Spanish poetess Teresa de Jesus Rodriguez Lara was awarded the 39th Fernando Rielo World Prize for Mystical Poetry, and Panamanian Javier Alvarado received a Mention of Honour, stated a press release of the organizers.
The prize, awarded to unpublished works in Spanish and in English, was discerned within institutions such as the UN, UNESCO, the French Senate and the Capitol of Rome.
With the collection of poems entitled “Tu Clara Presencia” [“Your Clear Presence”] Teresa de Jesus Rodriguez Lara (La Laguna, Tenerife) won the 39th Fernando Rielo World Prize for Mystical Poetry, which was decided on December 12, 2019, at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain. The endowment is of 7,000 euros as well as a medal. The laureate will see her work published.
Teresa de Jesus Rodriguez already has to her credit numerous publications, particularly in the area of poetry. She has received several prizes, of which two are Mentions of Honour in previous editions of the Fernando Rielo World Prize for Mystical Poetry.
The winning work, “Tu Clara Presencia,” takes as its point of departure the trust that a filial conscience gives, which makes tenderness reign as well as loving passion. One perceives there the echo of classical mysticism – the “Interior Castle” “Silent Music,” “Audible Silence” . . . as well as biblical resonances: the “Prodigal Son,” “Good Shepherd,” “Living Water” . . .
A sustained vehemence nourishes the verses, as well as the lucid vision of Heaven, whose first fruits are already present in this earthly life. The vision becomes tactile: “you make serene lights shine in my soul, which seethe in me, as a rain of melodious kisses.”
The lyrical phrase burns with desire absorbed in what is heavenly, to be inundated by the living water that is God. Not even the precariousness of the human condition makes the poetess’ lyrical voice hesitate, who lets herself be taken by the river of divine love, and aspires to be inebriated with love: “One who has drunk, and drunk to the end, of the living torrent, which flows in the breast.” It was Panamanian Javier Alvarado who received the Mention of Honour for his work “El Pastor Resplandeciente” [“The Resplendent Shepherd”].
In this collection, composed exclusively of sonnets, the poet expresses the joy and profundity of the religious sentiment. There is vigor in the expression, which is combined harmoniously with the chosen strophic form: the poems are songs, celebrations of the soul that walks joyously, anchored in divine love. In this spirit of profound communion, the verses are transformed into an offering of the poet, in humble recognition of the divine grandeur, which is mercy, resplendent beauty, abundant love.
The poet’s spiritual trust is translated by a firm verb, modulated, which receives creatures and all that is created with optimism: “And my word is of clay, it is illumined by bursts of stars, when I descend on earth with your mouth, and draw divine water from the rock.”
Father Jesus Fernandez Hernandez, President of the Fernando Rielo Foundation, expressed himself thus: “Mystical poetry is an art made of words. It recapitulates all that one can say of lyrical poetry in general, and what’s more, it transports us right into the enclosure where the purest mystery of the human being is concentrated: his transcendent destiny, which gives unity, direction, and meaning to every authentic life. Mystical poetry deploys in time its prosody and its lexical texture and it inflames in the reader with the influence of what is eternal. It probes, in fact, the depths of the soul and discovers in it this fundamental truth: the soul is called to walk to the culminating point of plenitude.”
The other finalists were Antonio Bocanegra (San Fernando, Cadiz, Spain); Miguel Sanchez Robles Caravaca de la Cruz, Murcia, Spain); Theresia Maria Bothe (Sicily, Italy); Luis Garcia Perez (Ciudad Real, Spain); Lucrecio Serrano Pedroche (Albacete, Spain); Ivan Cabrera Cartaya (Tacoronte, Tenerife, Spain); Carlos Gonzalez Garcia (Fresnedillas de la Oliva, Madrid, Spain); Beatriz Villacanas Paloma (Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, Spain).
The jury was made up of Father Jesus Fernandez, President of the Foundation and of the jury; of M. Jaime Siles Ruiz, poet and Professor of Latin at the University of Valencia; Maria Jesus Mancho Duque, Professor of the Spanish Language at the University of Salamanca; David Gregory Murray, literary critic, and Jose Maria Lopez Sevillano, Permanent Secretary of the Prize. The ceremony closed with a six-chords guitar concert by Alfredo Vicent.
The ecumenical characteristic of the Prize has led, in the main, Christians of different Confessions to obtain it, but also non-Christians, demonstrating the capacity of mystical poetry to unite cultures and religions.
The Committee of Honour was made up of several members of the Spanish Royal Academy, whose Director is Dario Villanueva; of University Rectors, poets and Professors of Literature.
Brief Biography of Teresa de Jesus Rodriguez Lara
Teresa de Jesus Rodriguez Lara is from San Cristobal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain. She studied Spanish Literature at La Laguna University, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. She obtained a diploma in calligraphy, documentation, and graphology from the Socrates Center of Studies of Madrid. She has published nine poems and her work has been awarded and recognized in a dozen competitions in Spain, in Chile, and in Mexico. She is present in numerous poetry anthologies in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States and she collaborates actively with reviews and cultural broadcasts.
Extract from the Poem “Your Clear Presence”
I have no other consolation than your affable and smiling gaze, which inspires trust in me after your audible silence, which envelops my life with tender affection. What great love, your Love is! Sweet source that you deliver to me pure to nourish the mortal littleness that the soul feels. And I, humbly, huddle at your feet and surrender to you my minuscule existence.
God One and Triune
I believe in You profoundly, Lord and I love and follow You to folly; Your Mystery dwells in me with ease and your love embraces me as a torrent. Make of my faith the burning voice that spreads your Truth through the thickets, searing intensity and gift to elevate itself to the heights of your whole Being. O Father, so good to take care of me! O Son, who saves me from death! O Spirit of Love, giver of life! . . . May your Triune Essence live always in me . . . What rapture to have You! What glory your Presence infuses in me!