Rei Berroa

Rei Berroa

Rei Berroa

Emeritus Faculty

Poetry through the Ages, Spanish and Latin American Literary and Cultural Criticism, Relationship among the Arts, The Creative Process.

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Rei Berroa spent his formative years in his home country, went to Puerto Rico for his undergraduate studies, and taught Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In 1973, he spent a year studying at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. He returned to Santo Domingo to teach History and Geography at Instituto San Juan Bautista. That summer he went to Spain and in the fall returned to Puerto Rico to teach at Colegio San Antonio Abad in Humacao.

In summer 1976, he went to Middlebury College in Vermont and moved to Spain in August. Besides studying at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Middlebury College in Madrid, he spent three years in Spain writing poetry, researching all aspects of Spanish poetry, life, and culture, and traveling from town to town with Eulalia, his guitar. In 1979, he went to Pittsburgh, PA, to complete his doctoral studies. Originally interested in the cultural myths of the Native Americans, he completed a dissertation on ideology and rhetoric in the writings of Spanish poet Miguel Hernández. Before arriving at George Mason University in the summer of 1984, he taught at Humboldt State University in California (1982-83) and at Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois (1983-84).

His teaching and scholarly interests are mainly in the areas of contemporary Spanish and Latin American literature, culture, and literary theory (especially poetics). He has published more than 50 books of poetry, literary criticism, anthologies and translations of poetry in Argentina, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, India, Italy, Mexico, Romania, Spain, the United States, and Venezuela. His poetry has been partially translated into more than 40 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Romanian, Tamil, and Turkish.

Current Research

Having finished and co-edited a volume on motherhood and poetics (published by Universidad de Nuevo León in Monterrey, México), Professor Berroa's research is now focused toward another new topic that has interested him for many years: the "poetics of heresy" ("poéticas heréticas" in Spanish), a research that combines literary and political theory with the historiography of dissent. That on top of his constant research on poetic expressions of all kind. At this moment there are three branches of research for his creative endeavors: the lullaby, what he calls the "bifid" expression of the dual language in which we live as bilingual individuals, and the world of aphorisms.

Selected Publications

"Público y teatro hispano en Washington." Article about theater in Spanish in the Washington, DC area: https://plenamar.acento.com.do/categoria-dossier/publico-y-teatro-hispano-en-la-zona-de-washington-dc/

El cuerpo hendido: Poéticas de la m/p/aternidad. Co-edited with María Ángeles Pérez López, from the University of Salamanca (Essays, published November 2020 at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, Monterrey, Mexico). https://tiendacasadellibro.uanl.mx/producto/el-cuerpo-hendido/

De quites y querencias: antojología de poemas y poéticas (1974-2014). Santo Domingo, D.R.: Publicaciones del Ministerio de Cultura, 2014. (A 557-page anthology of his poetry and his thoughts about the creative process and its practice.) 

Eufemistica per vivere tranquilli [poetry anthology]. Translated into Italian by Gaetano Longo and Daria Potok. Trieste, Italy: Franco Puzzo Editore, 2011. Premio Internazionale Trieste Poesia 2011.

Aproximaciones a la literatura dominicana. Two Volumes. Santo Domingo, RD: Ediciones del Banco Central, 2008 (Volume I) & 2009 (Volume II).

Expanded Publication List

POETRY

 "La creación poética y sus espejos". Interview by Brazilian artist, poet, and literary critic Floriano Martins (December 2022). Agulha Revista de Cultura: REI BERROA (República Dominicana, 1949)

Selection of poems at Revista Altazor [http://www.revistaaltazor.cl/rei-berroa-2/].                                   Fundación Vicente Huidobro (Chile), 2019.

Son palomas pensajeras. Santa Cruz - La Paz, Bolivia: Letreo editores, 2023. Also published in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala: Metáfora Editores, 2016.

Libro de los dones y los bienes. Mexico, DF: Ediciones Fósforo and Universidad Nacional de Nuevo León, 2013. Also published in 2010 in Caracas, Venezuela, at El Perro y la Rana.

This edition sold out the same day it was launched.

Vocea interioară. Poetry Anthology translated into Romanian by Diana M. Nicolăescu. Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Grinta, 2012. Prix International Mihai Eminescu, Romania.

Libro de los fragmentos y otros poemas. Caracas, Venezuela: El Perro y la Rana, 2010. This book sold out the same day it was launched. 

