Friday, March 5, 2010

Mario Benedetti. Tiempo sin Tiempo

Mario Benedetti. Foto de New York

El escritor uruguayo Mario Benedetti (Septiembre 14, 1920 – Mayo 17, 2009) era periodista, novelista, poeta.
El periódico New York Times, publicó su deceso comentando:
¨In a career of more than 60 years, Mr. Benedetti wrote more than 80 books, addressing subjects that range from love and middle-class frustration in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, to the pain of exile. He also worked for decades as an editor of literary and political magazines and was a film, literary and theater critic for newspapers in Uruguay and elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world.
The Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago  wrote this week in the Madrid daily El País: “The work of Mario Benedetti, my friend and brother, is surprising in all its aspects, whether the varied extent of genres it touches, the density of its poetic expression or the extreme conceptual freedom it employs.” He added, “To Benedetti, language, all of it, is poetic.”
Mario Benedetti Farrugia was born in 1920 into an Italian immigrant family in the cattle town of Paso de los Toros, in central Uruguay. But he came of age in Montevideo, going to work at 14 in an auto-parts shop before making his mark in Latin American literary circles in his mid-20s, first for poems and then for short stories.
Mr. Benedetti’s best-known work, however, is probably his 1960 novel “The Truce,” a film version of which, made in Argentina, was nominated for an Academy Award as best foreign film in 1975. “The Truce,” (La Tregua) which has been translated into 19 languages, is written in the form of a diary and tells the story of a romance in Montevideo between a middle-aged widower and a woman half his age.
Several of Mr. Benedetti’s poems, which dealt mainly with love and politics, were set to music and recorded; a few even became pop hits. The most notable example is “The South Also Exists,” a collection of 10 songs, all with lyrics by Mr. Benedetti, which the popular Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat released in 1985.
“Mario is probably the poet most widely read in Latin America,” Mr. Serrat said Monday. “But we shouldn’t forget his contribution as a playwright, journalist and political activist.”
It was precisely that political engagement that complicated Mr. Benedetti’s life, especially during the cold war. He was a man of the left who criticized the United States, championed Cuba’s revolution, embraced independence for Puerto Rico and, in 1971, helped organize a left-wing coalition in Uruguay called the Broad Front to challenge the two-party system that had prevailed for nearly 150 years.
After a military coup in 1973, the front was outlawed and Mr. Benedetti’s magazine, Marcha, shut down. He went into exile, living first in Buenos Aires, until threats from right-wing death squads forced his departure; then in Lima, Peru, until he was detained and deported; next in Havana; and finally in Madrid. He returned to Uruguay 12 years later, but also continued to spend time in Spain, where his work was enormously popular¨……….

He aquí uno de sus poemas, ¨Tiempo  sin Tiempo¨, que reproduzco en su homenaje.
'Arboles. Foto de Myriam B. Mahiques

Preciso tiempo necesito ese tiempo
que otros dejan abandonado
porque les sobra o ya no saben
que hacer con él
en blanco
en rojo
en verde
hasta en castaño oscuro
no me importa el color
cándido tiempo
que yo no puedo abrir
y cerrar
como una puerta
tiempo para mirar un árbol un farol
para andar por el filo del descanso
para pensar qué bien hoy es invierno
para morir un poco
y nacer enseguida
y para darme cuenta
y para darme cuerda
preciso tiempo el necesario para
chapotear unas horas en la vida
y para investigar por qué estoy triste
y acostumbrarme a mi esqueleto antiguo
tiempo para esconderme
en el canto de un gallo
y para reaparecer
en un relincho
y para estar al día
para estar a la noche
tiempo sin recato y sin reloj
vale decir preciso
o sea necesito
digamos me hace falta
tiempo sin tiempo.

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