage to communities mostly lost after the Holocaust, The White Islands offers a lighthouse of remembrance, a lyrical world recovered with language and song, lament and joy, longing and hope.

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