Carlos Martinez donates his artistic production to DSI Library

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Professor Sarah Aponte would like to thank graffiti and teaching artist Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez (FEEGZ) for personally donating exhibition programs, newspaper clippings, and flyers that document his work over the years in the U.S. and abroad. Carlos is athought-provoking artist who draws inspiration from the culture and related histories of Hip Hop, New York City, and the Caribbean. He describes his agency as an artist born out of the intersection of his own identity as a Dominican-Puerto Rican American man and the inherent tensions that exist within our systemically ingrained system of beliefs.

Last year he was awarded the Proclamation award from the city of New York for his efforts in the arts at Ydanis Rodriguez District Office in Washington Heights. Here is a link to a piece written by freelance writer and art enthusiast Roz Baron on his recognition and exhibition Displaced Vandalism NYC.

According to Uptown Arts Review, FEEGZ is very socially and politically engaged, and he seeks to create a dialogue around the issues of naming and how communities are formed by their access to knowledge about their own history as well as basic human needs like housing and education. Associations of Research Libraries (ACRL) have been spotlighting the inextricable connection between graffiti and street art as a legitimate source of academic study. Explaining this view by saying “it is being studied as a reaction to injustice and disenfranchisement, a cry for revolution, a way to create awareness of socio-political issues, an expression of hope for the future, an effort to reclaim public spaces, or an attempt to beautify the urban environment, among others.” These are themes he raises in his art; Carlos has been an outspoken advocate for this kind of inclusion.

In 2011, the issue of graffiti as an under-recognized artistic form was discussed as part of an artist talk at the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. Carlos expressed in the Manhattan Times how graffiti is an important vehicle for the youth to announce “I exist”. He shares these views with the after-school graffiti art class he teaches to students at the Children’s Arts and Science Workshop. His response raises deeper questions on how graffiti is perceived in our society and the youth whose creative expression is often judge through race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, etc. It is important to mention that graffiti emerges from a period of fiscal crisis and restructuring in New York City during the 1970s under this context we can understand racial structure that is put in place for the criminalization of youth and underestimate this art form. In terms of the “public sphere” for graffiti and street art few places remained as New York City restructured itself in the 70s and into the present. Political leaders continue to make alliances with the business community to privatize these public spaces in the service of capital accumulation.

Graffiti has always been accessible to everyone and it is important that we maintain the same accessibility to their works through preserving the documentation of graffiti artists like Carlos Martinez in our library.

For those who want to see Carlos Martinez’s work and hear him speak about his art you can visit his website .

Jhensen Ortiz

Assistant Librarian

Dominican diaspora in the U.S preserves Manuel del Cabral’s legacy

Professor Sarah Aponte would like to thank Syracuse University English Professor Silvio Torres-Saillant for donating a program from the Encuentro Manuel del Cabral [Manuel del Cabral Gathering] held in New York City in 1987 from October 9th to October 11th. The event was organized by Casa Cultural Dominicana. The three-day gathering in 1987 examined the legacy of Manuel del Cabral (1907- 1999), a Dominican poet who championed Afro-Dominican culture. The poet, who was celebrating his 80th birthday, attended the event.

This unique and important donation adds to our growing collection of material on cultural and civic activism of Dominicans in New York. We invite the public to browse our collection. The Dominican Library at CUNY/DSI has a large literature section including books by Manuel del Cabral as well as bibliographical and audiovisual material on all aspects of Afro-Dominican culture. For more information, you can visit our library during published hours or search the CUNY+ online library catalog.


At the Schomburg Center

On March 21st, 2014 Professor Torres-Saillant evoked the 1987 Manuel del Cabral Gathering during his talk on the renowned Caribbean poet at a panel discussion held at the Schomburg Center for Research in BlackCulture

CAM00206      Sarah Aponte and Silvio Torres-Saillant posing with the program from the 1987 Manuel del Cabral Gathering in NYC [Photo: Nelson Santana].

Forging a Common Path: An Anthology of Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian Poetry, Culture and Thought celebrated Manuel del Cabral’s legacy. The event brought together three main panelists: Cheryl Sterling, Assistant Professor, Director of the Black Studies Program at City College of New York (CCNY) and author of African Roots, Brazilian Rites: Cultural and National Identity in Brazil; Manuel del Cabral’s son, the painter Alejandro Cabral from Fundación Manuel del Cabral [Manuel del Cabral Foundation] and Professor Silvio Torres- Saillant author of Caribbean Poetics: Towards an Aesthetic of West Indian Literature .(Saillant is the founding Director of CUNY/DSI).

