The Rafael Landívar Monument at Night in Antigua Guatemala

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; Monumento a Rafael Landivar in Antigua Guatemala at night

Guatemalan poet Rafael Landívar, a Jesuit, was suffering in exile in Italy when he wrote Rusticatio mexicana, a Latin poem that owes much to the bucolic poetry published in France and England a century earlier. Rusticatio mexicana exalts the animals, plants, and minerals native to New Spain, detailing the agricultural, textile, and mining practices of the region. [source: ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA]

Rafael Landívar is the best known of all the poets from the Americas to write in Latin. In the 15 books of his Rusticatio Mexicana (1782), he described — in vivid epic verse — the lakes, volcanoes, and wildlife of Mexico and his native Guatemala, as well as the livelihoods and recreations of the people of the region. This panorama of nature, culture and production in colonial New Spain took classical didactic poetry into a new world of political conflict. But Landívar also writes with a strongly personal voice: elegiac and pastoral modes convey the pathos of displacement and the poet’s overwhelming nostalgia for his American homeland. [source: The Epic of America: An Introduction to Rafael Landívar and the Rusticatio Mexicana at Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin]

Only when you read how important Rafael Landívar was as a poet from the Americas to universal literature that you realize how little we do in Antigua Guatemala to make his house and monument a Casa de la Cultura. The Municipality of Antigua Guatemala is certainly not doing enough, especially if you take into account that for a second year in a row the budget allocated to La Antigua Guatemala will not be executed in its totality.

© 2017, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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