Virgil Suárez Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Virgil Suárez (SWA-rays), the son of a pattern cutter and a piecemeal seamstress who worked in the sweatshops of Havana, left Cuba in 1970 with his family. After four years in Madrid, Spain, they went to Los Angeles. A man of many interests and prolific literary output, Suárez raised three daughters with his wife in Florida. His multitude of works in numerous genres deal with immigration, exile, and acclimatization to life and culture in the United States as well as the hopes and struggles of Cubans and Cuban Americans who had to abandon their island home under political duress.

A self-confessed obsessive, whether about his family, his hobbies, or his writing, Suárez is preoccupied by voice. He cites physical place as paramount in the process of finding and producing his voice, whether in prose or poetry. Initially recognized for his fiction, Suárez has written poetry since 1978, though he only began to publish it in the mid-1990’s. He believes that voice is most important in poetry because of poetry’s space limitations. He feels so strongly about maintaining the authenticity of his personal voice that he discards any poem he believes does not respect and represent his voice.

That voice is of an immigrant who, although he has spent the majority of his life in his adopted land and does not expect to return to Cuba, still does not feel completely acclimated. Suárez writes about what he knows: the nature and travails of exile....

(The entire section is 488 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Alvarez-Borland, Isabel. Cuban-American Literature of Exile: From Person to Persona. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998.

Alvarez-Borland, Isabel. “Displacements and Autobiography in Cuban American Fiction.” World Literature Today 68, no. l (1994): 43-49.

Cortina, Rodolfo. “A Perfect Hotspot.” In Hispanic American Literature. Lincolnwood, Ill.: NTC, 1998.

Herrera, Andrea O’Reilly. “Song for the Royal Palms of Miami.” In ReMembering Cuba: Legacy of a Diaspora. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.