Juana de América

The task I am facing today is so difficult I barely even know how to start. Could you chose a single poet?  Bear in mind, dear reader, that I am not actually choosing. I am only giving an example. And my heart is, yet, all the same devastated.

I chose this particular poet because of two reasons. The first one is that she is Uruguayan (as am I), and Uruguay is such a small country that, despite having the most wonderful poets, they are barely known – and you deserve to know them. Second, it is because she is a woman. Woman are so wonderfully smart and had been so historically conditioned to be more in touch with their emotional side, that I still amazes me that we have so few renown female poets. I would write this blog post about Sappho for all that I know, if it wasn’t for my choice number #1: representing my little country. (Also, even though we are not being taught about them, there are thousands of amazing female poets everywhere).

Moving on, you must meet Juana de Ibarbourou! She was born in Melo, Uruguay in 1892, and married Lucas Ibarbourou at 20, from whom she kept the surname. Her writing style was strongly influenced by modernism, and touched topics such as maternity, beauty, nature, eroticism and, most importantly, her own thoughts in relation to her feelings and emotions; specially on her first books: Las lenguas de diamante (1919), El cántaro fresco (1920) and Raíz salvaje (1922). In 1929 she was proclaimed “Juana de America”, ceremony in which she was giving a ring symbolizing her union with the continent. In her futher poems, she moved closer to a more intimate and less modernist style with La rosa de los vientos (1930), getting closer to surrealism. Amongst others, she published Perdida (1950), Azor (1953) y Romances del destino (1955).[1] In 1947 she was chosen for a seat on the Academia Nacional de Letras. In 1950, she was chosen president of the Sociedad Uruguaya de Escritores. She was rewarded by Madrid’s Instituto de Cultura Hispánica in 1955 and the Gran Premio Nacional de Literatura on its very first edition in 1959. After her dead in 1979, she was buried with honors by the State, being the first woman in Uruguay to be awarded such distinction. [2]

I will now let you evaluate the magnificence of her poetry by yourself, with one of the poems I like the most and with which I feel the most identified.

La inquietud fugaz

He mordido manzanas y he besado tus labios.juana_web1
Me he abrazado a los pinos olorosos y negros.
Hundí, inquieta, mis manos en el agua que corre.

He huroneado en la selva milenaria de cedros
que cruza la pradera como una serpie grave,
y he corrido por todos los pedrosos caminos
que ciñen como fajas la ventruda montaña.

¡Oh amado, no te irrites por mi inquietud sin tregua!
¡Oh amado, no me riñas porque cante y me ría!
Ha de llegar un día en que he de estarme quieta,
¡ay, por siempre, por siempre!
con las manos cruzadas y apagados los ojos;
con los oídos sordos y con la boca muda,
y los pies andariegos en reposo perpetuo
sobre la tierra negra.
¡Y estará roto el vaso de cristal de mi risa
En la grieta obstinada de mis labios cerrados!

Entonces, aunque digas: -¡Anda!, ya no andaré.
Y aunque me digas: -¡Canta!, no volveré a cantar.
Me iré desmenuzando en quietud y en silencio
bajo la tierra negra,
mientras encima mío se oirá zumbar la vida
como una abeja ebria.

¡Oh, déjame que guste el dulzor del momento
fugitivo e inquieto!

¡Oh, deja que la rosa desnuda de mi boca
se te oprima a los labios!

Después será ceniza sobre la tierra negra.



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