Both the recent panel discussion at the prestigious Schomburg Center in Harlem and the historic 1987 Manuel del Cabral Gathering served to highlight the efforts of the Dominican community and others to preserve the legacy of this poetic voice that spoke truth to power.  These two gatherings not only introduced a new generation to his work, but helped disseminate afro-Dominican and afro-Caribbean cultural production.

Besides these literary gatherings and discussion panels, writers of Dominican descent in the U.S disseminate Manuel del Cabral’s poetry via English translation. One of these is Rhina P. Espaillat, a poet and translator who has rendered into English two of his poems:

[Manuel del Cabral poems translated by Rhina P. Espaillat].

Manuel_del_CabralManuel del Cabral [Photo:Wikipedia]

Forging a common path

Manuel del Cabral did not work in isolation. Indeed, by the 1940s his work shared commonalities with other like-minded writers, members of an intercontinental literary current in Latin-America and the U.S that drew attention to popular culture and in particular, cultural expressions by people of African descent.

He formed part of a “quartet of poetic creators” in the Caribbean, according to the organizers of the 1987 Manuel del Cabral literary gathering. These were the Puerto Rican poet Luis Palés Matos (1898-1959), a pioneering writer within the afro-Antillean poetry movement in the Americas; the Martinican surrealist poet, theorist of the negritude movement, anti-colonialist activist and cultural networker Aimé Césaire (1913-2008); the Cuban poet, political activist and journalist Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989) as well as the Dominican poet, novelist and political activist Manuel del Cabral. While these were not the first writers to explore African motifs in the Caribbean, these poets innovated upon the rich, oral tradition of afro-Caribbean culture.

Sources of dissent and hope

Manuel del Cabral drew upon several sources that shaped his rebellious artistic spirit as a poet and as a human being. Among these were the oral histories of slave rebellions in his native country; the international impact of emancipatory struggles  such as the Haitian revolution and the 1863 independence war against the Spanish Empire fought by people of African descent; the anti-colonialist struggle in Africa and elsewhere; the subhuman working conditions of both West Indian and Haitian workers in the sugar cane industry; the oppressive first U.S occupation (1916-1924) and the subsequent Trujillo regime which used racism to create divisions among native and foreign workers; and the elite’s prevalent racism throughout the history of the country. (His open disdain for the elite explains in part why his work was ignored for a long time by traditional critics and writers).

But not all of Manuel del Cabral’s poems have an explicitly political bent. His poems also celebrate life. Eroticism, romance and love are some of the themes found in his poems. He even wrote a beautiful book of poems celebrating horses and their beauty. He was a poeta bullanguero:  equally at ease in the barrio and in the brothel. He was urban at heart. A poet of the city: beautiful, ugly and decadent. His work reflected the power relations of urban life. Perhaps this explains the disdain toward his writings by traditional critics. At the same time, it is refreshing to know that Dominican immigrants in the U.S are ahead of the game.

Amaury Rodriguez, Guest contributor








Dr. Lissette Acosta-Corniel donates her doctoral dissertation

Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte would like to thank Dr. Lissette Acosta-Corniel for donating her doctoral dissertation Towards A theory about Spanish Women in Sixteenth Century Hispaniola to our library.As an esteemed colleague CUNY Dominican Studies Institute staff is extremely proud of her work and her journey as a promising young scholar. 


Acosta-Corniel, Lisette. Towards A theory about Spanish Women in Sixteenth Century Hispaniola. Diss. University at Albany, State University of New York, 2013. Ann Arbor: UMI, 2013. Print

    This dissertation is an inventive study about the Spanish women of Hispaniola, the first European settlement of the Americas. She analyzes the lives of Spanish women in sixteenth century Hispaniola who otherwise never have been accurately identified and in the process have been omitted from history. Furthermore, the dissertation provides a research guide about Spanish women in sixteenth century Hispaniola through informative case studies and vignettes of the lives of these women. This dissertation argues the participatory role of Spanish women in the development of a society under patriarchal control and illuminates the ways the theories of micro and macro development, women as a colony, injuries speech, discourse analysis, among many other topics that give a comprehensive stance within the confined spaces that Spanish women were made to live.
   Part of the methodological approach she used to analyze the topic was primary documents in books, microfiche, and secondary sources. Her research took her to visit Archives and Libraries in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Spain. The pursuit to find information about the Spanish women who came to the New World is certainly stimulating and pioneering. This dissertation can be of interest to students, researchers, historians and as well as the general public interested in historiography of Spanish colonialism, Spanish women of colonial Latin America, and colonial period in Dominican Republic or Hispaniola. 

