77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa

​In honor of our People Issue, which will hit newsstands and computer screens November 25, Cultist proudly presents "100 Creatives," where we feature Miami's cultural superheroes in random order. Have suggestions for future profiles? Email [email protected] with the whos and whys.

77. Ricardo Pau-Llosa


At the age of six, poet and art collector Ricardo Pau-Llosa landed on American soil. "We didn't move to the United States or relocate or migrate on a whim, we fled Cuba for our lives." His exile from his native Cuba and the revolution that forced it shaped Pau-Llosa and his work indelibly. "While my poems may be about many things, what drives them is the idea that a modern people who love freedom, however exiled and maligned, live an epic dimension which they ignore at their own peril."

Pau-Llosa managed to thrive on foreign soil, spending time in Chicago and Tampa, until finally reaching the Mecca for all Cuban exiles--Miami. He graduated high school from Belén Jesuit Preparatory School, attended Florida colleges and universities, and eventually established himself as one of the region's foremost poets. Pau-Llosa is not just a poet, however. He is widely recognized for his knowledge of Latin American art, as an art critic, lecturer, art collector, curator, essayist, and short story writer.

"Among my many other blessings was the chance to witness the emergence of a genuine adventure in cultural survival in the Miami of the 1970s, when Cuban exile artists, writers, and musicians got back on their feet and laid the foundations for the pan-Latin American art movement that lasted two decades." 

Pau-Llosa's poems have been published in American Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Iowa Review, New England Review, Notre Dame Review, Partisan Review, as well as several anthologies. Of his six books of poetry, Cuba, published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, was nominated for a Pulitzer prize in 1993.

1. List five things that inspire you. 

-The bravery of Cuba's dissidents, defying a tyrannical government while the phony champions of the dispossessed--from the Catholic Church to the artists, intellectuals, and journalists on the Left--look the other way.
-Paintings and poems--real ones--which can sustain multiple and complex interpretations and go beyond the personal and the socio-political rant that preoccupies most contemporary critics in the arts.
-Everyday objects and scenes, experienced at random, which trigger multiple ideas.
-Artists who buck the trends and pursue their own aesthetic goals, and who continue to believe in creativity and originality, despite postmodernist cant to the contrary.
-Nature, from the backyard to the wilds. 

2. What was your last big project? 

The exhibition at the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, of "Parallel Currents: Highlights of the Ricardo Pau-Llosa Collection of Latin American Art" (Aug 29--Nov 14, 2010). 

3. What's your next big project? 

Finishing work on two new book-length manuscripts of poems. 

4. Why do you do what you do? 

Because it is who I am, not 'what I do.' 

5. What's something you want Miami to know about you? 

Thanks to the internet, nothing is frustratingly unknown or hidden in secrecy for long. 

[About Miami] That its destiny was to be the first bihemispheric city, where the high, middle, and low cultures of the Americas could converge and mix as equals, but that it chose instead to become an outlet mall with really bad parking. 

What's something you don't want Miami to know about you? 

That I think Art Basel is our cargo cult.

The Creatives so far:

78. Agustina Woodgate
79. Tarell Alvin McCraney
80. Jennifer Kronenberg
81. Farley Aguilar
82. Colin Foord
83. Karelle Levy

84. Matt Gajewski
85. Antonia Wright
86. Charles Allen Klein
87. Christy Gast
88. Gustavo Matamoros
89. Shareen Rubiera-Sarwar

90. Kyle Trowbridge
91. Clifton Childree
92. Jessica Gross
93. Danny Brito
94. Nektar de Stagni
95. Anthony Spinello
96. Vanessa Garcia
97. Justin Long
98. Rosie Herrera
99. Rick Falcon

100. Ingrid B

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Ily Goyanes
Contact: Ily Goyanes