Rubén Darío

150px-Rubén_DaríoThis is a brief exposé about one of the most important poets in Latin American history.

Félix Rubén García Sarmiento (January 18, 1867 – February 6, 1916), known as Rubén Darío, was a Nicaraguan poet who initiated the Spanish-American literary movement known as modernismo (modernism) that flourished at the end of the 19th century. Darío has had a great and lasting influence on 20th-century Spanish literature and journalism. He has been praised as the “Prince of CastilianLetters” and undisputed father of the modernismo literary movement.

And now an intriguing poem:

Fatality

The tree is happy because it is scarcely sentient;
the hard rock is happier still, it feels nothing:
there is no pain as great as being alive,
no burden heavier than that of conscious life.

To be, and to know nothing, and to lack a way,
and the dread of having been, and future terrors…
And the sure terror of being dead tomorrow,
and to suffer all through life and through the darkness,

and through what we do not know and hardly suspect…
And the flesh that temps us with bunches of cool grapes,
and the tomb that awaits us with its funeral sprays,
and not to know where we go,
nor whence we came! …

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Gabriela Mistral

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Continuing my series of posts, where I present different Latin American poets, I would like to provide you with information about Gabriela Mistral.

Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957) was the pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat, and feminist who was the first Latin American (and, so far, the only Latin American woman) to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. Some central themes in her poems are nature, betrayal, love, a mother’s love, sorrow and recovery, travel, and Latin American identity as formed from a mixture of Native American and European influences. Her portrait also appears on the 5,000 Chilean peso bank note.

Although I am not a huge fan of hers, I have a favourite poem, which is:

Decalogue Of The Artist

I. You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God
over the Universe.

II.There is no godless art. Although you love not the
Creator, you shall bear witness to Him creating His likeness.

III.You shall create beauty not to excite the senses
but to give sustenance to the soul.

IV. You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury
and vanity but as a spiritual devotion.

V. You shall not seek beauty at carnival or fair
or offer your work there, for beauty is virginal
and is not to be found at carnival or fair.

VI. Beauty shall rise from your heart in song,
and you shall be the first to be purified.

VII.The beauty you create shall be known
as compassion and shall console the hearts of men.

VIII.You shall bring forth your work as a mother
brings forth her child: out of the blood of your heart.

IX. Beauty shall not be an opiate that puts you
to sleep but a strong wine that fires you to action,
for if you fail to be a true man or a true woman,
you will fail to be an artist.

X. Each act of creation shall leave you humble,
for it is never as great as your dream and always
inferior to that most marvelous dream of God
which is Nature.

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Octavio Paz

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Octavio Paz is an another representative of the Latin American poets.

He was born in Mexico City in 1914 to a family of Spanish and native Mexican descent and was educated at the National University of Mexico in law and literature. Under the encouragement of Pablo Neruda, Paz began his poetic career in his teens by founding an avant-garde literary magazine, Barandal, and publishing his first book of poems, Luna silvestre(1933). In his youth, Paz spent time in the United States and Spain, where he was influenced by the modernist and surrealist movements. His sequence of prose poems, Aguila o sol? (Eagle or Sun?, 1951) is a visionary mapping of Mexico, its past, present, and future, and Piedra de Sol (Sun Stone, 1957) borrows its structure from the Aztec calendar. This long poem, and Paz’s sociocultural analysis of Mexico, El laberinto de la soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude, 1950), established him as a major literary figure in the 1950s. In 1962, he became Mexico’s ambassador to India and resigned six years later in protest when government forces massacred student demonstrators in Mexico City.

His later work shows an ever-deepening intelligence and complexity as it investigates the intersection of philosophy, religion, art, politics, and the role of the individual. “Wouldn’t it be better to turn life into poetry rather than to make poetry from life,” Paz asks. “And cannot poetry have as its primary objective, rather than the creation of poems, the creation of poetic moments?” His various collections of essays engage culture, linguistics, literary theory, history, and politics with a level of originality and erudition that is unrivaled; these and his poems form a breadth of work that expresses, in the words of Carlos Fuentes, “the existence of a plurality of possibilities for harmony and truth, outside the limited range of our inherited dogmas.” He was awarded the Cervantes Award in 1981, the Neustadt Prize in 1982, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. Paz died in 1998.

Source: Poets.org

And now that you are acquaint with Paz’s biography let me show you one of my favourite poems:

Octavio-Paz-Quotes-2

Brotherhood

I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.

If you liked it, here’s another one:

No More Clichés

Beautiful face
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.

Enchanting smile
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.

How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion
To you manufacture fantasy.

But today I won’t make one more Cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.

This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not on their fabricated looks.

This poem is to you women,
That like a Shahrazade wake up
Everyday with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passions aroused by a new day
Battle for the neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.

Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.

From now on, my head won’t look down to a magazine
Rather, it will contemplate the night
And its bright stars,
And so, no more clichés.

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Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda
Let me start a series of posts about Latin American poets. Firstly, I would like to direct your attention at Pablo Neruda.

Pablo Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Neruda became known as a poet while still a teenager. He wrote in a variety of styles including surrealist poems, historical epics, overtly political manifestos, a prose autobiography, and erotically-charged love poems such as the ones in his 1924 collection Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. He often wrote in green ink, which was his personal symbol for desire and hope.

And because words are vague when there is no proof behind them I will post a poem of his:

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

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FREDERIC CHOPIN – NOCTURNES complete

Suddenly I realized that I like every piece of music which has the word “nocturne” in its title. Alongside Chopin Mozart, John Field, Gabriel Fauré, Alexander Scriabin, Erik Satie, Francis Poulenc, as well as Peter Sculthorpe and of course many others composed numerous nocturnes over time. What provoked me to post this is actually an anecdote which involves Chopin and Liszt: Liszt was playing one of Chopin’s nocturnes and was improvizing according to the tradition of that time. However, Chopin did not like seeing his work altered. Then he challenged Liszt by improvizing for hours in the dark of the night without being able to see the keys of the piano. Afterwards Liszt was struck and he embraced Chopin by saying that his friend was a true poet, whilst he himself was an equilibrist. I found this story particularly interesting, so I decided to brief you about it.

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Hello!

So, guys, first of all hello. I was thinking quite a while what my first post will be about. Finally, I decided to start with a quotation by Pablo Picasso: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”. In my opinion it represents perfectly all the functions that I assigned to this blog. Browse to find what I mean!

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