Mario Benedetti
(1920-2009)

Uruguayan leftist writer with an impressive repertoire of plays, short stories, and novels, as beautiful and progressive as the brilliant poems for which he was most famous. Born in Paso de los Toros, his family settled in Montevideo in 1924. He worked many different jobs when he was young, and later began to write for different cultural publications, as well as beginning his life of literary creation. After the 1973 rightist coup in Uruguay, he was forced into exile, only returning in 1983. Remained a principled progressive to his death.




Plays
Pedro and the Captain (1979): 85 pages, a play about torture which has found a lot of praise from comrades who went through the horrible ordeal of torture at the hands of the amerikan-trained security forces in South America. To introduce it, an extract from the introduction which Benedetti wrote for this play: “I see the play as a dramatic inquiry into the psychology of a torturer, a sort of answer to the question of what it takes, what has to be going on, for an ordinary person to become a torturer. While torture is the ostensible theme of the play, it never comes onto the stage as a physical act. I’ve always believed that torture has its place as an artistic subject in literature or film, but in theater its aggression is felt too directly, and this makes it difficult for the spectator to keep a needed distance. If the torture is there only indirectly, however, as an evil yet unseen presence, then the audience is able to be more objective, and if what we are judging is the degradation of a human being, objectivity is essential... I haven’t wanted the prisoner to come across as a militant of some particular political tendency. The extreme repression in Uruguay has swept over virtually the entire Left and even reached further, into other sectors of the opposition like the Church and traditional political parties. Pedro is simply a political prisoner of the Left who doesn’t inform on anyone, and who, although he is in agony, somehow humiliates his interrogator and vanquishes him. Each one of the four acts ends with a No.”


Poetry Books
Little Stones at My Window ; Piedritas en la ventana: 272 pages,


Short Stories
Completely Absentminded

Forgotten Memories

Guardian More or Less

Listening to Mozart

Nineteen

The Air is Good Here

The Big Switch


The Collection

The End of Dyspnea

The Rest is Jungle


Individual Poems
Che 1997

Children

I Love You (Te Quiero)

I'm a Lost Cause

Now I Understand

Ode to Pacification

Reality ; News

Risk Analysis

Utopias