Rag Radio: Poet, Historian & Activist Margaret Randall, Author of ‘Haydee Santamaria, Cuban Revolutionary’

We discuss Margaret Randall's remarkable life and the transformative historical events in which she was embedded.

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Thorne Dreyer is joined by The Rag Blog’s Alice Embree in interviewing Margaret Randall, the storied essayist, oral historian, translator, photographer, and social activist.

We discuss Randall’s recent biography, Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression, and Che on my Mind, a feminist poet’s reminiscence of Che Guevara. (Read Alice Embree’s Rag Blog review of Haydée Santamaría here.) And we discuss Margaret’s remarkable life and the transformative historical events in which she was embedded.

Margaret Randall lived among New York’s abstract expressionists in the 1950s and early ’60s, participated in the Mexican student movement of 1968, shared important years of the Cuban revolution (1969-1980) and the first four years of Nicaragua’s Sandinista project (1980-1984), and visited North Vietnam during the heroic last months of war (1974). From 1962 to 1969 she and Mexican poet Sergio Mondragón co-edited El Corno Emplumado / The Plumed Horn, a bilingual literary quarterly that published some of the best new work of the decade.

When she came home in 1984 after living for 23 years in Latin America, the U.S. government ordered Randall deported because it found some of her writing to be “against the good order and happiness of the United States.” With the support of many writers and others, she won her case in 1989. Margaret lives in New Mexico with her partner (now wife) of 29 years, the painter Barbara Byers, and travels extensively to read, lecture, and teach.

Host and Producer of Rag Radio: Thorne Dreyer; Engineer and Co-Producer: Tracey Schulz; Photographer: Roger Baker. Rag Radio is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The syndicated show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP (www.koop.org/listen-now), and is later rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., on Houston Pacifica’s KPFT HD-3 90.1, and by KKRN, 88.5-FM in Round Mountain, CA — and as a featured podcast at VT. Contact: [email protected]. Running time: 54:18.

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