Luisa Pérez de Zambrana, the one who "was born with the gift of poetry"

MIAMI, United States. – The Cuban poet Luisa Pérez Montes de Oca (after getting married she adopted the surname of her husband, Dr. Ramon Zambrana) was born near El Cobre, in the former province of Oriente. From a young age, he was noted for his extraordinary gifts for poetry.

In fact, he became known at the age of 14 with his first verses, which he published under the title of The return to the forest. The event triggered such success that Luisa was hailed as a great poet at such a young age.

“To talk about Luisa Pérez de Zambrana is to look back at that world of Cuban poetesses where names like Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, Juana Borrero, Dulce María Loynaz and others (…) created together, even without having coincided in time, a universe of delicacy, extraordinary finesse of feelings and, curiously, of a morbid sensitivity to suffering”, wrote on his blog Cuban writer Gina Picart.

Luisa Pérez de Zambrana had five children with her husband, who died of tuberculosis at just 49 years old. Shortly after her sister died and later, one by one, all her children.

These extreme and sad circumstances marked all his work. Among his major books are Prayer book, The return to the forest, supreme pain Y Martyrdom.

One of the booklets of Luisa Pérez de Zambrana (Photo: BNJ)

“Her deep sensitivity, so lacerated by death, earned Luisa one of the highest praises that can be given to a poet in all past, present and future times: referring to her, José Martí wrote: ‘Verses of greatness, but only from sentiment is poetry made’”, remembers Picart.

In 1918 the Havana Athenaeum paid homage to the poet and her poems were published again, this time with a prologue by the great Cuban intellectual Enrique José Varona, who recognized her as “the most distinguished elegiac of our lyrics.”

Luisa Pérez de Zambrana died in Havana, at her home in Regla, on May 25, 1922.

For such great figures of the Cuban intelligentsia such as José Martí, Enrique José Varona, José María Chacón y Calvo, José Lezama Lima, José Antonio Portuondo or Cintio Vitier, she was the only Cuban female voice capable of bearing comparison with Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, another of the greatest poets of Cuba and Latin America.

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