|Notable awards||Struga Golden Wreath laureate|
She was born and raised in a district of old Havana to working-class parents, Angélica Hernández Domínguez and Felipe Morejón Noyola. Her father is of African heritage and her mother of Chinese, European and African extraction.
Nancy Morejón graduated with honours at the University of Havana, having studied Caribbean and French Literature, and she is fluent in French and English. She later taught French. She is a well-regarded translator of French and English into Spanish, particularly Caribbean writers, including Edouard Glissant, Jacques Roumain and Aimé Césaire, René Depestre. Her own poetry has been translated into English, German, French, Portuguese, Gallego, Russian, Macedonian, and others. She is as of 2013 director of Revista Union, journal of Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (the Union of Writers and Artists; UNEAC); in 2008 she was elected president of the writer's section of UNEAC.
She has produced a number of journalistic, critical, and dramatic works. One of the most notable is her book-length treatments of poet Nicolás Guillén. In 1982 she was awarded the Cuban "Premio de la crítica" (Critic's Prize) for Piedra Pulida, and in 2001 won Cuba's National Prize for Literature, awarded for the first time to a black woman. This national prize for literature was created in 1983; Nicolás Guillén was the first to receive it. She also won the Golden Wreath of the Struga poetry evenings for 2006. She has toured extensively in the United States and in other countries; her work has been translated into more than ten languages, including English, Swedish and German.
She has lectured at universities throughout the country and has served as teacher at Wellesley College and the University of Missouri-Columbia, which, in 1995, conducted a two-day symposium on her work and published the papers in a special issue of the Afro-Hispanic Review. Howard University Press at Washington D.C. published in 1999 a collection of critical essays on her work: Singular Like A Bird: The Art of Nancy Morejon, compiled and prefaced by Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Ph.D. An collection of her poems entitled Richard trajo su flauta y otros argumentos (Richard brought his flute), edited by Mario Benedetti, Visor Books, was published in Madrid during the Spring of 2005.
Themes of work
Her work explores a range of themes: the mythology of the Cuban nation, the relation of the blacks of Cuba within that nation. She often expresses an integrationist stance, in which Spanish and African cultures fuse to make a new, Cuban identity. Much of her work—and the fact that she has been successful within the Cuban regime—locates her as a supporter of Cuban nationalism and the Cuban Revolution. In addition, she also voices the situation of women within her society, expressing concern for women's experience and for racial equality within the Cuban revolution; often black women are protagonists in her poems, most notably in the widely anthologized Mujer Negra (Black Woman). Her work also treats the grievous fact of slavery as an ancestral experience. Her work treats political themes as well as intimate, familial topics. Critics have noted her playful observations about her own people, her effective use of particularly Cuban forms of humor, and her regular "indulgence" in highly lyrical, intimate, spiritual, or erotic poetry.
- Amor, ciudad atribuída, poemas. Habana: Ediciones El Puente, 1964
- Elogio de la danza. Mexico City: La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1982
- Elogio y paisaje. Habana: Ediciones Unión, 1996
- Fundación de la imagen. Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1988
- Grenada Notebook/Cuaderno de Granada. Trans. Lisa Davis. New York: Círuculo de Cultura Cubana, 1984
- Mutismos. Habana: Ediciones El Puente, 1962
- Nación y mestizaje en Nicolás Guillén. Habana: Ediciones Unión, 1982
- Octubre imprescindible. Habana: Ediciones Unión, 1982
- Paisaje célebre. Caracas: Fundarte, Alcaldía de Caracas, 1993
- Parajes de una época. Habana: Editorial Letras Caubanas, 1979
- Piedra pulida. Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1986
- Poemas. Mexico City: Universidad Autónoma de México, 1980
- Poetas del mundo Latino en Tlaxcala. Tlaxcala: Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala,1988
- Recopilación de textos sobre Nicolás Guillén, ed. Habana Casa de las Américas, 1974
- Richard trajo su flauta y otros argumentos. Habana: Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, 1967
- Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing. Trans. Kathleen Weaver. San Francisco: The Black Scholar Press, 1985
- Mirar Adentro/Looking Within: Selected Poems, 1954-2000 (bilingual edition, African American Life Series). Ed. Juanamaria Cordones-Cook. Wayne State University Press, 2002, ISBN 9780814330371
- With Eyes and Soul: Images of Cuba. Trans. Pamela Carmell and David Frye. White Pine Press, 2004, ISBN 9781893996250
- "A un muchacho," "Niña que lee en Estelí", "Soldado y yo." Toulouse: Caravelle, 1982
- Baladas para un sueño. Habana: Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, 1989
- Le Chaînon Poétique. (in French) Trans. Sandra Monet-Descombey. Champigny-sur-Marne, France: Edition L. C. J., 1994
- Cuaderno de Granada. Habana: Casa de las Américas, 1984
- Dos poemas de Nancy Morejón. Drawings and design by Rolando Estévez. Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1989
- Lengua de pájaro. With Carmen Gonce. Habana: Instituto Cubano del Libro, 1971
- Poemas de amor y de muerte. Toulouse: Caravelle, 1993
- Ours the Earth. Trans. J. R. Pereira. Mona, Jamaica: Institute of Caribbean Studies, 1990
- El río de Martín Pérez y otros poemas. Drawings and design by Rolando Estévez. Matanzas, Cuba: Ediciones Vigía, 1996
- Interview with Nancy Morejón by Kathleen Weaver, June 15, 2013, Berkeley, CA.
- Prensa Latina (May 20, 2012). "US Prize Awarded to Cuban Poet Nancy Morejon". Cuba Debate. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Looking Within / Mirar adentro: Selected Poems / Poemas escogidos. 1954-2000. Bilingual Edition. Edited and with an introduction by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook. Translations by Gabriel Abudu, David Frye, Nancy Abraham Hall, Mirta Quintanales, Heather Rosario Sievert, and Kathleen Weaver. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2003 (African American Life Series). 367 pp. ISBN 0-8143-3037-1 (hbk); ISBN 0-8143-3038-X (pb).
- This article is substantially based on "Morejón, Nancy" at the Wayback Machine (archived February 7, 2005), by Elizabeth Coonrod Martínez for the Latin American Woman Authors Encyclopedia. Last accessed February 7, 2005