Thaw is a book-length sequence of décimas, ten-line strophes which are the quintessential stanza in Cuban popular poetry. Although at first they appear to be simple meditations on nature, they open out into a larger reflection on human experience and emotion, and on how the three interact. In Katherine Hedeen's consummate translation, they shine as small gifts of vision or place that envelop the reader in their sensuous immediacy.
Rodríguez Núñez enjoys playing with symbols, allowing images to break out to offer intellectual puzzles and literary references. These poems dance between literal, metaphorical and physical worlds, upending any preconceptions on the part of the reader.
Thaw is a rich and unusual sequence that is at once shadowy and illuminating, tender and insistent, broad and deeply personal.
Page count: 128
Published July 2013