Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Poet and the Journalist

A few days ago, I came across an interesting piece, entitled "Can a Poet be More Precise than a Journalist?" Part II details a trip to Cuba by Romanian Poet Andrei Codrescu, who was accompanied by producer Art Silverman and photographer David Graham. The tropical colors of the island he found overwhelming, as did Graham's lens. It's interesting to note his thoughts on undertaking his Cuban adventure:

Having grown up in Romania, I was more alert over the unseen horrors under all of the tropical brilliance, and I had planned to not allow myself to be seduced. Consequently the sober prose in the book I wrote as a result of this trip contrasts with David's delirious photographs.

The resultant book was the mirror image of Evan's The Crime of Cuba. He needn't have worried about being seduced, however, as the nature of things became apparent from the moment his Salvadorean guide entered their hotel. Accused of being a jinetera or prostitute, she is asked to leave. As an assertive non Cuban, she first tried to explain then took umbrage. The brouhaha resulted in a pretty uncomfortable encounter for all of them with State Security- during which she was nearly accused of terrorism- until the matter was resolved by her bureau chief husband's contacts higher up the food chain.

If you can read Spanish, it's worth the time. I don't know if the poet can be more precise, but his prose makes for better reading.

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