Gustavo PÉrez Firmat

About Gustavo Perez Firmat

A writer and scholar, Cuban-born Gustavo Pérez Firmat is David Feinson Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Columbia University.

In 1997 Newsweek included him among “100 Americans to watch for the 21st century” and Hispanic Business Magazine selected him as one of the “100 most influential Hispanics” in the United States. In 2004 Pérez Firmat was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named one of New York’s thirty “Outstanding Latinos” by El Diario La Prensa. In 2005 he was selected Educator of the Year by the National Association of Cuban American Educators. Pérez Firmat has been featured in the documentary CubAmerican and in the 2013 PBS series Latino Americans.

Pérez Firmat was educated at Miami-Dade Community College, The University of Miami, and The University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Mellon Foundation. In 1995 Pérez Firmat was named Duke University Scholar/Teacher of the Year, Duke University’s highest award for undergraduate teaching.

He is the author of many books of prose and poetry, including Bilingual Blues, Saber de ausenciaA Cuban in Mayberry, The Havana Habit, and Next Year in Cuba, a memoir of life at home and in exile. His study of Cuban American culture, Life on the Hyphen, was awarded the Eugene M. Kayden University Press National Book Award.  Sin lengua, deslenguado, an annotated anthology of his poetry, was published in 2017 in the Colección Letras Hispánicas of Ediciones Cátedra. My Favorite Monster and Other Poems, his selection and translation of poems by Luis Alberto de Cuenca, appeared in 2024.

His imaginative writing, which has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, has appeared in many journals, anthologies and text books, among them: Ploughshares, Carolina Quarterly, Hispanic Magazine, The Paris Review, The Baltimore Review, Latina, Review, The Washington Post Book World, New Southerner, Michigan Quarterly Review,The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse, The Prentice Hall Anthology of Latino Literature, Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Literature in the United States, Iguana Dreams: An Anthology of Contemporary Hispanic-American Fiction, Looking Out, Looking In: Anthology of Latino Poetry, En otra voz: Antología de la literatura hispana de los Estados Unidos, La poesía de las dos orillas, La poesía cubana del exilio, Poesía cubana: La isla entera, Las Mamis: Favorite Latino Authors Remember Their Mothers, American Diaspora: Poetry of Exile, Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Las Christmas: Favorite Latino Authors Share Their Holiday Memories, Blues Poems, Growing Up in the South.

His scholarly essays and reviews have appeared in Daedalus, PMLA, Hispanic Review, Romanic Review, Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, Insula, Cuban Studies, Revista Iberoamericana, Hispania, North Carolina Literary Review, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana, Latin American Research Review, Symposium, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Hanover Quarterly, South Atlantic Review, MLN, Hopscotch, Colby Quarterly, Romance Quarterly, Callaloo, Caribbean Review, Notebooks in Cultural Analysis, Diacritics, Essays in Literature, Comparative Literature Studies, Genre, and many other journals.

He lives with his wife, Mary Anne, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.