EWU Title » Poetry in Translation
The Angel of Rain
Born in Banes, Cuba, in 1918, Gastón Baquero was raised in rural poverty and trained as an agronomist before becoming a journalist. On reading his early work, critic María Zambrano was struck by its "sumptuous sensuality." The poems were, she said, confirmation of how the "richness of life, the delirium of substance, can stand before the void." Baquero was active in all the major Cuban literary journals, including Orígenes, but left Cuba immediately after the revolution of 1959 to spend the rest of his life in Spain. He died in 1997, with several collections of essays and journalism to his credit, as well as eight volumes of poetry. Although he was officially nonexistent in Cuba for many years, his work was widely known there.
"Distant from all orthodoxy, suspicious of all univocal and exclusionary discourse," writes editor and fellow exile Pío E. Serrano, "Gastón Baquero has become the most influential poet of new generations of poets in Cuba. Younger writers have discovered a wall against intolerance in Baquero's discreet skepticism. Within him there was always the impassioned heartbeat of his land."
Gastón Baquero's poems are dazzling islands in the sea of contemporary literature: an archipelago of haunting images and music rising from the very depths of the language. "Dream of him as our gift to God," he writes of Federico García Lorca, the tutelary spirit of these poems, "bursting with laughter, verse, passion." The same holds for the dream named Gastón Baquero, who has the power to wake us from our torpor. The Angel of Rain, expertly translated by Greg Simon and Steven White, is a thing of wonder.
—Christopher Merrill, author of Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain
In Baquero's poems a hedonism of clarity, rather than a tumult of the senses, impels us to experience moments where idea, the senses, and feeling are simultaneous and equally vivid. He is a poet whose erudition is lucid and whose tropes are profoundly revealing of a passionate self. Baquero is the spokesman for an erstwhile civilized cubanidad that still teaches and inspires.
—Ricardo Pau-Llosa, author of The Mastery Impulse
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