By RACHEL PASSAR
On the evening of Thursday April 12, the University of Mary Washington Department of Modern Foreign Languages proudly welcomed Cuban poet and scholar Milena Rodríguez Gutiérrez to present a lecture. For over an hour she captivated the audience with a sampling from her latest work, “Otra Cuba secreta: Antología de poetas cubanas del XIX y XX.”
Her lecture, “Fuera, dentro: un relato de la poesía cubana en femenino,” centered on the anthology of female Cuban poets throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
After leaving her native Cuba in 1997, Gutiérrez journeyed to Spain where she continued her studies. She went on to pursue a doctorate degree at the University of Granada in Spain, and wrote her thesis on a key Latin American female poet, Alfonsina Storni. Interestingly enough, Gutiérrez now works as an investigator and professor at the very same university.
Adding to her list of accomplishments, Gutiérrez is a published author. Not only has she written essays regarding the issue of gender in Latin American literature, but she has also published numerous poems of her own. Furthermore, she is a columnist for Granada Hoy, a Spanish newspaper.
So, what brings a seasoned professional like. Gutiérrez all the way from Spain to our small town?
This spring, she has been serving as a visiting professor at the University of Delaware. Her presence there gave our Spanish department a chance to invite her to be a guest speaker at the final cultural activity of the semester.
In her talk, Gutierrez focused on examining the works of leading female poets in Cuba.
She briefly looked at compositions by women such as Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda and Dulce María Loynaz. Toward the end, she also made a note of the influence that geography has had on these poets.
In other words, she discussed the ways in which being situated inside or outside of Cuba has, or in some cases has not, affected the work of these writers.
Although the semester is winding down and these cultural activities have come to an end, the lectures will continue for future semesters. They provide studentswith an opportunity to meet experts such as Dr. Gutiérrez and learn a great deal about interesting topics.