The Passing of
Jos� Manuel Torres-Santiago
Al emigrar a Estados Unidos empec� a ganar consciencia de los muertos reales, adem�s yo no me quer�a morir. Creo que hay algo en ellos del Comala,el pueblo del Pedro P�ramo de Juan Rulfo, donde los muertos hablan. Y la muerte hab�a dejado de ser una cuesti�n filos�fica y se hab�a convertido en una realidad inevitable.
--- Jos� Manuel Torres-Santiago (2007)
We are sad to report that Jos� Manuel Torres-Santiago passed away this afternoon, November 15, 2011, in Puerto Rico as a result of a heart attack. He had been ill for some time. He was born in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico on March 30, 1940.
He was formerly a professor of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College in New York.
At the age of 19 he entered the University of Puerto Rico, and the Faculty of Humanities Hispanic Language and Literature studies. In 1976 he received the degree of Master of Arts (MA in Puerto Rican Studies offered for those years the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the State University of New York at Buffalo). His Master's thesis was, "A political and social interpretation of Puerto Rican poetry."
Jos� Manuel co-founded and directed with other young poets one of the most important and longest published journals of poetry in Puerto Rico, Guajana (1962). In the '60s this magazine was a forum bringing together young poets whose ideals of justice and the fight for the independence of Puerto Rico moved them to create a poetry of social issues and commitment to our historical reality.
The poetry of Jos� Manuel Torres Santiago includes: the La paloma asesinada (1967); En las manos del pueblo (1972); Sobre casas de muertos va mi sombra (1988); Entrevista Post Mortem a Pedro Albizu Campos y otros ensayos (1992); Canciones del amor y la delicia (1999) and Mi abec� (1992), a book of poems for children. He also co-authored with Vicente Rodriguez and Andres Castro Nietzsche de Rio Trovas Larenas (1988), and coedited with Benjamin Torres and Marisa Rosado the book Imagen de Albizu Campos(1974). Also comppiled the Obras completas de Hugo Margenat 1933-1957, published by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 1974, and produced for the same ICP a record of poems (1973) in the voice of Hugo and the reciter Margenat Jose Antonio Martin. Santiago Torres was also the author of the screenplay, The Two Worlds of Angelita (1984), which was broadcast on WNET Channel 13, a PBS station.
The poems of Jose Manuel Torres Santiago can be found in the Antolog�a de j�venes poetas (1965), Mester de rebeld�a de la poes�a hispanoamericana (1973), Antolog�a m�nima de poes�a pol�tica de Am�rica Central y El Caribe (1974), Presencia ta�na (1976), Poes�a afroantillana y negrista (Ed. de 1976 y 1981), Poes�a militante puertorrique�a (1979) y Sensemay�: La poes�a negra en el mundo hispanohablante (1980). His poems and prose were also published in major newspapers and magazines in Puerto Rico. Among these include: Alma Latina, Bayo�n, Surco, Artes y Letras, Prometeo, Puerto, Versiones, Mester, Pabell�n, Palestra, Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorrique�a, and Mairena y Julia, founded and run by the Spanish poet Manuel de la Puebla.
The newspapers El Mundo, El Imparcial, La Hora, Claridad (En Rojo), and in New York the magazine Siempre and El Diario-La Prensa also published his essays and other literary texts. Other recent magazines containing his poems are Biekes� y Ex�gesiss, the latter directed by the teacher and critic Mark Reyes Davila. In New York he was published in the Tercer Milenio. The newspaper El Diario-La Prensa published his commentary and essays on topics that concerned both Puerto Rican and Caribbean people living in New York city and those who resided in Puerto Rico. In Latin America in his writings appeared in Cuadernos Americanos, Xalapa y Parva de M�xico; en Cuba, El Caim�n Barbudo, Bohemia y la revista Casa de las Am�ricas; in Argentina Cormor�n y Delf�n, published translations of American poets, in Chile the journal Tebaida and. in Venezuela. the journals Poes�a of the Universidad de Valencia and Actual of the Universidad de Los Andes provided exposure to his poetry, as did RevistAtl�ntica in Spain.
Santiago Torres's poetry had evolved from strictly political issues into a poetry that over time focused on a more intimate view of life. He also created a book of poems for children, Mi abec� (1992), in a language where the noble simplicity of the rhyme and melody facilitate learning of poetry.
In the genre of drama, his work, El �ltimo rosario de Medea, was produced by the Pregones Theatre Company in the Bronx in 2006, starring the famous Venezuelan actress Lupita Ferrer. This same work was first presented in 1991, starring Rosalba Rolon, actress and founder of the company..