lunes, 19 de julio de 2010

Dulce Maria Loynaz’s home


The Dulce Maria Loynaz Cultural Center, as it has been known since February 5, 2005, was the home of the famous Cuban writer, has been reconverted into a place to use for literary gatherings as previously held there by illustrious men and women in centuries past.

Dulce Maria Loynaz, is one of the most relevant figures of Cuban letters and her name now occupies one of the leading places in Spanish American poetry, life president of the Cuban Academy of Language. This ultimate homage in life she received in the portal of her home, awarded by the Spanish embassy one month before her final departure.

Not because of this event but because of her contribution to ennoble the Spanish language, Dulce María was also an ambassador of Spain in America; she also represented Cuba and was a worthy representative of the Spanish culture.

A great part of her work was carried out in her home, where she lived her last days and which was often a meeting place for outstanding artists and writers of Cuba and the world.

The warm and friendly building, now site of the Cuban Academy of Language, is a glorious representation of the eclectic architecture of her time and forms part of the complex of great mansions in the former aristocratic zone of Vedado, a neighborhood in Havana.

The mansion also has a museum area, containing valuable souvenirs of the historic and mystical memory and very dear objects of the author of “Garden” (Jardín). It also contains many precious objects that belonged to the outstanding Cuban family. Also there are heirlooms and decorations received by the poet during her fruitful life, among them the Cervantes Award, the National Literature Award and the Order of Alfonso X, El Sabio.

The number one collection of articles on Dulce María Loynaz’s work is the work of Pedro Simón. The writer’s private archives are very valuable, replete with a countless richness of documents (books, booklets, magazines, newspapers…)

As a poet, she won without even noticing, the hardest of awards. She gave great prestige to the Belle Lettres of the hemisphere, an absolute master of the profession she represented. More than once she gave real evidence that. One example is the Journalist Prize she received in Spain in 1991for ‘The Queen’s last rosary,’ about Queen Isabel la Catolica.

Almost at the end of her days, Dulce María Loynaz was lucid and agile of mind, though fragile of health and almost blind. She used to say: “it is terrible and too hard having to give up reading and emotions. It is just like living in a well without a bottom”. And added; “Now I understand the Argentinean writer, Jorge Luis Borges! Not being able to see is a curse for anyone, but much more so for a writer or someone fond of reading.”

In 1987, she donated her personal library to the city of Pinar del Río, in gratitude for the interest of numerous groups of youngsters there in the work of the Loynaz family.

Today, the library now keeps all the furniture arranged as it was in the poet’s home, it has unique examples that serve as a reference to readers of the city and keeps secrets of a linage that goes beyond the limits of time, bound for ever to the Western most province of the island.

Dulce María Loynaz was born in Havana on December 10, 1902 and died in her beloved city on April 27, 1997.

Her personal history is part of the island’s heritage. Dulce María represented with her ceremonious and authentic image, the last member of a prestigious Cuban family; that of General of the Liberation Army, Enrique Loynaz del Castillo, a Cuban hero, There were four Loynaz children: Flor, Enrique, Carlos Manuel and Dulce María.

The beautiful mansion of the Loynaz family in Havana was always a place that welcomed the Spanish writers who came to Cuba: García Lorca, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Alberti, Luis Rosales and so many others. Federico García Lorca exchanged correspondence with Attorney Enrique who was also a poet all through the ’20s. The mixture of decadence and extravagance fascinated Federico who was a close friend of Flor and Carlos Manuel. Lorca dedicated his drama The Public ( El Público) to Carlos and to her sister Flor he left an original of Yerma.

Great things can be said about Dulce María Loynaz, but nothing too high-flown or motley for someone who was so modest like water and so transparent like her own poetry.

In one of the poems dedicated to her homeland, there are the well known verses in which she requests a petition for eternity: My island, fragrant island, island of flowers: have me for ever, rock me for ever, pluck one by one all my flights. And keep the last one for me, under a pile of sun bleached sand. …on the shore of the gulf perennial birthplace of hurricanes!

In her verses, she breathes love for all around her, Cuba and Cubanism.

Dulce María Loynaz has not gone. She is in her work, which is her true self. Dulce María is alive and remains there, close to us all, in the waters, in the island, in simplicity, in beauty, in all things loved, and above all in her home, with her lovely garden planted with trees and plants creating an exuberant tropical garden, today a part of Havana’s Cultural Heritage.

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