Gustavo Pérez Firmat

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Photo: Mary Anne Pérez

Cuban-born Gustavo Pérez Firmat has taught at Duke University and at Columbia University, where he is the David Feinson Professor Emeritus of Humanities. His imaginative writing has been published in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Baltimore Review, The Birmingham Poetry Review and other journals. He has also published books of literary and cultural criticism, including Saber de ausencia, A Cuban in Mayberry, The Havana Habit, Tongue Ties and Life on the Hyphen, a study of Cuban-American culture that was awarded the Eugene M. Kayden University Press National Book Award for 1994. He is also the author of a memoir, Next Year in Cuba, as well as several poetry collections in Spanish and English, among them Sin lengua, deslenguado, Bilingual Blues and Viejo Verde.
Pérez Firmat has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Mellon Foundation. In 2004 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1995, Pérez Firmat was named Duke University Scholar/Teacher of the Year, Duke University’s highest award for undergraduate teaching. In 1997 Newsweek included him among “100 Americans to Watch for the 21st Century” and Hispanic Business Magazine selected him as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the United States. In 2004 Pérez Firmat was named one of New York’s thirty “Outstanding Latinos” by El Diario La Prensa. Pérez Firmat has been featured in the documentary CubAmerican and in the 2013 PBS series Latino Americans.


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Academia page



“Living in Parts, Dreaming of Wholeness”
Interview by Aneta Pavlenko. Psychology Today. March 22, 2016.

“For A Bilingual Writer, ‘No One True Language'”
Interview by Renee Montagne. NPR. October 17, 2011.

“An Interview with Gustavo Pérez Firmat”
Eduardo R. Del Rio. One Island, Many Voices. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2008.

“What Sounds Good Also Rings True”
Isabel Alvarez Borland, from Identity, Memory, and Diaspora: Voices of Cuban-American Artists, Writers and Philosophers. Eds. Jorge Gracia, Lynette Bosch and Isabel Alvarez Borland. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2008.

“Living on the Hyphen and Beyond”: Gustavo Pérez Firmat
H.J. Manzari, from Alma cubana: Transculturación, mestizaje, e hibridismo. Ed. Susanna Regazzoni. Frankfurt: Bervert, 2006.

“Gustavo Pérez Firmat con la lengua afuera”
Interview by Yannelys Aparicio. Revista Letral 19 (2017): 139-145.

“Un barrio de La Habana llamado Miami, un suburbio de Miami llamado La Habana”
Interview by Jorge Enrique Lage. Hypermedia Magazine. April 20, 2016.

“¿Existe una literatura cubanoamericana?
Gustavo Pérez Firmat conversa con José Prats Sariol”
Aurora Boreal, January 12, 2014

“Entre 15 y 20 (Gustavo Pérez Firmat entrevisto por Rita Martín)”
Grafoscopio, February 4, 2011.

“La lengua del prójimo”
Armando Chávez Rivera. Cuba per se. Cartas de la diáspora. Miami: Ediciones Universal, 2009.

“Ira y Eros”, hombre y nombre: Gustavo Pérez Firmat
Laura P. Alonso Gallo. Voces de América: Entrevistas a escritores americanos. Cadiz, España: Editorial Aduana Vieja, 2004.

An Interview with Gustavo Pérez Firmat
Bruce Alan Dick. A Poet’s Truth: Conversations with Latino/Latina Poets. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2003.