words by Jorge Rivas Rodríguez
From a fertile relationship that began a little more than three years ago with the mutual admiration of their artistic creations and continued with the realizations of very intimate works recreated in the life and work of the other, a book was born and it is already giving people something to talk about. I refer to the volume titled Lina de Feria y Jesus Lara Sotelo. A dos manos, by distinguished poet Lina de Feria (Santiago de Cuba, 1945) and the multifaceted visual artist Jesus Lara Sotelo (Havana, 1972), who is also recognized for his lyrical production.
The collection of poems is a powerful proof of a fruitful friendship, spiritual alliance—and growing—uphold by their respective individual heritage. Hers, flattered with several originals by the painter, engraver, ceramist, photographer and sculptor, with a huge portrait that recreates her image, which is part of the famous Cubist style series made about two years ago by Lara. He treasures numerous poems written by Lina, inspired by him, by his life and his artistic career.
From this joint work, it was created this compendium of poetic compositions whose authors try to understand (and) to explain to the other through two porticos where they refer what they have read and sensed in the artistic praxis of the accomplice. Lina, while investigating in Lara’s multidisciplinary universe like a virtuoso of plastic arts and Lara, in Lina’s poetic universe through highly pictorial observations.
However, here “the important thing is not the interpretations, but the anxiety of the split, because this leads, in the end, to a need for a complement, a lost half that may not exist but which is necessary to give the following step in the haze of knowledge”, as well-known writer Jesús David Curbelo expressed in the presentation words of this book by Coleccion Sur.
Between these two creators there has been a mystical exchange of traces, of sensitive, productive and vital energies, which ultimately come to enrich the heritage of Cuban culture. Although they belong to distant generations—the year Lara was born, Lina had already published her first book of poetry Casa que no existia (David Award, 1967)—they have achieved a harmonious relationship perhaps marked by feelings and emotions that are common and that, somehow, result in their corresponding existential style texts, such as loneliness, fear, anguish, pain, marginality, love, history, politics, culture, in short, Man in his most overwhelming nakedness.
These are inherent issues in contemporary humanism and “above all, a persistent hope that poetry, whatever the size of the dose, is at least one of the pillars on which to test the miraculous statics—the uncertain balance, again—of healing”, emphasized the young specialist in his words about Lina de Feria y Jesus Lara Sotelo. A dos manos book.
He further said this:
(…) this is a book about growth, seen through pain, from the hard learning that goes from childhood to old age and death, and that is articulated from pieces: “real” experiences, experiential readings, experiments and many failures on all fronts. Especially in that of pretending to tame the language so it serves as a continent to ever richer visions before turning into verses (…) in truth, this is a book in which the core part is not the poets nor the poems, but the poetry.
On his part, the well-known poet Alberto Marrero, when commenting about this collection of poems emphasized they are:
(…) verses of an unusual depth not so frequent in these times, but equally a rebel look towards the existential indolence and an incorruptible feeling for the salvation of Man in a world that self-destructs and which deserves another destiny.
About Lina’s work in her seventies he said:
(…) she still manages to maintain the freshness of a speech with soul, flesh, bones, desolate landscapes, bitter reflections, bold metaphors and sometimes cheers of fleeting joy; while he said about Lara that “in his poems there is a generic hybridity that leads him to venture into free verse, poetic prose, short story, aphorism and vignette.
Marrero stressed that:
(…) in all the collections of poems written by Lina, the reader will appreciate her great power of association; the multiple cultural, philosophical, historical and even mythological references that her verses possess; the flow of transcendental, illuminating images and metaphors, and also the frequent use of allegory as an expressive resource …
In the meantime, Lara’s literary productions are characterized by:
(…) a lyricism that is neither pleasant nor oversweet, sometimes crude, heartbreaking, shaped with the entrails. Little or nothing escapes the incisive gaze of this restless, audacious creator, irreverent not a few times, fantastic, realistic, heretic, dreamy, playful, lascivious and, above all, committed to his time.
Trabajadores newspaper, Havana, year 46, edition 34, August 22, 2016, p. 9.