Roberto Fernandez Retamar (b. 1930, Havana) is esteemed for his excellence as a poet, essayist, editor, and scholar. He undertook early studies in art and architecture before turning to literature in Havana, Paris, and London. After a time teaching at Yale University and a brief period as cultural attache in Paris, Fernandez Retamar was appointed coordinating secretary of the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists. Currently he directs the Casa de las Americas in Havana.
As a poet, Fernandez Retamar has written over a dozen major collections of verse—from the early volumes Elegia como un himno (1950) and Aquellas poesias (1958) to the more recent collections Decimas por un tomeguin (2001) and Felices los normales (2002). His poetry has garnered numerous national and international awards and honors, including the Premio Nacional de Poesia (Cuba, 1952 and 1989), the Premio Latinoamericano de Poesia Ruben Dario (Nicaragua, 1980), the Orden de Mayo (Argentina, 1998), the Orden del Libertador (Venezuela, 1999), the Orden de Rio Branco (Brazil, 1999), and the Premio Nicolas Guillen (Italy, 2001).