by Jorge Icaza (1906-1978)
Translated from the Spanish by Richard Gabela
Several times a day Don Ernesto Morejón Galindo, Chief-Director of the Bureau of Economic Investigation, abandoned his small office to monitor the attendance of the employees in his charge. Don Ernesto was a man of uneven temperament. Completely uneven. When he was in good spirits, he exaggerated his Don Juanism by indulging in libidinous confidences like a fishwife or a country bumpkin. With graphic and pornographic gestures indicative of hypersexuality, he’d whisper into the ear of the person who was his confidant at the moment: “What a night of revelry, my dear cholo. Had myself three women. Two turned out to be virgins.… Hee-hee-hee…All for free.” But if he had to publicly reprimand his henchmen—as he inwardly referred to his subordinates—he swelled with omnipotence and meted out threats without concert or order. At such times, when his domineering arrogance exploded, every grotesque feature of his fat face stood out: his cheeks resembled a pair of rosy buttocks, his lips quivered like muddy earth, bilious drool flowed between his teeth, diabolical flames burned in his pupils.
Continue reading “The Chulla Romero y Flores (1958 Novel) by Jorge Icaza – An English Translation”
Damia Mendoza Zambrano (Manta, 1966) is an Ecuadorian poet, singer-songwriter, researcher, and university professor. As a poet, she’s represented Ecuador at international festivals in Taiwan, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Cuba, Canada, Argentina, Morroco, and the United States, among others. Her poetry books include, Sueños de Gaviota (1986), El despertar de Gaviota (2001), Desliz (2002), Tras los Cristales de mi Mar (2007), and Hojas de mi noche larga (2012). Her poems have also been published in several anthologies. Some of her poems have been translated into Italian, English and French.
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Josefa Mendoza de Mora (Montecristi, March 18, 1917 – Guayaquil, January 26, 2006) was an Ecuadorian poet. She was part of the editorial staff of the magazine Recado Cultural of Portoviejo and was a member of the Manabi chapter of the House of Ecuadorian Culture. She also helped found the Manta Cultural Group in 1965 and served as its president. Some of her poems have been set to music by notable Ecuadorian composers, including Gerardo Arias and Constantino Mendoza. A high school in Manta bears her name.
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Dr. José Viliulfo Cedeño Sánchez (Manta, January 21, 1928 – Manta, February 27, 1986) was an Ecuadorian writer, poet, historian, archaeologist, and university professor. He was a founder and secretary of the Manta Cultural Group, he wrote various textbooks on philosophy, Ecuadorian territorial rights, literature and ethics. His poems were published in, “Itinerario del hombre” and “Voces Manabitas.” In 1985, his most notable book was published, “La Confederación Manteña,” a historical study of Manta’s roots. Two schools in the Manabi province bear his name.
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Jorge Cevallos Calero (Portoviejo, December 2, 1898 – August 20, 1968) was an Ecuadorian poet. In the 1920’s he formed part of the ”Argos” generation, an important literary group from Portoviejo. In 1950, he became a member of the Ecuadorian House of Culture in Manabi. In 1965, he created and presided over the Grupo Cultural Manta [Manta Cultural Group], which was very active in those years. He was bestowed the Flor Natural for his “Canto a Portoviejo” [Song to Portoviejo]. The poet Horacio Hidrovo Peñaherrera, being Mayor of Portoviejo, erected a bust in Cevallos’ memory, recognizing him as a universal poet “always attentive to the great events of humanity.” Today a school in Manta bears his name, as well as a park and garden in Portoviejo.
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Lesther Macías Vera de Carofilis (Portoviejo, August 12, 1951) is an Ecuadorian poet. She is currently the director of the academic literature section of the House of Ecuadorian Culture in Manabi. She is the recipient of various teaching awards (1979, 1981, 1990, 1995). For her active participation in the Ecuadorian Literature seminar in 1983, the Ministry of Education and Culture awarded her a Diploma of Honor. She won second place in a prestigious poetry contest in Quito in 1990, with her poems “Un Árbol que murió de tristeza” and “Fábricas de Asfalto”. She is a member of “The Cove/Rincón International”of Miami, FL, a cultural group for poetry and other arts.
