The only time I was forbidden to write something was in grade 5 during my stint as a murder mystery writer, which my mother vetoed. “If your father knew what you were writing he’d kill you.”
So begins Cuba Journal: Language and Writing. Written as a series of journal entries, Hoogland sketches the Cuban landscape and people in colourful, provocative, and poetic strokes. Her poetic lens moves from the intimacy of swimming in the ocean to the larger cultural context of international relations. She is unflinchingly honest while observing the roles of writing and language reduced to their essentials.
Based on a cast of six main characters, and written in a narrative style, Hoogland’s latest book of poems engages the issues of writing and voice. She reworks and re-imagines the discourses of writing, language, and of being female. Their intersections are especially profound in Cuba, where texts are rare and voices are subdued.