Sunday, October 30, 2005
CARLOS MARTINEZ RIVAS
Here's a poet to discover: Carlos Martinez Rivas. Considered by many to be the greatest Nicaraguan poet since Ruben Dario -- although others would contend
Pablo Antonio Cuadra would better deserve that description -- he only published one book in his relatively long life, a staggering masterpiece called La insurreccion solitaria, which would translate as The Solitary Insurrection (published in 1953, republished with additions in 1973 and 82). Critics compared him to Octavio Paz and Charles Baudelaire, he won international recognition, and when he died, was given a
state funeral. Just on the strength of that one book. (Talk about a different culture than this one...)
So happens he was a friend/mentor of Francisco Santos, who describes to me unforgettable meetings he had with him at a certain bar named "Buenos Aires" in Aranjuez, Costa Rica, where Francisco stayed for a time after the earthquake leveled Managua in 1972.
Francisco describes him as a flaming genius, the greatest poet he ever met.
It seems that Mr. Rivas left behind him over a thousand unpublished poems, the vast majority of which have not yet seen the light of day. The reason for his non publication? According to this bio, he had an almost pathological fear of errata -- and anticipated public rejection. After last week's experience, I can relate. (At least to the errata part... well, rejection smarts too!)