Handmade in Cuba is an in-depth examination of Ediciones Vigía, an artisanal press that published exquisite books crafted from everyday supplies during some of Cuba’s most dire economic periods. Vividly illustrated, this volume shows how the publishing collective responded to the nation’s changing historical and political situation from the margins of society, representing Cuban culture across the boundaries of race, age, gender, and genre.
In this volume, poets and scholars reflect on the unique artistic work of Rolando Estévez, who oversaw the creation of over 500 handmade books and magazines between 1985 and 2014. They highlight the beautiful designs and unusual materials selected, including fabric, metals, wood, feathers, and discarded items. Through diverse perspectives, including an interview with Estévez himself, the essays showcase the unlimited inventive possibilities of books as objects, as sculptural pieces, and as installations. Even in the age of digital technology, Estévez generated enormous excitement and admiration for these hand-crafted books, and this volume offers the first inside view of this important alternative publishing space.
“A masterful integration of word and image that is a feast for the senses.”—Richard Blanco, presidential inaugural poet and author of How to Love a Country
“Handmade in Cuba transmits the generosity of the Vigía project and Rolando Estévez’s spirit through its contributors’ critical desire to explore the strategies that make Vigía’s books so appealing. It dissects the unique origins of these artist books and the experience of being up close to them, putting them into the context of the long and complex intellectual history of the city where they are made, Matanzas.”—Jacqueline Loss, author of Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary
“A first-rate collection of stories, essays, and interviews that critically broach the accomplishments of Ediciones Vigía since its origins, underscoring its already prominent place in the Cuban cultural archive of the twenty-first century.”—Raúl Rubio, author of La Habana: cartografías culturales
Cubans today are at home in diasporas that stretch from Miami to Mexico City to Moscow. On the island, watching as fellow Cubans leave, the impact of departure upon departure can be wrenching. How do Cubans confront their condition as an uprooted people? The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World offers a stunning chorus of responses, gathering some of the most daring Cuban writers, artists, and thinkers to address the haunting effect of globalization on their own lives.
Jennifer Nourse begins her article, “Conservative Realists and Experimental Writers,” in American Anthropologist (June, 1997) with the following remarks about Women Writing Culture: “I hate to sound jaded, but nowadays I rarely find an anthropology book that really thrills me, keeps me reading past my bedtime, and makes my head swim with renewed passion for my discipline and its practitioners. Women Writing Culture did that for me. It reminded me how important women’s contributions have been to anthropology and how women have been and continue to be at the cutting edge of the discipline.”
After a discussion of the book’s contents, Nourse concludes: “As a whole the book is brilliantly conceived and written. It provided a liberating release from the narrative shackles and dull rhetoric which plague so many ethnographies. Rarely are anthologies as evenly written and rarely do they meet their goal. Women Writing Culture provides the prototype for a new genre of feminist anthropology. It is truly revolutionary.”
Read the introduction to Women Writing Culture.
Bridges to Cuba / Puentes a Cuba,
edited by Ruth Behar
University of Michigan Press, 1995.
Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba seeks reconciliation and a common culture and memory between Cubans on the island and Cubans of the diaspora.
This anthology of poetry, fiction, essays and drama has paved the way for more interchanges and has become a highly praised forum for the voices and visions of Cubans on the island and in the diaspora.
A 20th anniversary edition, with a new introduction by Ruth Behar, celebrating an emerging era of restored relations between Cuba and the U.S.