My Work


I used to ask my children to bury my ashes over Havana if I died without going back. They pooh-poohed my request, but I insisted. Yes, they would, they promised.

My other work:
       Short StoriesPoetryOther Writings 

A poet and professor intensively recreates a vast piece of personal and social history as she describes her flight from her native Cuba amid political turmoil, her struggle for a new life in the United States and, four decades later, an eventful return visit to the land of her birth.

SCATTER MY ASHES OVER HAVANA depicts these momentous experiences and events with a poet's keen language, and in a narrative that stays refreshingly brief.

This is a book about exile and immigration, about the search for identity in a new land, and about a woman's hard work in making a life for herself and her children. It is also a book about finding home.

Finally, SCATTER MY ASHES OVER HAVANA gives us the tremendous drama of going home again. Contrary to the title of a great American novel, going home again is something that all of us can do--and, as difficult as the encounter might be, it's a personal act that lets us come fully to terms with ourselves.

Details: BN 0976509644, French cover, 6 x 9, 152 pages with photos, Summer 2006.You can order this book from


Gustavo Perez-Firmat, Feinson Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
"Deeply felt and beautifully written, Olga Karman's memoir undertakes a probing and unsentimental exploration of the high cost and moderate rewards of exile. A gem of a book!"

Mirta Ojito, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of "Finding Manana: a Memoir of a Cuban Exodus"
" 'Who remembers how Havana glowed at night long ago?' Olga Karman does. And much more, in this poetic, tactile memoir about loss and the sometimes futile search for home."

Wendy Gimbel, author, "Havana Dreams"
"In Scatter My Ashes over Havana, her evocative memoir of exile in the late twentieth century, Olga Karman has produced a portrait of feminine courage in the face of political and private adversity. To a lively account of the Cuban exile's life in the United States, she brings a passionate understanding of history and a subtle eye for its nuances."

Pablo Medina, poet & author of "The Cigar Roller"
"Scatter My Ashes over Havana is a unique story of a Cuban woman's struggle to live away from her homeland and to assert herself in the midst of dispossession. With honesty, deftness and dignity, Olga Karman traces the multiple roles she assumes in her exile, those of daughter, mother, wife, student, and teacher. Her return to Cuba, harrwoingly described in this memoir, represents the triumph of will over circumstance."

Michelle Kearns, The Buffalo News
"For seven years, she worked... to make the pages of her experience sound as immediate and concise as her poems..." Complete article

Buffalorising, Talking Leaves Online
"...Ms. Karman has composed a poetic memoir dealing with exile and immigration, with the search for identity in a new land, with a woman’s hard work and struggle in making a life for herself and her children. The book is, most profoundly, about finding home..." Complete article

Manuel M. Villaverde, La Voz Católica
Su prosa delata a la poeta, y la lectura de esta obra es a la vez plácida por el magnetismo de su prosa poética, y dramática porque su historia es la historia del drama de cada cubano; estoy seguro de que igualmente atraerá a quienes no lo sean, porque lo relatado es universal.

Precisamente por ser quien es la autora, la parte del drama que cuenta es la parte del drama de todos: una ilusión, una decepción, un desarraigo, una transculturación, un renacer, un recuerdo, la búsqueda de raíces…
"   Artículo completo

Jorge Guitart, Author Interview for ArtVoice
My American dream was 'Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,' 'Picnic,' Doris Day, 'Tea for Two.' There were no glitches in my American dream. So what eventually developed was very surprising to me, and quite unexpected. I was not prepared. Although, at age 20, who is prepared for anything except dreams?..." Complete article