By Alfred J. López
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Additional info for José Martí and the Future of Cuban Nationalisms
Mientra no pude encerrar integras mis visiones en una forma adecuada a ellas, dejé volar mis visiones: ¡Oh, cuanto áureo amigo que ya nunca ha vuelto! Pero la poesía tiene su honradez, y yo he querido siempre ser honrado. Recortar versos, también sé, pero no quiero. 19 His own identity—the one he declares to us with the text to which he signs his name—is presented here as equivalent to the text. Yet, already we can read a certain ambivalence or instability in Martí’s words. ” The life is never the writing—as Martí acknowledges from the first line, not “Yo soy mis versos” but “Estos son”—but rather the entity of the written page, the “forma [in]adecuada” of poetic language in which the poet tries to “encerrar,” enclose or define, his vision.
This is an instructive example for those still wishing to defend Martí from misappropriations on the grounds that the poet “did not mean that,” “did not want that,” or some such thing. Clearly, then, what is being fought over here is not the living corpus but the written one, not the life that produced the work but the name that was signed to it. Complicating any retroactive assessment of Marinello’s critique, however, is the prevalence, throughout Martí’s letters, of praise for precisely the kind of “poderoso” benefactors that Marinello denounces.
Oats for the stable, to be eaten by horses) (Martí 5: 267–268). 31 As early as 1884, then, Martí was depending on the kindness and support of benefactors such as Mercado to carry on his work. I would argue that this relationship to capital grew more, not less, crucial and pronounced as the revolutionary struggle built toward its moment of fruition in 1895. Certainly, this Martí more closely resembles the agent of the bourgeoisie whom Marinello denounced in 1933 than the one he was celebrating by 1945 as “nuestro grande hombre” (our great man) and praising for his “clara militancia libertadora” (clear liberatory militancy) (Actualidad, 5, 29).