midnight minutes
by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Translated by Katherine M. Hedeen

ISBN: 978-0-900575-23-5 | 257 pages | $20.00 | Release Date: April 15, 2024

“i leave it all here
not even my shadow on the page
i am a night creation
sleepless matter”

midnight minutes is Cuban poet Víctor Rodríguez Núñez’s prize-winning anti-nationalist salvo. 2000-plus lines that opt for the night as homeland, resisting all manner of borders. An exercise in freedom, here there is only flow: one long, dark breath. Defiant of accusations of irrationalism, unbound by anecdote, and highly experimental, midnight minutes signals a new path for contemporary Latin American poetry, translated with oceanic resourcefulness by his longtime collaborator, Katherine M. Hedeen.

Praise for the Author

I am grateful for this essential poem. At a time when anecdote and everyday life have taken over everything, or almost everything …a book that takes life as its destiny, as its total sum, as its enigma and mystery–as its night–is truly bold, a necessary risk, a generous gift.

— Hugo Mujica

Víctor Rodríguez Núñez is a unique poet, not comparable to anyone writing today in any language I can read … Immense is his power of inheritance, the fierceness of his autonomy, compassion and instinct to broaden the livable space. Nobody else has such a gift to encompass so many crossroads, to be at the heights Vallejo once was, but so free and singular. Nobody else can be gracious, quotidian, marvelously strange and a winner of history at the same time. With branches and roots still expanding.

— Tomaž Šalamun

Víctor Rodríguez Núñez’s poetry represents a profound renewal of poetic language. It forces us to see that poetry accounts for itself precisely because it accounts for the world.

— Raúl Zurita

About the Author

Víctor Rodríguez Núñez (Havana, 1955) is a poet, journalist, essayist, translator, and university professor. He is one of Cuba’s most outstanding and celebrated contemporary writers, with over eighty collections of his poetry published throughout the world. He has been the recipient of major awards in the Spanish-speaking region, including, in 2015, the coveted Loewe Prize and most recently the Manuel Alcántara Prize, in 2021. His selected poems have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, English, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Macedonian, Portuguese, Serbian, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese, and he has read his poetry in more than fifty countries. During the eighties he was the editor of the influential Cuban cultural journal, El Caimán Barbudo, where he published numerous articles on poetry and film. He has brought out a book of interviews with some of the most renowned poets in the Spanish language and has compiled three anthologies of poetry from his generation in Cuba. He has edited critical editions of or written literary criticism on influential Latin American poets like Julián del Casal, Dulce María Loynaz, José Coronel Urtecho, Emilio Ballagas, Cintio Vitier, and Francisco Urondo, among others. He has translated both from English into Spanish (Mark Strand, C.D. Wright, John Kinsella) and from Spanish into English ( Juan Gelman, Antonio Gamoneda, José Emilio Pacheco). He divides his time between Gambier, Ohio, where he is Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College, and Havana, Cuba. More information can be found here: www.victorrodrigueznunez.com

About the Translator

Katherine M. Hedeen is a prize-winning translator of poetry and an essayist. A specialist in Latin American poetry, she has translated some of the most respected voices from the region into English. Her latest book-length publications include prepoems in postspanish by Jorgenrique Adoum, Book of the Cold by Antonio Gamoneda, Every Beat Is Secret by Fina García Marruz, Almost Obscene by Raúl Gómez Jattin, and The Roof of the Whale Poems by Juan Calzadilla. She is the coeditor, with Welsh poet Zoë Skoulding, of the groundbreaking transatlantic translation anthology, Poetry’s Geographies. Her work has been a finalist for both the Best Translated Book Award and the National Translation Award. She is a recipient of two NEA Translation Grants in the US and a PEN Translates award in the UK. She is Managing Editor of Action Books. She resides in Ohio, where she is Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College, and Havana, Cuba. More information at: www.katherinemhedeen.com