The Cuban Writer Nancy Morejon Censors Herself at the Paris Festival of Poetry

“I’m sad that hatred disguised as freedom of expression ended up imposing itself on art”, declared Nancy Morejón to the official communist press agency Prensa Latina. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 7 June 2023 – The Cuban poet Nancy Morejón has announced that she will not participate in any part of the Marché de la Poésie (Poetry Marketplace), which takes place from this Wednesday until next Monday in the Saint-Sulpice de Paris Square.

A note in Prensa Latina says that the organisers “censured” the “recognised poet”, although the only thing that happened was that, because of complaints from various intellectuals led by Jacobo Machover, the Festival’s presidency of honour was taken from her.

“I’m sad that hatred disguised as freedom of expression ended up imposing itself on art”, declared Nancy Morejón to the official press agency, who insist: “The idea of culture was marginalised by giving prominence to politics, after the decision by the organisers to remove Morejón from the honorary presidency due to external pressures regarding the intellectual’s commitment to the Cuban Revolution.

The poet decided not to attend – not even as an observer – any of the events that were arranged in the programme, which has guests of honour from Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica. Nevertheless, she did “share” with Prensa Latina “some aspects” that she would have tried to address in the speech she had planned to give, before being removed from the honorary presidency.

“My speech expressed the idea that poetry is a shared common ground and is a message of peace and of love”, along with a desire that “beautiful words should preach in favour of full dignity for men and women from all regions”, Morejón declared to the official Cuban agency.

One day before the inauguration of the Marketplace, the Cuban ambassador in Paris got together with the poet and other writers close to the regime.

The decision by the festival organisers had – the previous week – been attributed to the “machinery of imperialist hatred” by the island’s Minister of Culture, Alpidio Alonso.

In a press release, the organisers of Poetry Marketplace had nevertheless already given assurances that their decision was justified in the defence of “all the forms of freedom, whether in creativity, opinion or expression” that characterise the event.

Signed by Yves Boudier, president of the ’c/i/r/c/é’ association which sponsors the Marketplace, the text referenced the existence of “pressures, rumours and attempts” launched by both sides of the conflict – the cultural authorities in Cuba and Morejón’s detractors – which contributed to the reasons for the cancellation.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso


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