The Box of Letters was opened this Monday, September 18, in a triple way to receive the legacies of three leading authors in Central America: the beret, glasses and individual verses of the Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal (1925 – 2020); a manuscript, a first edition and personal objects of the Salvadoran-Nicaraguan poet Claribel Alegría (1924 – 2018); and five handwritten notebooks by the Guatemalan writer Rodrigo Rey Rosa.
Those in charge of depositing the ‘in memoriam’ legacies of the Nicaraguan poets, Ernesto Cardenal and Claribel Alegría, have been their compatriots, the Cervantes award-winning writer, Sergio Ramírez, and the author Gioconda Belli, respectively.
When presenting the figure of Ernesto Cardenal Martínez (Granada, 1925 – Managua, 2020), Sergio Ramírez recalled how both were neighbors for 40 years, on what they called Chilamates Street in Managua (Nicaragua), a neighborhood of poets, where Claribel Alegría, Vidaluz Menesens and Daisy Zamora also lived.
Both authors exchanged their texts and on visits to his house, Ramírez recounted how “sometimes I found him kneeling on the floor with the verses typed on his portable machine to organize them there on the floor (…) and once arranged definitively, he typed them again, in a task of verbal engineering, of which there were leftovers useful for new poems in a box.
He called this box, whose contents were burned when he died, his computer, which has been a part of the deposit. Along with it, the writer has deposited in box number 975 of the vault a sheet with his signature and two objects that – along with the cotona (traditional Nicaraguan shirt) and his sandals – unmistakably identified Ernesto Cardenal, a beret. Basque and her glasses.
In addition, a first edition of a book by Alegría with his best poems ‘Ring of Silence’ (1948), with a prologue by José Vasconcelos and by Juan Ramón Jiménez, has become part of the Cervantes Letter Box.
Likewise, they have entered box number 990 as two bowls of mate with their respective bulbs (metal straws), given by Eduardo Galiano and Julio Cortázar to the representative of the Committed Generation.
A handwritten index to the collection of poems ‘Voces’ (2014), with a quote from Fernando Pessoa on the opening page and the dedication to his four great-grandchildren, as well as a text written by his son Eric Flakoll Alegría completes the legacy of the Reina Sofía award winner. Ibero-American Poetry.
The Guatemalan writer and translator Rodrigo Rey Rosa (Guatemala City, 1958), National Prize for Literature of Guatemala, has deposited in box number 961 five handwritten notebooks, with annotations for the elaboration of his works: one completed in Tangier, in 1983 , with one of his first stories The Delivery, included in ‘The Beggar’s Knife’ (1986); another notebook written in New York, in 1996, with some of the stories from the collection ‘No Sacred Place’ (1998); two moleskine notebooks with the story ‘Family Estate’ (2006); and one of the notebooks that make up the novel ‘The Human Material’ (2009).