Matías Montes Huidobro. Foto: Pedro Portal. Tomada de Cubaencuentro.

Matías Montes Huidobro: Cuba always in the pupil

The teacher, journalist, playwright, narrator, poet, essayist, editor and cultural promoter Matías Montes Huidobro has been installed in eternal memory, after passing away in the city of Miami at the age of ninety. Born in Sagua la Grande, in 1931, Cuba, he later moved to the capital, where he completed his bachelor’s studies and received his doctorate in Pedagogy at the University of Havana.

with his work on the same rocks In 1951 he received the “Prometheus” Prize, in the second edition of the Playwriting Contest created by the theater group of the same name and by its director, Francisco Morín, to encourage and promote Cuban authors. Later texts demonstrated that this would not be an isolated dramatic exercise, since between 1959 and 1961 Montes Huidobro wrote and premiered the harassed, Gas in the pores, the jar, The backfire Y Cowsdeserving of the “José Antonio Ramos” award for Dramaturgy.

At that time he worked as a theater critic publishing in the newspaper Revolution as well as in his magazine Revolution Monday and made theatrical comments in one of the usual spaces of the CMBF radio station. He also taught at the School of Journalism.

On November 27, 1961, he left Cuba and his creative and teaching activity had new ports. He settled in Meadville, Pennsylvania (1962-1964), and there he worked as a teacher in the high schools of the community. In 1964 he began his work at the University of Hawaii, together with his wife, which would continue until their retirement, as Emeritus Professors, in 1997. Later they would reside in Miami. Montes Huidobro was visiting professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the Arizona State University, United States. His participation in academic activities such as congresses, colloquiums and conferences has been quite frequent both in the United States and in other regions.

If we don’t know each other, we don’t understand each other

Theatrical works would be added to his literary production. The mother and the guillotine (1976), Exile (1987), Her face half, the salt of the dead, Olofi’s razor (presented at the First Miami Hispanic Theater Festival in 1986), Total darkness, Funeral in Teruel (1992).

Among his novels, critics highlight Banished to the fire (published by the Economic Culture Fund, Mexico, 1974), that source of pain, recipient of the Café Gijón Award, in 1997, Spain. With Lamentation in three rooms the author was before (1970) a finalist for the Planeta Prize, and with reaping the dead of the Cáceres Short Novel Prize. This work was published by Ediciones Universal in 1980. Other of his titles are A yoruba saga Y Caravaggio: sleight of hand (2017). In his poetic universe the notebooks stand out a psalm would like to be Y You never leave me.

Of his essayistic production stand out, in terms of theatrical studies, Person, life and mask in the Cuban theater (Universal Editions, 1975), in my opinion, an essential essay on our comic theater; Cuban theater during the Republicand his diligent and ambitious research Cuba behind the curtainwith its four volumes on Cuban theater from 1959 to 1979. Accompanied by The Cuban narrative between memory and oblivion Y From areíto to independence: literary keys of Cuban letters.

In 1976 he founded the magazine Caribbean, worked on its first four editions. Subsequently, the magazine has followed his life in the hands of two outstanding professors. In 1987 he created the publishing label Person, these independent and daring projects that he undertook together with his wife, Yara González-Montes. With this last label, Montes Huidobro not only published some of his own texts but also produced several important monographic numbers on Cuban theater and literature, such as, Theory and practice of catechism (1990), a critical edition of the works of Pancho Fernández that inaugurated in Cuba during the 19th century the successful variant of the so-called “cathedraticism” in Cuban bufo.

In 2015 the Miami Book Fair highlighted him with the First Recognition for Literary Career. Two years later, in 2017, the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE) awarded him the “Enrique Anderson Imbert” Award.

His articles, as well as his stories and poems can be found in various publications, selections and anthologies made in the United States, Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.

The work of Matías Montes Huidobro was huge and intense and was characterized by honesty and dedication. He is one of the members of that lineage capable of displaying the same talent in genres as diverse as drama, narrative, poetry, essay. His rigor, creativity and lucidity have provided an invaluable service to Cuban culture and his work as a whole needs and deserves to be studied and disseminated.

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