Poet. His works have received many awards from a variety of cultural institutions.
He was born on March 20, 1898, in the Barahona sector of Morovis, the oldest of seven children of Manuel Joglar Arena, who was originally from Asturias and was a trader on the island, and Morovis native Mariana Cacho Vega. At seven years of age, he moved to the town of Manatí along with his maternal grandparents, Mariano Cacho and Ramona Vega. He lived in that town for the rest of his life.
When he was fifteen and sixteen years old, while studying at the Ulysses S. Grant Middle School, which is today the José de Diego School in Manatí, he began his literary work by writing short verses. After the death of his father in 1914, Joglar Cacho left school to work and to help support his siblings. He did not abandon his passion for literature, however, and he continued his education through self-instruction. He also studied accounting through a correspondence course, which allowed him to find a job at the firm Sociedad R. Cacho & Co.
In 1925, Joglar published his first book of poetry, Góndolas de Nácar, with a prologue by Luis Antonio Miranda titled “Palabras Liminares.” In it, he collects the first poems he wrote in his youth, as well as others that show a greater mastery of the dominant trends of the era. They reflect modernist influences without abandoning nineteenth century romanticism. The title of the book is taken from a poem by Enrique Zorrilla.
Over two decades, his poems appeared in various publications in Puerto Rico such as Puerto Rico Ilustrado, Alma Latina, Renovación (a monthly published in Vega Baja in 1934), El Mundo and the magazine Asomante. His second book of poetry came out in 1944 and was titled En voz baja. Eleven years later, Faena íntima (1955) was published and included an article about his work by the poet Francisco Lluch Mora titled “Anotaciones marginales en torno a faena íntima de Manuel Joglar Cacho.” This book won the Antonio Rodríguez Menéndez Poetry Prize from the Yaucano Cultural Circle in a contest that was judged by Margot Arce de Vázquez, Francisco Manrique Cabrera, Antonio J. Colorado and Federico de Onís. It also received an honorable mention from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.
Soliloquios de Lázaro (1956) is a single poem of 21 quartets that marked his creative peak. With a philosophical perspective, it sets out the mysteries of existence, of man and of God through the Biblical figure of Lazarus. This poem won the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture’s Poetry Prize. In 1963, Helen Wohl Patterson translated it with the title Soliloquies of Lazarus, with an introduction by Federico de Onís. Canto a los ángeles (1957), written partially in Philadelphia, is a long poem divided into nine parts, which in turn are divided into three. It won an award from the Puerto Rican Athenaeum in its Christmas Poetry Contest.
He participated in the First Conference of Puerto Rican Poetry, presided over by the poet Luis Palés Matos and held in Yauco in 1957. A little later, he won a third prize for his poem “A San Juan de la Cruz” (1959) in the Festival of Roses Contest held in San Juan. He published Por los caminos del día (1960) and Ultimo Surco (1961), which won an honorable mention in the Puerto Rican Athenaeum Christmas Contest. They were followed by La sed de agua (1965), with illustrations by well known painter José Antonio Torres Martinó. The following year, he was honored as Best Poet by the Society of Puerto Rican Authors. He received an award from the José S. Alegría Cultural Center the same year he published his eighth book of poetry, La canción que va contigo (1967). He published a second edition of his book Por los caminos del día with an introduction by the poet Juan Antonio Corretjer.
After the second edition of his book Faenas íntimas (1970), the Puerto Rico Academy of Arts and Sciences awarded him its Poetry Grand Prize. In 1971, he published a third edition of Soliloquios de Lázaro, with illustrations by the artist Rafael Tufiño, and Poema para que no se duerma un niño, which won the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature’s Poetry Prize. The second edition of this book of poems was published a year later and included an essay by Luis Hernández Aquino, “Ars poética de Manuel Joglar Cacho,” and drawings by José Antonio Torres Martinó, who also illustrated the fourth edition of the book La canción que va contigo (1974). The second edition of Ultimo Surco was issued in 1974.
At 77 years of age, he published Vuela un pájaro (1975), illustrated by José Antonio Torres Martinó. Three years later he presented Donde cae y no cae la noche (1978) with an essay by Jorge María Ruscalleda Bercedóniz titled “El asedio de la inmortalidad en Donde cae y no cae la noche.” It won the Poetry Prize from the Catholic University of Ponce and the Poetry Prize from the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature.
In 1979, Joglar Cacho attended the Seventh Institute of Puerto Rico Cultural Prizes Presentation in New York to receive a Certificate of Honor for his literary accomplishments. The same year, he finished En el carro de los muertos, a book he was motivated to write by the events of Cerro Maravilla in Villalba. The book included an article by Carlos López titled, “Decimario En el carro de los muertos: tiempo histórico y ruta emancipadora de Manuel Joglar Cacho.” The book was dedicated to the leader of the Nationalist Party, Pedro Albizu Campos.
Once again, he won the Agüeybaná Gold Prize (1980) from the High Council of Art for his contribution to Puerto Rican literature. In 1982, he presented Oda a un alfarero, illustrated by José Antonio Torres Martinó. The Pro Hispanic Culture Association sponsored a dramatization of the poem under the direction of Joaquín Torres Feliciano. During the same year, he received the Literature Prize from the Institute of Puerto Rico in New York.
In 1983, Joglar Cacho presented his fourteenth book of poetry, Espejo del agua fugitiva (a love poem). La morada del hombre (1984) appeared the next year. The following year, he was honored by the Manatí Cultural Center and the year after that by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the Center for Advanced Studies in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean on the occasion of his 88th birthday. Finishing the year, he published Cien campanas en una sola torre (1986). In 1988, he presented Poema inconcluso and what would be his final book of poetry, Creación última. He was 90 years old.
He died on November 8, 1994. His remains lie at the Old Cemetery in Manatí.
The municipality of Manatí honored his memory with the construction of the Manuel Joglar Cacho Hall of Poets for the occasion of the Fifth Centennial of the Discovery of Puerto Rico. It was inaugurated in 1996.
Rivera de Alvarez, Josefina. Literatura puertorriqueña, su proceso en el tiempo. Madrid: Ediciones Panteón, 1983.
Gran Enciclopedia de Puerto Rico
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 16, 2014.
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