, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 63-81
Date: 31 Jan 2007

Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s “Bilingual Blues” and “Turning the Times Tables”: Language Choice and Cultural Identity in Cuban–American Literature

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Abstract

Following a brief contextualization of bilingual Cuban–American literature in relation to both Latino writing and Cuban exile fiction, this article moves on to consider the meaning and placement of both the Spanish and English languages in Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s poetry collection Bilingual Blues. It then turns to a close analysis of two of the mixed language poems of this text, namely “Bilingual Blues” and “Turning the Times Tables”. These are discussed in terms of suggested cultural affiliations and identifications, as indicated in the poet’s use of not only languages but also imagery and intertextual reference. Such factors are also connected with certain theoretical debates regarding migration and identity in this article.