I am a scholar, poet, and educator based at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. My teaching and research focuses on Caribbean literature and visual culture.
Across my literature and writing courses, one thing remains constant: I challenge my students to practice a delicate balancing act between critical and creative thinking. Studying the art and craft of literature engages both analytic and imaginative modes of thought. I believe that integrating these modes is crucial in order to help students interpret the structures of representation they’ve inherited and imagine their way into a better world.
Comparative Literature (Caribbean, Latin America, and Diaspora)
Creative Writing (Poetry & Nonfiction)
Scholarly Writing & Composition
Courses & Syllabi
From the news we read to the TV shows we watch, issues of representation pervade every facet of our daily lives. Whose stories are represented, and how are these representations actively composed? In this course, we will explore the aesthetic, formal, and political dimensions of representation through literary and visual works that grapple with issues of citizenship and migration, race and identity, and language and memory. Students will compare popular accounts of these issues with personal narratives that re-present them in a new light, acting as “alternate documents” to the dominant narratives that appear in the mass media and conventional historical accounts.
In La isla en peso, Cuban poet Virgilio Piñera laments “la maldita circunstancia del agua por todas partes” (the damned circumstance of water on all sides). Taking up the relation he posits between geography and fate (in this case, a curse), this class will examine how writers and artists in the Caribbean and its diasporas have mobilized representations of the landscape and the seascape to grapple with issues of identity, colonization, and “natural” disaster from the colonial period to today.
This course introduces students to theoretical approaches that influence the study of visual culture and its intersections with literary studies. Students will investigate how writers, artists, and theorists address the complex intersections of race, sexuality, gender, class, and nationality in light of subjects such as state violence, immigration, and inter-cultural performance in the Hispanophone Americas and the Latinx U.S. The concepts of spectacle, framing, witness and testimony, and mourning and memory will all be central to our discussions. We will begin by practicing conventional ways of reading and seeing, and we will learn to challenge these as the course advances.
This course serves as an introduction to reading poetry with a focus on how writers from a variety of linguistic and national traditions engage imagery and other visual forms in their work. We will begin by developing a set of foundational tools for poetic analysis, examining “traditional” poems that play with textual arrangement and white space. From there, we will extend our line of inquiry to hybrid works in which writers incorporate photographic images into the fabric of their texts, adding visual analysis strategies to our critical toolkit. Finally, we will expand our focus to video poems and performance art that foregrounds poetic language (textual and spoken) in tandem with moving images. Weekly “critical-creative” exercises will provide opportunities to interrogate literary form through creative practice and critical reflection.
This workshop is a space for CubaOne alumni to find modes of expression for transforming their own experiences with Cuba and Cuban American identity into language. We will focus on ekphrastic writing; that is, we will conjure up our impressions of visual materials such as family photos and archival documents to compose poems and short works of fiction and nonfiction. We will read literature by Cuban and Cuban American writers, taking these works as model texts as we delve into a careful study of craft. This means that we will examine not only what these authors write about, but how they write it. The course will provide participants with a toolbox of writing strategies and experiments to help them get their ideas on the page. We will also constructively critique each other’s work, helping one another realize our individual visions for our own writing. Through reading, discussion, writing, and revision, participants will explore the possibilities of voice, take risks with language, and deepen their relationship to Cuban literature and culture.