The Marvellous Real

Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier first coined the term ‘lo maravilloso real’ – the Marvllous Real to describe what he saw as unique qualities inherrent in the time and place of the Caribbean.  To him, the region is a place where improbable and marvellous mixtures exist by virture of Latin America’s florid blend of history, geography and politics. Unlikely things happen in every day homes and gardens in Trinidad, for instance (i.e. iguanas falling from trees) that might seem magical and hard to believe in Europe.  Hence the notion of a more ‘magical realsm’.

During my recent trip to Cuba I set my writing group a small writing exercise. I asked them to go outside into the street and observe a building or an object. I asked them to take detailed notes for at least 20 minutes, using all five senses. When they came back with their notes, I gave each of them a piece of paper with one word written on it, an emotion: joy, fear, sorrow, peacefulness, anger etc. They were then asked to write about the building or object they had observed through this emotion. The  results were spectacular, even marvellous. My students produced what I consider to be small slices of the Marvllous Real. You can read their work on the Skyros blog. 

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~ by moniqueroffey on December 8, 2009.

One Response to “The Marvellous Real”

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