Available for the first time in English, The Bridges by Fayad Jamís (1930-1988) is unanimously considered one of Cuban poetry’s most stunning and engaging books. The collection, written in Paris between 1956 and 1957, and published in Havana in 1962, offers one of the most brilliant representations of the intellectual and his position before colonialism to be found in Spanish-language poetry. Jamís constructs a subject excluded from modernity who, once aware of his subordinate condition, becomes an agent of decolonization. His main task is nothing less than a conquest of the power of representation. This poetic practice is carried out during a critical moment in modern history, shortly before the rise of national liberation movements that would bring formal political freedom to hundreds of colonies throughout the world. It is the result of an appropriation, the poet’s adaptation of the European avant-garde’s achievements to his own expressive needs. This is chiefly seen in the measured use of simultaneous images, which complements a remarkable plasticity, and coincides with the author also being a painter. In short, under The Bridges flows a poetry that is decolonizing in its content and decolonized in its form, by one of the great Cuban artists of the twentieth century.
‘One of our generation’s and one of Latin America’s most essential poets.’ —Roberto Fernández Retamar, author of Caliban and Other Essays
‘Fayad Jamís’s work preserves an affinity with what is human and a preoccupation for what is beyond intimacy; both are truly exemplary.’ —Roque Dalton, author of Small Hours of the Night