Post by AquarianM on Mar 16, 2006 at 1:41amSoul Of A Poet And Patriot...
I would like you to meet Senor Jose Marti' -
A man of strange times with new verse in his plumes,
A vision of what could be cut down by what was.
Nineteenth century innovations and hope run up against greed,
A never-ending story that repeats in even this century,
Still his words rang true and he prayed for America.
Born in a nation destined to be shunned by it's neighbor,
Fighting and writing for the independence of his homeland,
Penning innovative words of love and life.
A ghost from a hundred years ago,
Cuban native and US immigrant,
If we shall repeat his history...
Perhaps we should remember his soul.
By: Daniel A. Stafford
José Martí (1853-1895)
Cuban poet, essayist and journalist, who became the symbol of Cuba's struggle for independence from Spain and who promoted better understanding among American nations. "No man has any special right because he belongs to any specific race; just by saying the word man, we have already said all the rights." Martí's three major collections of poems were Ismaelillo (1882), Versos sencillos (1891), and Versos libres, written in the 1880s, but published posthumously in 1913. In his most famous political poem, 'Sueño con claustros de mármol', he takes the reader in his dream world, in which sculptures of dead heroes come alive:
José Martí was born in Havana, the son of a soldier of the Spanish garrison who retired to become a watchman. The educational reformer Rafael María Mendive (1821-1886) persuaded Martí's father to allow him to study at secondary school. He attended the Instituto de Havana (1866-69), and worked on the underground periodicals El Diablo Cojuelo and La Patria Libre. At the age of sixteen Martí was arrested for subversion and sentenced to six years' hard labor in a chain gang. After a year he was exiled to Spain, where he studied at the University of Madrid (1873) and University of Saragosa, receiving a degree in law in 1873, and a year later a degree in philosophy and letters. In Spain he published El presidio de Cuba in 1871.
Between 1874 and his death, Martí was in Cuba three times, once under a false name. "The truth is, Fermin, that I no longer live except for my land," he wrote to his friend Fermín Valdés, "but a thousand times I hold back what love for her demands so that it does not seem that I do it out of self-interest or to win renown." In 1875 Martí moved to Mexico and wrote for Revista Universal. He then taught literature and philosophy at the University of Guatemala and returned to Cuba where he worked in a law office. In 1879 he was again deported to Spain.
Because of his political activities, Martí was unwelcome to many countries. In 1881 he moved to New York City, where he worked as an editor, journalist or foreign correspondent for several magazines, including the New York Sun, El Partido Liberal, La Opinión Nacional, La Nación, La República, El Economista Americano, and La Opinión Pública. Martí also served as consul for Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina, and was a Spanish teacher at Central High School. Martí's most influential collection of poems from his mature period, Versos sencillos (1891), was produced during a particularly difficult period in his life. For years he had lived apart from his wife, Carmen Zayas Bazán, and his son José. The couple separated after Carmen briefly visited New York in 1890. Since 1880 Martí had been romantically entangled with Carmen Mantilla, a married woman. Carmita's daughter María is the protagonist of several "versos sencillos."