Young awarded writer Tomás Eugenio Escobar Ávila

Tomás Eugenio Escobar Ávila is a doctor by profession, but - as his friend Armando López Carralero (who encouraged him to join the ranks of the Asociación Hermanos Saíz) would say - he is also "a lover of literature and, specifically, of poetry, by vocation and mysterious spiritual fulfillment...”

Las Tunas, Cuba.- With his book of poems, La numeración y el ojo, he recently won a mention in the David Prize, which encourages young writers. This is an important national competition, organized by the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba since 1967 in homage to Frank País, whose pseudonym in hiding was precisely David. On this occasion, the competition was held for short stories, essays, and poetry, with more than 50 new authors taking part and the top winners being Nelson Pérez Espinoza, Cynthia Vargas Sarmiento, and Joel Herrera Acosta, respectively.

The work with which the writer with the Aramaic name won the prize consists of 50 poems which, according to Mandy (the nickname by which the colleague mentioned at the beginning is known), is "a harmonious avalanche of chronological events, which show his love for his family and serve as witnesses to dissimilar daily conflicts which could well be the conflicts of any other person. Poetry based on metaphors, cunningly elaborated, with surprise at the point of verse...”

Newspaper 26 did not want to remain on the sidelines of the good news and, beyond the garland itself, cultivated the dialogue to get to know the author.

- Tomás, for you, what is poetry and what are the paths that move your creation?

I'm a bit of a solitary person, let's say that I have found in "it" a kind of company, refuge, and liberation. It is also my way of exorcising my anger at everyday issues. I have been reading poetry since I was a child and it has marked me, as well as figures and topics such as my father, my mother, old age, and fear of the unpredictable.

Young awarded writer Tomás Eugenio Escobar Ávila - Themes that also mark the prize-winning notebook.

Yes, these are precisely some of the themes that are dealt with in this booklet, dedicated to my mother. In general, it embraces family, farewell, the way of overcoming vicissitudes, and other issues. It is my second book as such, but the first to be submitted to a competition.

- And the process, from the moment you fall into a state of catalepsy until the work is born, how it happens in you.

A poem can emerge anywhere, all it takes is the need to want to write it. I try to be faithful to that, but I enjoy the birth more in solitude, where I can concentrate. I try to make poetry above all, to be honest.

- How did you discover literature?

I started reading Tunisian authors: María Liliana Celorrio, Lesbia de la Fe, Armando López, and Yuslenis Molina... Then I got closer to American writers like Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Poul Anderson... Then Alejandra Pizarnik and others. Now I'm delving more deeply into Cubans like Damaris Calderón and Liudmila Quincoses. Sometimes we read things that are different from what we write and there are some things with which we find points of contact. The important thing is to constantly nourish yourself.

- You were hoping to win an award at the "David".

Literature should not be done expecting prizes. In my case, I sent the book on the last day. More than anything, what I wanted was to make the work known, to get it into the hands of experienced writers and, in a way, that's what happened.

- What genres do you prefer to write?

I feel much more comfortable with free verse and poetic prose, which doesn't mean that I don't occasionally write tenths, sonnets, or other rhymed stanzas.

- You are a doctor by profession, to what extent do medicine and literature overlap in your creative universe?

Rather than different paths, I see the two professions as very complementary. Poetry has given me spiritual tools to understand, comprehend and save because poetry also saves. And medicine has given me the tools to express it. I have several poems that deal with medical issues. It's interesting how one influences the other. I like to see it that way, one hand stretched out over the other. Even in sadness, there is a poem to be told.

- Current projects...

My first book, Una línea de mercurio (A Line of Mercury), is now in the process of being published by Primigenios. I'm also working on three unpublished works and I'm presenting them, as far as possible, at peñas based at the Casa del Joven Creador, such as Hojas Sueltas and Sinestesia, as well as other venues such as the Book Fair. I still have a lot to learn, I think that's how it's always going to be, constant improvement.

- Can you share with us a poem from the collection of poems La numeración y el Ojo?

Yes, of course, the number five.

"E= MC2, I repeat over and over again to the point of delirium. I bite the bread with which breakfast ends. Just bread and sadness between the non-existent mass for the complex physical formula and the other story. Einstein talked about energy, mass, and light when it was possible to dream, and to discover the universe, the reactions of the particle, the atomic bomb, and that dividing line between peace and science. Einstein thought: E=MC 2. I think the same but without mass. I have grown thin in the dark and my brothers chase after a lantern of fireflies, chasing the light that saves them from boredom. Mother runs from old age and her retina is the same as in that formula, something incredible raised to 2, transcending the human vision I possess with the argument of the miracle. My niece and father count down to fly, but they know nothing of physics or time. We have lost ourselves in that infinite formula as in a spiral of tragedies, without mass, without light, without energy. We have lost ourselves in that incredible equation of war."
The dialogue ends and I congratulate you once again. Beyond a prize, Tomás knows what matters: self-improvement, honesty, and modesty. Through these paths the light filters through and the reader perceives it, gratefully, the one who ends up writing the final chapter of this complex but beautiful novel that is the life and work of a writer.