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The Center of the World: Writing from Cabo Verde

May 2020

Image: Hélder Paz Monteiro, (in)ver(tido) reflexo, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Image: Hélder Paz Monteiro(in)ver(tido) reflexo, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Our May 2020 issue is our very first dedicated to the literature of Cabo Verde, an archipelago nation off West Africa whose culture embodies Portuguese and African influences. The nine texts here, including our first piece from Cabo Verdean Creole, explore Cabo Verde’s simultaneous occupation of the center and the margins of the world. Manuel Brito-Semedo traces the contours of Cabo Verdean literary culture; in poetry and prose, respectively, Camões Prize winners Arménio Vieira and Germano Almeida chronicle the discovery of deeper understandings of country and self, in Lisbon and on the island of Boa Vista; Fátima Bettencourt dreams the end of the world; Dina Salústio describes one town’s desire to make a name for itself; Luís Romano spins a riches-to-rags tale; Filinto Elísio gives a nod to jazz legend Horace Silver’s Cabo Verdean origins and ponders the line between existing and not. With translations by Anna Kushner, David Shook, Eric M. B. Becker, Jeff Hessney, Jethro Soutar, and Nina Perrotta.