As you read this, he will be studying in Buenos Aires and, with luck, translating more of said author's work. Now, there may be reasons for this. Mario Benedetti. He poses so his wife can snap a photo, then he imagines he is testing the acoustics and sends a message to his imprisoned comrades in Uruguay: “and that’s how I confirmed the acoustics were truly perfect / for my secret greetings were heard not just on the steps / but higher up in the air” as they crossed “the atlantic and my nostalgia / and slipped through the prison bars / like a clear dry breeze.”, The poet ironically experienced exile in a new and deeper way on returning to his native Uruguay in 1985. He was married to Luz López Alegre and Luz. Benedetti was privileged to see the Frente Amplio come to power in 2004, five years before his death in 2009. Contributors Mario Benedetti. No, one, except perhaps a few infected with the virus of envy and mediocrity, question the poetic stature, the narrative depth (La tregua, Montevideanos and Gracias por el fuego, among other titles) or the brilliance of the essays of Mario Benedetti, the writer from Uruguay, or better, Our America, whose life we celebrated September 14. Okay, so the last of these is not really what the novel is about, but ultimately there has to be something that drives you to the end of the book and here I felt Benedetti failed. REUTERS/Andres Stapff/Files. “Heaven” is an example of such work, in which Benedetti plays again with the celestial dogmas to make a political point and portray the Manichean world of Cold War Latin America. Mario Benedetti was no longer the same when he wrote his novel Andamios. of a marriage with very little emotion has left her wanting something He continues his rebellion in the name of beauty against this ugly world to the last pages in “Outdoor Poems”: that means the heart has opened its cage. With the publication of Witness, one can only hope that another great Uruguayan writer will now gain a larger audience in North America. He was in the vanguard of a whole generation of poets, most of them younger than he, who used their voices to denounce the wave of fascism the United States unleashed on the countries of Latin America. Exiled in the 1970s during the military coup – his participation in the leftwing coalition Frente Amplio made this a foregone conclusion – his work is also tied with the political and social struggles that the country had faced. Sign up for our NACLA Update for announcements, events, the latest articles, and more! This book brings together selections from a lifetime of work by the prolific and celebrated Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti, and it’s a volume well worth the effort that went into it. I was always certain that Mario Benedetti, revered as one of Uruguay’s finest novelists, a documentalist of the minutiae of Uruguayan life, of the quotidian, of the emotional landscape, would be a writer I would love. This dissertation analyzes Mario Benedetti's novel Primavera con una esquina rota (A Spring with a Broken Corner) with special attention to the subject of the political prisoner and the representation of the crisis that unfolded in Uruguay after the 1973 coup d'état. Sounds and Colours began its life in 2010. Originally published in 1984, Reflections on Exile captures Said’s and other intellectuals’ conditions of exile, as well as the implications of exile for those who experience it in the widespread modern condition of uprootedness. Springtime In A Broken Mirror and Who Among Us? It’s followed by Lucas’ own version of events, which is a Donate now. There are many witnesses to how exile changes people. Biography of Mario Benedetti (1920-2009) Uruguayan writer, born in passage of bulls (Tacuarembó, Uruguay) on September 14, 1920, and died on May 17, 2009 in Montevideo. A left-wing activist, Benedetti went into exile when the military came to power in Uruguay in 1973. He was a writer, known for The Truce (1974), Dale nomás (1974) and Pedro y el capitán (1984). Feminist poet, author, and activist Margaret Randall wrote the introduction, which offers an excellent biography and personal reminiscences of Benedetti. Mario Benedetti's quotes about love are a gift for the heart. As Randall points out in her introduction, “His early poems reveal a characteristically Uruguayan or, more accurately, rioplatense pessimism,” and this is particularly true in the often frustrating post–WWII years in Latin America leading up to the Cuban Revolution. Benedetti became politically active in 1949, organizing against Uruguayan military cooperation with the United States. told in a very round-about way, an overly-intellectual attempt at Shying away from the surrealism that fascinated Pablo Neruda and the magical realism of the so-called Latin American Boom writers like Gabriel García Márquez, Benedetti gave us simple work that eschews all labels. never quite knew why Alicia married him and not Lucas, and this has Political themes began to emerge in his poetry in the years leading up to the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and became a central concern thereafter. The emotions of the main characters