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Aracely Cevallos Ramírez de Velasco is an Ecuadorian poet who has been dubbed “la jardinera de la palabra” [The Word Gardener]. She is regarded as one of the most representative poetic voices of Manabi literature, distinguished by her modernist style and her ability to capture beautiful metaphors about nature, which she understands as an agricultural engineer and co-founding member of the Portoviejo Gardening Club. She is a member of the Manabi chapter of the House of Ecuadorian Culture.
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Mercedes G. de Moscoso, born Mercedes González Tola, also known by the pen name Rosa del Valle (Guayaquil, October 12, 1860 – October 23, 1911) was an Ecuadorian poet, playwright, activist and feminist. She is known as the greatest exponent of Ecuador’s second romanticism, she was notable for her poetry and plays. The majority of her poetry is contained in the books, Cantos del Hogar (1909) and Rosas de Otoño (1911). She wrote three plays, Abuela (1903), Martirio sin culpa (1905), and Nobleza (unpublished). In 1905 she collaborated with Zoila Ugarte and Dolores Sucre in La Mujer , the first feminist and suffragette magazine in Ecuador. Her brother was the poet Nicolás Augusto González.
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Juan Romero Vinueza (Quito, 1994) is an Ecuadorian poet and editor. He has published the following poem books: “Revólver Escorpión” (2016), “39 poemas de mierda para mi primera esposa” (2018), and “Dämmerung [o cómo reinventar a los ídolos]” (2019), which was given Honorable Mention in the 2019 Jorge Carrera Andrade National Poetry Award. He co-edited the anthology “Despertar de la hydra: antología del nuevo cuento ecuatoriano” (2017) with Abril Altamiro, which won the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s 2016-2017 Competitive Funds incentive. He and Kimrey Anna Batts edited and translated “País Cassava / Casabe Lands” (2017), a binational anthology of stories from Ecuador and Nigeria. In 2021, a collection of his poetry was published in an anthology titled “Ínfimo territorio kamikaze.”
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Cristina Reyes, born Cristina Eugenia Reyes Hidalgo (Guayaquil, August 26, 1981) is an Ecuadorian lawyer, legislator, politician, former beauty contestant, and poet. Since 2000, Reyes has published 4 poetry collections. She was the first runner-up in the Miss Ecuador 2004 pageant, and she also competed in Miss World 2004 in Sanya, China, and Miss Earth 2005 in Quezon City, Philippines. She has worked as a show host for TC Televisión, Telesistema (now RTS), Telerama, and Ecuavisa. Her first television appearance as a reporter was on the show Ventana a la Calle, which was hosted by Kenneth Carrera, who was later replaced by Reyes after he became involved in politics. She served in Ecuador’s Constituent Assembly as a member of the Social Christian Party from 2007 to 2008, and has also served as an assemblywoman in Ecuador’s National Assembly. She is currently an Andean Parliamentarian of Ecuador and Vice President of the Education Commission.
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Rodrigo Pachano Lalama (Ambato, August 7, 1910 – June 20, 1984) was an Ecuadorian lawyer, writer, poet, journalist, historian, researcher, and teacher. He was elected mayor of Ambato in 1955 for a period of 2 years. He authored Tungurahua’s Hymn, several poetry books, and essays, including one about Juan Montalvo. Throughout his life, he received numerous decorations and distinctions. In one of his books, the Spanish writer and Nobel Prize winner Camilo José Cela recalls meeting the “poet Rodrigo Pachano” during a visit to Ambato in 1954. He founded the Tungurahua chapter of the House of Ecuadorian Culture with other Ambato intellectuals such as Edmundo Martínez, Jorge Isaac Robayo, Rodrigo Vela, Blanca Martínez de Tinajero, and Gerardo Nicola. He was the organization’s president for several years.
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Mario Cobo Barona (Ambato, September 10, 1930 – Ambato, April 16, 2007) was an Ecuadorian poet, playwright, essayist, and educator. He wrote over 30 books in different genres. The Ecuadorian House of Culture published an anthology containing the majority of his poetic works. He held various posts in Ecuador in the field of education, such as Vice Minister of Public Education, Provincial Director of Education of Tungurahua, and Rector of the Rumiñahui National School, to name a few. He received several accolades and recognitions for his work as an educator. On July 31, 1997, he became a corresponding member of the House of Ecuadorian Culture. On January 17, 2002, he was honored with full membership into the academy.
