Finding Cuba, by Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner

Josephine Jacobsen says that she began writing poetry when she had experiences for which no adequate language existed. Only a new poem, she discovered, could reach toward the reality she had experienced. In the opening section of Jill Peláez Baumgaertner's new collection of poems, Finding Cuba, this function of poetry is inventively extended to experiences that belong not to the poet but to her Cuban ancestors. Born in the U.S., Baumgaertner seeks to find the Cuba in herself by finding language for the inner life of her forebears. Her initial knowledge of their lives is limited to a few facts, photos and anecdotes. But a poet's knowledge is mainly through the imagination, and this poet has imagination in abundance.

 

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