Otridades: Lámpara de los encuentros. Zamora, Spain: El Sinsonte en el Patio Vecino, 2010. Declared "recommended reading" by the Association of Poetry Publishers of Spain (January 2011). Reviewed by Eduardo Moga: 'No yo, sino nosotros: Otridades. Lámpara de los encuentros de Rei Berroa". Guaraguao Año 15, No. 37 (Otoño 2011). 187-189.

De adinamia de mente de umnesia. Dramatic monologue on the loss of memory through Alzheimer’s disease (poetry). Prologue by María Ángeles Pérez López; presentations by Héctor Carreto and Sofía Díaz Miranda (neurologist). Villahermosa, Tabasco: Editorial Maùcho, 2010. Reviewed by Dionicio Morales: "El olvido silencioso de la memoria"
[https://www.uam.mx/difusion/casadeltiempo/37_iv_nov_2010/casa_del_tiempo_eIV_num37_63_65.pdf]
 
Jerarquías. CD recording. Villahermosa, Tabasco: Editorial Maúcho, 2009.
 
Libro de los fragmentos. Buenos Aires: Ultimo Reino, 1988.
 
 

 

EDITED POETRY ANTHOLOGIES 

Living Voices / Voces vivas / Voix vives. Anthology of the World Poetry Day Festival [March 21, 2022].    Edited with Fernando Cabrera. Santo Domingo, R.D.: Amigo del Hogar, 2022.

Quien toca este libro, toca a un hombre. With a long introduction dedicated to Walt Whitman [pp. 19-58].      Selection, Presentation, and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna, 2019.

Viva es la voz de la verdad. Selection, Introduction, and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna, 2018.

Ganarse la vida para siempre. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna, 2017.

Puesto ya el pie en el estribo. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna, 2016.

Lengua del alma la pluma. Selection, Introduction, Epilogue, and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna, 2015.

Cuerpo de ahora. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna, 2014.

Cuadernos del retorno a la escritura en libertad. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna, 2013.

Veinte veces Luna es Poesía. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna 2012.

Palabra cargada de futuro. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo: Libros de la Luna 2011.

Que no cesen rumores. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo: República Dominicana: Libros de la Luna, 2010

El incierto mañana generoso. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Libros de la Luna, 2009

¿Cuándo has visto salir medio sol? Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Libros de la Luna, 2008.

Cauteloso engaño del sentido. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Libros de la Luna, 2007.

Voces y memorias de la Luna. Selection, Introduction and Notes. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Libros de la Luna, 2006.

Poetas en la Casa de la Luna. Selection, Introduction and Notes. With Margarito Cuéllar. Mexico: Verdehalago, 2005.

 

LITERARY CRITICISM

Miguel Hernández: Convergencias simbólicas de una cosmovisión que actúa incesante sobre el mundo. Studia Iberica et Americana, 2, 2 (December 2015): 112-145.

“Palabras-Texto: Ideologemas en la prosa de guerra de Miguel Hernández.” In: Sánchez García, Remedios and Ramón Martínez López, editors, Literatura y compromiso: Federico Garcia Lorca y Miguel Hernández. Madrid: Visor Libros, 2011. 373-393.

“De Perito en lunas a Los hijos de la piedra: intuición de una expresividad político-profética.” Larrabide, Aitor and Elvia Ardalani, editors, Miguel Hernández desde América. Prologue by Juan Cano Ballesta. Edinburg, TX: Fundación Cultural Miguel Hernández and University of Texas-Pan American Press, 2011. 55-64.

“Desideologización y lenguaje poético en la obra de José Mármol.” In Aproximaciones a la literatura dominicana (1980-2008). Santo Domingo: Publicaciones del Banco Central de la República Dominicana, 2008. 79-94.

“Eros/Thánatos y otras parejas conceptuales en la poesía de Martha Rivera.” In Aproximaciones a la literatura dominicana (1980-2008). Santo Domingo: Publicaciones del Banco Central de la República Dominicana, 2008. 95-111.

Recordar para vivir: Historia, alegoría y dialéctica en la crónica de Pedro Mir.” In Aproximaciones a la literatura dominicana (1930-1980). Santo Domingo: Publicaciones del Banco Central de la República Dominicana, 2008. 39-67.

“Whitman en tinta y tiempo o la medida profética de su propio canto.” In Biblioteca de México, 89 (September/October 2005): 29-37.

“La memoria contra el olvido: El conocimiento por los sentidos en la poesía de Martha Rivera.”  Ruiz Barrionuevo, Carmen, editor, et al. La literatura iberoamericana en el 2000: Balances, perspectivas y prospectivas. Salamanca: Publicaciones de la Universidad, 2003: 2126-34[CD-R].

