Upcoming Events

Discussion of Songs of Cifar and the Sweet Sea: Selections from “Songs of Cifar, 1967-1977 – November 16th


Songs of Cifar and the Sweet Sea: Selections from “Songs of Cifar, 1967-1977”  by Nicaraguan poet Pablo Antonio Cuadra will be the topic of the Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project and Hartford Public Library reading group discussion at the library, 500 Main St., on Wed., Nov. 16, from 12:30 to 1:30 P.M. This bilingual book of poems was translated and edited by Grace Schulman and Ann McCarthy de Zavala and published by the Columbia University Press in association with the Center for Inter-American Relations in 1979.

Cuadra was an essayist, playwright, and journalist but is best known as a poet. His first book of poetry, which came out in 1934, was the first published book of poetry in the Vanguardia movement that strove to free Nicaraguan writing from European influence and to forge an independent path.  Although influenced by Reuben Dario and French writers such as Baudelaire and Verlaine, Cuadra often wrote about the people and places of Nicaragua. Songs of Cifar tells of the journeys of Cifar, a sailor, on Lake Nicaragua or Cocibolca and the common people and environments that greet him on the lake. Campesinos and indigenous people are frequent topics in his work.

All are welcome at this free program, which is part of the library’s Bridging Cultures Series. Participants are welcome to bring brown bag lunches.

Songs of Cifar and the Sweet Sea: Selections from “Songs of Cifar, 1967-1977” is available at such local libraries as the Hartford Public, University of Hartford, Yale, and Trinity as well as through interlibrary loan services and Internet book sellers. For help getting a book or other information, please contact us at kganderson@snet.net or sanderson03@snet.net.

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The Hartford/Ocotal Sister City Project is a story of two cities reaching out to each other, one in Nicaragua, Central America, the other Connecticut in the United States.  It begins in 1986 when the Hartford Ocotal Sister City Project(HOSCP) was established with the help of the Capitol Region Conference of Churches and moves forward again in 1995 when the Project began providing seed money for a micro-lending program called FUNAFAM, which is based on the Grameen Bank model. Financial support from this program has helped hundreds of Ocotal women start small businesses of their own.

Over a period of 25 years HOSCP has used contributions to help fund the following programs, evolving from direct material aid to self-help initiatives:

  • Material aid shipments in conjunction with the New Haven-Leon SCP
  • Educational events
  • Helping to fund the purchase of an ambulance
  • Helping to fund the clean water project
  • Hurricane Mitch relief
  • FUNAFAM, a microcredit program based on the Grameen Bank model. Loaning small amounts of money to individuals starting small businesses
  • Health education programs in outlying areas surrounding Ocotal

Many of the founders of the HOSCP are still active in the work. The sister-city commitment does not go out of fashion, nor does it cease to inspire those involved.

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