Because We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration: Silvia Curbelo

Letras Latinas at the University of Notre Dame is doing great things this month with a curation of poems focused on migration. Below is just one sampling.
De la serie Exilio. Olga  La Habana  1967  by Jose A. Figueroa
“Exilio: Olga, La Habana,” 1967,  José A. Figueroa

A Short History of Goodbye

by Silvia Curbelo


The grass tells nothing.

The sky sits in its simple

cage of days. No sound

like the past blowing through.


Only the wind knows what’s

at stake here, moving into

the scenery, running at the mouth.

Hush, say the daylilies


shaking their heads a bit.

Silence is its own music,

soft as dirt. No one notices

the orphan drift of clouds,


the wingtip scar of the horizon

balanced between nowhere

and this. Hush,

whisper the azaleas.


But nothing’s as wordless

as a young girl standing on the lawn

waving her handkerchief.



CURBELO author photoCURBELO Falling LandscapeSilvia Curbelo was born in Matanzas, Cuba, and emigrated to the U.S. as a child. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Falling Landscape and The Secret History of Water, both from Anhinga Press, and two chapbooks, Ambush, winner of the Main Street Rag chapbook contest, and The Geography of Leaving (Silverfish Review Press). She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, three Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Grants, and two Cintas Foundation Fellowships, all for poetry, as well as the Jessica Noble Maxwell Poetry Prize from American Poetry Review, and the James Wright Poetry Prize from Mid-American Review. Her poems have been published widely in literary journals and more than two dozen anthologies, including The Body Electric (W.W. Norton), Touching the Fire: 15 Poets of the New Latino Renaissance(Anchor/Doubleday), and the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Spanish translations of her poems are featured in the anthology Usos de la Imaginación (Editorial de la Univ. Nacional), Mar de PlataArgentina. Silvia lives in Tampa, Florida.

“Because We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration” is the first public offering of the newly formed Poetry Coalitiontwenty-two organizations dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and communities, as well as the important contributions poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. Coalition member Letras Latinas at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies has partnered with the Best American Poetry blog to present ten poems in March that engage with this year’s theme, which borrows a line from U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem, “Borderbus.” The poems in this project were curated by Francisco Aragón &  Emma Trelles.

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