BEATRICE VIGGIANI POET OF TWO WORLDS

BEATRICE VIGGIANI POET OF TWO WORLDS 

“Language is light and does not weigh like flesh. I live language because language is light and does not weigh like flesh”: these verses open the poetic anthology “41” by Beatrice Viggiani, an elegant volume published by Universosud and presented at the Polo Bibliotecario in Potenza, southern Italy.

All the testimonies underlined the profoundly free character of Beatrice Viggiani, undoubtedly one of the most important poetic figures of the region in the 20th century, emphasising at the same time her two loves: her native Italy and the region where she was born and where her remains rest, and Venezuela, where she lived for almost 40 years and where she left a deep mark on the culture of that country.

A professor of History of Culture at the “Martín Tovar y Tovar” School of Plastic Arts in Barquisimeto, a city in central-western Venezuela, her work was not only limited to the academic classroom: her art and culture workshops were extended to the most deprived neighbourhoods, the countryside and even prisons.

Thanks to her intense activity in the cultural field, the local authorities recognised her great contribution and today her image is part of the “Gallery of Illustrious Women” in Barquisimeto.  At the national level, she was awarded the “Andrés Bello” medal of First Class, the most important decoration that the Venezuelan state confers to culturally prominent people. 

A POEM FOR ALLENDE

The intervention of one of his former students, the painter Enrique Hernández, who recalled a very significant event not only in his personal history, but also in that of thousands of people around the world, was very moving: the coup d’état in Chile on 11 September 1973.

“On that day, a group of students were with Beatrice setting up an exhibition at the University Gallery in Caracas, when we learned what was happening in Chile,” says Hernández. Stunned, incredulous, embarrassed, the young people didn’t know what to do.

Beatrice made a gesture of rage and pain, took a cigarette and her pen and withdrew to a corner of the room to write. A short time passed when she called them to read them what she had written: one of the most beautiful poems dedicated to the Chilean President, which begins and ends like this “…one more dead man who walks here and here in the restless and wounded heart of the people of America…a terrible, severe, solemn dead man, someone like comrade Salvador Allende”.

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