Skip to Search

A Guide to the Nicolás Guillén Manuscript of Songoro Consongo

Finding aid created by Daniel J. Fernandez Guevara

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
August 2015

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Guillén, Nicolás, 1902-1989
Title: Nicolás Guillén Manuscript of Songoro Consongo
Dates: 1931
Bulk dates: 1931
Abstract: Dedicated typewritten manuscript of Nicolás Guillén's most critically acclaimed book of poems, Songoro Consongo.
Extent: 0.1 Linear feet. 1 Folder.
Identification: MSS 0336
Language(s): Spanish
Note: This guide is available in Spanish at

Biographical/Historical Note

Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista (1902-1989) was a Cuban poet, journalist, writer, and political activist. Guillén was born in Camaguey, Cuba to mulatto parents. As a young man, he published and edited in several influential Cuban newspapers. In 1930, a new phase of Guillén's work began where he could speak in "authentic black." The best example of this new phase was "Motivos del Son" (1930) Here Guillén repurposed the popular Cuban musical form of son, to describe the daily experiences of Afro descendant Cubans.

Guillén became a member of the Cuban Communist Party in 1938. Persecuted by Fulgencio Batista, he sought political exile in Chile in 1952. He returned to Cuba after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. His commitment to the tenets of the Cuban Revolution reflected in his works Buenos Días, Fidel (1959), Che comandante (1967), and Cuatro canciones para el Che (1969). Guillén was the first recipient of Cuba's National Prize for Literature in 1983 and was named Cuba's National Poet by Fidel Castro.

Scope and Content

The typewritten manuscript includes an author's dedication to Eusebia Esme, signed on September 29th, 1936. Songoro consongo (1931), one of his most renowned works is a book of poems that captures Cuban political instability from 1928-1931 and the unique fusion of African and Iberian cultural traditions on the island. The book was written during the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado where students, feminists, and union workers actively challenged the status quo. This work is one of the first Cuban collections of poetry that ignore European traditions altogether and that creates "mulatto" verses. In it, form as manifested in musical and linguistic rhythms and content strengthen Cuban cultural heritage both collective identity and historical memory.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Finding Aid

This guide is available in Spanish at

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Nicolás Guillén Manuscript of Songoro Consongo, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The University of Florida acquired the manuscript in 1985.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Cuban poetry -- 20th century.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

University of Florida Home Page