Arts & Culture · Poetry

Cuba: A Poet’s Perspective

Alice in La Habana for WebAlice Pettway in a small restaurant in La Habana. (Credit: Adam Pettway)

As we sat around my Cuban homestay family’s table smoking cigars and eating sweetened coconut rice, our host asked what sort of writer I was. I sighed internally. Over the years, I’ve become hardened to the responses I get when I reveal I’m a poet: “Oh, there are still poets?” “Are you depressed?” “I published a poem in third grade!”

But never “How lovely! You must be very intelligent.” The whole family chimed in, bragging that there was a poet living in their town too. I basked in the company of people who talked about creativity as warmly as some people talk about sports or their kids.

I’ve always wondered what it was about Cuba that so famously fascinated Hemingway. It’s one of the reasons I visited Cuba; I thought I might find some answers. I approached the project with the eyes of a journalist, trying to see Cuba as objectively as possible. But the reality is, I’m both a journalist and a poet.

Despite my best efforts, my objectivity slowly melted over the course of two weeks of travel. I found myself deeply inspired by not just the physical Cuba, but by Cubans and their dedication to and admiration of art in all forms. READ MORE

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  • Leslie in Oregon February 6, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you for letting us see so beautifully a bit of how Cuba nurtured your creativity, Alice.