Clementina Suárez: Her Life and Poetry

Clementina Suárez: Her Life and Poetry

Clementina Suárez: Her Life and Poetry

Clementina Suárez: Her Life and Poetry

Excerpt

If Clementina had died in January 1988, her small frame fragile on the queenly platform of her wide bed, the roots of her hair gray against her blue satin pillow, her friends and relatives hovering watchfully nearby, I would have had a different story to tell. I most likely would have sought out many of the same people to interview, read the same books, and visited the same places. But the Clementina I have created would have taken on her various masks and personalities without the entanglements that inevitably arise when two living people spend time together. I could have laid claim to biographical objectivity and presented ample evidence to substantiate my version of her life as being that based on the clearest perception, removed from the immediate and passionate response that her presence and personality inspired in most people who knew her.

For months I had been anticipating the moment of meeting her, constructing it in my imagination in a variety of ways. So when I arrived in Tegucigalpa in January 1988 and learned that she had been quite ill for almost two months, that her daughter had come from Mexico to be with her, that her friends feared she might not recover, that she was very weak and seemed to have lost the will to live, I wondered if perhaps my imagination would have to make do on its own, without the benefit of input from the poet herself.

I walked quietly into her darkened bedroom and sat in the chair beside her bed. She looked like a frightened little animal, much smaller and frailer than the woman I had pictured reciting her poetry on the stage of the National Theatre in Tegucigalpa in 1931. Her eyes were large, opaque pools. Her voice was cracked and complaining. She wasn't sure about me, but she agreed to let me visit again the following afternoon. I returned the next day, and the day after that. She began to look forward to my visits, and by the time I left Tegucigalpa two weeks later, I was determined to return and stay long enough to do the necessary research to write her biography, and she had agreed to help me in any way she could.

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