“Al tercer día el poeta subió a los cielos: García Lorca cumple 100 años.” Jointly published in Hispanic Culture Review of George Mason University (Fall 1997-Spring 1998: 7-19) and Umbral [Dominican Republic] (January-May 1998: 12-22).

“Formación y transformación del héroe hernandiano.” In Miguel Hernández, cincuenta años después. Actas del I Congreso Internacional Miguel Hernández. Alicante, Elche, Orihuela: Comisión del Homenaje, 1993. 411-424.

“Poetry and Painting: García Lorca's Dual Manifestation of Symbol and Metaphor.” In Manuel Durán and Francesca Colecchia, Lorca's Legacy. New York: Peter Lang, 1991. 30-50. (Appendix to the article, 215-238).

“La palabra y los demonios poéticos de Fernando Arbeláez.” Texto Crítico, 42 (Jan-June 1990): 33-44

“Poesía y pintura: La manifestación dual de símbolo y metáfora en la imaginación lorquiana.” Mundaiz [Universidad de Deusto, Spain], 35 (Jan-June 1989): 27-59.

“La crítica de Fuentes como lectura conflictiva: De Fuentes, a España, a Cervantes.” In Texto Crítico, 36 37 (Jan Dec 1988): 44-53.

Ideología y retórica: las prosas de guerra de Miguel Hernández. Mexico: Editorial Libros de Mexico, 1988.

Guest Editor of La literatura dominicana en el siglo XX, special issue devoted to the literature of the Dominican Republic. Revista Iberoamericana [Pittsburgh], 142 (Jan-March, 1988).

Co-founder [1987], co-editor [to 1990], member of the Board [to 1999] of the bi-monthly Mundo: Problemas y Confrontaciones [Mexico City], a journal of cross disciplinary studies in Philosophy, Culture, Literature, and Politics. [Since 1990 Mundo: Culturas y gente].

“Recordar para vivir: Historia, alegoría y dialéctica en la crónica de Pedro Mir.” In Revista Iberoamericana, 142 (Jan March 1988): 27-51.

“Iconos y representación en el Bestiario de Cortázar.” In Plural [México], 187 (March 1987): 6-13. [First honorary mention in the 1986 Journal Plural International Essay Prize.]

Literature of the Americas. 2 Vols. With M. Hamilton, J. Livingston, D.E. Parris, and J. Plotz.  Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall & Hunt for the International University Consortium, 1986.

“Discurso poético y exilio interior: La poesía española en los inicios del franquismo.” In Cuadernos Americanos, 44 (Jan-Feb 1985): 170-185.

“Sobre “Muerte constante más allá del amor” de García Márquez.” In Discurso Literario [Oklahoma], 1 (Fall 1983): 5-15.

“Presencia y sentido de la fauna en Aleixandre.” In Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos [Madrid], 352-354 (Oct-Dec, 1979): 434-450.

Grants and Fellowships

With the support of our Korean colleagues in the department, Professor Berroa was able to secure a grant from the Korea Foundation to fund 70% of a Korean professorship at GMU for the first five years of the position.

With the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Professor Berroa secured the presence in the department of an annual lecturer that would spend her/his time teaching in the department. The first lecturer, Ana Ruiz Alonso-Bartol, completed her tenure (August 2017-2020) and a new lecturer -Carlos Javier Avilés López- is on campus for the 2021-24 academic period.

With Professor Lisa Gring-Pemble, at that time at New Century College, who directed the program in the summer 2011, Prof. Berroa directed the State Department Study of the United States Institute for Student Leaders [SUSI], Winter 2012. The program, titled: “E pluribus Unum—Out of Many, One: Contemporary United States’ Society in Context”, offered 21 students from underrepresented segments of the Bolivian, Paraguayan, and Peruvian societies the unforgettable opportunity to learn and experience the history, politics, life, and culture of the United States from January 6 to February 11, 2012.

 

Courses Taught

Retired as of June 1, 2023.

Education

Rei Berroa completed his undergraduate work in Philosophy at Catholic University of Puerto Rico (Ponce, 1970) and began his graduate work at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Spain (Málaga,1974 and Madrid, 1976). He completed MAs in Spanish Literature at Middlebury College (1977) and the University of Pittsburgh (1979), and his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh (1983).

Recent Presentations

"The Earth Belongs to Each and All of Us." Lecture delivered on February 2, 2022 at the annual Convocation of the Eastern Mennonite University.

