Arte por Excelencias - - Cuba -

Aca­de­mi­ci­an Vir­gi­lio López Le­mus makes a de­light­ful pro­vo­ca­ti­on to us by se­lec­ting thirty-one po­ets and po­ems for his Mu­ral de po­e­sía cubana. Des­de sus orí­ge­nes has­ta el van­guar­dis­mo, Co­lec­ci­ón Cu­ba de Edi­ci­o­nes La Pal­ma, the first tit­le of

from Is­las Ca­na­ri­as. López Le­mus in­sists on po­etry, as the es­sen­ce of the Cuban cha­rac­ter, with a par­ti­cu­lar exis­ten­ce pre­vi­ous to iden­tity and na­ti­on. The aut­hor na­mes his se­lec­ti­on as«a lo­ok in­to the Cuban na­ti­on through po­etry», and it was la­be­led in El Mun­do news­pa­per by Luis An­to­nio de Vi­lle­na as «a small but wi­se ant­ho­logy be­cau­se you are left with an ap­pe­ti­te».

We long to turn to po­ems when López Le­mus spe­aks abouttwo ex­tra­or­di­nary po­ets, who are the pri­de of the Spa­nish lan­gua­ge. One of them is Ju­lián del Ca­sal, so­me of who­se es­sen­ti­al works, openly mo­der­nist, pre­ce­ded tho­se of Rubén Da­rio's. The ot­her one, the gre­a­test that Cu­ba has gi­ven birth to: José Mar­tí, who wro­te Is­ma­e­li­llo ye­ars be­fo­re Azul was writ­ten.

López Le­mus is fas­ci­na­ted when saying: «thus we ha­ve two ini­ti­a­tors of the most im­por­tant cur­rent in po­etry in Spa­nish Ame­ri­ca: mo­der­nism». But the com­pi­ler did not cho­o­se a po­em for the son when re­pre­sen­ting our apost­le. «Hi­er­ro» is the one cho­sen. And the­re is the eter­nal ver­se: «To die is ple­a­sant: to li­ve de­ad is ter­ri­ble».

Vir­gi­lio ends with its mu­ral with so­me born in the 19th cen­tury. He pro­mi­ses plans for a wi­der edi­to­ri­al ef­fort that en­com­pas­ses a collec­ti­on of the overw­hel­ming Cuban po­etry of the 20th cen­tury. May he ac­hi­e­ve it so­on, be­cau­se the po­etry of this arc­hi­pe­la­go, which so­me in­sist to na­me is­land, is the li­te­rary ex­pres­si­on that emer­ges with most plenty among us: the one we tur­ned to with love and disa­gre­e­ment, in fai­lu­re and glory, in the epic chap­ters and in the fre­quent me­lo­dra­mas. But it is the­re, for all Spa­nish-spe­akers be­cau­se —as Ma­rio Be­ne­det­ti said—«the is­land, with its “anth­ro­pop­ha­gous” cul­tu­re that was always cha­rac­te­ri­zed by “cu­ba­ni­zing” everyt­hing that re­ac­hed its co­asts and its ca­nons (…) has, for long, ac­cu­mu­la­ted na­mes and works that, at le­ast in po­etry (and al­so in pain­ting) po­si­ti­on it among the three or four coun­tri­es that ha­ve de­li­ve­red most re­marka­ble cre­a­ti­ons for the pu­nis­hed mi­xed ra­ce


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