In memoriam: Roberto Fernández Retamar
As the librarian for the Caribbean and Latin American Studies, and as one of the supporters of the UC-Cuba Initiative, I have continued to dedicate significant time and resources in developing our Caribbean collections. This morning, I found while reading an online post by Juventud Rebelde a post about yesterday’s passing of the Cuban poet Roberto Fernández Retamar. We have been collecting several of his poetry books over the past many years. These can be found here in Oskicat. Below is his discourse on Caliban and later as I understood as Antropofagia later on from Brazilian Studies lense.
I remembered at that moment, his poem that he dedicated to the daughters. The words as I recall were as follows,
“Hijas: muy poco les he escrito,
y hoy lo hago de prisa.
que si también este momento pasa
y puedo estar de nuevo con ustedes,
en el sillón, oyendo el radio,
cómo vamos a reírnos de estas cosas,
de estos versos y de estas botas,
y de la cara que ponían algunos,
y hasta del traje que ahora llevo.”
The words about the fragility of time resonated with me, and it reminded me that as a librarian for the collection development, I do have upon me a huge responsibility to think of long term collection development that will ensure a certain level of parity with other well-endowed Ivy League libraries. While the data-driven collection development depends on administrative use of certain facets of data to justify academic decisions, the collections that we have today were built by my predecessors who have passed on the torch. I am honored and blessed to be at UC Berkeley that has provided me an Indian-American a chance to evolve as a librarian for Latin American collections. In a large group of SALALM members, I am genuinely a minority person.
Thank you Roberto Fernández Retamar for reminding me today of the fragility of time!