(By Josemi Martín)
The next 21st February, coinciding as every year with the anniversary of the death of José Viera y Clavijo, the distinguished Canarian polymath, The Day of Canarian Literature will be celebrated. This year, such a commemoration will pay tribute to Mercedes Pinto, the writer born in La Laguna (Tenerife), who lived a long- time exile in Latin America. By the way, while looking up information for this post, I found out that the newspaper Diario de Avisos shamelessly plagiarises the Wikipedia, without mentioning any source, indeed. Botches aside, the idea of dedicating one day to our literature seems to me an excellent idea. Beyond the fact that I am a habitual reader of literature from the Canaries, and abroad, it seems to me only too important to give back a central role to our literature, so many times buried under conceptual clichés as unfair as ridicule, as for example, “peripheral literature” or “microtradition”. In my opinion, it is urgent to improve its visibility, similar to what is usually done with marginalised groups. This being so -and knowing that maybe someone might accuse me of being a jarabandino*- my point is what a better idea than giving a book of a Canarian author as a present this Saturday? I am sure you are coming up with many names now. I would not dare to recommend here some names, leaving out some others, though any recommendation via your comments will be welcome. What I will definitely share with you, though, is how much I am intimately enjoying the reading of the anthology of the poet from Gran Canaria, Domingo Rivero, named Yo, a mi cuerpo (I, to my body), which I have just received at home. With his poems, deep and delicate, he is already cheering up my hard metropolitan awakenings. Remember, this Saturday is time for Canarian literature.
* NOTE: I use the word of Arabic origin jarabandino, typical of the Canarian Spanish, not in its more usual meaning, as a synonym for “Arabic person”, but in its second meaning of “merchant”, by extension and association with the work activities of most former Arabic immigrants on the Islands, who used to work as hawkers. In a more restricted familiar use, I have also found this word as a synonym for “silver-tongued”.