Antón Arrufat, the Cuban author of more than thirty novels, plays, and volumes of poetry and essays and stories, once tweaked a declaration of Sartre’s: “I was. Antón Arrufat on Amaury Pérez Vidal’s TV program. (CUBADEBATE). On June 13 , writer Miguel Mejides died in Havana, and on June 20 the poet and author. by mary louise o mendez rodriguez nunez. evelyn picon capote a.

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He went to a Jesuit school there the same one attended by the Castro brothers a decade before before moving to Havana at the age of 11 to continue his studies. Both Heberto Padilla and Arrufat won state-sanctioned prizes that year: While Padilla left the island Arrufat chose to stay, but was prevented from publishing for 14 years.

I think my family suffered from a unique type of panic. Despite that attitude, my father knew about a lot of things, he had read a good few books, mainly history, and he liked going to the theatre to see the Spanish zarzuela operettas that were put on around Havana. But he was certain: I went to see him in the afternoons, when I had finished my classes.

His house was a typical Havana solar: We used to go outside to sit on the balcony of his room. Suddenly, life was very different. He loved to read aloud and I would listen attentively. On the balcony we were isolated from the rest of the house and the street noise. His main interest was philosophy, mainly Nietzsche and Sartre.

Although he wanted to be a writer, he never managed it. He introduced me to works that left a deep impression: He earned a living selling books. On angon path outside the gates of the Gener cigar factory he would put a areufat across two wooden trestles where he displayed his books for sale.

He used to sit on a cod crate. He had another few crates for the friends who came to buy books and stayed to chat. We could talk for hours. He continued to tend to his customers throughout; he would get up, sell a certain book and then come back to his crate to pick up the conversation again.

Opposite his stall there was another little business: The whores would often sit on his crates, they also came out to chat, to tell us what they did with their clients, or to take a break from work. Usually the opposite happened, and prospective clients of the brothel were sitting on the crates and they would have a Cabeza de Perro beer to get themselves in the mood before crossing the street.

In those days editions by an Argentinian company called Tor were doing the rounds. Paperbacks that cost thirty cents. That was when I met arrufah became friends with various young writers and poets.

They drove us to the nearby station, one of the most notorious for torture. We spent hours there. We could hear the moans anto the horrible beatings they were inflicting on people under arrest. The dictatorship had been defeated and the Revolution was in power. At some point he wrote to tell me to come back, that I would have the chance to publish and earn a small salary. At the same time, the Cuban Revolution had a creative aspect: By means of different ministerial decisions, copyright fees were standardised, they were modest, of course, but they existed.


During the Republic there were no publishers, only printers and good editors who an author brought their manuscript to, and paid for the publication themselves. It cost or pesos to do a book in the Republic. Now, who were those people dancing, singing and getting drunk? Such a representation supposedly distorted the Cuban worker, and disturbed and offended a certain revolutionary leader.

Arrufat, Antón (1935–)

We never knew which one. We were never sure if the great leaders of our nation even saw the short. But there was an intermediary, Alfredo Guevara, who was very keen to quash any opportunity to make films outside the institution he was atnon charge of. It was a surprisingly cheap shoot. And it turned out better than the first films ICAIC tried to make, despite their huge budget and abundant bureaucracy. After that first encounter, a difficult period began with divisions between the artists, and constant ideological suspicion.

Cuban artists were not used to such divisions, these verbal and sterile battles in the order of creation, some struggled to adapt, to form a style that did not belong to their cultural tradition, and others opted to go into exile, if they got the chance. We did a long interview with him that later appeared in arrkfat magazine.

That interview is a telling piece regarding our fears. The issues that concerned us came out in the zrrufat questioning. The support we expected from the poet ended in disappointment, his answers were unsatisfactory.

A bit evasive, he referred to literary dogmatism with no mention of the fatal consequences for artistic creation of state dogmatism. I should mention that my play was met with suspicion before I entered it for the prize. I read it for Teatro Estudio, a theatre group where I worked as a play consultant, to talk it over, hear opinions and get feedback.

The one who put her foot down was the actress Raquel Revuelta, sister of Vicente, the general manager of Teatro Estudio. When I finally decided to take part in the competition, something very suspicious happened: Raquel Revuelta was chosen as a member of the jury.

She was the most insistent on voting against Los siete. After that the institution intervened publicly: They never let me see the printed proofs, edit, delete or change a word, see the cover or give my opinion. I knew it had been finished because some impatient people stole copies from the printers and got them to xrrufat.

It was then, when I had a copy of my work, that I discovered another peculiar fact: They stayed like that for a few days. It was never sold in any shop. It was almost an ecclesiastical event, a rite of contrition.

That quasi-medieval ceremony was filmed; the film cameras recording the event arrufta it the appearance of modernity. Then things took a downward turn, as if they had been thought out and organised in advance, like a governmental project.

Antón Arrufat, Reinaldo Montero and the Defense of Cuban Writers | Diario de Cuba

A number of writers were forbidden to publish and many painters could not exhibit again. And this was not just minor or unknown artists, no, it was the big names, those that are now considered the greatest artists of this country. Right now, after so many years and events, the possible reasons, strictly speaking, a group of writers, painters, musicians and theatre practitioners would spend so many years marginalised in a dark corner seem childish, idiotic even. I have two hypotheses, two ways of explaining it: My work in the basement consisted of packing journals into boxes with twine for eight hours.


I was the only male employee and people who worked in libraries were generally women.

Antón Arrufat Papers

My bad reputation preceded me. Naturally, they kept their distance; they literally fled from me.

The boys got scared and started shouting. The librarians came out with buckets of amton and put out the fire in a matter of minutes. Hardly any of the newspapers were damaged. The manager appeared, her face in contortions; she was furious and she raised her arms, shouting: Then wnton boys confessed they did it, unintentionally, as part of a game.

Now, the second one might sound more outlandish, like all true stories: The manager accepted it, apparently pleased, but as soon as the neighbours left she had it sent to the basement.

Books by Anton Arrufat (Author of los siete contra tebas)

It was a bit too pornographic for the walls of the reading rooms. A few days later it was found on the floor. When the librarians went to hang it up, they noticed something strange on the fabric and told the manager; they all leaned in to inspect: Somebody had masturbated onto her.

The manager was back to her gesturing and exclaimed: Whoever had masturbated was arrufzt found out. The mystery gave way to speculation and suspicion. Probably one of the librarians had her husband or boyfriend to visit during a night shift, and they did it on the sly. I paid for their secret, their joint secret, and was sentenced to clean the library for six months.

As a living writer, one needs a few knocks and a few kicks up the arse to know that the relationship between writing and the state is not easy, and we must encourage it never to be so. You have to accept that writing is a horrible sacrifice and something you choose, that voluntarily becomes destiny, arrufzt only destiny one chooses in life: The feeling of a lost paradise and the need to live in it is a hope arrfat an idea that humans are rooted to, something relentless inside us.

Perhaps it comes from Christianity, or in Greek culture, long before then, there was also the idea of a lost paradise, and if you think about Hindu culture, the teachings of Buddha, you find a similar idea and the same longing.

This idea flowers in human beings: We travel from the hell we live in to the paradise we dream of. To kiss you should not involve such fear of imprecision. There are those who would have paid that. The amount your eyes bonded with O spangled home will have Latest Reviews Features Fiction Poetry.