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Dolores Sucre y Lavayen (Guayaquil, November 1837 – Guayaquil, June 5, 1917) was a writer, poet, and a descendant of South American independence leader Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830). In 1883, she recited her poems at the Centenary of the Liberator’s Birth and the inauguration of the statues of Simón Bolívar and Vicente Rocafuerte. On December 9, 1905, Ms. María Sánchez Urbina presented her with the Golden Lyre at the Olmedo Theater in Guayaquil, and the poet Numa Pompilio Llona dedicated a sonnet to her entitled “A Dolores Sucre,” to which Dolores modestly recited her poem “Mi Gratitud.” Her prolific literary work was published in Ecuador’s main newspapers and magazines, and she was admired in Peru by literary personalities such as Ricardo Palma, Carlos G. Amézaga, Teobaldo Corpancho, and Clorinda Mattos de Turner.
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Augusto Nicolás Martínez Holguín, aka Augusto N. Martínez (Ambato, March 25, 1860 – March 19, 1946) was an Ecuadorian volcanologist, geologist, agronomist, scientific explorer, historian, writer, translator, and educator. His works contributed to the geological knowledge of the volcanic region in Ecuador. They include: “Crónica de los fenomenos volcánicos y terremotos en el Ecuador” [Chronicle of the Volcanic Phenomena and Earthquakes in Ecuador] (1896), “Algunas montañas volcánicas” [Some Volcanic Mountains] (1905), and “Vulcanologia y geología de los Andes ecuatorianos” [Volcanology and Geology of the Ecuadorian Andes] (1905). He also left a great legacy of photographs of the volcanoes he visited, which later were a great help to other climbers. His other works include themes such as science, history, scientific research, and exploration. He was a corresponding member of the National Academy of History, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften [German Geological Society], and the Société astronomique de France [French Astronomical Society]. He was fluent in English, French, and German, as well as his native Spanish. He translated several works from German and French into Spanish, particularly the valuable writings of his mentor Father Luis Dressel, with whom he ascended to some mountains and volcanoes in Ecuador. In 1920, he was honored by the French Academy of Sciences for his work.
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Anacarsis Martínez (Ambato, Tungurahua, July 16, 1862 – March 27, 1930) was an Ecuadorian politician, satirist, writer, publisher, and editor. His first political writings were published in the newspaper “El Combate” alongside Juan Benigno Vela and Celiano Monge. Then, in 1887, he founded and became the editor of “La Avispa,” a political-satirical newspaper. His writings were mainly published in Trajano Mera’s “Revista Ecuatoriana” and in “Revista Guayaquil,” where he published his acclaimed article “Las ilusiones de un gamonal.” He also wrote the short novel “El desfalco.” In 1911, he served as Governor of Tungurahua. He was the older brother of the writers Augusto N. Martinez and Luis A. Martinez.
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José Rumazo González (Latacunga, August 28, 1904 – February 26, 1995) was an Ecuadorian writer, philosopher, historian, and poet. He is the author of the celebrated poem “Parusia,” an epic poem that he began writing in 1956 that spans 5,600 pages in 7 volumes. It is one of the longest epic poems in recorded history, with nearly 220,000 verses. It is longer than the Mahabharata by Vyasa, the Ramayana by Valmiki, the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, and the Aeneid by Virgil. He served as Ecuador’s ambassador to Honduras, Argentina, Uruguay, and Panama, in addition to serving as consul in Seville, Cadiz, Lisbon, and Barcelona. He taught History and Castilian at the Eloy Alfaro Military School, and History and Superior Grammar at the Catholic University of Quito. He was a member of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language, the Ecuadorian Academy of History, the Academies of History of Bogota and Madrid, the Ecuadorian House of Culture, the Bolivarian Society, and other organizations and institutions. From 1975 to 1984, he was the director of the Ecuadorian Academy of Language.
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