Friday, April 17, 2009

Nicaragua's Ernesto Cardenal Wins Chile's Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize

Latin American Herald Tribune

Nicaraguan poet, sculptor and liberation theology priest Ernesto Cardenal was announced Thursday as the recipient of the sixth Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Prize, awarded by the Chilean Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes (CNCA).

The panel of judges, headed by Chilean Culture Minister Paulina Urrutia, said that Cardenal had “renovated the classical Western tradition, applying it to contemporary reality.”

In addition, they noted “his ongoing interest and concern for the original peoples of this hemisphere and his political commitment” after meeting at “La Chascona,” the house that belonged to Neruda (1904-1973), the 1971 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The award notification emphasizes that with the distinction “homage is being paid to a complete body of work ... and to a country that can be proud of itself, like Chile, for supporting itself and surviving thanks to the voices of its poets, who go beyond history and offer a new face to new readers every day.”

Urrutia emphasized that the prize recognizes an author who represents the tradition of Nicaraguan poetry, “a man who profoundly examined the soul of the people of the Americas.”

“The truth is that it gives us great pride to have incorporated Ernesto Cardenal into the pinnacle of Ibero-American letters,” Urrutia said.

The judging panel was made up of Chilean poets Carmen Berenguer – last year’s prizewinner – and Oscar Hahn; Argentina’s Jorge Boccanera, Colombia’s Juan Gustavo Cobo and Spanish academic Selena Millares.

Accompanied by $30,000 in cash, the Neruda Prize was established in 2004 within the framework of the centennial celebration of the Chilean poet’s birth.

As has been done traditionally, the prize will be awarded on Neruda’s birthday, July 12. EFE

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