By Rolando Ernesto Tellez –– This year we mark the centenary of the death of our great Nicaraguan poet, Ruben Dario, who reinvigorated the Spanish language on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. International Güegüense Books published the first book about Darío’s works and his life in English. The purpose of the book—titled Ruben Dario and Centenary of his Death—is to help English speakers understand the complex thought of Darío, since most books about Darío are written in Spanish. Knowing Darío means learning about the main source that pushed famous Latin American and Spanish writers.
Darío was a writer who assimilated contemporary, medieval, and ancient Europeans’ literary currents, which allowed him venturing into literary areas unknown to most authors in America. Through his works, Darío disclosed novel and innovative literary works from Europe in Latin America. It was said that Darío thought in French, but he wrote in Spanish. In spite of criticism against Ruben for the influence of foreign cultures, finally Darío made our language more flexible and incorporated new linguistic shifts and words from different languages.
Darío was a cosmopolitan poet knowledgeable of different cultures on the planet and he was a polyglot, who easily knew and even interacted with great authors in America and Europe. Being the indisputable leader of Modernismo, a literary movement that basically started with his book titled Azul (Azure) and ended with his masterpiece Songs of Life and Hope, Darío managed to influence not only his contemporaries, but also later generations of writers in Ibero-American (Spain & Latin America) literature.
Mexican authors Octavio Paz and Mario Vargas Llosa, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Colombia who were Nobel Prize winners in literature were influenced just like many other famous writers studied Darío’s writings. There have been several thousands of publications and academic articles on Darío’s work, which still are being compiled, since the poet lived and wrote in many countries. He was a globetrotter with a very lucid mind before he passed away.
Originally Darío was criticized unjustly. Later studies of its works proved that the poet opened a linguistic horizon for Latin American literature; likewise, he was the first one to start working on a Latin American identity in the face of imperial powers. Darío, as a true poet and free thinker did not follow socialistic doctrines to create his poetry; however, he criticized the materialism in which the human race was falling, as a result of the technological progress.
Darío was born in the periphery; he put his own name in the absence of his biological mother; and he was never supported by a family. Nevertheless, he managed to shine like a star in the Spanish-Speaking world because of his rich literary production. Like the hero José Martí in Cuba, Darío should be promoted as a role model among young Nicaraguans. In addition to portraying the fall of the Spanish empire (España Contemporánea), Darío forecast the destiny of Latin America, saying “our native America with its Indian blood, This America still prays to Christ and still speaks Spanish.”