Cuban Poets – Exile, Prison and Oblivion
Cuban Poets: Exile, Prison and Oblivion / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, 9 July 2016 — José Abreu Felippe has become a
goldsmith. He’s a guy who’s creating a city that will be lost, and he
wants to change it into a jewel that we all will carry with us. Poesía
exiliada y pateada (Alexandria Library, 2016) collects poems of seven
Cuban writers who already have left for other worlds. They are beings
with lives twisted by existence itself, and even so, they wrote in verse
and kept their fingers on the trigger for generations of readers and
writers to come.
They are Eddy Campa, Esteban L. Cárdenas, Roberto Valero, Reinaldo
Arenas, David Lago, Jorge Oliva and René Ariza. Felippe read a poem from
each one in the West Dade Regional Library of Miami. There are two
routes these bards took: insanity and oblivion, but in both meanings,
their transfiguration of reality preserved them for us. The power that
they imprinted on their verses has left them a little more beyond the
“What a well-made trap they have set for us / we who are the mice and
the bait / the wall and the point of the sword / the funnel and its
narrowest cone,” René Ariza tells us while he practices his actor’s
skills, crossing toward eventual liberty or death in a sprint from the
port of Mariel in 1980.
Reinaldo Arenas pierced all his narrative with lashes of poetry. Abreu
affirmed it today in his presentation at the bookstore: “Rei [sic] was,
above everything, a poet. A total poet. Poetry is in all his work.”
Nor is it by far the first or most complete selection of deceased poets
in exile. Felippe mentioned the investigation that Felipe Lázaro has
done from his headquarters of Betania in Madrid, but each brick put on
this wall where we all stop to read helps… a lot.
Here many more are missing, clarifies the journalist and writer, Luis De
La Paz: “….too many perhaps — among them the young suicide, Juan
Francisco Pulido, and José Mario, founder of the El Puente [The Bridge]
group, to mention only two — because in the background all, or almost
all, poetry that has been created in exile has been birthed with pain.”
Many more are missing.
The presentation was preceded by the words of the poet and ex-Cuban
political prisoner, Ángel Cuadra, President of the PEN Club of Cuban
Writers in Exile, as well as by the commentary of the journalist, Luis
De La Paz.
Source: Cuban Poets: Exile, Prison and Oblivion / Luis Felipe Rojas –
Translating Cuba –