Robert Lima

Travel is one bridge between my professional and creative lives. Both of these occasionally require that I go abroad, thus giving vent to the periodic need to transfer myself from the location of home and office in order to experience other locales, if only for a time.

The Iberian Peninsula and Latin America have attracted me over the years because I was born in Cuba of a Spanish-born mother, who instilled in me a deep and passionate love of things Hispanic, and a Cuban father who was a writer, broadcaster and magazine editor. Because of their influence, I've visited many countries in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds, ultimately opting for an academic career, largely in the area of Hispanic studies.

Consequently, a large portion of my professional writing--literary criticism, biography, bibliography, translations of poetry, drama and aesthetics--, lectures on numerous subjects, and the teaching of a wide range of courses has been dedicated to the promotion of literature written in Spanish to the English-speaking world, along with the cultures of the Iberian Peninsula, of the Andes, and of the Caribbean. I have written a great deal about Jorge Luis Borges, Federico García Lorca and Ramón del Valle-Inclán, as well as teaching courses on Romanticism, the "Generation of 1898" and 18th-20th century drama.

But the British Isles have had a greater impact on my poetry, in part because I majored in English, in part because my own background is Celtic, deriving from Galicia in northwestern Spain (my mother's homeland) and northern Portugal (where my father's family originated, in Ponte de Lima); both areas were settled by the Celts in the Iron Age. Furthermore, it was in Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man that I found the moors, ancient ruins and quaint villages that are among my most-favored places; it was there that I became most intimate with the landscape while traipsing through the countryside in search of dolmens, barrows, lithic circles, standing stones, and hillforts of antiquity, or visiting the haunts of Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats, my favorite poets in English, or experiencing the special atmosphere of an isolated village pub, perhaps with traditional music, at the end of a hard-day's trekking.

These have been the principal influences on my life and writing, but there are others, stemming from travels in southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong), Africa (Morocco, Cameroon, Senegal, Egypt), South America (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, Panama), the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands), the Middle East (Jordan), Europe (Ireland, The United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece), Asia Minor (Turkey). I've published articles on some of my trips and am now writing a book--part memoir, part travelogue--that will encompass many of the interesting, often unusual things that I have experienced abroad.


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