Monday, 8 October 2007

Rene Ariza, Cuban poet (RIP)

He was a very good poet, also quite mad by all standards; full of joy at times and deeply depressed at others.
In 1967 he was awarded a national prize and hailed as a bright new playwright by the Fidel Castro regime. But when he decided to speak freely and changed his tune, and criticized the government, they threw him in jail where he spent seven years accused of being a counter-revolutionary parasite. He was taken from jail and put aboard a boat bound for Miami in the 1979 before the exodus of Mariel. There he went a bit crazy while searching for his piece of the American Dream.
He died in 1994 in San Francisco.

1 comment:

Ricardo Camara said...

I knew Rene. He was my roomate for a while. He was mad by most standards, but not all. He was a natural observer and critic/artist/healer. I was young when I met him as a newly arrived political prisoner release in Miami. For me he was a teacher, friend, and fellow spiritual seeker. The baggage he carried made him repository of all human experience, especially the painful conflicted human experience. He was an expert at representing in a most humane and compassionate way our selfishness and complexities. He was an artist in the truest sense of the word. Most definitely a Cuban artist. His only purpose was to show us a mirror to ourselves, and he did it in the most imaginative and amazing ways.