    Dr. Lissette Acosta-Corniel also took part in developing the online Spanish Paleography Tool Project at CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (Click here to see the project).She also appears in a video on YouTube talking about the paleography tool (Click here to see the video) explaining how extremely significant it was for her while she was working on her PhD dissertation. 

Jhensen Ortiz

Latin American Visuals Online Repository at American University

A short time ago, researcher and American University graduate student Maribel Vásquez visited the CUNY Dominican Studies Archives and Library; she shared with us the recently launched Latin American Visuals Online Repository an exceptional resource featuring materials gathered by Latin Americanist scholars from multiple institutions for use by students and scholars alike. According to its web site, by combining these materials on one web site, individuals will be able to experience the rich culture, heritage, and natural beauty of Latin America and Antarctica. The online repository was made public in June of 2013 and it contains images of the Dominican Republic through the collection of images collected by Jack Child, alumnus and former faculty member at American University. The photographs reflect his two years in the Dominican Republic in 1975 and 1978 correspondingly. This online repository is still being updated with more photographs of Jack Child’s travels throughout Latin America and Antarctica and new content is continuously being added. A major motivation in setting up and populating this digital repository has been to have other institutions and Latin American scholars contribute to the Latin American Visual web site.

You can contribute here:

This video library and web site is recommended viewing to students, researchers, anthropologists, folklorists, photographers, artists as well as the general public. Some of the key themes areas are: The Caribbean region, Latin America, Antarctica, agricultural landscapes, urban scenery, social movements, and daily customs in different Latin American countries.

Jhensen Ortiz

Frank Taveras YouTube Channel an emphasis on Dominican life and folklore.

Frank Taveras YouTube Channel is the work of Frank Taveras who on his own time records and uploads videos to his YouTube channel on the music, folklore, and life of Dominicans.This is an important online resource because there are very few channels like this one dedicated to the historical and cultural legacy of Dominicans. Frank captures in his videos the experiences of blackness through musical traditions like Sarandunga, Palos, Gaga, Perico Ripiao, and many more. His passion for documenting all parts of the culture is necessary and essential to educate others on the significance of Dominicans most early and authentic forms of Dominican popular culture. The channel draws a variety of visitors and it is appreciated by the majority who come across his channel. The collection is comprised of more than 72 edited videos. This channel shares the same motivation to expand and build the preservation of the historical and cultural legacy of Afro Dominican traditions in the Caribbean as Videoteca Chango Prieto [Chango Prieto Video Library].This amazing online resource reflects on the collective legacy of African arts, customs and social life in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region. 

This channel is recommended viewing to students, researchers, anthropologists, folklorists, musicians, artists as well as the general public. Some of the things you will find are: interviews, Afro-Caribbean music, carnival celebrations, funerary rites, syncretic religion systems, Dominican dance traditions.

Jhensen Ortiz

Photographs capture the Japanese migrant’s presence in the Dominican Republic

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Recently, Prof. Mika Miyoshi of the University of Tokyo shared with us an interesting database with photographs of Japanese migrant’s in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic.The database was created by Japanese Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama, Japan. The museum displays the history of Japanese emigration and the current status of immigrants and Japanese descendants living abroad. The database is divided into five periods and shown using chronological tables, literatures, photographs, and movies.In the database the photographs are organized in the digital migration space.The photographs are from the late 1950s and probably a good portion was taken in the early years of Japanese arrival and settlement in the Dominican Republic.The initial Japanese migrants that came were settled in Constanza, a town in La Vega, Dominican Republic. Many of their descendants still live in that town, but the Japanese settlement never grew to a very large scale. This online resource also reflects on the agricultural contributions and hardships of Japanese migrants in countries where they help bolster the area’s economy.

Click here to see the database: 

Click here for the museum website:

This online database and web site is recommended to students, researchers, and historians as well as the general public. Some of the key research areas are: Japanese diaspora in Latin America, Race and identity in the Dominican Republic, migration to the Dominican Republic, cultural differentiation in the Caribbean, agricultural production, and Japan-Dominican Republic Relations.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern

Caribbean Poetics: significant contribution to the study of Caribbean literature

Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte would like to thank Prof. Silvio Torres-Saillant for donating the second edition of his book Caribbean Poetics: Towards an Aesthetic of West Indian Literature to our library. As founding Director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, Prof. Torres-Saillant was instrumental in the creation and development of the Dominican Library at City College.

