Whitmans Home Saved?/Roque Dalton Case Reopened – Poetry News Roundup July 19th

Today in our roundup of poetry new related articles we take a look at the efforts to save one of Walt Whitman’s homes. We also have an article about the reopening of the case into the death of Roque Dalton the El Salvadorian poet.

Efforts to Landmark Walt Whitman’s Home Stepped Up

Preservationists in Brooklyn have stepped up their drive to have the house where the poet and editor Walt Whitman lived landmarked.

The house in question is 99 Ryerson Street, located near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn. It is the only property where Whitman resided in Brooklyn that is still standing, and it is where he wrote “Leaves of Grass”.

For a number of years, preservationists have been working tirelessly to have the house landmarked but their requests to the Landmarks Preservation Commission have been denied for a number of reasons, one being that Aluminium siding has been added to the property “substantially altering its appearance.” They have recently learned that the current owner of the property is engaged in renovation work to the house.

They will be resubmitting their application to the commission as the long-time chair has recently left they are hoping that this time they will have a more favourable response.

El Salvador to Reopen the Case of the Murder of Roque Dalton

A petition has been accepted by the Supreme Court in El Salvador to again open a murder case for Roque Dalton, the poet who died in 1975. Accusations of being, amongst other things, in collaboration with the CIA, an agent for Cuba and a revisionist, Dalton was killed by his partners in the Revolutionary People’s Army (EPR).

Following receipt of a request (habeas corpus) the court has now decided the case should be reopened and investigated. It is understood that the prosecuting office at the time had not acted to make investigations into Daltons kidnapping and subsequent murder.

The whereabouts of the poets remains are still unknown and his family are grateful that they may finally be given the opportunity to put him to rest.

One of the men who stands accused of the poet’s murder is Jorge Melandez who is now the Social Democrat Party’s Secretary General. He claims that at the time of the murders he was a twenty year-old who was unable to escape from the organisation to do so would have risked being branded a traitor punishable by execution.

The other man who stands accused, Joaquim Villalobos, has admitted previously to his part in the killing. He has stated in interview that he was amongst 7 members of a tribunal who ordered the death of the poet.

Dalton is recognised as one of the most important El Salvadoran poets he is known worldwide as a revolutionary poet. Now his family must wait to see if the case of his death can be solved and they can finally locate his remains to give them a proper burial and put an end to all the uncertainty surrounding his death.

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