adjacent islands by Nicole Cecilia Delgado
Translated by Urayoán Noel
Ugly Duckling Presse, December 2022
Nicole Cecilia Delgado’s poetry in adjacent islands is intimate yet poised toward the radically communitarian, both in the people and histories evoked and in the collaborative and unabashedly political orientation of her editorial and publishing work. adjacent islands / islas adyacentes is a bilingual edition of her artist books amoná (2013) and subtropical dry (2016), both based on camping trips to islands in the Puerto Rican archipelago: the uninhabited Mona to the west of the main island and the municipality of Vieques to the east (Amoná and Bieké in the reconstructed indigenous Taíno language). Challenging the insularist logic that has historically defined Puerto Rican national imaginaries, on these adjacent islands, people and nature connect in unexpected ways, as Delgado documents the art of survival under military occupation, extractivism, and the surveillance state. Part of a larger corpus of what Delgado calls “camping books,” adjacent islands / islas adjacentes seeks to translate the intemperie (open sky) of the camping trip onto the confines of the page. Delgado follows the late Ulises Carrión in enacting a networked book art where “communication is still inter-subjective, but it occurs in a concrete, real, physical space—the page.” Call it book art as counterarchive.