Invited to conduct research and lecture at Università degli Studi di Bergamo. The final lecture titled “Performativity: New Waves to Experience Literary and Cultural Discourse” was delivered Friday, March 22, 2019, at University of Bergamo, Italy.

“Walt Whitman at 200: Poetry for the Common Man” delivered for faculty and all doctoral students at the University of Bergamo, Italy, on March 15, 2019.

"Risa, vuelo y cebolla: tres versiones sin llanto de la ternura." IV Congreso Internacional Miguel Hernández. Alicante, Orihuela, Elche (España).15-18 de noviembre, 2017.

"Miguel Hernández and Elvio Romero." VIII Symposium on the Humanities, Universidad del Norte, Asunción, Paraguay. August 7-11, 2017.

 

In the Media

On March 21, 2022, with poet Fernando Cabrera of the Dominican Republic and a technical team from Mason, Teatro de la Luna, the Catholic University of Santiago, Dominican Republic, and Festival Arte Vivo, also from Santiago, I organized a global poetic feast unlike any other: 24 hours of uninterrupted poetry readings to celebrate World Poetry Day. More than 400 voices and 1000 poems read from March 21, 00:00 hours to March 22, 00:00 hours. The festival happened again on March 21, 2023 and 2024. The 24 hours of poetry reading can be experienced at: https://www.youtube.com/@wpdfestival

Lecture given at Eastern Mennonite University's Annual Convocation. 2/2/2022. https://www.facebook.com/EasternMennonite/videos/497621111724326/

Bilingual poetry reading at Eastern Mennonite University [2/1/2022], part of their annual "Writers Read" Series. https://www.facebook.com/EasternMennonite/videos/1938999186308659/

Presentation of the book El cuerpo hendido: poéticas de la m/p/aternidad. At Casa de la Cultura El Salvador. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FybUIs5_I1Q

Interview at the GMU Institute for Immigration Research: iir.gmu.edu/immigrant-stories/dominican-republic/dominican-republic-summary-of-interview-with-dr-rei-berroa

Reading his poem "Monte serrado" ["Mount Serrated" = Montserrat, in Catalunya], not "cerrado" as published in YouTube, in Granada, Nicaragua: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chf22yq00wA

The VIII International Dominican Book Fair of New York was dedicated to his work. Here is his brief speech accepting this honor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEJt_0e_yoU

Performing "After the War" his translation of the poem "Después de la guerra" by Colombian poet Jotamario Arbeláez: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rit7pNmo0TA

Lecturing on Odysseas Elytis's centennary celebration at the Library of Congress with Mexican poet Pedro Serrano, the Head of the Hispanic Division Georgette Dorn, the Greek Ambassador to the United States Vassilis Kaskarelis, and the Head of the European Division Harold Leich. His talk goes from 0:33 to 1:26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKb8yx3ZGEcReading his poem "Con respecto a cierta actividad de las palomas" in Mexico City, 2008.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qDa5tnYABo

Reading his poem "Los atuendos" at the closing of the XX International Poetry Festival of Medellín in Colombia. July 2010.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-LbYH5UgOY

Reading recorded for the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape (Library of Congress). May 13, 1987.

Contents: "El oficio del poeta: poética: El pensamiento poético" (excerpt) (min. 00:48); "Filiación: La poesía, el hombre (excerpt) (min. 13:20) -- From En el reino de la ausencia: "Balada de la luna" (min. 21:08); "Después de todo" (min. 21:50); "Ritornello con arrugas" (min. 23:09); "Cada día es de tarde" (min. 24:17); "Las cinchas" (min. 26:20) -- From Retazos para un traje de tierra: "Los atuendos" (min. 28:00); "Ni cantos" (min. 29:28); "Íes" (min. 30:35); "Su poema" (min. 32:00); "Sucesos" (min. 32:35) -- From Los otros: "Canción para no cantar" (min. 33:40); "El puente" (min. 36:08); "Si alguien canta" (min. 37:00); "El viejo" (min. 38:17); "Los negros, el sudor, la alegría" (min. 39:28); "El hombre de las aceras" (min. 41:12); "Lamentaciones de Abelardo" (min. 42:48); "Las mandíbulas del tiempo" (min. 43:57); "El amigo que amanece" (min. 47:05) -- From Libro de los fragmentos: "Pórtico para el lector" (min. 49:13); "IX" (min. 50:30); "I" (min. 51:00).  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mbrsrs/ahlot.93842275