The Cuba Libre Project
This chapter examines the interactions of Langston Hughes and Nicolás Guillén, both with each other and with those who mediated the Cuba Libre project. In December 1948, the Ward Ritchie Press of Los Angeles released Cuba Libre: Poems by Nicolás Guillén in a limited edition of 250 copies. Cuba Libre, the first book-length edition of Guillén's poetry in English, consisted of fifty poems in translations by Hughes and Ben Frederic Carruthers. It is an important example of intercultural translational commerce between Cuba and the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. This chapter focuses on what gets lost and added in the Cuba Libre project, first by analyzing the effects of cultural homogeneity that English-language translations of African diasporic texts published in the United States have tended to create. It considers poems not only from Cuba Libre but also from the anthology Poetry of the Negro 1746–1949.
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