Jorge Milanes Despaigne
HAVANA TIMES — Some time ago, I wrote about a book of poems, La Pendiente (“The Slope”), written by my friend and fellow Havana Times blogger Osmel Almaguer. At the time, Osmel shared his work only with friends and a few literary circles.
Finally, he decided to aim higher than La Madriguera (a cultural venue located in Havana) and submit the poetic anthology to Cuba’s 19th Juegos Florales National Poetry Competition, organized by the Provincial Center for Literature and the Hermanos Saiz Association in Ciego de Avila.
“I sent La Pendiente to the competition in Ciego de Avila,” he said to me, enthused. “And I think I won.”
I couldn’t do anything, at this point, other than give him encouragement:
“Yes. The least you’ll get is an honorary mention. You won’t be left without an award, that I’m sure.”
I knew his intuition was right because of a friend who had been part of the jury in the competition, who had made me promise I wouldn’t say anything to the author, not before he received his award.
For two months, I asked him about the competition regularly.
Last week, Osmel phoned me to tell me he was packing his bags for a trip to Ciego de Avila. He had been invited by the Hermanos Saiz Association, who had told him of a possible award.
I felt a huge sense of satisfaction over Osmel’s success, as though it were my own. Perhaps it was a selfish feeling, but I had promised not to say anything.
Finally, the results were announced: of all the works of poetry submitted to this national competition of young authors, the winning piece was La Pendiente, by Osmel Almaguer.
It hadn’t been mere, wishful thinking. Osmel returned brimming with satisfaction, pleased with his award, which consists of a diploma, a work of art and the publication of his book by the Casa del Viento editorial house (including royalties, payable within a year).
I will keep an eye out for La Pendiente at Havana’s International Book Fair in 2014