Friday, 21 May 2010

Nicaragua: Land of Poets

Words should paint the color of sound, the aroma of a star."
Rubén Darío

The very famous and controversial writer Salman Rushdie,  wrote his first non fiction book on Nicaragua, The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey, it's about his time in 1986 when he travels all over the country and talks to everyone from the campesino to the politician. He quotes the great poet from Granada, José Coronel Urtecho,who once said that "Every Nicaraguan is a poet until proven otherwise".

All Nicaraguans whether they are the campesino, coffee plantation owner, policeman, lawyer and politician know how to write and recite poetry. Poetry is a national past time, and it's very often that you hear people address each other as in "Hey poet !"

The love of poetry in Nicaragua can be traced back to
Rubén Darío(1867-1916). But before Dario, there were poets like Salomon de la Selva, ( 1893-1959),who was the first Latin American poet to be nominated for the Nobel Prize.Another famous Nicaraguan Poet that also lived in Dario's house at another time was Alonso Cortes. But it was Ruben Dario, otherwise known as the Father of Modernism, who solidified poetry as the country's dominant art form.

Most Nicaraguans have a passion for poetry and young children, beginning in first grade learn to express themselves in poetry and team up with other classmates to recite Ruben Dario's poetry.Margarita Debayle is one of Dario's most famous poems and is most Nicaraguans know it by memory.

Two great poets, Garcia Lorca ( Spain) and Pablo Neruda ( Chile) pay tribute to Ruben Dario in this effervescent and witty dialogue.

Neruda: His red name deserves to be remembered, along with his essential tendencies, his terrible heartaches, his incandescent uncertainties, his descent to the hospitals of hell, his ascent to the castles of fame, his attributes as a great poet, now and forever undeniable.

García Lorca: As a Spanish poet he taught the old and the young in Spain with a generosity and a sense of universality that are lacking in the poets of today. He taught Valle-Inclán and Juan Ramón Jiménez and the Machado brothers, and his voice was water and niter in the furrows of our venerable language. From Rodrigo Caro to the Argensolas or Don Juan Arguijo, Spanish had not seen such plays on words, such clashes of consonants, such lights and forms, as in Rubén Darío. From the landscapes of Velázquez and Goya's bonfire and Quevedo's melancholy to the elegant apple color of the Mallorcan peasant girls, Darío walked the Spanish earth as in his own land.

For such a small country,(the size of New York state) Nicaragua produces more poets and writers, than any other profession.

Here is a list of Nicaraguan Poets

Gioconda Belli,(1948)designated amongst the 100 most important poets during the 20th century.
Claribel Alegría (1924), poet, she received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 2006.
Héctor Avellán (1973), poet
Eugenio Batres Garcia (1941) noted newscaster and journalist, writer, author and poet.
Beltrán Morales (1945-1986) poet, essayist, critic and narrator.
Erick Blandón Guevara (1951), poet
Yolanda Blanco (1954), poet and translator.
Tomás Borge (1930), writer, poet, and essayist.
Carola Brantome (1961), poet and journalist.
Omar Cabezas (1950), writer
Blanca Castellón (1961), poet
Ernesto Cardenal (1925), poet
Blanca Castellón (1958), poet
Lizandro Chávez Alfaro (1929), poet, essayist and narrator.
Juan Chow (1956), poet
José Coronel Urtecho (1906-1994), poet, translator, essayist, critic, narrator, playwright, and historian.
Alfonso Cortés (1893-1969), poet
Pablo Antonio Cuadra (1912-2002), poet
Rubén Darío (1867-1916), poet, referred to as The Father of Modernism.
Gloria Gabuardi (1945), poet and writer.
Mercedes Gordillo (1938), poet, writer and critic.
Salomón Ibarra Mayorga (1887-1985), poet and lyricist of "Salve a ti, Nicaragua", the Nicaraguan national anthem.
Erwin Krüger (1915-1973), poet and composer.
Marta Leonor González (1973), poet, narrator and journalist.
Danilo López (1954), poet
Tino López Guerra (1906-2001), poet
Rigoberto López Pérez (1929-1936), poet and writer.
María Lourdes Pallais (1954), narrator and journalist.
Carlos Martínez Rivas (1924-1998), poet
Francisco Mayorga (1949), writer
Ernesto Mejía Sánchez (1923-1985), poet
Christianne Meneses Jacobs (1971), writer, editor, and publisher.
Vidaluz Meneses (1944) poet
Tania Montenegro (1969), poet and journalist.
Rosario Murillo (1951), poet
Michèle Najlis (1948), poet
Daniel Ortega (1945), poet
Azarias H. Pallais (1884–1954), poet
Raphael Pallais (1952), writer
Joaquin Pasos (1914-1947), poet
Horacio Peña (1946), writer and poet.
Rodrigo Peñalba Franco (1981), narrator and author.
Sergio Ramírez (1942), writer
Guillermo Rothschuh Tablada (1926), poet
María Teresa Sánchez (1918-1994), poet
Mariana Sansón Argüello (1918), poet
Eunice Shade (1980), writer
Arlen Siu (?-1972), essayist
Juan Sobalvarro (1966), poet
Milagros Terán (1963), writer, poet, and essayist.
Julio Valle Castillo (1952), poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic and art critic
Daisy Zamora (1950), poet
Flavio Cesar Tijerino(1926-2006) Writer and poet.

Reverend Father Ernesto Cardenal Martínez (born January 20, 1925) is a Nicaraguan Catholic priest and was one of the most famous liberation theologians of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, a party he has since left. From 1979 to 1987 he served as Nicaragua's first culture minister. He is also famous as a poet. Cardenal was also the founder of the primitivist art community in the Solentiname Islands, where he lived for more than ten years (1965-1977). He was nominated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in May 2005.

Poetry Resources:
Articles on Nicaraguan Poets
For a Description of Modernism

Darios Books:
Translation of Dario's poem,Roosevelt
Rubén Darío y Nicaragua: Bilingual anthology of poetry
Azul (Spanish Edition)
Poesias (Spanish Edition)
Ernesto Cardenal's Books:
Pluriverse: New and Selected Poems
Love: A Glimpse of Eternity
Apocalypse, and Other Poems
Other Recommended Bilingual Books:
Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (The Texas Pan American Series) (English and Spanish Edition)

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