Updated: Jul 16
MIAMI -- The Spanish Cultural Center in Miami is honoring one of the greatest Spanish poets of all time: Juan Ramon Jimenez, winner of the 1956 Nobel Prize for Literature, on the 70th anniversary of his arrival in Florida.
The writer and his wife, Zenobia Camprubi, went to live in Miami on Jan. 29, 1939, and found a "charming, bright and small apartment in the suburb of Coral Gables."
The poet was probably reminded of his town in Andalusia by the Miami landscape of pine trees and sunny skies.
"The white houses, tile roofs and pine trees remind him of Moguer and his nostalgia flows into poetry," Camprubi wrote in her diary.
The couple lived in Coral Gables from 1939 to October 1942, when they moved to Washington.
Those were years when Juan Ramon, who lived from 1881 to 1958, was full of inspiration and enthusiasm, and when he composed some of his most important works, such as "Romances de Coral Gables" (Ballads of Coral Gables) printed in 1948, and "Espacio" (Space), for many critics his masterpiece, a poem of great depth and beauty, as well as "Tiempo" (Time) and parts of "En el Otro Costado" (On the Other Side).
"It has been our rule to remember him and his works and let people know that Juan Ramon Jimenez, our Nobel laureate for literature, was living here in Coral Gables, so near to us," Spanish Cultural Center director Maria del Valle said.
Del Valle expressed her regret that "neither the municipal authorities nor many Spaniards and Hispanics living in Miami know that Juan Ramon Jimenez" lived in this city.
The couple found Miami an oasis of peace after leaving Spain by sea in August 1936 to escape the Civil War.
Now, on the occasion of this anniversary, the Spanish Cultural Center will commemorate the author of "Platero y Yo" (Platero and I) in a spacious area that will host students and admirers of his work, critics and poets.
Next Wednesday, in the auditorium of the center, Alfonso Alegre Heitzmann, a specialist in the poet's life and literature, will lecture on the subject of "Florida in the Works of Juan Ramon Jimenez."
There will also be a reading of poems by the "universal Andalusian" by Uruguayan poetess Ida Vitale.
The audience will be able to enjoy an exhibition of material related to the author of "Diario de un Poeta Recien Casado" (Diary of a Newlywed Poet), provided by the Cuban Heritage Collection of the University of Miami.
The following day, Carmen Hernandez-Pinzon, grandniece of the poet, will speak on "Memories of Juan Ramon," while Vitale and the Cuban poet Orlando Gonzalez Esteva will discuss the subject of "Juan Ramon and Poetry in Spain and Latin America."
On Friday, Michael P. Predmore, a Stanford University expert on the poet, will give a talk on "Juan Ramon Jimenez: the Universal Andalusian in the Americas."
Also paying homage to Juan Ramon on Feb. 3 with a poetry reading will be poets living in Miami that include Eduard Reboll, Armando Alvarez Bravo, Manuel Santayana, Felix Cruz-Alvarez and Emilio de Armas.
The Spanish Cultural Center, Del Valle said, has prepared a limited facsimile edition of "Romances de Coral Gables," which will be available throughout the days of homage to the poet.
She said the center would like to place "a bust of Juan Ramon in a little plaza in Coral Gables, with a plaque in commemoration of the poet."
Latin American Herald Tribune