She graduated with honors at the University of Havana, having studied Caribbean and French Literature, and she is fluent in French, English. She later taught French. She is a well-regarded translator of French and English into Spanish, particularly Caribbean writers, including Edouard Glissant, Jacques Roumain and Aimé Césaire, René Depestre. Her own poetry has been translated into English, German, French, Portuguese, Gallego, Russian, Macedonian, and others. She is as of 2013 director of Revista Union, journal of the UNEAC, Union of Writers and Artists; in 2008 she was elected president of the writer's section of Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (UNEAC).She has produced a number of journalistic, critical, and dramatic works. One of the most notable is her book-length treatments of poet Nicolás Guillén. In 1986 she won the Cuban "Premio de la crítica" (Critic's Prize) for Piedra Pulida, and in 2001 won Cuba's National Prize for Literature, awarded for the first time to a black woman. This national prize for literature was created in 1983; Nicolás Guillén was the first to receive it. She also won the Golden Wreath of the Struga poetry evenings for 2006. She has toured extensively in the United States and in other countries; her work has been translated into over ten languages, including English, Swedish and German.