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José Jacinto Milanés, the necessary reunion

Gloria Machado León 23 noviembre, 2017

Milanés embodies, if it can be said so, the absolute «matanceridad» (…). In many of Milanes’ verses (…) behind the idyllic tone, there is a fixed idea, an obsession: the obsession with purity, which is, of course, the obsession with impurity. … the poetry of the pure, of the virginal and idyllic, is the invincible gift of the obsessed Milanés, the seal of his provincial and paradisiacal candor.

Cintio Vitier

José Jacinto Milanés came to this world with a star that soon went out, although it took no more than 49 years to prove the excellence of an extraordinary man who after more than two centuries of his birth still illuminates the Cuban literary trail.

Currently the bard is remembered in Matanzas, hoping that his legacy will be revitalized and thus offer the poet of idyllic tortures a modest tribute for a life dedicated to the most sublime mysteries of this city.

Opinion tables, staging, reading spaces and debates formed the program of the José Jacinto Milanés National Prize, in the city of Matanzas. Convened in the categories of theater for adults and poetry, the meeting recognized the importance of the youngest exponents of dramaturgy and literature in Cuba.

The work No mirarás,  by Roberto Viña, highlighted by the unique way of focusing on today’s Cuban society, as appreciated Yunior García and Rafael González, members of the theater jury.

«The text is based on an investigation that I developed some time ago for a trilogy that focuses on the issue of fraternal relations on an important population sector in Cuba, the elderly.

«This is precisely the first completed piece that tries to expose these problems, but that later will assume different anecdotal and fabular paths. It represents a prize that has a won prestige, of great relevance in the national context, even more for paying tribute to a great Cuban poet, José Jacinto Milanés. «

In poetry deserved the approval of the court Edurman Mariño Cuenca Holguin for his book De cúbito supino. «The quality of the 19 poems of the country presented this year was taken into account.

«In the case of the winner, it is a proposal with a high aesthetic treatment, which earned him such recognition because it is an excellent and refreshing text in the way of counting, with some personal pains of the commons and newspapers that make it a great poetry, «said Maylan Álvarez, poet and member of the selection jury.

During the award ceremony, the winning books of the José Jacinto Milanés Prize 2016: Todos los hierros by Sigfredo Ariel and Medea en el Jardín, by Rafael González were presented.

The table of opinion Dramaturgia cubana del siglo XXI: Poéticas, by Yunior García, Rafael González and Ulises Rodríguez Febles, also integrated the commemorations for the anniversary of the death of the Matanzas poet.

«I think a new edition of the Milanés Prize is very important because it is a way of remembering each year the date of the death of our poet and dramatist, to whom Matanzas and the history of theater and Cuban poetry owe him a lot.

«We had the opportunity to theorize, discuss, discuss and reflect on Cuban contemporary theater, its internal and external influences, the different poetics, the existing canons today and how specialists and authors see their future within the cultural panorama.

«It is an approach to the dramaturgies created by the new generations dialoguing with their antecedents that are essential and essential to understand today and understand the future,» said Ulises Rodríguez Febles, playwright and director of the House of Scenic Memory.

About the meeting the poet José Manuel Espino referred to the newest as a generation in constant search for dirty realism, unconventional expressions, possessing a superior maturity and a powerful awareness of his subversive writing, heir and at the same time reforming the canons of the national theater.

Yunior García explained that it is absurd to limit the playwrights to temporary spaces, those of today dialogue with the masters of an art, cataloged by him as the most outspoken of all. «Towards there precisely our work is focused and we continue searching, because ours is a generation that has not yet been found, because it has understood that the interesting thing is to continue investigating to find its seal, its individual poetic,» he added.

Yadiel Durán’s choreographic theater and Teatro de Las Estaciones, under the direction of Rubén Darío Salazar, took up the work Cuatro, aproximaciones a personalidades de la cultura cubana,  a staging applauded by the specialized critics and by the public attending the hall Pepe Camejo since its premiere, in January of this year. The show constitutes a song to the Homeland, from the realities and existential problems of essential figures such as Rita Montaner, Haydée Santamaría, Ernesto Lecuona and Milanés himself.

Sponsored by the Union of Writers and Artists in Matanzas, the Provincial Directorate of Culture, the Provincial Center for Books and Literature, the House of Scenic Memory and the House of Letters Digdora Alonso, the meeting is committed to keeping alive the spirit of José Jacinto, from the renewed poetics of the youngest artists, esteemed the poet and playwright José Manuel Espino.

«Milanés is the Matanzas myth that has lasted the longest and Matanzas is a city that feeds on its legends. There is a rich tradition of poets who have opted for that melancholy image, that withdrawal, that distance and nostalgia that are very noticeable in poetry not so contemporary and the last one that has been written in Matanzas.

«In dramaturgy it also happens because you have to value Milanés as the complete intellectual he was. In this field, this city sees changes all the time, a characteristic that also marked the work of Milanés in the theater. This is a city that, despite not stopping, continues with a look of estrangement, very particular emotion and a romanticism that has marked us to the Matanzas.

«Welcome then and always Don José Jacinto and it’s good to leave a rose and that rose is the thought of Matanzas intellectuals around his work.»

The José Jacinto Milanés Prize allows each year to revisit the invaluable legacy of the romantic Matanzas, even though his exquisite work is an enriching perennial heap in Cuban culture, said Rodríguez Febles.

His influence as the author of Cuba’s first anti-monarchical work,El Conde Alarcos y El negro alzado,the first anti-slavery poem in Cuban literature, enhances its imprint to the levels where patriotism also played a decisive role in the repercussion it reached and with which transcended his time to perpetuate itself in Cuban letters.

«It’s incredible because, even though we have made his facet as romantic and more visible, and somehow the compass has been lost on his work, at all times he reaffirms himself as a poet who explored social areas of his time that he questioned as nobody .

«He spoke about social movement, racial discrimination, prostitution, complex issues to address in all contexts, but especially in that time. It subverted what was expected of the poet’s image in the distance that we have stopped. He went much further.

«In his theater he includes very specific movements that transcend that ethereal being to show us his inspiring Cubanness. That identity is what he defends in his works and is remarkable in them. Only that Matanzas loves his legend and it is difficult to move that image that has been perpetuated in the tradition.

«He was a man perfomancer for his personality and his work and knew how to create a devotion for the exquisite work of the word from the perspective of breaking with the conventional when entering into disturbing areas and that also seduces us, so the call is to rescue that facet less known of the poet. This is another of the challenges of UNEAC when celebrating the José Jacinto Milanés Prize. »

Perhaps because of the persistent subtlety of the inveterate romantics, Milanés returns like a Phoenix that is reborn in its ashes, hoping that this time his spirit will not abandon us and his soul in love will wander eternally, watching, on the bridge, to this deliciously relentless city that gave him and took everything.

 

Original text by on Nov 23erd, 2017

 

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