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Ismaelillo book coverIsmaelillo

by José Martí

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Hardback, 126 pages

The first complete bi-lingual edition of the Cuban revolutionary's landmark collection of poetry, with a critical introduction, notes and an English translation by Tyler Fisher, Magdalen College, University of Oxford; Foreword by Virgil Súarez, Florida State University, prolific author and editor
blue ribbonNamed a "Top Pick for Hispanic Heritage Month" by the editors of Críticas, 8/15/2008

José Martí is the single most important literary, political and intellectual figure of the 19th century in Cuba. He was a true revolutionary whose zeal and dedication helped not only to birth his own nation, but which served and continues to serve as a model for revolutionaries throughout Latin America.

To North Americans, Martí is most familiar as the author of the poem made famous as a song by Pete Seeger -- "Guantanamera." There is much in common between that seemingly simple song about a poor man's love for his beautiful country and the seemingly innocent verses (penned for his three-year-old son) found in Martí's first published book of poems, Ismaelillo. As editor and translator Tyler Fisher writes: "Ismaelillo brims with meaning on multiple levels." Written during dual political and domestic crises, he had been exiled from Cuba for his role in the Guerra Chiquita, and was separated from his wife and infant son -- Martí's poems call upon his son to follow in his own footsteps.

It is ironic just how prophetic Martí's poems proved to be. In 1895, he sailed from Florida with General Máximo Gómez Baez and a band of volunteers. Martí died in battle, one of the first casualties of the conflict that would free Cuba from the Spanish yoke. His son did follow him, and legend has it that he rode his father's horse. As Martí had written in Ismaelillo, "I am son of my son! / He remakes me!"

But Ismaelillo was revolutionary not solely for its politics. Here are antecedents for almost all of the main characteristics of modernismo. Rubén Darío, the great revolutionary poet whose style is perhaps the best exemplar of modernismo, wrote of José Martí's innovative poems: "Our language never had better colors, caprices, and mettle."

Critical Praise


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Buy This Book : $19.95

ISBN 0-916727-42-4 978-0-916727-42-0
US $19.95
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