Marti is a symbol of Cuban independence, for he campaigned throughout his life for its liberation and finally died in the war against Spain. He was also an important literary figure and one of the founders of modernism. Rejecting the elaborate aestheticism of many modernists, he wrote in a simpler style based largely on folk poetry, as in "Ismaelillo" and "Versos Sencillos." Much of his poetry deals with the struggle for freedom and his political and emotional exile from his homeland. He was also an accomplished prose stylist in a much more intricate fashion and influenced the later development of the short story and essay. His writings, now collected, many of which were originally published in newspapers, are essential for an understanding of the Spanish American independence process.