Carmen Giménez Smith

Soy Isla (I Am an Island) at The Phillips Collection

Thursday, April 18, 2019, 6:30 pm
The Phillips Collection
Carmen Giménez Smith’s work dissects the female body and society’s responses to it over centuries in language that can be both playful and serious. Her collections include Milk and Filth; Goodbye, Flicker, winner of the Juniper Prize, and, most recently, Cruel Futures. Her memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else, received an American Book Award. 
A reading in response to the Phillips Collection exhibition Zilia Sánchez: Soy Isla (I am an Island) 
This exhibition examines the work of Cuban artist Zilia Sánchez (b. 1926), with paintings, works on paper, and sculpture, alongside illustrations and design sketches, that trace Sánchez’s artistic journey from her early days in Cuba, to her visits to Europe and America, and finally to her current home in Puerto Rico. 
Co-sponsored with The Phillips Collection and Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at University of Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies.
The Daughter
We said she was a negative image of me because of her lightness.
She's light and also passage, the glory in my cortex.
Daughter, where did you get all that goddess?
Her eyes are Neruda's two dark pools at twilight.
Sometimes she's a stranger in my home because I hadn't imagined her.
Who will her daughter be?
She and I are the gradual ebb of my mother's darkness.
I unfurl the ribbon of her life, and it's a smooth long hallway, doors flung open.
Her surface is a deflection is why.
Harm on her, harm on us all.
Inside her, my grit and timbre, my reckless.
Carmen Giménez Smith, "The Daughter" from Milk & Filth. Copyright © 2013 by Carmen Giménez Smith.  Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

This project was supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanties, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.