: : : Notes to Introduction
1 Contín Aybar, Biel, el Marino, 99. The translation here is mine, as are all other
translations throughout the book unless otherwise indicated. All capital letters
in original.
2 Mateo, “La poesía homosexual dominicana,” 21.
3 Ibid.
4 The poet Víctor Villegas, who considers Contín Aybar a mentor figure for
himself and for other writers of the “Generación del 48,” exalts Biel as Con-
tín Aybar’s “más consumada criatura” (his most polished creature) (15). As a
member of a generation of young poets who emerged under the tutelage of
this mentor, “father,” and co-director of the official journal Cuadernos Domini-
canos de Cultura barely a decade after the inauguration of the Trujillo regime,
Villegas recalls the contradictory role that Contín Aybar’s presence played in
opening up spaces for critical views of the regime voiced in and through artis-
tic expression. As Villegas recounts, this contribution did not pass unnoticed
by Juan Bosch and Pedro Mir, giants of Dominican letters exiled in Cuba at
the time the Cuadernos were being published. Furthermore, Villegas argues
that contradictions and paradoxes are fundamental to understanding the com-
plicated world Contín Aybar navigated successfully. However, his success in
dealing with these contradictions and paradoxes always involved controversy
and polemic. As Villegas writes, the great “paradox” of the life of his mentor
was not “la del atormentado Hamlet que carecía [de] la libertad de escoger”
(that of the tormented Hamlet who did not have the liberty to choose) but “la
del héroe, la del poeta y el artista que desatan [sic] sus alas para aplacar la ira
o despertar gozosos los pájaros del sueño” (that of the hero, the poet and the
artist who unfolds his wings to appease the anger or to awake the joyous birds
of dreams) (8). In the end, Villegas suggests that as the “consummate poet,”
“Pedro René vivió en poesía, murió en poesía. Y dentro de ésta, un extenso arco
de contradicción, pero para edificar, para crear” (Pedro René lived in poetry,
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