HAVANA – Writer Cintio Vitier, one of the most eminent figures of contemporary Cuban intellectualism, died in Havana, the official media said. He was 88.
Poet, novelist, critic, literary researcher and university professor, Cintio Vitier was one of the founders of Origenes magazine, one of the most import publications of its kind in Latin America and edited by the late writer Jose Lezama Lima.
The Cuban media did not provide details on the cause of death.
Vitier was born on Sept. 25, 1921 in Key West, Florida, but had Cuban nationality.
He published his first book of poetry, “Poemas,” in 1938 when he was just 17, with an introduction by Juan Ramon Jimenez, who had also chosen the poems.
In his long career as an intellectual he won numerous honors including the National Prize for Literature in 1988, the Jose Marti Order awarded by the island’s Council of State, the 2002 Juan Rulfo prize, the title of Official of Arts and Letters of France, and the medal of the Cuban Academy of Sciences.
He also received honorary doctorates from the universities of Havana, Las Villas in the central part of the island, and Soka in Japan.
He made his final public appearance last week together with his wife, the poet Fina Garcia Marruz, when he received a tribute for his research and study of the work of Cuban indepedence hero Jose Marti, at the Center of Marti Studies, a cultural institution that he directed for many years.
To celebrate his last birthday, a bibliographic exhibition with photos of Vitier donated by his family opened at the National Library in Havana last Monday.
Among his works are the books of poetry: “Testimonios” of 1968, an anthology of his works from 1953 to 1968; “La Fecha al Pie” (Up to Date) in 1981 covering his works from 1969 to 1975; “Antologia Poetica” from 1981; “Hojas Perdidizas” (Supposedly Missing Pages) from 1988; and “Poemas de Mayo a Junio” (Poems from May to June) from 1990. EFE