Photo by Kaloian
Achy Obejas is an award winning journalist, writer, translator, and much more. I am extremely fond of her poetry, which I have read numerous times. Achy seems like she is never still; always working, always creating. You can see her via Facebook navigating freely, chatting about many subjects, letting everyone know who she is without any holds barred. I admire her immensely because she is a fighter, una cubana con coraje, and a very intelligent woman.
For a long time I have been craving to have her in one of my literary events, and you know what happens when I crave something bad…but in the meantime, let me introduce you to a favorite poet of mine….
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being alone, not in the sense of time -- I love time alone -- but alone as in unloved.
What is your idea of happiness?
Being loved, writing, doing meaningful work.
Who are your favorite characters in history?
I love history but don't really have favorite characters. I have favorite moments, times I wonder what ordinary life was like and whether the people living then had a clue about the importance of their moment.
The quality you most admire in a man?
Vulnerability, a sense of humor, loyalty.
The quality you most admire in a woman?
Intelligence, a sense of humor, loyalty.
Your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
How would you like to die?
Gently, and with someone I love and loves me holding my hand.
What is your present state of mind?
A little anxious but feeling very blessed.
What is your motto?
Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Ruins (Akashic Books, 2009) and three other books of fiction. Her poetry chapbook, This is What Happened in Our Other Life (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2007), was both a critical favorite and a best-seller. She edited and translated, into English, Havana Noir (Akashic Books, 2007), a collection of crime stories by Cuban writers on and off the island. Her translation, into Spanish, of Junot Díaz’ The Brief Wondrolus Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, 2009)/ La Breve y Maravillosa Vida de Óscar Wao (Vintage/Mondadori) was a finalist for Spain’s Esther Benítez Translation Prize from the national translator’s association (a rare honor for a Latin American). Her most recent translation projects, into English, are Mexico City Noir (Akashic Books, 2010), a collection of crime stories based in the Mexican capital edited by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, and a novel, One Hundred Bottles by Ena Lucía Portela (University of Texas Press). With Megan Bayles, she was awarded a fellowship to develop a Chicago-based online anthology for young women from Columbia College’s Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women & Gender in the Arts & Media. Currently the Sor Juana Writer in Residence at Depaul University in Chicago, she is also a member of the Editorial Board of In These Times, the editorial advisory board of the Great Books Foundation, and blogger for WBEZ Radio’s Vocalo.org.
Check out her blog at http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas