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nimarka1's avatar

Does anyone know of the writer Belkis Cuza Male?

Asked by nimarka1 (942points) January 24th, 2010

For my English class i need to do some homework on a poem called “Women Don’t Die on the Front Lines” by Belkis Cuza Male, the only problem is I cannot find it anywhere online. I found info on the the writer herself but not anything on the actual poem. All I really need help with are questions like “who is the narrator of this poem” (my teacher specified that it is usually not the author) but then how can I tell who it is without anymore info?
Also, how can I figure out the time period and the authors life in a poem?

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9 Answers

VohuManah's avatar

Challenging be it not . The poem is towards the bottom of the document.

eLenaLicious's avatar

All I know is that Belkis Cuza Male is a Cuban poet…her books were published in revolutionary Cuba before 1967 in a period when the Cuban authorities were not officially against non-engage literature.
I am struggling to find that poem online for some strange reason. Male is probably not very well known. Knowing the title, she is probably talking about a woman’s lack in the army.

nimarka1's avatar

I had the same Problem, I found a lot of info on her, she even has a blog site honoring Elvis Presley and John Smith, but nothing on the actual poem!

@VohuManah I’m not sure what document you are referring to.

susanc's avatar

“Who is the narrator of the poem” doesn’t mean “who is the author of the poem?” It means,
“within the world of the poem, who is telling the story?”. You can answer that by looking at the poem itself.
Good luck finding this poet. Great name. Sounds kinda Romanian.

VohuManah's avatar

There are two results for that query; one is this question, and the other is a PDF entitled “Teacher Guide” with the poem in it. Click on quick view and you can find the poem at the bottom. If you can’t find it, here’s the copy+paste version of it:

Women Don’t Die On the Front Lines
Women don’t die on the front lines,
their heads don’t roll like golf balls,
they don’t sleep under a forest of gunpowder,
they don’t leave the sky in ruins.
No snow freezes their hearts.
Women don’t die on the front lines,
they don’t drive the devil out of Jerusalem.
they don’t blow up aqueducts or railroads,
they don’t master the arts of war or of peace either.
They don’t make generals
or unknown soldiers carved out of stone
in town squares.
Women don’t die on the front lines.
They are statues of salt in the Louvre,
mothers like Phaedra,
lovers of Henry the Eighth,
Mata Haris,
Eva Perons,
queens counseled by prime ministers,
nursemaids, cooks, washerwomen,
romantic poets.
Women don’t make History,
but at nine months they push it out of their bellies
then sleep for twenty-four hours
like a soldier on leave from the front.
—Belkis Cuza Male (1942—

Jeruba's avatar

I second @susanc‘s response. Unless the teacher told you that this is a research project, I would have to assume that the answers you’re looking for are in the poem itself and will come from your reading of it. Was there a handout in class, or do you have a textbook with the poem in it?

nimarka1's avatar

thats the thing, it was just a handout of the poem and the questions, no book to go with it. So for me, just reading the poem was really confusing. Just for the basic question, who is the narrator of the poem? How can i tell who it is? even if it is someone as simple as it’s a man or a woman; i could see either one being the narrator.
My teacher said we had to go online and do some research on it, but i couldn’t find any (i appreciate @VohuManah for even finding it online for me)
The significance of the poem for me i feel can be different things. one, it can be someone saying women aren’t good for anything except making babies, cooking, cleaning, and that they will always be second to men. It’s almost degrading. Then again, i can see it as although woman do not physically go to war; carry guns, kills others, and risk their lives, women also fight a battle giving birth. Without women there is no birth, and birth is what gives anyone a chance to make history. Hence, even if they are treated like second class, they are the most important thing, they are powerful, and amazing. They are what gives history a chance to be made in the first place.
Wow I think actually writing all this out made me discover the answer on my own.
thanks for your help everyone!

Response moderated (Spam)
Jeruba's avatar

Attagirl, @nimarka1. Now you’re getting it.

@BelkisCuzaMale, what do you think of @nimarka1‘s answer?

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