Jesus Orta Ruiz, Naborí Indian, was one of the most important growers of the tenth poetry, poetic genre of the Cuban peasantry
Jesus Orta Ruiz, popularly known as the Naborí Indian, was born in San Miguel del Padrón, Havana on September 30th, 1922, son of Edward and Mary Orta Ruiz. He grew up in a conservative farming family traditions and folklore of Spanish origin in the fields of Cuba. Therefore, his poetic vocation manifested through the tenth, the most authentic artistic expression of the Cuban countryside.
In 1927 he read for the first time and in 1929 began his primary education at Public School No. 76 in the Juanelo neighborhood, San Miguel del Padron. From the age of nine he improvised tenths. He finished primary school and had to interrupt his studies to work in various jobs; shepherd, operator apprentice shoemaker or dependent. As a teenager he began to win popularity, and identified with the pseudonym of Nabori Indian, a nickname that recalls the Aboriginal who worked the land as opposed to the popular singers that at time were self-called Indian chiefs. In parallel, he developed obsessive passion for poetry reading and testing techniques and the same, activity which led to the enrichment of spinel, has already become a sign of the Cuban national identity. He wrote in 1936 his first sonnet dedicated to the martyr Luis Melian young leader of the neighborhood. In 1937 he enrolled at the Academy Añorga of Havana, where he obtained the first prize for composition.
The Nabori Indian married in 1949 Eloína Collazo Perez.
In 1951 he enrolled at the Faculty of Administration and Public Law, this major was not concluded and he devoted to the study and practice of journalism. He joined the editorial staff of the underground newspaper where he met Abel Santamaria, Jesus Montane, Raul Gomez Garcia and other members of the Centennial Generation. He personally met Fidel Castro.
In 1957 he joined the magazine Bohemia, where he published poems, stories, articles and reports for twenty years. He added a new work to his bibliography: “Profound Wedding”. In 1960 his books ”From Hatuey to Fidel” and “Four strings” appeared. He began writing in the newspaper “Today” his versified section “To the sound of history.” In 1961 he was a war correspondent in the battle of Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs Invasion).
He met the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and Russian Eugenio Yektuchenco. He completed studies at the Professional School of Journalism. He was a delegate to the First Congress of Writers and Artists of Cuba. He was also an UNEAC founder and member of its National Council. He participated in the First National Congress of Culture.
He conceived, drafted and submitted to the National Association of Small Farmers project to create the Cucalambeana Day, designed to exalt the figure and poet Juan Cristobal Napoles Fajardo, “The Cucalambe” as well as to revive and preserve rural culture.
The Nabori Indian was a member of the Cuban delegation to the Congress of Education of Chile where he visited the Palacio de la Moneda (Coin Palace) and he met Salvador Allende.
He was decorated with the Distinction for National Culture and the “Alejo Carpentier” Medal conferred by the State Council. The FAR gave the replica of Máximo Gómez Machete, the highest distinction awarded by that institution. The State Council awarded him the Order “Felix Varela” in First Grade. He received the 1995 National Book Award and a year later the Critics Award for his book With Your Eyes Mine. He received the Medal of Hero of Labor of the Republic of Cuba, by the State Council. It was declared the September 30 (date of birth): the Latin American Day of the Tenth Poetry and Improvised Verse.
He died after leaving a huge number of works, the December 29th, 2005, at the age of 83 years. Literary criticism recognized the merit of having achieved fusion of popular and high culture, placing him in the neo popular movement of the Generation of 27. The poet of humble origin did not lasted long to widen the horizon of his poetry with the exercise of the varied classic forms and even free verse. His prose, acknowledged and lauded, covering various topics such as forewords, essays, and studies of traditions, folklore, literature and an extensive journalistic work figure in most Cuban anthologies of the twentieth century. His poems have been translated into English, French, Italian, Russian, Czech, Chinese and Yugoslavian. It has an extensive work in which there are ten titles in prose and fourteen of poems.