rarely seemed to develop – with even Santiago’s admission of doing a terrible thing to one of his cousins, causing a little stir – and the final chapters felt numb, as if the situation of the characters was always going to be like this from the first moment to the last. – which like the other has been translated by Nick Caistor, and is the shortest of the two novels. A 1959 trip to New York, the city of “millions of jaws / all chewing their gum,” left Benedetti disillusioned with Western capitalism and hungry for the alternative that the Cuban Revolution offered. its characters. This Uruguayan writer and poet left us with his extensive work, always so full of values and social commitment. But ultimately, no matter how many ways I try to spin it, I can’t get away from the fact that these two books left me wanting more. The Mario Benedetti: Primavera con una esquina rota (Springtime in a Broken Mirror) Because of a world wide drop in demand for Uruguayan agricultural products in the late 1950s, the Uruguayan economy fared badly and standards of living dropped. As an old man who remained a faithful poet and revolutionary to the end, even in the painful last years of his life, he maintained that “maybe happiness is nothing more / than believing we believe the unbelievable.” And perhaps that is Benedetti’s lasting gift: His humane vision allows us to believe the unbelievable to be possible. Mario Benedetti, who has died aged 88, was the poet of that moment, becoming famous throughout Latin America for the direct style of his verses of love, anger, and resistance. I felt frustrated by the narrative arc and the building of the core story. Davis is interested in the problems language helps to overcome and to create. And again, it felt hard to impregnate the characters, Santiago somehow seeming detached from his life as a political prisoner (Benedetti failed to bring his isolation to life in ways that many other novelists have) and many passages, especially those from their daughter Beatriz (who seemed far too knowing and calculated to actually be a young girl) adding little in dramatic tension or narrative development. Book and CD offering an alternative guide to Argentine culture, focusing on marginalised movements and underground scenes. He was charismatic, impulsive, he offered Alicia intellectual nourishment, their conversations would become impassioned, often becoming heated. The North American Congress on Latin America is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. With the release of Springtime In A Broken Mirror and Who Among Us?, translated for the first time into English (by Penguin Modern Classics) this was my time to find out. I’ve always had a soft spot for Uruguay. NACLA | c/o NYU CLACS, 53 WASHINGTON SQ. He died on May 17, 2009 in Montevideo, Uruguay. But he came of age in … Between 1938 and 1941 he lived in Buenos Aires almost continuously. taking seven pages of the book, it does little other than address In “Che,” he writes of his hero that “they have turned him into consumer goods” and used “him as a postscript,” but this is a conclusion Benedetti is unwilling to accept. haunted him ever since, to the point that he’s now pushing Alicia uses an unconventional way of It is deeply sorrowful and joyous at the same time, a poetry with the heart of flamenco and the elegance of tango, but transcending both in its concern with the universal plight of humanity, even as it is proudly rooted in the Latin American continent. Photo by Elisa Cabot. For 12 years, from 1973 to 1985, when a civic-military dictatorship ruled Uruguay, Benedetti lived in exile. Chapters alternate between his turmoil from behind bars, the thoughts of his wife Graciela who has slowly become distant from Santiago and fallen in love with Rolando (Santiago’s best friend), the thoughts of Santiago’s father as he tries to deal with knowing about Graciela and Rolando, the more innocent thoughts of their daughter Beatriz, and other passages that tell about this affair, as well as the stories of exiles. BORN: 1920, Paso de los Toros, Tacuarembó, Uruguay NATIONALITY: Uruguayan, Hispanic American GENRE: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry MAJOR WORKS: Montevideanos (1959) Office Poems (1968) Death and Other Surprises (1968) Juan Angel's Birthday (1971) The Exile … Benedetti … known as Mario Benedetti, was an Uruguayan journalist, novelist, and poet.. Each of the short chapters focuses on one of a small cast of characters in turn (including the Author, or at least someone who we might take to be the author), providing a multi-faceted view of the events in the novel. Mario Benedetti, Writer: La tregua. His experience and its effect on him are glimpsed in autobiographical snapshots interspersed through the narrative of Springtime In A Broken Mirror , a spare but deeply felt book about the effect of imprisonment and exile on a family. Back then it was a simple blog looking at underground culture in South America. In this period the poet describes having lost his “core like a slow-running clock,” doubtlessly resulting from life in the working-class world where—he writes in the poem “Payday”—“they pay me, of