Prizewinning Poetry

Coming to Kenyon helped a professor redefine himself

Assistant Professor of Spanish Victor Rodríguez-Núñez has won the 2005 Fray Luis de León (Accésit) Prize for his book-length poem Actas de medianoche/part 1. The prize involves publication of the book along with an award of 6,000 euros (more than $7,000).

He began writing Actas de medianoche shortly after moving to Gambier in 2001. The book is one of two that, together, comprise a 2,156-line poem dealing with issues of identity. With a form based on the Spanish sonnet, it has fourteen cantos, with each canto consisting of eleven free-verse sonnets.

As a native of Cuba who has lived and worked outside of his homeland for some time, Rodríguez-Núñez finds the theme compelling. "I never in my life wanted to be Cuban, but trying not to be Cuban, I become Cuban. You can only reach your identity if you see yourself from another perspective."

Rodríguez-Núñez has taught courses at Kenyon in Hispanic literature and culture, as well as all levels of Spanish language. As a scholar, he has published various anthologies, critical editions, prologues, and articles on Hispanic literatures, including a book on García Marquez's nonfiction works. Along with his academic endeavors, he was active as a cultural journalist in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Colombia, and served as an editor of both cultural magazines and specialized journals. He is also the author of a number of books of poetry, some of them recipients of literary awards, including the David Prize (Cuba), the Plural Prize (Mexico), and the Renacimiento Prize (Spain).