La carrera / The Race
by Omar Pérez
Translated by Kristin Dykstra
Linocuts by Ramón Vargas
Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Red Hydra Press, 2018. Edition of 62.
6.25 x 9"; 45 pages. Includes seventeen 2-color linocuts. Text in Scala Pro type. Letterpress printed on Mohawk 100 lb. Text. Printed in English and Spanish. Bound in cloth over boards. Designed, letterpress printed and bound by Steve Miller. Signed by the artist, the poet, and printer. Numbered. Signed bookmark designed by the artist laid in.
Steve Miller: "This project began in Havana, Cuba and spanned two years of planning and making. I knew of and had heard the words of poet Omar Pérez, and visited him in his building overlooking the Malecon. He is a poet, musician, and artist, and is reputed to be the son of Che Guevara, a major figure of the Cuban revolution. We hatched the idea of the book there. Kristin Dykstra translated the words beautifully for this bilingual first edition.
"For several years I had been watching the artist Ramón Vargas at work at the Taller Experimental de Grafíca in Habana Vieja and knew I had to work with him. I showed him Omar’s manuscript and he was immediately excited to work on the project. On the next trip I took sheets of linoleum and cutting tools to him. When I returned to Havana I was shocked that, instead of contributing four of five images to the book, he had cut seventeen 2-color linocuts, 34 plates altogether! One for each of the seventeen poems. The proofs he made were amazing. They perfectly matched Omar’s poems. He and I spoke about sequence and colors, and production began. I am very pleased with how this book turned out. It is another complex collaborative book project with Cuban authors and artists that is very fulfilling.”
Omar Pérez www.poetryfoundation.org (08/30/18): "The son of revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, poet, editor, and translator Omar Pérez was born and raised in Havana. He earned a degree in English at the University of Havana and studied Italian at the Universitá per Straniere di Siena. He has worked as a journalist for El Caimán Barbudo, and as an editor for the magazine La naranja dulce. A former member of the Cuban intellectual group Paideia, he edited the poetry magazine Mantis from 1994 to 1996. … Ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk, Pérez composes poems that engage languages, Zen, and political and cultural transcendence."
Kristin Dykstra www.kdystra.net (8.30.18): "Kristin Dykstra is a writer, literary translator, editor and scholar. She writes about people, places, and culture, with a special interest in motions and intersections amongst Americas. … She is Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Saint Michael's College in Vermont."
Ramón Vargas www.cuba.ua.edu (8.30.18): "Ramon Vargas Artiz was born August 22, 1971. He is from the village Santiago de las Vegas, located in Boyeros, Havana, and he comes from a working-class family. He studied at the Elementary School of Art in Havana and then the provincial San Alejandro School of Arts where he graduated with a specialty in engraving. He subsequently became an independent creator and has been a professor of drawing and printmaking for more than 15 years. ... He is a member of the Experimental Workshop of Graphics in Havana."