course, at the end of each month / for keeping their books up to date / and letting life go by, / one drop at a time / like rancid oil.” In these poems, Benedetti confronts the problem of the man-made inhumane world, which he would later dedicate his life to fighting, yet here only expressed in the ennui, the desperate sense of helplessness before a system designed to extinguish every “drop” of humanity in favor of numbers in a ledger (or now, a computer). This novel does, for example, have some sort of a plot but it certainly is not plot-driven. When he was four years old his family moved to Montevideo. He was married to Luz López Alegre and Luz. Benedetti was born in 1920 in rural Paso de los Toros, Uruguay, to a well-to-do family of Italian immigrants. In this poem, Benedetti calls out the names of those imprisoned by the Uruguayan dictatorship and imagines himself slip “through the iron bars / and leave here and there / right by their bruises / or on their spoons / a few crumbs of respect / a shared silence / and grateful thanks for their existence.”, Benedetti shared the anguish of exile for 12 years (1973–85), along with thousands of other Latin American revolutionaries, poets, artists, and intellectuals, and some of his most beautiful poetry comes out of the pain of one torn from home and left to wander the world. Mario Benedetti Farrugia was born in 1920 into an Italian immigrant family in the cattle town of Paso de los Toros, in central Uruguay. The essay which won Sweetland's award explores this duality and the exile of a somewhat famous Uruguayan author named Mario Benedetti. Copyright NACLA 2019 He published his first book in 1945. The book begins down the line, Alicia and Miguel have two children but their 11-year-old marriage is on the rocks, not helped by the fact that Miguel has engineered for Alicia to travel to Argentina to meet Lucas, and all his old concerns have returned to the surface. The family fortunes changed, but they still had the means to send young Mario to a private German school where he attended until the Nazi salute was instituted in 1933 and his father withdrew him. Perhaps, my expectations were too high, expecting something that was never possible. It was published in Spanish in 2007 in Venezuela by Editorial Perro y Rana in the Poetas del Mundo Series. drama in the emotions of the narrators. away. Latin American Perspectives is a theoretical and scholarly journal for discussion and debate on the political economy of capitalism, imperialism, and socialism in the Americas. Born in Paso de los Toros, Benedetti was widely considered one of the best representatives of Spanish-speaking literary voices. She translates “Me voy con la lagarjita / vertiginosa / a recorrer las celdas” as “I’m off with the slithery / lizard / to dart through the dungeons.” Such turns in the target language, where music can be made from a somewhat flatter original, are rare gifts bestowed on translators who listen to their own muse. Unfortunately, I found it to be a deflating experience. Broadly, it relates the linguistic exile we each experience as citizens of a multilingual world and the physical exile of Mario Benedetti, the author who wrote the source texts for my translation project and was forced to remain outside of his home country of Uruguay for over a decade. Most of these poems are powerful, complex, yet subtle in their simplicity, although some are merely simplistic, working more like jokes with punch lines and lacking the usual elements of music, symbol, metaphor, and image. Find Mario Benedetti's phone number, address, and email on Spokeo, the leading online directory for contact information. Mario Benedetti was born on September 14, 1920 in Paso de los Toros, Uruguay as Mario Orlando Hamlet Hardy Brenno Benedetti. 200 pages of articles, illustrations and photos focused on Peruvian music and culture (comes with 19-track CD and 2-hour DVD), This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Website developed by THG Creative, Subscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter, Cal Jader’s Best of 2020 Mixtape + Top 10 Tunes, Brazilian Wax Awards: Album of the Year 2020, Sonoras Mil Release Exuberant Video for ‘Antigua Inocencia’, Stretch & Bobbito + The M19s Band: ‘Que Bonita Bandera’, Machado de Assis: An Introduction to One of Brazil’s Most Celebrated Writers, ‘Ramifications’ by Daniel Saldaña París: Unfolding Memories of a Damaged Childhood, ‘Fiebre Tropical’ by Juli Delgado Lopera: a Truly Modern Coming-of-Age Story, ‘Nothing by Accident: Brazil on the Edge’ by Damian Platt, Love, Loss and Violence: ‘The Bitch’ by Pilar Quintana. Home » Uruguay » Mario Benedetti » Andamios [Scaffolds]. Springtime In A Broken Mirror has a similar approach, and again features a love triangle at the core of its story, yet it is about a broader story. Benedetti, 88, was battling intestinal … Shss, do not tell them. Mario Benedetti, who innovated Spanish-language poetic interpretations in his vast oeuvre of poetry books, was forced into exile from his native Uruguay during the country’s civic-military dictatorship from 1973 to 1985. Mario Benedetti: Andamios [Scaffolds] There are some novels you read which are superb but it is very difficult to explain why. