Night Badly Written: Poems 2000-2015
Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

Translated by Katherine M. Hedeen

Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies.
ISBN: 978-0-900-57596-9
March 1, 2017

This bilingual volume collects work from seven books by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, one of the most prominent contemporary Cuban poets and critics. The poetry of Night Badly Written is that of migration, transnational consciousness, and the act of writing “from the glance of otherness.” Rodríguez Núñez’s poems prowl around the edges of the night, in search of a porousness that defies the concept of a border, since “[t]he shadow doesn’t ask for my passport.”

“The imagination of this Cuban, this true poet… stains the darkness of these times with a red squirrel guided by the light… Víctor Rodríguez Núñez doesn’t wait for the arrival of anyone because he was baptized by poetry at birth.”

— Juan Gelman

“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

“This collection by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez lets the night speak in its revolutionary strangeness, ‘withstand[ing] / the advance of clarity’ and established order. I know of no poet who gives us such vital access to ‘the crowded inner landscape’ and puts us into such intimate relationship to its numinous mysteries. This visionary poetry is fearless, fierce, and dazzling.”

— Mary Szybist


Víctor Rodríguez Núñez (Havana, 1955) is a poet, journalist, literary critic, translator, and scholar. Among his books of poetry are Cayama (1979), Con raro olor a mundo (1981), Noticiario del solo (1987), Cuarto de desahogo (1993), Los poemas de nadie y otros poemas (1994), El último a la feria (1995), Oración inconclusa (2000), Actas de medianoche I (2006), Actas de medianoche II (2007), tareas (2011), reversos (2011), deshielos (2013), desde un granero rojo (2013), despegue (2015), TASKS (co-im-press, 2016), and Night Badly Written (Action Books, 2017). Anthologies of his work have come out in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, and Spain, most recently El mundo cabe en un alejandrino (2015), and Oración inconclusa (2016). Book-length translations of his work have been published in Chinese, German, English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Macedonian, Serbian and Swedish, and a wide selection of his poems has appeared in another twelve languages. He has been invited to read his work in more than thirty countries. With Katherine M. Hedeen, he has translated poetry from Spanish into English (Juan Gelman and José Emilio Pacheco, among others) and from English into Spanish (Mark Strand and John Kinsella, among others). He co-edits the Latin American Poetry in Translation series for the British publisher Salt and is the co-director of the Mexican literary journal, La Otra. He divides his time between Gambier, Ohio, where he is currently Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College, and Havana, Cuba.


Katherine M. Hedeen is a specialist in Latin American poetry and has both extensively written on and translated contemporary authors from the region. Her book-length translations include published collections by Rodolfo Alonso, Juan Bañuelos, Juan Calzadilla, Marco Antonio Campos, Luis García Montero, Juan Gelman, Fayad Jamís, Hugo Mujica, José Emilio Pacheco, Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, and Ida Vitale. She is an associate editor of Earthwork’s Latin American Poetry in Translation Series for Salt Publishing, an acquisitions editor for Arc Publications, and a translation editor for The Kenyon Review. She is the recipient of a 2009 and a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Translation Project Grant. She resides in Ohio where she is Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College.