Reina María Rodríguez Wins Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize 2014

The poet Reina Maria Rodriguez. La Habane 1996 © Francesco Gattoni

Cuban writer Reina María Rodríguez said she was deeply touched and surprised by the call she received from Chilean Minister of Culture Claudia Barattini announcing that she had received the 2014 Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Prize for Poetry [Premio Iberoamericano de Poesía Pablo Neruda 2014].

Reina María Rodríguez was elected unanimously by a jury chaired by the Minister of Culture comprising last year’s winner, José Kozer (Cuba), and writers Graciela Araoz (Argentina), Paul Brodsky (Chile), Julio Ortega (Peru) and Malú Urriola (Chile).

In presenting the award-winning writer, Minister Barattini said, “I am happy and honored to communicate the results of an annual award that recognizes the work of a writer with a long trajectory. Reina María Rodríguez, born in Cuba in 1952, brings through her poems knowledge of the route starting from the great Cuban poetic tradition. Her work includes cultural activism, support of younger writers, and the dissemination of new voices.”

The poet, who received the news in Texas, where she was giving a lecture, spoke briefly about the news that was announced at La Chascona, which houses the Pablo Neruda Foundation. She said that she was excited and very grateful, but that she felt that she did not deserve this: “I feel like a [clothing] mender; I feel more like my mother, who is 93 years old and sewed until she was 90 years old. So I am very grateful because Chile is a place of great poets who we have all read.” She added, “All my life I have been a reader of Neruda, and I dedicate this award to all writers of my generation who have had to leave Cuba.”

Along with international acclaim, Rodríguez, who lives in Havana, will receive a prize amounting to $60,000, awarded by the Council for Culture. She will receive a certificate and a medal from President Michelle Bachelet, in a ceremony slated for July 2014.

For more information, see article (in Spanish) at http://www.cultura.gob.cl/eventos-actividades/reina-maria-rodriguez-gana-el-premio-iberoamericano-de-poesia-pablo-neruda-2014/

Photo from inCUBAdora (Cuba Underground Guide): http://in-cubadora.org/2013/01/11/reina-maria-rodriguez-y-la-poesia-cubana-actual/

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