POET IN THE FORTRESS by Thomas C. Jr. Aitken


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El Vate (""the Bard"") is the epithet given to Luis Munoz Martin, the first elected governor of Puerto Rico, and thrice re-elected, who lives in the Fortaleza, the fortress palace of the rulers of Puerto Rico in the capital city of San Juan. Where El Vate's verses seem conventional (only three are translated here), his life has been one of violent non-conformity, even with his own principles, He keeps a higher consistency. It is based on the Fabian belief that proof is better than theory and a slum cleared is better than discussions about slum clearance. His life has been a series of socially conscious acts, an attitude inherited from his father who helped gain Spain's grant of autonomy for Puerto Rico in 1898. It is Signor Martin who is largely responsible for transforming his island from the poorhouse of the Caribbean into a thriving community that still reveres and retains much of its Spanish heritage. For only a brief period, while mixing with the New York literati of the Twenties, did his dedication waver; but then it re-emerged with a sardonic irony and anguish that spared neither peasant nor exploiter. This is a lively timely biography.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1964
Publisher: New American Library