Thursday, December 29, 2011

Neither a Poet or a Cuban / Luis Felipe Rojas

Neither a Poet or a Cuban / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.

It is the determination of the literary colonels of the Cuban Book
Institute. Five years ago, they officially ceased inviting me to
artistic events, competitions, and public readings. An edict, coming
from the ditches of Villa Marista and aimed at cultural institutes, has
automatically excluded me from any sort of intellectual debate. Still,
to this day, no one has showed me an official document which prohibits
cultural promoters from including me in the learned spaces of my
generation. I know it is just a whisper, a card slid under the table.
There a dozens of my friends and acquaintances which have already been
visited by the "colleagues of Security". Almost none of them have been
tactically pressured, but they consider the warnings to be like yellow
cards, and just like in soccer, some have challenged the referee and
have reached for the red card.

The latest beauty of the list of prohibitions is that of "The Island in
Verses: 100 Cuban Poets", published by La Luz, 2011. Each anthology is
an authoritarian exercise, I know. In just an instant, I have been left
out of hundreds of bards which one day I believed I was part of. Luis
Yussef and Yanier Echavarria have understood, for the good of their
poetic discrimination, that despite the fact that I was born after 1970
and before 1988, I do not count with sufficient literary quality to be
ranked in the list. I would say, in reference to the host Jorge Luis
Sanchez Gras, that I am not a third world poet in the era of
postmodernism. I am not, according to the violation of the Hermanos
Sainz Association, a human being who seeks change and not utopia.

However, it would not be just to say that- marginalization aside- I do
not enjoy the selection which did make it to the list. Among those 100
Cuban poets which I can say are part of my generation, are some which
kept me up at night reading, those which I applauded during an afternoon
of youth in the Gulf of Guacanayabo or under the shades of an Eastern
beach. Though I keep writing in isolation from San German and hover
through the city of Holguin like a ghost, I still celebrate my mention
in the other anthology: the one which includes the excluded and
marginalized. The ones who have been prohibited from publishing in our
own country- Cuba- are more than a hundred and if we count those around
the world, maybe even thousands.

As a writer and a mutilated artist (because of a military decree), I
have no other option but to continue writing for me. There is no editor
waiting for me. I have all the time in the world, even to read the
island 'one verse at a time'.

Translated by Raul G.

27 December 2011

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