Daily Video

July 25, 2008

Poet Ricardo Pau-Llosa Inspired by Cuba, Art

Miami-based Latin American art critic and poet Richardo Pau-Llosa discusses the memories of his youth in Cuba and Miami that he writes about in his poetry.

Pau-Llosa was born in Cuba but moved to the United States after communists came to power. Having grown up in Miami, he reflects on the local musicians, artists and writers that influenced him.

“When I arrived in Miami in the ’60s, and growing up here from that point on, Miami was a place where the artists were creating, where musicians were playing, where writers were writing. And I came into contact with those people,” he says.

In the first part of this video Pau-Llosa reflects on his personal history and the art that inspires and mirrors his poetry. He then shares an excerpt of his writing.

Quotes

“I’ve surrounded myself with Latin-American art and a lot of Cuban art, but from other parts of Latin America. This is — my house is an expression of my mind. Art has helped educate my way of seeing things.” – Ricardo Pau-Llosa, poet

“How does an artist take apart the visual world and reconfigure it and make it his own or her own in a work of art? That’s something that helped me a lot as a poet. My poetry, I think, is very visual as a result of that.” – Ricardo Pau-Llosa, poet

“Growing up in Miami, any tropical fruit I ate could only be a bad copy of the real fruit of Cuba. Exile meant having to consume false food and knowing it in advance.” – Ricardo Pau-Llosa, poet

Warm Up Questions

1. Where is Cuba?

2. Why are there so many Cuban exiles in the U.S.?

Discussion Questions

1. What did you like about this poem?

2. How can art influence poetry and vice versa? In what ways are the two similar?

3. In what ways does your culture or your country influence your writing?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

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