José Julián Martí Pérez (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895) was a Cuban national hero and an important figure in Latin American literature. In his short life he was a poet, an essayist, a journalist, a revolutionary philosopher, a translator, a professor, a publisher, and a political theorist. Through his writings and political activity, he became a symbol for Cuba's bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century, and is referred to as the "Apostle of Cuban Independence." He also fought against the threat of United States expansionism into Cuba. From adolescence, he dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty, political independence for Cuba and intellectual independence for all Spanish Americans; his murder was used as a cry for Cuban independence from Spain by both the Cuban revolutionaries and those Cubans previously reluctant to start a revolt.

Born in Havana, Martí began his political activism at a young age. He would travel extensively in Spain, Latin America, and the United States raising awareness and support for the cause of Cuban independence. His unification of the Cuban émigré community, particularly in Florida, was crucial to the success of the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. He was a key figure in the planning and execution of this war, as well as the designer of the Cuban Revolutionary Party and its ideology. He died in military action on May 19, 1895.

Martí is considered one of the great turn-of-the-century Latin American intellectuals. His written works consist of a series of poems, essays, letters, lectures, a novel, and even a children's magazine. He wrote for numerous Latin American and American newspapers; he also founded a number of newspapers himself. His newspaper Patria was a key instrument in his campaign for Cuban independence. After his death, one of his poems from the book, "Versos Sencillos" (Simple Verses) was adapted to the song, "Guantanamera," which has become the definitive patriotic song of Cuba.

The concepts of freedom, liberty, and democracy are prominent themes in all of his works, which were influential on the Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío and the Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral.

Martí's style of writing is difficult to categorize. He used many aphorisms - short, memorable lines that convey truth and/or wisdom - and long complex sentences. He is considered a major contributor to the Spanish American literary movement known as Modernismo and has been linked to Latin American consciousness of the modern age and modernity. His chronicles combined elements of literary portraiture, dramatic narration, and a dioramic scope. His poetry contained "fresh and astonishing images along with deceptively simple sentiments". As an orator (for he made many speeches) he was known for his cascading structure, powerful aphorisms, and detailed descriptions. More important than his style is how he uses that style to put into service his ideas, making "advanced" convincing notions. Throughout his writing he made reference to historical figures and events, and used constant allusions to literature, current news and cultural matters. For this reason, he may be difficult to read and translate.

His didactic spirit encouraged him to establish a magazine for children, La Edad de Oro (1889) which contained a short essay titled "Tres Heroes" (three heroes), representative of his talent to adapt his expression to his audience; in this case, to make the young reader conscious of and amazed by the extraordinary bravery of the three men, Bolivar, Hidalgo, and San Martín. This is his style to teach delightfully.

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