News The legacy of Blas de Otero stays in Bilbao

The legacy of Blas de Otero stays in Bilbao


The town of Bilbao was his cradle, which he hated and loved equally, and that he missed to the core during his travels. «Bilbao is me full-length », he left written. Now, the legacy of Blas de Otero (1916-1979), one of the best poets of the second half of the twentieth century, will remain forever in the city to which he dedicated so many verses. The city that he considered “full of churches and public houses, where man is fed up and hunger is distributed at full hands, full of adulteries and indulgences” has already lost the library of Miguel de Unamuno, whom he saw being born but who was enchanted by The beautiful Salamanca. Therefore, in December, the City Council ratified a pact of vital importance for the city. The widow of Blas de Otero, Sabina de la Cruz, decided to transfer to the Foundation all her bibliographic funds and the author’s copyright, which will be responsible for their promotion, dissemination and management for 30 years after her death. Afterwards, all this priceless legacy will be municipal heritage.

In fact, the entity, created in 2000, chaired by Sabina de la Cruz and whose main employers are the Consistory and the Department of Culture of the Basque Government, has been designated the fiduciary heir and the municipal administration, the trustee, the final recipient of all the poet’s cultural legacy. “The receipt of funds and copyrights has a great meaning and meaning for the town, ensuring their public ownership and access for all researchers and scholars of the work,” explains the Councilor for Culture, Gonzalo Olabarria. It is the first time that the city is designated heiress of such an illustrious poet. His widow intended, precisely, that his legacy not be dismembered, but that he remained united to be preserved and with him, also his memory. “We are very grateful for trusting the city with this valuable heritage,” says Olabarria, who recalls that the Consistory has awarded literary prizes since 2008 with the aim of “promoting literary creation and bringing the work and figure of neighbors closer one of its most prominent authors ».

The Foundation, directed by the poet José Fernández de la Sota, will also digitize all the material to make it available to everyone. Afterwards, it will gradually move to the municipal center of Barrainkua, immersed in improvement works now, and where the Blas de Otero Foundation has its physical headquarters. There they will be available to the public. Of course, there is still no date. There is a lot of material to move. Part of the poet’s documentary funds are inventoried, although the work must continue this year. The list is extensive. Correspondence, manuscripts, tapes with the poet’s voice, drafts, biographical documentation (cards, photographs …), first editions with his signature and also his impressive library, “a way to make a biography of the author.” «The funds are of an important value, because he is one of the key poets of the second half of the 20th century. They are the history of poetry of that time», Explains the director of the Foundation, who has been able to know a large part of the funds because he curated an exhibition years ago. Fernández de la Sota points out that, in addition, Blas de Otero is “one of the poets of whom less material has been disclosed, because he was a very reserved man.” And he puts as an example that “in the forties, he broke what he had written before. He even asked his friends to return his manuscripts. So the funds will open the possibility of rediscovering one of the key authors in the history of Spanish literature.

All funds will be transferred to the Barrainkua district center, headquarters of the Foundation

«Huge cultural value»

The transfer to Barrainkua will begin with the file that he kept so zealously, “which is what we have to watch the most”. But among the documents there are «material prior to the Civil War, which reflects the cultural life of Bilbao of the twenties and thirties». In addition, among all the documents you will find censorship files that will be very interesting: the author who asked for peace and the word was one of the most censored by the dictatorship’s Press and Propaganda office, had to publish books abroad before the impossibility of doing it here and none of his works escaped the eye of the censor on duty. In the boxes that will delight poetry lovers, there is also an interesting correspondence with other poets. «The cultural value of his legacy is enormous. His assignment is a reunion of Blas de Otero with Bilbao, which has been achieved after much effort from the Foundation and has been satisfactory for everyone and especially for all lovers of the city and poetry. It means a lot because Blas de Otero will stay in Bilbao. The Bilbao people are their heirs ».



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