Virgil Suárez

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Virgil Suárez
Born Virgilio Suárez
(1962-00-37) December 37, 1962 (age 52)
Havana, Cuba
Occupation poet, novelist
Nationality United States
Notable works Banyan, Going Under, Spared Angola
Notable awards Book Expo America/Latino Literature Hall of Fame Poetry Prize; G. MacCarthur Poetry Prize

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Virgil Suárez (born 1962, Havana, Cuba) is a poet and novelist. He is a professor of English at Florida State University.[1] He is one of the leading writers in the Cuban American community,[2] known for his novels including Latin Jazz and Going Under. He has also reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Tallahassee Democrat.[2]

Early life[edit]

He spent four years in Spain, 1970-1974.[3] He moved to the U.S. in 1974.[4] He went to high school in Los Angeles, California.[3] He received a BA from California State University, Long Beach.[3] He received an MFA from Louisiana State University (1987) while studying under Vance Bourjaily. He studied under Sir Angus Wilson and Robert Houston for a year at the University of Arizona.

Literary work and reception[edit]

Suárez's first novel, Latin Jazz was described by Newsday as "a striking debut. A well crafted and sensitive novel. An engrossing, honest book by a writer who cares deeply about preserving ties within the family unit and, by extension, within the Hispanic community and America. Suarez is marvelous." [2] His novel The Cutter was described by Publishers Weekly as a "powerful novel about one individual's response to the abuses and arbitrariness of totalitarianism [that] shows us how ordinary people can be driven to take extraordinary risks."[2] His collection of stories, Welcome to the Oasis, was described by Kirkus Reviews as "A tightly controlled but affecting exploration of fundamental tensions" in the Cuban exile/Marielita community.[5] New York Public Library named the collection as one of the top books for the Teen Age.[2]

Other praise has come from The New York Times: "Mr. Suarez writes in a cold, unornamental, Hemingwayesque style, always straight forward and cinematic" and The Village Voice "Like Oscar Hijuelos, Suarez has taken pains with his craft, orchestrating points of view and narrative time. His forte is directness of description and action." [2]

Suárez has stated that he no longer writes novels and finds writing poetry better for him. He also states that Spared Angola is the work in which he found his voice. He continues to explore the experience of exile, of living as a gypsy.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Suárez is married with children.[2]

Published works[edit]

  • 90 Miles (Selected & New Poems), U of Pittsburgh P, 2005.
  • Landscapes & Dreams (poems), Louisiana Literature P, 2003.
  • Vespers: Spirituality in America (anthology), U of Iowa P, 2003.
  • Guide to the Blue Tongue (poems), U of Illinois, 2002.
  • Banyan (poems), Louisiana State U P, 2001.
  • Palm Crows (poems), U of Arizona P, 2001.
  • American Diaspora (anthology), U of Iowa P, 2001.
  • The Cutter (reprint, novel), Ballatine/Available, 1991 and Arte Público Press, 1999.
  • In the Republic of Longing (poems), Bilingual Review Press/Arizona State U, 2000.
  • You Come Singing (poems), Tia Chucha/Northwestern UP, 1998.
  • Garabato Poems (poems), Wings, 1998.
  • Spared Angola (poems, essays, stories), Arte Publico Press, 1997.
  • Going Under (novel), Arte Público Press, 1996.
  • Havana Thursdays (novel), Arte Público Press, 1995.
  • Iguana Dreams (anthology), Harper Collins, 1993.
  • Welcome to the Oasis (stories) Arte Público Press, 1992.
  • Latin Jazz (novel) William Morrow, 1989.

Shorter pieces have been published in: Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Kenyon Review, Clackamas Literary Review, TriQuarterly, Colorado Review, The Southern Review, The Massachusetts Review, American Literary Review, The American Voice, The Caribbean Review, The North American Review, Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, Puerto del Sol, Northwest Review, Mid-American Review, Blue Mesa Review, Crazy Horse, Cimarron, Tampa Review, and in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, England, France, India, Israel, Spain, Venezuela, and New Zealand.[2]

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ FSU website
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Notre Dame Bio
  3. ^ a b c A Century of Cuban Writers in Florida: Selected Prose and Poetry, ed. Hospital and Cantera. p.168
  4. ^ Poets.org bio
  5. ^ accessed through Google Books
  6. ^ Isabel Alvarez Borland, "Writing without Masks: Virgil Suárez," in Identity, Memory, and Diaspora: Voices of Cuban-American Artist, Writers, and Philosophers, ed. Gracia, Bosch, and Alvarez Borland. p.157 (accessed via Google Books)

Critical studies in English[edit]

as of March 2008:

  1. "Virgilio Suárez (1962-)." By: Roberto G. Fernández. IN: West-Durán, Herrera-Sobek and Salgado, Latino and Latina Writers, I: Introductory Essays, Chicano and Chicana Authors; II: Cuban and Cuban American Authors, Dominican and Other Authors, Puerto Rican Authors. New York: Scribner's; 2004. pp. 747–61
  2. "Dos novelas cubanoamericanas: Dos inserciones del imaginario Cuba dentro de la realidad estadounidense." By: Humberto López Cruz, Torre de Papel, 2003 Summer-Fall; 13 (2-3): 15-23.
  3. "Virgil Suárez and Finnegans Wake (FW)." By: Tatsuo Hamada, Abiko Annual with James Joyce Finnegans Wake Studies, 2001; 21: 179-82.
  4. "Virgil Suárez's The Cutter and Going Under: Beat on the Drum or Beaten by the Humdrum?" By: William O. Deaver, Jr. Anales Literarios: Narradores, 2001; 3 (3): 110-17.
  5. "Going Under y Raining Backwards: Una lectura de enfrentamiento en el proceso de asimiliación dentro de la sociedad estadounidense." By: Humberto López Cruz, SECOLAS Annals: Journal of the Southeastern Council on Latin American Studies, 1999 Nov; 31: 85-91.
  6. "Going Under and Spared Angola: Memories from a Cuban-American Childhood: A Contrapunteo on Cultural Identity." By: Leira Annette Manso, Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingüe, 1999 Sept-Dec; 24 (3): 295-98.
  7. "Humor e hipérbole en Raining Backwards y Going Under." By: Humberto López Cruz, Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana, 1999 Autumn; 14: 163-69.
  8. "The Prodigal Son in the Structure of Raining Backwards, Crazy Love, and Latin Jazz." By: William O. Deaver, Jr.; Americas Review: A Review of Hispanic Literature and Art of the USA, 1996 Fall-Winter; 24 (3-4): 179-90.

Interviews[edit]

  1. "The Work We Leave Behind: An Interview with Virgil Suárez." By: William T. Vandegrift, Jr.; Quarterly West, 2004 Summer; 58: 68-79.
  2. "Electric Dialogue: An E-mail Conversation with Virgil Suárez." By: James Mayo, Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingüe, 2001 Jan-2002 Apr; 26 (1): 56-63.

External links[edit]

  • Ryan G. Van Cleave's Interview of Virgil Suárez (accessed March 2008)
  • Bio at Notre Dame's website (accessed March 2008)
  • Bio at Arte Público Press (same as Notre Dame bio; accessed March 2008)