Havana, Cuba. – A great and yet humble improvisator stands out in the world of Cuban 10-line verses. Instead of acclaim as chieftain within the movement that developed the genre in the XX century, he preferred the modesty contained in the alias of Nabori. He was a man that grew up in a humble peasant family, which preserved the traditions and Spanish folklore in Cuban countryside.
Jesus Orta-Ruiz, Indio Nabori, who revolutionized 10-line verses in the Island, was born on September 30 1922, in a farm in San Miguel del Padron, Havana. He loved to improvise verses since his early childhood and by his teens; he was highly appreciated by his fellowmen. His 10-line verses had a special weight and his poetry was generally sung as synthesis of the universal Cuban.
The vast bibliography of the winner of the National Literature Prize, considered the National Poet of 10-line verses, contained his first book, published when he was 24, 10 more titles in prose and 14 poem books.
Indio Nabori regarded as Cubanhood everything that differentiates our people from others on this planet. Yet, when forced to identify a symbol, he opted for the mockingbird. Since he could not see the world and life with his eyes, Indio Nabori preferred to imagine them as he wanted them to be: fair and happy.
Losing his eyesight caused him great sorrow, but helped him find eyes in his other senses. He could not look at his books; but sometimes he felt as if they were looking at him. They had been together for so long that despite his blindness, he could identify some.
The highest exponent of the 10-line verses in Cuba never stopped creating, even without vision. His books grew in quality and joined previous classics. He continued to be a popular poet, acclaimed by the critic at the same time.
Jesus Orta-Ruiz opened the doors of light to 10-line verses and to peasants.
He died in Havana on December 30 2005.
By Yeline Osorio
Translated by Pedro A. Fanego