Simple Verses

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Simple Verses (Spanish: Versos sencillos) is a poetry collection by Cuban writer and independence hero José Martí. Published in October 1891, it was the last of Martí's works to be printed before his death in 1895.[1] Originally written in Spanish, it has been translated into over ten languages.[2] Among the poems of the collection are Yo soy un hombre sincero (I), Si ves un monte de espumas (V), and Cultivo una rosa blanca (XXXIX). Verses pruned from various poems were adapted into the folk song Guantanamera, which is the most popular patriotic song of Cuba and was popularized in the US in the 1960s during the American folk music revival.[3]


The bulk of the book was written in 1890 while Martí was convalescing in a small town called Haines Falls in the Catskill Mountains.[1][4] The manuscript was first read in public in December of that year, at the home of Carmen Miyares in New York City; it was published ten months later, by Louis Weiss & Co. of New York.[1]

The book comprises 46 poems, written in four-line stanzas (quatrains) of octosyllabic verse. The diction is clean, sparse, and the verses display regular rhyme schemes and alliteration. The work is rich in the symbolism of color; its verses known for their spontaneity and transparency.[5] Their style has been compared to that of Zen watercolor paintings.[6]


Rosa Blanca (XXXIX) is often one of the first poems learned by school children in Latin America.[1] In 2007, to celebrate the 154th anniversary of the author's birth, students laid white roses at the foot of the José Martí Memorial in Havana's Plaza de la Revolución.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Martí, José (1997). Versos sencillos [Simple Verses]. Trans. Tellechea. Houston: Arte Público Press. Introduction. ISBN 1-55885-204-2.
  2. ^ Martí, José (2005). Versos sencillos. Trans. Fountain. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co. Introduction. ISBN 978-0-7864-2386-6.
  3. ^ María Argelia Vizcaíno (1998). "Aspectos de La guantanamera". La Página de José Martí (in Spanish). Hilda Luisa Díaz-Perera. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
  4. ^ Martí, José (Aug 31, 2005). Versos sencillos (Google eBook). Trans.Fountain. Google. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  5. ^ Ena R. Columbié (1998). "La utilización de los colores en los Versos sencillos de Martí". (in Spanish). Hilda Luisa Díaz-Perera. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
  6. ^ Alberto Baeza Flores (1992). "La Profunda Sencillez De Los Versos Sencillos De José Martí" (in Spanish). Círculo: Revista de Cultura, Vol. XXI. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  7. ^ Danay Galletti Hernandez, Mario Cremata Ferran (27 January 2007). "Cuban school kids honor National Hero Jose Marti". Cuba Headlines. Retrieved 20 December 2011.