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Dariel Suarez

"An important emerging voice in the Literature of the Americas." Brown University Latina/o Studies.

On Fidel Castro’s Death

Fidel Castro was a dictator. He got rid of the opposition, sometimes by murdering them; he imprisoned and tortured artists, political activists, gays, journalists; he persecuted and often forced into exile anyone who spoke against or criticized his regime; he kept his nation in poverty while proudly declaring how strong and free our system in Cuba was; he sold universal healthcare (people went blind in Cuba because of a lack of Vitamin A) and free education (communist indoctrination included) to the globe while providing some of lowest salaries in the world to Cuban workers (with market prices comparable to the U.S.), indirectly taxing them ridiculous rates; he refused to hold open democratic elections and did not allow for freedom of the press. He was, in short, an asshole of the highest order, and his death comes many years too late.

Sadly, this won’t bring immediate change to Cuba, though plenty of Miami Cubans will loudly celebrate it (and understandably so). What I have a hard time wrapping my head around is that so many of the people celebrating Castro’s death today actually voted for Trump (hence my very complicated relationship with Miami). Personally, I’m glad that those who suffered directly because of Castro have this moment of catharsis, if one can call it that. But looking ahead, I choose to do so with nuance, and as always, listening to the Cubans inside the island, most of whom I’m sure are also content today but unable to openly celebrate it, and aware that Fidel’s brother is the one in charge, and that asshole was still alive the last time I checked.

New Job & Writers of Color Blog Post

First, I’m happy to share the news that I’m GrubStreets new Head of Faculty and Curriculum. I’ve been teaching fiction writing at this wonderful center for over a year, during which I’ve also participated in many of their events, led free workshops, and presented at their excellent conference, The Muse & the Marketplace. I’m very excited to be a part of the staff and help GrubStreet continue their exceptional work serving our diverse community of writers in Boston and beyond!

One of the amazing initiatives at GrubStreet is the Writers of Color Group. I attended my first meeting a little while back, and wrote a blog post sharing my experiences and explaining why it’s such an important project. This meeting focused on the topic of cultural appropriation, sparked in part by Lionel Shriver’s speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Photos From My Trip to Cuba

In May of this year, Alina (my wife) and I made a 10-day trip to Cuba. It was the first time back for me after 18 years, and 12 for her. We stayed at the house where I grew up (we actually slept in what used to be my parents’ bedroom). As someone who writes about Cuba, this journey back was more than a personal reconnection with my native home, members of my family, and childhood friends. It was an opportunity to see, in real life, places that I remembered or had imagined while writing about them in my stories and novel.

Here are a few photos (from the hundreds!) we took while there.

capitolio

El Capitolio and old cars: what most tourists get to see.

cops

Cops harassing local vendors: what tourists don’t always see.

theater

Teatro Mella: the setting for the opening of my novel.

coppelia

Coppelia ice cream parlor: another setting in my novel.

vedado

View of El Vedado, el Malecon, and the U.S. embassy.

motorcycle

My best friend from my childhood took Alina and me on a ride around Havana in his Russian Jupiter motorcycle with sidecar. One of the coolest experiences we had.

kay-mani

Bumped into Ky-Mani Marley (one of Bob Marley’s sons) at a bar in Old Havana. We spoke briefly about our mutual love for the island and its people.

Old building.jpg

How so many people live just blocks away from the tourist areas.

centro-habana

Side street in Centro Habana, as viewed from El Paseo del Prado.

my-block

The sad state of the block where I grew up.

countryside

The Cuban countryside.

Food.jpg

Havana’s budding restaurant industry (tostones rellenos and enchilado de cangrejo).

moskvich

Remnants of the Soviet era. My dad used to drive one of these, assigned by his job, when I was growing up.

university

Alina and I on the famous steps at the University of Havana.

obamas-restaurant

Having a complimentary drink at the restaurant where Obama ate during his visit.

Resources for Emerging Writers

The great Matthew Salesses has put together a fairly comprehensive (and impressive!) list of resources that both aspiring and experienced writers can use.

In my classes I try to offer as much information as possible regarding submissions to literary journals and magazines, querying agents, writing conferences, residencies and colonies, etc, and I will definitely be referencing this list in the future.

Here is the direct link: http://inprinthouston.org/for-writers/resources-for-emerging-writers/

New Fiction Publication

The latest issue of The Florida Review is out, and it contains the title story of my collection, “A Kind of Solitude.” It is a story about an old Cuban peasant with a troubled past who finds himself trying to decide whether to confess to an accidental crime he has committed, or bury the evidence for good.

This story got me into Boston University’s MFA program and in many ways changed my life.

Big thanks go out to the great people at The Florida Review and to everyone who provided feedback on this pieces years ago. I’m excited to see my work in such wonderful company.

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Backbone Press Best American Poetry Blog Feature

The wonderful poet and editor Crystal Simon Smith, founder of Backbone Press, talks about the press in this interview available in the Best American Poetry Blog.

I’m really happy to have had my poetry chapbook published by Backbone and to see it mentioned–its cover shown–in this feature. Crystal is doing great work by providing a platform to publish poetry by a diverse range of authors, particularly poets of color.

As she states, “It’s important to note when I say poets of color this includes poets of all diverse backgrounds: Asian, Latino, Native American and so on. Our niche is cultural writing, not just poetry, by African American writers. We need more venues and spaces focusing on diversity.”

You should definitely support her press and check out what she has to say!

Chapbook cover

GrubStreet Podcast on Creative Writing Workshops.

Eson Kim did an amazing job putting together this podcast discussing the creative writing workshop. Highly recommended for anyone who has taken or is planning to take a creative writing class.

A lot of instructors at GrubStreet, including myself, contributed to this important and insightful discussion about what it means to be a good workshop citizen, among other relevant topics.

Back Porch Collective Reading

The Back Porch Collective is back!

Hello, Boston friends, the Back Porch Collective is doing another reading, again with some exceptional musicians, and again at the city’s coolest cafe/gallery, The Middle Gray. This time we’ll be focusing on home and place as a theme. The event is on Saturday, June 18th, at 7:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars, tell your friends, and come join us for a special night of art, food, and drinks!

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Miami Herald Poetry Chapbook Write-Up.

Sandra Castillo, a Cuban poet who lives in Miami, wrote this wonderful online post about my poetry chapbook in the Miami Herald website. I am grateful for such a generous recommendation of my work!

You can check out Sandra’s latest poetry book here: http://cavankerrypress.org/notable_scastillo_eatingmoorsandchristians.htmlMi

And In The Land of Tropical Martyrs has gone into a 2nd print run, now a beautiful, perfect bound book. Huge thanks to editor Crystal Simone Smith and BackBone Press!

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