A 22-year-old Nicaraguan Poet who has Triumphed in Spain

William Gonzalez

He emigrated when he was eleven. His first book of poetry, Los Nadies, portrays the poor, the marginalized, the migrant. He will soon publish his second book: Me Duele Respirar

By Katherine Estrada Tellez (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – He remembers it vividly. William González was seven years old when he became mesmerized by the book kept in a small yellow drawer in his grandmother’s house. It was Azul (Blue) by the poet Rubén Darío. He began to read it and to recite Darío’s poems in school activities without ever imagining that poetry would be the refuge that would help him cope with the displacement and uprooting that he experienced years later. 

This is the story of the 22-year-old poet, who has spent half his life in Madrid, Spain, where he began his career as an author. In 2022, he was awarded a prize for Los Nadies (The Nobodies), his first published book of poems.  Me Duele Respirar (It Hurts to Breathe), his soon-to-be-released second book, also won an award. 

González lived his childhood in the San Luis Sur neighborhood of Managua, in the home of his maternal grandmother, Cándida Guevara. When he was six years old, his mother, Jenny Guevara, had to emigrate for economic reasons to Madrid, Spain, so he was left in the care of his aunt Rosa and uncles Douglas and Salvador.  

“The values my aunt, my uncles, and my grandmother instilled in me have been perhaps the most important in my life. Their teachings have been vital,” says poet González.

González at six years of age, a memory from his childhood in Nicaragua. Photo: Courtesy.

Once González’ mother settled in the Carabanchel district in Madrid, she managed to bring her three children to live with her. By then William was eleven years old and describes his move as an abrupt change right at puberty. “You start a new life, you have to meet people, make new friends, adapt to a new school, with new geographies to learn,” he recounts.

González attended the Lope de Vega school, a multicultural school where he was accompanied closely by his teachers. This helped him adapt, not only to a new educational system, but also to a new culture and society. “Going to school became the best part of my life. I met my best friend and received a lot of love and teaching from my professors,” he recalls.

William González and poetry as refuge

Although he wrote his first poem at the age of seven in Nicaragua, it was in Spain that González really began to concentrate on poetry. “The act of emigrating and coming to Spain completely reinforced my connection with poetry. It became my refuge, it became my daily life,” he describes.

González’ form of therapy to cope with this stage of life was to immerse himself in books and verses. His mother worked late at night as a household assistant, so he spent a lot of time alone, which allowed him to read and write non-stop.

“I wrote all the time and everywhere. I wrote and wrote and wrote, for myself,” recalls González. His poems deal with his own immigration process and they describe the realities of immigrants in Spain, the obstacles and bureaucracies there, the cultural diversity of his neighborhood, as well as the marginalization, poverty and other conditions he observed around him.

With González’ mother, Jenny Guevara, and his sisters

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