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Venezuela: Samuel Villegas and His Last Book

Samuel Villegas, an admired Venezuelan writer, whose name is often mentioned alongside other well-known writers (such as Jesús Enrique Guédez [es], Arnaldo Acosta Bello, Ángel Acevedo and Rafael Cadenas [es]) was recently buried after several years of convalescence. A few days before his passing, he received a last homage and presented his last book, Muros del Sol (The Sun's Walls) inside the hospital while accompanied by his friends, who arranged a simple, but very moving service.

Villegas will be remembered for his poetry and other works in which he provided clever insights on culture and education in Venezuela. Nevertheless, although the media accomplished the task of spreading the news, a few blogs dedicated some lines to an author during his last days. Villegas was buried with roses in one of the poorest cemeteries of the city surrounded by a light silence.

Julia Márquez Otero from Letras en la Red [es] says:

Samuel Villegas entrega el poemario Muros del Sol con la certeza de la faena cumplida, del verso madurado durante más de tres décadas de expresión poética. Villegas publicó su primera obra, La señal del primer hombre, en 1959 (…) Desde entonces, su escritura pulsó lo estético sin abandonar el reclamo social en libros como Príncipe caído príncipe y El loro que mentía (relatos).

Así, los 310 poemas que propone Villegas pueden ser aprehendidos como no-lugares (o espacios borrados de su condición inicial) de encuentro entre el lector y el mundo, unas veces exaltado “Entiende, ningún árbol ha crecido debajo de otro árbol. / Deja al Norte en el Norte. / Y recuerda que estás al Sur, latino, abajo”.

Samuel Villegas sonríe ante las dudas más profundas que lo atraviesan a él y a su lector, “Yo no creo en Dios, / dije, / Y Dios se rió de buena gana. / Mis ríos interiores se desbordaron inusitadamente”… Y no se detiene en la nostalgia del pasado, sino que lo recupera en una advertencia suspendida entre los versos: “nada puede ser reconstruido / sin que la palabra pérdida / apunte certeramente hacia el pasado”…

Samuel Villegas presents Muros del Sol with the certainty of an accomplished work, of mature verses that has been growing during three decades of poetic expression. Villegas published his first work La señal del primer hombre, in 1959. Ever since, his writing followed the aesthetic without leaving behind the social conscious in books and short stories such as Príncipe caído príncipe y El loro que mentía (A Fallen Prince and The Lying Parrot)

Thus, these 310 poems written by Villegas can be comprehended as non-places (or erased spaces from their original condition) for an encounter between the reader and the world, once exalted: Remember, no tree has grown under another tree / Leave the North in the North / And remember: you are at the South, Latin, below.

The poet smiles at those who doubts and attack him and that attack the reader: I don't believe in God/ I said/ And God laughed affably / My inner rivers overflowed suddenly. He doesn't stay nostalgic in the past, instead, he brings it back in suspended warnings from verse to verse: Nothing can be reconstituted / without the lost word / pointing truthfully to the past.

In CCS (Caracas) blog Iván R. Méndez comments about the new book :

En Muros del Sol, Villegas nos adentra en un universo conformado por más de 300 poemas circulares, que van y viene en torno a los tópicos que lo inquietan y que Julia Márquez logra precisar al decir que “esta obra se deja abordar a través de doce itinerarios bien definidos, en los cuales se intuye el pulso severo del lector ante las palabras que no le dan oportunidad a que las domeñe o las rechace (.Es… ) el puro goce de la palabra plasmada en el papel”.

In Muros del Sol, Villegas takes us to a universe made of more than 300 circular poems that comes and goes around restless topics. Julia Marquez goes straight to the main point when she says that “this work can be read through twelve well-defined schedules, in which the severe pulse of the reader can be felt when facing words that are not given the opportunity to be dominated or rejected. It is pure enjoyment of words on paper”

Blogger and GV author Luis Carlos Díaz gives a very interesting insight about the lack of information about Villegas:

Poca, poquísima información en internet sobre la muerte del poeta Samuel Villegas esta semana que pasó. Esperamos unos días a ver si la blogosfera literaria venezolana decía algo al respecto, pero no hubo movimiento. Tampoco ha sido registrada su estela por la vida de las letras venezolanas en la Wikipedia. Como si fuese de otra época y sus letras en tinta no hayan saltado la barda de la sociedad de la información. Cuánta formación falta de este lado. Escasea la sensibilidad para registrar lo nuestro en Internet.

Pocos días después de presentar su último libro editado, desde la cama donde convalecía, falleció el poeta a los 75 años. Y la nota de su muerte reseñada por el diario Tal Cual, donde con rosas lo despidieron.

There is little, very little information online this past week about the death of poet Samuel Villegas. We were waiting some days to see if the literary blogosphere in Venezuela would say something about it, but we found little activity. His life has not been registered in Wikipedia. It was as if he was from another time and as if his words had not jumped into information's society. How much information is missing here? There is a lack of sensitivity to register what is ours on the Internet.

A few days after presenting his last book in bed where he was resting, the 75 year-old poet died. The note of his death can be seen in the Journal Tal Cual in which they said goodbye with roses.

3 comments

  • igork villegas

    Muchas Gracias por publicar estas lineas tan hermosas sobre mi Padre. Que Dios te bendiga.

    Igork Villegas.

  • Muchas gracias a ti, por el comentario. Líneas como éstas hacen de esta labor algo muy emocionante.

  • SAMUEL A VILLEGAS

    Hola Laura,
    Soy el hijo mayor de mi padre, y llevo igual su nombre. Estoy preparando lanzar los libros de mi padre para el próximo 14 de Julio, en algún editor de ebooks. He pensado en buboks, y otro par de los que parecen los mas serios. El objetivo no es comercial, de hecho, los publicare “gratuitos”. Tengo todos los derechos a mi nombre. No se si tienes alguna recomendación al respecto, y si este portal de blogs, puede ayudar a promover la obra de mi padre en varios idiomas. Saludos, y como mi hermano te escribió en su momento, Dios te Bendiga. sam1meta@gmail.com

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