Below please find a brief description of this new edition:


Saillant-Torres, Silvio. Caribbean Poetics: Towards an Aesthetic of West Indian Literature. 2nd ed. Leeds, England: Peepal Tree Press, 2013. Print.

This book is the outcome of Torres-Saillant's dissertation published almost fifteen years ago by Cambridge University Press (1997). Caribbean Poetics is published again for a new generation of Caribbean literary scholars and readers. The main premise of this text is that Caribbean literature has its autonomy in the world of literature within its given historical experience and cultural region. Torres-Saillant demonstrates this regional unification and lucid socio-aesthetic literature through the works of some of its key and most influential figures: Pedro Mir (1913-2000) from the Dominican Republic, Kamau Brathwaite (1930) from Barbados, and René Depestre (1926) from Haiti. Poets and scholars who sought to interpret best Caribbean society and its place in the world. Among some of the political events that influenced their work were the anti-colonialist struggles in Africa and the Caribbean as well as revolutionary politics and the Cold War. They shared some commonalities as well. For example, Pedro Mir and René Despestre were political exiled who both lived in Cuba for a while.The role of gender in Caribbean literature puts Torres-Saillant's inquisitive mind to work. Evidently, women are not exempted from their male counterparts, and he notes their contributions to the production of Caribbean literature providing an in-depth understanding of the distinctive themes and paradigms that women discuss in their texts. The literary works of Caribbean women communicate themes like the legacy of patriarchal structures and the social conditions of women associated with marginalization. Saillant argues how underrepresented Caribbean women writers were in the general context of world literature, and his work seeks to alter the marginalization of those artistic writers from the region.

This 2nd edition of Caribbean Poetics retains the political and theoretical drive of the original edition published in 1997. Saillant expressed that altering what he wrote would result in writing a completely different book and for it to be an accurate 2nd edition it could not undermine the vision and enthusiasm of the younger scholar who conceived and executed it. He does mention trends in Caribbean literature that emerged since 1997 in the afterword. He goes into facets of how the diaspora ascendancy in the Caribbean literary canon became a factor in the Caribbean experience and continued to shape the relationship of the Caribbean people. An intriguing fact about this edition is his revision of language; he removes the words "islands" and "archipelago" because the essential characteristics of languages, populations, and large chunks of the human experience of the region are excluded.

This book is highly recommended to students, researchers, professors, and anyone who is interested in a comprehensive and multicultural approach to the study of Caribbean poetry, aesthetics, colonialism, Caribbean societies. Readers are strongly encouraged to consult the bibliography it contains.

Jhensen Ortiz
Library Intern

Una de las nuestras dona su segunda colección de poesía Viandante en Nueva York a la biblioteca dominicana

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece a Osiris Mosquea por su donación y felicita su trabajo como poeta y activista en la ciudad de Nueva York. Actualmente Osiris está trabajando como asistente a la biblioteca dominicana.

Mosquea, Osiris. Viandante en Nueva York. New York, N.Y.: Artepoética Press, 2013. Print.

Este libro es un reflejo de la vida cotidiana y los matices culturales de la diáspora dominicana en la ciudad de Nueva York. Mosquea muestra con vívidos detalles los aspectos esenciales del trabajo, el hogar y la comunidad que ella ha llegado experimentar. Su voz te lleva en un viaje, no como un viajero, sino un residente a través de la ciudad de Nueva York desde una perspectiva profunda, personal y emblemática. Su imaginación es el vehículo que une a la multitud de sentimientos que se expresan acerca de la ciudad de Nueva York.

Este libro es un recurso para estudiantes, investigadores y la comunidad interesada en la poesía y la experiencia de la diáspora dominicana en la ciudad de Nueva York desde el punto de vista literario.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern

Visita desde la Universidad de Puerto Rico del Profesor García Cuevas

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece al  Profesor Eugenio García Cuevas por donar varios de sus libros a nuestra biblioteca y por su grata visita. La donación constituye siete obras: La palabra sin territorio (hablar en la posguerra fría) (Alfaguara, 2004), Poesía moderna dominicana del siglo xx y los contextos internacionales (estudio sobre La Poesía Sorprendida) (Editora Nacional, 2011), Sujetos y predicados: el hijo de la mujer y diez cuentos más (Ediciones Ultimo Atrópodos, 2012), Descendientes del sonido (Isla Negra Editores, 2007), A quemarropa (nacionalismo, intelectuales, ética y academia) (Publicaciones Puertorriqueñas Editores, 2005), Lengua en tiempo saberes buenos, malos y feos (Isla Negra, 2006). Además del libro objeto de Pastor  de Moya La piarra (Ediciones Atrópodos, 2011).

