The city that Rubén Darío or to give him his full name Félix Rubén García Sarmiento regarded his favorite was Leon which, is where he spent his early years. Although he was actually born in the city of Metapa in the northern state of Matagalpa on January 18th, 1867 and his birth certificate listed him with the surname of García.
The Dario name was on his paternal side, and that name was being used rather like a nickname it went back at least to his great-grandfather who was then known as Don Dario. He spent his school years in Leon until around 1880 when he went away to be educated by the Jesuits. According to some he started reading at the age of 3 and had his first poem published at the age of 13. Darío since then had a great and lasting influence on Spanish literature in the 20th century.
During his earlier adult years, he wrote with great zest and traveled extensively outside of Nicaraguan with periods in El Salvador, Chile, Argentina also Brazil where he was thought to have had a relationship with the daughter of a Russian Ambassador. His interest in wine and women certainly did have a detrimental effect on him in later life.
He was married twice. Influenced by the likes of poets and writers Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, Theophile Gautier and Catulle Mendes. He also appreciated the works of several American authors, Walt Whitman, Ralph Emerson and Edgar Alan Poe. Being regarded as the leader of the Spanish American literary set that it flourished at the end of the 19th century.
He revitalized and modernized Spanish poetry in the old and new worlds. He experimented with rhythm; meter, and he developed an original poetry style. Back in his native Nicaragua, it seems that wherever you go in the country, you appear to come across a monument to their favorite poetry and literary son.
In Leon, there is a museum dedicated to him at his former home of where he lived as a child. Monuments can also be found in the city Granada Managua, Malaga and plus on the Pacific coast San Juan del Sur where the poet is linked with American writer Mark Twain. However, the arrangement of them sitting together chatting on a bench could have never happened as it celebrates the visit of Twain to Nicaragua on its 150th anniversary 1866, a year before Dario was born!
Sadly the most poignant monument is to be found in the Cathedral a short walk from his home. A carved marble lion now marks his burial place, which is in prime position near to the main altar under a statue of St Paul. He died on 6th February 1916 in Leon aged 49; the funeral lasted some days. The work considered being his masterpiece was the 1905 work ‘Songs of Life and Hope.’
A lover loved by his country it’s hard to find a place in the Nicaragua that has not been visited by him or touched by his writings. Traveling to Nicaragua via the USA is a traditional route with flights from Atlanta Houston and Miami. Getting around by road is a great way to explore and hunt out the many places Dario visited and those many monuments.
Original Article – Thanks to Geoff Moore :: Travel photographer, writer and blogger Geoff Moore has been a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers for 10 years and has traveled the world for over 30 years.