International Poetry PrizeGAMBIER, Ohio (September 13, 2010) Spanish professor Victor Rodríguez-Núñez has been awarded Spain's Rincon de la Victoria International Poetry Prize. The coveted award carries a nine thousand euro prize, but the poet focuses on the joy and the honor, not the honorarium.
"It is an important prize not for the money, but for the publication: I will be able to have my book published by Renacimiento, one of the best publishing houses in the Spanish-speaking world. They do beautiful editions," said Rodríguez-Núñez, an associate professor of Spanish who began teaching at Kenyon in 2001.
He earned the latest in his long list of literary prizes for Tareas (Homework), a long poem based on notes he took during summers visiting family members in his native Cuba. "It's a book about my memory, place and cultural identity," Rodríguez-Núñez said. "After fifteen years of living in the United States, I still ask myself: am I still Cuban?'" The poem consists of twenty-one chapters, each of which has seven stanzas of seven lines. Why seven? "It is my favorite number," Rodríguez-Núñez said, "but there is really no rationality to it, except that numbering helps me organize material."
One of Cuba's most noteworthy contemporary writers, Rodríguez-Núñez has written eighteen books of poetry and has collected awards from Cuba, Spain, Mexico, and Costa Rica. This most recent prize caught him by surprise. "I was in Cuba at the time the presenters tried to contact me, so they decided to go ahead and announce the winner in public before informing me. I found out I had won from a friend who read about it in the Spanish press."