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Truce: The Diary of Martín Santomé (Penguin Modern Classics). Soon, however, he gained entry to the world of editing and writing, and by the age of 25 he published his first book of poems and gained recognition as one of the outstanding members of the Generation of ’45, a literary group organized around the older and already well-established Uruguayan novelist, Juan Carlos Onetti. They both showed Benedetti as an inventive storyteller with some fine turns of phrasing, but they felt insular, their characters tied to the pages, rarely offering anything other than a pencil drawing of what their lives were like. Mario Benedetti was born on September 14th, 1920 in Pasa de los Toros, Tacuarembó Province, Uruguay. He returned to his homeland 10 years later in what he dubbed his "unexile". Mario Benedetti. It its superficial nuances, instead of digging deep into the lives of Yet, when it came down to it, Alicia decided to marry Miguel, with Lucas fleeing to Buenos Aires. Since then it has become one of the world's #1 sources for information on the topic, printing specialist books as well as maintaining this website, with collaborators based around the world. what we already now, that Lucas has more charisma and that 11 years It was fiction, but with autobiographical references to his exile. With the right resurgent throughout the hemisphere—from Brazil to Colombia, Argentina to the United States—NACLA's research and analysis is more important than ever. “Home” was no longer “home,” since, as he puts it in “Mulatto,” the exiles had been transformed into “mulattos / crosses between stockholm and buenos aires.” As the USSR collapsed and the dictatorships of Latin America fell, Benedetti expressed the confusion so common to those who grew up in the dangerous yet neat, ordered, and simpler world of the Cold War, with two clear sides on a polarized planet: one good, one evil, regardless of which side one was on. Read the rest of NACLA's Fall 2012 issue: "#Radical Media: Communication Unbound.". One narrative piece, written evidently toward the end of his exile, is “The Acoustics at Epidaurus.”, In the epigram that begins the poem, Cuban poet Roberto Fernández Retamar tells us, “When you make a sound at Epidaurus / You can hear it higher up, among the trees / In the air.” In the poem, Benedetti wanders with a group of tourists around ancient Greek ruins. novel is split into three parts: Miguel’s story, a letter by He was forcibly separated from his wife, who stayed behind caring for their aging mothers, for over a decade. Find out more about Sounds and Colours here. This one is set in the 1970s when the military have taken over power in Uruguay and there is considerable repression, with many Uruguayans going into exile. It tells the story of a love triangle: Miguel and Alicia met at school, becoming incredibly close, always there for each other, but then Lucas arrived. Mario Benedetti, (born Sept. 14, 1920, Paso de los Toros, Uruguay—died May 17, 2009, Montevideo), Uruguayan writer who was best known for his short stories.. Benedetti was born to a prosperous family of Italian immigrants. A life of exile, immigration and travel shapes one’s identity. Categories: Arts & Books, Book Reviews, Uruguay, Sounds and Colours is a website and print publication focused on South American music and culture. His poems, in particular, are really popular across Latin America. Home » Uruguay » Mario Benedetti » Primavera con una esquina rota (Springtime in a Broken Mirror). Set during the military dictatorship it is the story of Santiago, a political opponent of the government being held in a Montevideo prison. romance, which comes across as cold. Witness ends with Benedetti’s recognition that his exile is an exile from the world, a world in which consumerism and capitalism seem to have gained the upper hand against the struggle for humanity. a narrative which barely moves, it feels like a story over-playing Clifton Ross is a Berkeley-based writer and filmmaker. The translations were done by Louise B. Popkin, who as Randall points out in her introduction, “spends long periods in Uruguay, knew the poet, heard him read, consulted with him, and has studied his work and entorno (ambience).” In Witness, Popkin “gives us the first really satisfying, accurate, and deeply felt English translations that capture Benedetti’s poetic voice throughout all its periods and range,” writes Randall. Only Curiously, Alicia’s own story, which is in the form of a Author Mario Benedetti, 88, was battling intestinal problems and had been hospitalized earlier this month. story, with its He was not well known in the English-speaking world,Gregory, Stephen William George (1999) The collapse of dialogue: Intellectuals and politics in the Uruguayan crisis, 1960-1973 Thesis, Modern Language Studies, … are released by Penguin Modern Classics. At age four the boy was taken to Montevideo, where he received a superior education at a private school. Let me begin with Who Among Us? Mario Benedetti, a prolific Uruguayan writer whose novels and poems reflect the idiosyncrasies of Montevideo's middle class and a social commitment forged … As a whole, it’s a simple Side by side with such simply agitational verse are beautiful, sensitive poems written about, and to, Uruguay’s political prisoners. