The work of Cuban poet Gaston Baquero has been largely unavailable. Now, thanks to translators Greg Simon and Steven White, we have a rich sampling that will provide English speakers a powerful display of Baquero's high-velocity lyricism. Playful, sinuous with both gladness and duende, these poems speak profoundly of the spirit's essential freedom and mystery, and of what it meant to be human in the twentieth century. Born in Banes, Cuba, in 1918, Gaston Baquero was raised in rural poverty and trained as an agronomist before becoming a journalist. He was involved in all the most important Cuban literary journals of the mid-century, including Origenes. He left Cuba immediately after the revolution of 1959, spending the rest of his life in Spain, where he died in 1997. Baquero published numerous essays and eight collections of poetry. Although officially nonexistent in Cuba for many years, his work is widely known there, and he was recently officially acknowledged as one of the country's major poets.
Born in Banes, Cuba, in 1918, GASTON BAQUERO was raised in rural poverty and trained as an agronomist before becoming a journalist. On reading his early work, critic Maria 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 Origenes, 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 Pio E. Serrano, Gaston 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.