Book Cuevas (2)
A continuación le hacemos una breve reseña a dos de sus publicaciones:

Poeseia moderna002

García Cuevas, Eugenio. La palabra sin territorio (hablar en la posguerra fría). Guaynabo, Puerto Rico: Alfaguara, 2004. Print.

Este volumen analiza los discursos y pensamientos del mundo de la Posguerra fría. El autor explica que desde  el año 1991, vivimos tiempos en que las líneas epistemológicas e ideológicas no están tan claras. El material que el autor nos presenta contiene  una amplia variedad de temas tal como la ética, la educación, las identidades, el feminismo, la globalización, el neoliberalismo, la posmodernidad y la historiografía. También contiene diálogos-entrevistas con varios escritores como Fernando Savater, Carlos Fuentes, José Saramgo, Octavio Ianni y Pedro Antonio Valdez, entre otros más.

Este libro es  un recurso para estudiantes, investigadores, y nuestros usuarios interesados  no solo en la crítica literaria si no en diversas problemáticas de nuestro tiempo.

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García Cuevas, Eugenio.  Poesía moderna dominicana del siglo XX y los contextos internacionales (Estudio sobre La Poesía Sorprendida). Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Ministerio de Cultura Editora Nacional, 2011. Print.

Poesía moderna dominicana del siglo XX trata sobre el origen y desarrollo de la estética y poética de La Poesía Sorprendida en el contexto local e internacional. La Poesía Sorprendida es un movimiento literario que abarca una colectiva de diez poetas dominicanos y la revista donde éstos publicaban sus textos entre octubre de 1943 hasta mayo de 1947. El autor argumenta que la obra de estos poetas como tanto la revista no han sido estudiados en profundidad por la crítica dominicana y de América Latina durante las últimas cinco décadas. Afirma que lo que se ha hecho, sobre todo hasta este punto, es  construir los cánones poéticos territoriales y extraterritoriales en sus conexiones con la tradición de la poesía occidental.

Con esta donación el Prof. García Cuevas mejora la capacidad de la biblioteca para servir mejor a los estudiantes, investigadores y la comunidad.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern


Nuevo Libro Le Conflit haïtiano-dominicain dans la littéerature caribéenne/ El conflicto domínico-haitiano en la literatura caribeña

La Profesora Sarah Aponte agradece a la Dra. Elisa Loraine Lister por donar su nuevo libro a nuestra biblioteca.

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Lister, Elissa L. Le conflit haïtiano-dominicain dans la littérature caribéenne/ El conflicto domínico-haitiano en la literatura caribeña. Rue Riguad Pétion-ville, Haïti: C3 Editions, 2013.

Este libro de la Dra. Lister reflexiona sobre el conflicto histórico entre dominicanos y haitianos dentro la literatura del Caribe. Esta versión bilingüe, es parte de una serie de libros bajo el sello C3 Editions que tratan sobre las relaciones entre haitianos y dominicanos. La función de esta publicación es realizar un análisis e interpretación de las diferentes representaciones que han desarrollado escritores de las Antillas en su producción narrativa. La autora utiliza el concepto de intertextualidad para explicar que en toda narración se entrecruzan o integran múltiples discursos. De esta manera articula como establecer un diálogo intertextual con otros textos sobre el conflicto domínico-haitiano.

Además la Dra. Lister utiliza varios textos para su análisis intertextual de escritores dominicanos como el relato testimonial El masacre se pasa a pie (1973) de Freddy Prestol Castillo. La novela Over (1939) de Ramon Marrero Aristy.  El cuento “Luis Pie” (1946) de Juan Bosch. De narradores haitianos la novela Mi compadre el general Sol (1955) de Jacques Stephen Alexis, Cosecha de huesos (1998) de Edwidge Danticat; así como los cuentos “Encancaranublado” y “El día de los hechos” (1982) de la narradora puertorriqueña Ana Lydia Vega. La novela Del rojo de su sombra (1992) de la escritora cubano-puertorriqueña Mayra Montero.   

Esta publicación se recomienda para estudiantes, investigadores interesados en como la literatura Caribeña interpreta el conflicto domínico-haitiano así como los diferentes representaciones en cuentos y novelas de los escritores caribeños.

Jhensen Ortiz

Library Intern