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The author is first and foremost a poet, and this long poem is her elegy for Haydée Santamaría. In ten sections, it expresses in poetry what the foregoing nine chapters cover in prose, pays tribute to a passionate and transgressive life, and highlights the effect the heroine’s journey had on her own. A rural woman from an immigrant family in mid twentieth century Cuba speaks to readers—male as well as female—who inhabit today’s very different world. Eras touch and morph into one another, and readers understand how yearnings that moved lives then are still with us today, how dangers and...

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