The everyday chica in Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes' Everyday Chica is Jersey girl, disco queen, and quinceanera as well as keen cultural critic. Rodriguez Milanes came of age within and apart from two cultural traditions, and her all-too-brief collection of coming-of-age poems takes us from New Jersey to Cuba and back again, with forays into family and cultural history, in language which is exuberant, funny, and tender. --Stephanie Brown
Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes cuts away at long-time standing myths and masks of Cuban@being: the internal and external colonalismos. We read about the exiles, nostalgias, body fantasias, and all those nasty anthro--love turista inventories. Yet, there is love, prayer, a deep caress of mainland and isla and most of all, of self--'without conditions. ' Applaud this tender fire coming at you spoken and sparkling. --Juan Felipe Herrera
'The seed of exile sprouted me,' writes Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes in Everyday Chica, and her poems examine that seed and its shoots. The poems take us on a journey of generations, a 'reverse exodus' from the poet's ancestry in Cuba to growing up Cuban American, a poetic archeology which which she works to unearth 'the right language,' something worked for, earned, and jarred loose from the culture she embraces and interrogates. These are poems that address the importance of speaking the truth, but its the sinking into grief that polishes them into a starshine of papayas, sapote and 'the old neighborhood.' The seed Rodrigues Milanes explores bears 'a mighty magnet' of fruit tended by 'careful hands' that ultimately show us how we can each find a home, even amidst our various wanderings. --George Kalamaras
About the Author
Cecelia Rodriguez Milanes was born in New Jersey to Cuban parents. At age 14, she moved with her family to Miami where she earned a BA in English Creative Writing/English from the University of Miami and a Masters at Barry University. She married in Miami and then moved to upstate New York where she studied writing with Toni Morison at the State University of New York at Albany. She lives with her partner and children in Orlando where she has taught writing and literature at the University of Central Florida since 1999. Her first collection of stories, Marielitos, Balseros, and Other Exiles was published in 2009.