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. without warm characterisation and 4W, NEW YORK, NY 10012 | TEL: (212) 992-6965. Surely, his voice would be the Uruguayan voice that would speak to me above all others, take me back to that provincial Uruguay I had fallen in love with? His exile was made particularly trying by the fact that his wife had to remain in Uruguay to look after both of their mothers. He became a part of outstanding authors including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, and Mario Vargas Llosa. In “Che,” he writes of his hero that “they have turned him into consumer goods” and used “him as a postscript,” but this is a conclusion Benedetti is unwilling to accept. MARIO BENEDETTI was born on September 14, 1920 in Uruguay. His father was a viniculturist and a chemist. Until now, Benedetti has received scant attention in the United States, but he continues to be one of the most widely read and accessible poets in Latin America. The translation could have lost some of the original’s charms. Alicia, and a fictionalised, poeticised version of events by Lucas. letter to Miguel, leaves many of the questions unanswered. “Our torturers are generally catholic,” Benedetti tells us in the first stanza, but despite their belief in the Trinity and their cause, “when they die they don’t go to heaven / because murderers aren’t allowed there.” In the second stanza he describes the victims as “martyrs” and as possibly even “angels or saints,” “but they don’t go to heaven either / because to them there’s no such thing.” The poem delivers a sharp, poignant message about the ironic realities of the time, but it is relatively flat, with few poetic elements and little that would invite the reader to return to it. more. Follow Sounds and Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Mixcloud / Soundcloud / BandcampSubscribe to the Sounds and Colours Newsletter for regular updates, news and competitions bringing the best of Latin American culture direct to your Inbox. telling the story, but Mario Benedetti was born on September 14, 1920 in Paso de los Toros, Uruguay as Mario Orlando Hamlet Hardy Brenno Benedetti. In “Mulatto,” Benedetti saw himself “trapped in / a twofold mulatto nostalgia,” in a tunnel “where we yearn for what awaits us further on / and then we’ll yearn for whatever we’ve left behind / and we’d love to weep like the angels / or at least like they say the angels used to weep / before the death of ideologies.” Benedetti reflects on exile, however, with his determined optimism of the heart rooted in his pessimism of the mind (as Gramsci would put it) when he tells us that “I return to the exile that’s banished me / and then I feel like / I don’t belong / anywhere / to anyone” and affirms that “to be honest I’m not sure / what I’m doing here / but here I am.”. He went to Cuba in 1976 and the following year to Madrid, Spain. Benedetti lived in exile from 1973-1983 during Uruguay’s military regime and dubbed his return to the South American country the “unexile.”. Many believe that nobody has encouraged people in love as much, that his verses are odes to the complex universe of love. Already a recognized literary giant, Benedetti became a model for poesía urgente (“urgent poetry”), or “committed” literary work that used a popular idiom to take up political themes and causes. It’s the last of these that feels the most ground-breaking, Benedetti adding in short stories of people exiled, including stories of himself, which offers a break from the very claustrophobic story of Santiago and Graciela, while also opening up the novel to a broader environment of what was happening at the time, akin to breaking the fourth wall. The literary oeuvre of Uruguayan author Mario Benedetti, who died Sunday night, is enormous and diverse, comprising dozens of books of poetry, songs, novels, short stories, chronicles, essays, plays and humour. He first went to Buenos Aires, and then to Lima in Peru where he was detained, deported and then given amnesty. Born in 1920, he was a journalist, an essayist, a playwright, a novelist, and a short story writer. It is Miguel who dominates the story, his words full of self-pity, he His book, Translations From Silence: New and Selected Poems (Freedom Voices Press, 2009), won the 2010 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence. As with Who Among Us? Witness ends with Benedetti’s recognition that his exile is an exile from the world, a world in which consumerism and capitalism seem to have gained the upper hand against the struggle for humanity. He lit a fire in Alicia which Miguel simply couldn’t. He was a writer, known for The Truce (1974), Dale nomás (1974) and Pedro y el capitán (1984). This is only the second of Benedetti’s novels to appear in English. He was not as famous as his contemporaries as a novelist. Author. 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