“I was in my home town, a place called Esperanza, which in English means Hope. I was at my mom’s and I had just finished reading her a poem; a poem I had dedicated to her, or rather to her solitude; a poem that is included in El frío de vivir. And then they called. I laughed and she cried. Then we had coffee. My mom forgot to add sugar, but I found it sweet. Everything became alarmingly sweet.”
That is how poet Sergio García Zamora remembers the moment he found out that his book of poems El frío de vivir had won the 29th edition of the LOEWE FOUNDATION Young Poets Award.
Born in Cuba in 1986, García Zamora has a B.A. in Spanish language, has published over a dozen books, and has received numerous prizes, including the Rubén Darío International Poetry Prize and the Gaceta de Cuba Prize. “I submitted my application because the LOEWE Poetry Prize has everything: a prestige that its organisers have never betrayed; a very generous prize disbursement (even the Cid Campeador needed money); beautiful books; an unquestionable jury that has allowed us to believe in literary justice once again. An honourable prize, even if not everyone remembers the value of that adjective.” He explains that his relationship with the jury is distant. “The truth is, I only know them because I’ve read their books, which are magnificent. It’s like having siblings you haven’t met. I have lived without ever hearing them speak; but every day I rehearse possible conversations because I trust that one day we will sit at the same table.”
A Jury that highlighted, among other qualities, the expressive resources of a book that even its own author describes using a competitive metaphor: “If I were a chess player (what author isn’t one), I would declare El frío de vivir the first move of the middle game, when one cannot afford to make the mistakes of the opening rounds, call them my previous books, if we are to beat eternity at its game.”
García Zamora says this prize has changed his life “in an enchantingly horrible way: it has condemned me to be talented. I had hoped to live out my days as a poet, as a simple shepherd; however, the time to kill giants has arrived.”
Photo captions: Sergio García Zamora at the award ceremony of the LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Prize in its 29th edition ©Álvaro Tomé for the LOEWE FOUNDATION, 2016.