All posts tagged “Ruben Dario

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Pay attention to the poet

Nicaraguan Folk Art by Carmen Garcia

One of the intriguing and endearing things I’d heard about Nicaragua before I visited last year was that the country thinks rather highly of its poets. I wondered if this devotion was rooted in a desire to escape the hardship of life in a poor, war-torn nation, or whether poetry was a way to make sense of it all. Or maybe a bit of both?

Recently I stumbled upon an article by Adriana Bianco in Américas, the magazine of the Organization of American States, about Nicaragua and its most famous poet, Rubén Darío. A snippet:

In some ways, Darío was a literary liberator. He was the creator of a new aesthetic, full of musicality, metaphors, and philosophy, with new vocabulary and versification. He wrote about love, nature, religion, and history. He evoked a world of classic antiquity alongside an indigenous world. He highlighted wealth and preciosismo—frivolous emphasis on adornment and refinement—but his verses also spoke of the profound and the essential. He was aware of the social and economic changes moving Latin America towards modernity; he recognized the advances of science and technology; he hailed progress and democracy; and he knew how to integrate European and American cultures. Dario also built bridges between nations and supported the ideal of Central American unity.

It reminds me of a Bruce Cockburn lyric: “Pay attention to the poet / you need him and you know it.” Poets may sometimes seem frivolous, but they can sometimes also be more powerful than weapons of war. There’s been recent evidence of that in Mexico and Texas. I think Rubén Darío would be proud.