‘I created a publishing house to rescue Cuban writers; without support or funding we have published 400 books’

A SERIES of subtle but irrevocable causalities led me to create a publishing house, the first of all: to emigrate to the United States in 1999. But, to be honest, the thing comes from long before and unfortunately it is related to the war in Angola Or, rather, with the Cuban military intervention in that African country.

At that time I began to write poetry and that first attempt won a prize in a contest from none other than the magazine Olive Green, official organ of the Ministry of the Armed Forces of Cuba. Of course the book was anti-war like everything I have written, but the jurors liked it, especially José Luis Rodríguez Alba, one of the most important decimistas in Cuba and with whom I maintained a friendship until his death, a friendship that continues In this trade as a book editor apprentice that I enjoy now, because death is a complicated matter and no one can prove to me that José Luis is not here by my side, as I write this article to talk a little about my Editorial Primigenios.

Another casual event was my trip to Cuba in 2019 to visit my brothers and nephews. If I had not gone to pay tribute to my dead who rest in the cemetery of my hometown, Quemado de Güines, one of those days, I would not have met the director of the Renacimiento cultural and cinema center, who is also a bricklayer and was that day fixing a grave. Something surprising in the universe of things and causalities. He was the one who invited me to attend a literary club held at the aforementioned center.

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I remembered that cinema of my childhood, its red seats, and I saw myself immediately standing in front of a tiny group of countrymen reading my poems, but the reality is that, when I arrived at night, I saw that the rock was held in the outskirts and Already more than 30 people were sitting in the middle of the street in an unusual gathering that occupied the most important corner of the town. And I felt again that feeling of witnessing an unusual, surreal event that only happens in the tropics and in which all rational beings end up defeated by the fucking coincidences of the universe.

I read, read, and got tired of reading poems from my book The tablets of Diogenes, which was written entirely in a courtyard of a house located in a Miami neighborhood, where days later the publishing house would be born. The notebook was written between breaks from a subsistence job at Miami’s Big Babel, surrounded by a few surviving books from the 1999 exodus.

The splints… began to be carved in the months when the triumph of the Republican candidate Donald Trump was evident. The fact is circumstantial, maybe not, maybe even Trump is guilty of the emergence of Editorial Primigenios, I say. But the truth is that The splints… could have been written in any other Gnostic epoch: in the final months of 1959, in the Black Spring of 2003, in the summer of 1994, on March 20, 2016 when, for the first time in years, an American president performed a visit to Cuba.

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The list of historical carries is very long within the labyrinth that constitute The tablets of Diogenes, obsessive and personal attempt that was only written to tear down my own walls erected as a result of a failed experiment in false scholarship that filled my brain with straw like one of Eliot’s hollow men.

They were written with fear of my own rage, fearful of being devoured by the fire that some men give off who enter your life to teach you that you should never think, or be like them. My friend and excellent writer Yasmín Sierra – in a long letter that she wrote me and that I will not publish out of modesty – says: (The tablets of Diogenes) they are like “the stagnant sorrows in your soul, which have not succeeded in bringing you down and have created in the core of your being an unbreakable and moving gem.”

That night we recited poems and talked about many topics, especially about books, and someone asked me if the issue of publishing was complicated. In a fit of immodesty, I offered to publish any book they wanted in my publishing house that didn’t even exist, didn’t even have a name, or how it could be created. But already on the plane back I was meditating and reviewing the images of what I had seen, especially the frayed spines of the few old books in the local library, as well as other things that out of modesty I dare not mention, but that they are in the sand, the cement and the founding stone of Primigenios.

A VERY PHILOSOPHICAL MAXIMUM

Within a few days the publishing house already existed and even with a maxim that I maintain and from time to time I use in texts like this: “Editorial Primigenios: with art and literature everything, against art and literature nothing”. And the phrase is immovable and defining.

I only brought a book by a deceased Burmese who, to my surprise, had been a childhood friend and of whom I never suspected that he wrote poems for children. That was the first book I published on my return to Miami after founding Editorial Primigenios. I have a special affection for that text due to the circumstances and because it encouraged me to continue publishing Cuban writers, therefore the date chosen for the founding of Editorial Primigenios is July 15, 2019, the day it was published Lunar fisheryby Jorge Morales Morales, better known as Pirolo.

Then I got on the merry-go-round of life or book publishing and from which I have not been able to get off and which has caused me many joys and some sorrows, especially financial ones, because publishing books is still a matter of false illusions and disappointments in this tricky world and in which few read and even fewer buy books since they invented the great information monopolies: Facebook, Instagram, Amazon and the whore who gave birth to them as Sabinas says.

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I have published almost everything and everyone, especially Cuban writers, most of them with books shelved for years. Talented people who are the fruit of a populist system whose institutions are insufficient to cover all expectations, especially when publishing texts. If they ask me if the fault of this is due to the US embargo, it is possible that I will respond with a paragraph or, in the best of cases, I will start to quote Uncle Esteban, a character from Palinuro from Mexico and one of my favorite books by Fernando del Paso when he said:

“However, the greatest disappointment among so many historical events, as he once confessed to me, was the deep conviction that the wars and revolutions he passed through had been for nothing. “They are afraid of us,” he said. dogmas of the revolution ”.

I mean that, as well as the lack of potatoes, squash, beans, corn and other foods, the lack of books is a consequence of the lack of a decentralized and private system that regulates and encourages the production of books.

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Our publisher does not have a budget or organizational funds, nor have we received funding for its maintenance. Since that first book we have published 400 titles in the genres of poetry, novels, short stories, narrative for children and young people, testimony, scientific dissemination, religion, among others. Each work is marketed in both formats, digital and paper, and can be purchased in several countries thanks (paradoxically) to the Amazon system.

Readers in Mexico are the ones who have downloaded the most digital books. For example, in the month of September, of some 3,900 units downloaded in digital format, Mexicans downloaded about 1,000 books. Something that fills us with great joy.

I invite the readers of this digital platform to visit the publisher’s website so that they can learn about our services and books, as well as other events such as the Tinta Verde Tertulia, which is held on a monthly basis and from which I I would like to dedicate another comment next. N

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Eduardo René Casanova Ealo is a Russian language graduate, poet and editor. Among others, he is the author of The red dust of memory, The other side of the world and The tablets of Diogenes. He resides in Miami, United States, and is president of Primigenio Editorial. The views expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author.