Legna Rodríguez Iglesias’ Poems Are Addictive

By: Serafina Vick,

I have been admiring Legna Rodríguez's poetry for the last 3 years and it was wonderful to be able to do a workshop with the PTC on 2 poems from her most recent collection, Miami Century Fox.

Miami Century Fox is a fevered collection, written from a friend’s sofa bed as a reaction to Legna’s first few months as a migrant in Miami suffering from major homesickness and romantic disillusionment. Following your heart across the Straits of Florida is no easy feat, especially when you have no idea what is waiting for you on the other side.

In the first few disorientating months of her “life experiment”, Legna sought to mirror this experience in the poetic experiment of writing an entire collection of sonnets. A long-time lover of free verse, the 51 sonnets in this collection acted as a structural girdle, neatly tucking in Legna’s dissatisfaction, anger and, perhaps, regret.

Legna’s poetry is addictive and this has to be down to the way it teases you through its multiple layers. If we look at a poem such as Welcome to Whole Food we see first a sarcastic critique of the organic supermarket, second an attack on consumerism, and third an admission of Legna’s own hunger for the organic, untampered word.

Equally in El hombre que cuidaba pingüinos suicidas en las playas abandonadas del mundo (The Man Who Looked After Suicidal Penguins on the Abandoned Beaches of the World) we’re not sure at first quite what we’re dealing with – are the penguins suicidal or the man? Or both? Is the narrator addressing the penguin-loving man when they ask “where are your friends, your family?”, or someone else? Most importantly, where else are you going to read a sonnet with the line “Don’t stroke penguins. That’s Zoophilia.”?

Legna is endlessly exciting and I can’t wait to chew over more of her work with the PTC!

Read Clare Pollard's comments on translating Legna Rodriguez Iglesias