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 In Virgilio Piñera's 95 Birthday

Irreverent, ironic, iconoclast... several Ies to qualify the most important playwright ever seen by the Cuban theater in all its history and that in August would have had 95 years old.

Although in this as in many other things, to my mind comes a phrase of Marti, about the death and lifework... because nobody who has left such a deep mark, like the author of Electra Garrigo and Cold Air, can die.

He, like his verses, takes the "Island Lifted", from the unrepeatable support and unique scenario, which occupied his nights and days and to which he was committed with true passion, like he also did with his stories and novels, to bequeath one of those foundational works inside our collective imaginary, essential when speaking, in secrecy, of the cultural identity.

Extraordinary man, foreign to chapels and tendencies, consequent with his life and writing, he bequeathed to us the lesson of his teaching from a poetic a very personal, not tied the tions or the circumstances of the fashion, always illuminated by his reflexive capacity, not free from sarcasm, or mocking, even when he treads on the paths of the theater of absurdity.

Faithful to himself, coherent and emotional, subjective to the core, this is how it was this son of Cardenas who knew how to see, like few, that islander sense which is our space, prisoners of the sea, as every child of the islands.

Born from a very humble, but willful family, he grew to undergo his university studies with free registration and claim his existence since his inclusion in that now customary anthology The Cuban Poetry in 1936 which we owe to the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jimenez, where Virgilio appears with his poem The Silent Scream.

Feared by his enemies and even by his friends for his mordacity, Virgilio Piñera transcends the human finite nature, thanks to his work and he becomes classic of Cuban literature, as demonstrated in his poetry since those first verses, published in Espuela de Plata (Spur of Silver) magazine (1939-1941) which José Lezama Lima directed, like in Verbum and Nadie parecia, antecedents of Origenes Magazine (1944-1956).

Electra Garrigo was the great boost, since his reprise of a Greek tragedy, to locate a reading from his essential Cuban identity. As he would also express in the essay, with his texts on Emilio Ballagas and Lezama Lima himself.

But it was his long poem The Island Lifted, which puts him inside the panorama of the Cuban lyrical of the XX century, breaking up schemes and formulas, vehement defender as he always was of his own aesthetics.

Buenos Aires would be another of his spaces, for the process of his literary creation and there he publishes his novel Renés Flesh, like the stories of his Cold Stories and he begins to write another novel, Little Manoeuvres, while in the emblematic Sur (South) are published his stories The Flesh, The Fall and The Hell.

At the triumph of the Revolution, Virgilio took over journalism and he was columnist and critic in the newspaper Revolución (Revolution) and in its supplement Lunes de Revolución (Monday of Revolution). And he directs the project Ediciones R (Editions R), thanks to which appears the first issue of his Complete Theater.

Different media like the theater, television, and the editorial world will carry the mark of this man who only lived seven decades. He received for his work Two Ancient Panics, also the Casa de las Americas Prize, as well as later, from the virtual anonimity, he gave us another lesson of his culture, his work as translator in the Book Institute.

Source: By Uriel Medina, CubaSi

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