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Marta Aponte: The Puerto Rican writer who tells the Caribbean beyond stereotypes

By on July 7, 2022 0

Her name is not yet well known in the United States, but for many young Puerto Ricans who have started writing in the last 15 years, Marta Aponte Alsina is a reference.

Author of numerous novels and essays, Aponte has created a new way of rewriting the Caribbean beyond stereotypes and clichés — that of an excessively sexualized region and far from the intellectual — in addition to giving visibility to a literature which lives in the shadow of large Latin American markets, such as Argentina and Mexico.

“My interest in the Caribbean stems from a feeling that I have had for a long time, that of living in a sort of cage,” the author said during a panel discussion at the Barcelona Latin American Literature Festival. KM America.

Aponte, who has just published his latest novel, The happy death of William Carlos Williams (Candaya, 2022) explains that the Caribbean identity has always carried the weight of being a border region between the insular Caribbean and the mainland coast, controlled by the United States, and this is reflected in his work.

“Perhaps it is this feeling of confinement that brings me to other readings and tales about the Caribbean that I would like to write and read,” she explained.

Added to this feeling of island isolation is the cultural fragmentation caused by colonialism.

In The happy death of William Carlos Williams the Puerto Rican author evokes the life of the enigmatic Puerto Rican painter Raquel Helena Hobeb and her son, an American poet and doctor, whom the title of the novel honors.

“A lot of my novels usually start with a letter or a message from a female author whom the narrator greatly respects and follows in her footsteps and answers the call,” she explains.

In the novel, the reader accompanies her on a journey that will take her from Argentina, through Central America, through Ohio, to Rutherford, New Jersey, in the United States, where her son lived. .

Here, the author merges memories of his own life with biographical material on William Carlos Williams, known for his poetic work. “Person”, to explore themes she knows well – the ties of Puerto Rican culture to the United States, the forgotten voices of women, the domestic realm, the gaze of internal exile. But also a more subjective theme — the bond that is established between a mother and her child.

“A bond that is usually problematic in one way or another, because there is a balance of power there and there can also be an excess of affection or rejection, which marks the personality and behavior of both “, she explained in an interview after the conference. with EFE. For this reason, she argues, “it’s not as natural a relationship as it seems, at least in our society, a lot of friction can arise from that.”

Marta Aponte Alsina is one of the most notable authors of Puerto Rican literature. She published the novels Angelica furiosa (1994), El cuarto rey mago (1996), Vampires (2004), sext sueno (2007, National Novel Award from the Pen Club of Puerto Rico), The fantasy of las cosas (2009), Sober my corpse (2012) and mr green (2013). Green (2013); news books The house of the loca (2001) and Fugate (2005); and the essays “Somos islas” (2015) and “PR3 Aguirre” (2018), among many others.

She has edited numerous books and magazines, such as the anthology Puerto Rican stories published by the Fundación Biblioteca Ayacucho. In 2014, the Women and Gender Studies Program at the University of Puerto Rico awarded her the Nilita Vientós Gastón Chair. Cristina Rivera Garza included her in a selection of 12 essential Latin American authors, published in The Editor’s Weekly magazines in 2018.

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