Juan Carlos Flores, the Alamar Poet of Chaos

By Esther

HAVANA TIMES – September is a month of evocations and tributes in Alamar: a “model” city, city of poets, artists and sad madmen. Poet Juan Carlos Flores lived and decided to die here one September 14th. He lived in this mesh of housing projects marked by concrete and salty atols, to the east of Havana.

Juanca (1962-2016), the poet of the forgotten, wrote his work straying far from the literary standard and political rallies of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

His poetry reveals a strategy marked by chaos, anguish and the irrational. Always challenging his readers to contemplate reality, his poems were dominated by synthesis and delight in details.

Juan Carlos Flores had a special appreciation for everyday life. His unique style gave him an undeniable place among the so-called damned poets.

His books, treasured by his friends and other people as crazy as him, are now valuable cult objects.

The work of this unique Quijote won important awards such as the David Prize for Poetry in 1990, with his book: “Los pajaros escritos”. In 2002, he won the UNEAC Julian del Casal poetry prize, against all odds, with his collection of poems “Distintos modos de cavar un tunel.” Eight years later, Letras Cubanas published “El contragolpe”. Controversial and outlandish poems that border on the bizarre and repetition plays a revealing role.

Four years after his unfortunate death, there are still people in Alamar who are infected by the sea. People who write poems, carve wood, paint, dream and celebrate his work.

Read more diary posts by Esther Zoza

One thought on “Juan Carlos Flores, the Alamar Poet of Chaos

  • Only those who have visited Alamar – we have friends who live there – can fully appreciate the strength of character required to pursue the arts from a Soviet style concrete jungle.

    Alamar lying to the east of Havana was designed for those deemed to part of the “mass”. But those responsible for its development, either live or lived as did the deceased Fidel Castro, in distant Siboney, in the far west of Havana. In Alamar, the garbage lies in the streets, in Siboney it is collected regularly. In Alamar, only the fortunate have a bicycle, in Siboney the political elite have new cars – some with chauffeurs – and yachts berthed adjacent to their residences.

    Such are the consequences of Castro communism – bearing testament to the definition of communism: “each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs.” Who decides the interpretation of the defination? Those who live in Siboney !

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