La poesía en el centro de la llama

Por: José Antonio Michelena

Virgilio-López-Lemus
Virgilio-López-Lemus

Escoger –es un decir– la literatura como oficio es casi un disparate, una aberración, por su condición solitaria y porque se camina solo y sin ataduras, por una cuerda muy débil; debajo del escritor está el vacío y nada le garantiza que llegará a salvo a la publicación, los lectores, el reconocimiento.
Sin embargo, cuando escribir es una necesidad, una vocación, un destino marcado, entonces encarar el vacío, caminar sobre él, no es una opción. Por tanto, el primer enunciado debe formularse a la inversa: la literatura te escoge y el escriba no tiene más remedio que enfrentar el reto. Y aunque un consejo de los indios navajo dice: “Salta, ya aparecerá el suelo”, ¿qué hacer si no aparece? Seguir escribiendo.
Así lo entendió Virgilio López Lemus desde su temprana juventud y para no caer en el temido círculo de “no te publican porque no te conocen, y no te conocen porque no publicas”, no ha dejado de escribir y publicar en casi medio siglo, de manera que varias decenas de libros, entre poesía, ensayo y crítica literaria, le han labrado un sitio de prestigio en la literatura cubana.
Durante el primer semestre de 2018, el escritor nacido en Fomento, Sancti Spíritus, recibió dos galardones relevantes: el Festival Internacional de Poesía de La Habana y las Sociedades de Beneficencia Andaluzas de Cuba le otorgaron el Premio Rafael Alberti de Poesía; mientras la Academia de Ciencias de Cuba le confirió la condición de Académico de Mérito.
Justamente entre la poesía y la academia ha transcurrido una buena parte de su labor. La reina de los géneros literarios ha sido fuente nutricia del poeta, el investigador, el ensayista, el crítico, el profesor, el traductor, el editor. Y en los últimos años, no pocos de sus libros entretejen poesía, reflexión y especulación, como demuestran Elogios. Del amor, la amistad y la alegría (2000), Aguas tributarias (2003), Narciso, las aguas y el espejo (2004), La eterna edad (2005) y Gravitación de la poesía (2015).
En ese arco gravitacional, López Lemus les ha prestado especial atención a dos formas poéticas: la poesía conversacional y la décima. Quien quiera conocerlas en profundidad, en el contexto cubano, no puede dejar de leer los libros que él les ha dedicado.
Palabras del trasfondo. Estudio de la poesía coloquialista cubana (1988) es un riguroso análisis del discurso poético conversacional desde todos los ángulos y se detiene en cada uno de los autores incluidos. Los juicios presentes en esa obra sobre las figuras que lo integran han quedado como referencia obligada para las exploraciones en ese apartado.
Por su parte, la estrofa nacional ha encontrado en López Lemus a un estudioso puntual que ha recogido en La décima constante. Las tradiciones oral y escrita (2000) y La décima renacentista y barroca (2002) todo el saber acumulado sobre esta composición. De tal manera que resultan obligatoria fuente de consulta para quienes deseen acercarse a la historia y los conceptos de la más popular de las estrofas cultivadas en Cuba.
Como prueba de la estima que profesan los decimistas cubanos a Virgilio López Lemus, en julio de 2008 la Semana de la Cultura Cucalambeana, la mayor fiesta nacional destinada a la décima le dedicó su evento anual en Las Tunas.
Fruto de su interés por el conocimiento de las diversas estructuras poéticas, y muy apreciado por poetas y estudiantes de letras, es su libro Métrica, verso libre y poesía experimental de la lengua española, con ediciones en 2008, 2016 y 2017 que siempre son insuficientes.
La vocación de historiar la poesía ha compulsado al ensayista tanto a la conformación de numerosas antologías poéticas como también a la de volúmenes que contienen amplios panoramas del género. Los libros más ilustrativos, en uno y otro caso, son: Doscientos años de poesía cubana: 1790-1990. Cien poemas antológicos (1999 y 2002) y El siglo entero. El discurso poético de la nación cubana en el siglo xx (2008).
Los ejemplos acotados en el párrafo anterior se refieren a la poesía cubana, pero el afán de López Lemus no está circunscrito a las letras nacionales, su radio de acción comprende, además, a múltiples autores de las lenguas española, portuguesa y francesa.
El abultado expediente académico de Virgilio, su voluminoso currículo de ensayista, no deben ocultar que también es apreciable su labor en el verso, como lo demuestran los trece libros de poemas publicados. Sobre el más reciente, titulado Hipno, una elegía donde se enlazan el amor y la muerte, la poetisa cubana Dulcila Cañizares expresó que “es un hito depurado dentro de su obra poética y ofrece un aporte singular a la poesía cubana”.
Las publicaciones de López Lemus crecen a razón de tres, cuatro, cinco… libros por año. Traducidos a una docena de idiomas, sus textos han llegado a editoriales, revistas y diarios de más de treinta países, confirmando que es un caso de excepción en la Isla, donde los escritores no suelen mostrar una obra tan exuberante. Solo conozco a uno tan trabajador como él, y también es nacido bajo el signo de libra. Parece que la búsqueda del equilibrio tiene algo que ver con esa voluntad y esa disciplina para desplegar el talento. El otro escritor es Premio Nacional de Literatura, este ya lo merece. Ω

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