Amerindian Elements in the Poetry of Ernesto Cardenal: Mythic Foundations of the Colloquial Narrative

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This study explores the Amerindian elements in the works of Ernesto Cardenal, the
revolutionary poet-priest from Nicaragua. The work examines the three main currents which flow through Cardenal’s poetry: the socio-political current, the religious current, and the indigenous current.


“Prominent among [this work’s] characteristics is the fact that the innovative literary aspects of Cardenal’s work are always within the scope of the Morrow’s competent evaluation.” – Dr. Keith Ellis University of Toronto

“For those students of Ernesto Cardenal’s poetry who wish to deepen their understanding of how indigenous themes manifest themselves in Cardenal’s poetry, this work is a necessary addition to their critical reading.” – Prof. Ruth A. Kauffmann Trinity International University

"His book provides an interesting, if brief, analysis of the important status indigeneity occupies in the works of Cardenal and represents an important contribution to the literature on one of Latin America's most iconic and controversial cultural figures." -- Prof. Luciano Baracco, AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples

Table of Contents

Prologue by Keith Ellis
Foreword by Luis Alberto Vittor
Chapter 1: Critical Contextualization
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Cardenal’s Socio-Political Commitment
1.3 The Origins of Cardenal’s Socio-Political Commitment
1.4 Pound’s Poetic and Ideological Influence on Cardenal
1.5 Religion and Revolution: Liberation Theology
1.6 The Cuban Experience
1.7 Cardenal’s Humanitarian Socialism
1.8 Cardenal’s Radicalization
1.9 Cardenal and the Catholic Church
1.10 The Origins of Cardenal’s Interest in the Indigenous World
1.11 Catholicism and Nativism
1.12 Cardenal’s Aesthetic Influences and Ideas
1.13 Indigenous Stylistic and Aesthetic Influences in Cardenal’s Poetry
1.14 Cardenal’s Ideological Currents
1.15 Cardenal’s Latest Phase
1.16 Conclusions
Chapter 2: Poems of the Conquest
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Stylistic Characteristics of El estrecho dudoso
2.3 “Canto II”
2.4 “Canto IV”
2.5 “Canto VIII”
2.6 “Canto X”
2.7 “Canto XIII”
2.8 “Canto XVII”
2.9 “Canto XVIII”
2.10 “Canto XIX”
2.11 “Canto XXI”
2.12 “Canto XXII”
2.13 “Canto XXIII”
2.14 Conclusions
Chapter 3: American Indian Poems
3.1 Introduction
3.2 “Kentucky”
3.3 “Kayanerenhkowa”
3.4 “Marchas pawnees” / “Pawnee Marches”
3.5 “Tahirassawichi en Washington” / “Tahirassawichi in Washington”
3.6 “La danza del espíritu” / “The Ghost Dance”
3.7 “Grabaciones de la pipa sagrada” / “The Sacred Pipe Recordings”
3.8 Conclusions
Chapter 4: Aztec Poems
4.1 Introduction
4.2 “Cantares mexicanos II” / “Mexican Songs II”
4.3 “Cantares mexicanos IV” / “Mexican Songs IV”
4.4 “Cantares mexicanos V” / “Mexican Songs V”
4.5 “Cantares mexicanos VI” / “Mexican Songs VI”
4.6 “Nezahualcóyotl”
4.7 “Los tlamatinimes” / “The Tlamatinimes”
4.8 “Quetzalcóatl”
4.9 Conclusions
Chapter 5: Cuna Poems
5.1 Introduction
5.2 “Los ovnis de oro” / “Golden UFOS”
5.3 “Nele Kantule”
5.4 “Entrevista con el Cacique Yabilinguiña” / “Interview with Cacique Yabilinguiña”
5.5 “La tierra que Dios nos entregó” / “The Land God Gave Us”
5.6 Conclusions
Chapter 6: Mayan Poems
6.1 Introduction
6.2 “8 Ahau”
6.3 “Ardilla de los tunes de un Katún” / “Squirrel of the Tuns of a Katún”
6.4 “Oráculos de Tikal” / “Oracles of Tikal”
6.5 “Katún 11 Ahau”
6.6 “Mayapán”
6.7 “Las ciudades perdidas” / “Lost Cities”
6.8 Conclusions
Chapter 7: Yaruro, Guaraní, and Kogui Poems
7.1 Introduction
7.3 “Los yaruros” / “The Yaruros”
7.4 “La Arcadia perdida” / “Lost Arcadia”
7.5 “Los hijos del bosque” / “The Sons of the Forest”
7.6 “Sierra Nevada”
7.7 Conclusions
Chapter 8: Inca Poems
8.1 Introduction
8.2 “El secreto de Machu-Picchu” / “The Secret of Machu Picchu”
8.3 “Economía de Tahuantinsuyu” / “The Economy of Tahuantinsuyu”
8.4 Conclusions
Chapter 9: Poems of Conflict and Resolution
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Cardenal’s Three Currents
9.3 The Master’s Magnum Opus
9.4 The Miskito Indians
9.5 American Exploitation
9.6 Biological Warfare Aimed at Indians
9.7 The Massacre of Mato Grosso
9.8 The Colony Continues
9.9 500 Years of Indian Genocide
9.10 Cultural and Environmental Contamination
9.11 Cosmic Communism
9.12 Flood Myths
9.13 At One with the Universe
9.14 Divine Unity
9.15 The Linguistic Richness of Native Languages
9.16 The Oneness of Humanity
9.17 Conclusions
General Conclusions

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