Irina Echarry

Elena Tamargo. photo: ddcuba.com

Last week a sad piece of news was circulating on the Internet – only on the Internet. I heard about it from a friend who lives in Mexico. Here in Havana, the city where this person had learned to love poetry, where she studied and developed her well-known personality that everyone praised, no one has said anything about the death of the poet Elena Tamargo.

I never saw or even heard her read her poems, but I was familiar with her through her friend Raul Ortega. He knew of her of life, her poems, her kindness and later her illness.

Many questions haunt me when I see or hear of the adventure of death. It elicits many memories, lots of nostalgia. This case was like others, but in addition to the loss of the person is the unfortunate misinformation or the falling into oblivion.

Like many poets of her generation, Elena lived in exile, where she continued a work begun in Cuba. Yet she never lost a connection with her country of birth; that she always wore on her back, like those little creatures that carry their houses on top of them. Havana was particularly recurrent in her verses.

In addition, in the classes that she taught, Cuban literature always held a special place.

But in Cuba, no one is saying anything about her death. There’s no note in any newspaper or a friend writing about their memories of her.

Everything I’ve read has come from Cubans living abroad, some she had helped and others who knew her or had shared anthologies with her.

I’m always hurt by this attempt to erase away the existence of people just because they decided to emigrate or to express themselves freely in their literature.

It’s a shame, because in the midst of such aggressiveness, such neglect, so much resentment against each other, we also need the sensitivity of poets, especially when we start building the country we want.


Irina Echarry

Irina Echarry: I enjoy reading, going to the movies and spending time with my friends. Many of the people I love are dead, or are no longer in Cuba. I will do my best to transmit my thoughts, ideas or worries via these pages so you can get to know me. I will give an idea of my age, since it helps explain certain things. I’m over thirty-five, and I think that’s enough information. I don’t have any children yet, or nieces or nephews. There are days when I transform myself into a child with no age at all in order to see life from another angle. It helps me break the monotony and survive in this strange world.

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