«My poetry is for the poor»: Ernesto Cardenal said

After recognizing that poetry does not sprout spontaneously but instead achieves it with «a lot of work and dedication», in the tribute paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs he added that if his poetry is great it is for extraliterary reasons such as the search for justice. «My poetry is not great, in any case, or if it is, it is of a small greatness, I mean relative and it is for extraliterary reasons: for the issues it deals with ordinarily, that it is for the poor and for social justice, to improve the world. We are gathered here against extremism and against hate», he said.

In the framework of the meeting «Mexico in the face of extremism», the poet said that the only valid extremism is one that demands democracy and positions itself against hate: «I am not an extremist, demanding democracy is not extremism or is a valid extremism, and as for hate I have a God that is that of Jesus, that is love. I can say, then, that I hate hate and love love». During the tribute to the poet Ernesto Cardenal, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón requested an encounter with the region, «in a world that begins to be organized by mutual hatreds».

He explained that the «Look South» initiative emerged from the endless exclusions in which political coexistence is currently organized, starting with the white supremacism of the United States, «against all logic, our generation did not think we were going to return to political racism. It seems that this is the new geography, they are not even ideologies, but it is to see who hates more together or how we do so that others leave, as if history were elliptical and repeated, as if we forgot so many things that mankind has passed».

To the «rescue» of Central American literature

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the Central American Literature Library initiative, which is part of the «Look South» cultural program, which in 2020 will seek to «rescue» classic Central American authors whose books have stopped printing in their countries of origin, and therefore it is harder to find them again. To achieve this, it is intended to distribute for free 5 thousand copies of five Central American authors in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, and El Salvador through Mexican embassies, with the idea that they reach public institutions, such as libraries and schools.

In Mexico, a thousand books will be sold in commercial bookstores but at low prices, that is, less than 100 pesos; this collection will also be distributed through the General Directorate of Libraries of the Ministry of Culture in schools and community libraries. The objective is to produce a similar circulation every year but from different authors. «It is a literature that does not circulate, that we do not know here in Mexico and in Central America, they do not know each other. It is very important to allow the circulation of quality books, of very famous authors that everyone says ‘yes we know them’ but nobody has read them so much. In Central America there are not so many publishers that really produce them», said Philippe Ollé-Laprune, editorial coordinator in an interview.

By 2020, the collection will consist of five titles: the novel «Poor poet I was», by Roque Dalton; «Luna Park and other poems», by Luis Cardoza Aragón; «The Lone Insurrection», by Carlos Martínez Rivas; «Bananas and men & other texts», by Carmen Lyra; and the anthology «Poems, stories and essays» by Juan Ramón Molina. Subsequently, two other collections will be presented, the Mesoamerican Literature Library, and the Cuban and Caribbean Literature Library, which will be co-edited with the Cervantes Institute of Spain, as part of a cultural effort to generate new cultural actions from Mexico to Latin America since in January Mexico will assume the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. «The time has come to look south, to continue looking north for our migrants but also to the south because from events like ‘eat and go’ we leave the region», said Enrique Márquez, executive director of the Cultural Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

With information from: https://www.eluniversal.com.mx

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