Vicente Aleixandre En La Plaza Analysis Essay
|Luis Alberto Ambroggio|
A photo of Luis Alberto Ambroggio, 2012.
|Born||(1945-11-11) 11 November 1945 (age 72)|
|Notable awards||Prometeo, Poesía (Madrid), Simón Bolívar, el Libertador 2010|
Luis Alberto Ambroggio (Córdoba, Argentina, 1945) is an Argentine Americanpoet, independent scholar and writer. Full Member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language (Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española) and correspondent of the Spanish Royal Academy (Real Academia Española). His works include award-winning essays, poetry and translations. Influenced by F. Nietzsche, César Vallejo, Jorge Luis Borges, Vicente Aleixandre, his poetry has been described by Pulitzer-prize winner Oscar Hijuelos as:
“wise and philosophical. It owns an inimitable cadence, uncommon good sense, and a smoldering depth—for there is fire in Ambroggio’s blueness, an earthy eroticism in his lyric register.” 
His critically acclaimed poems have been translated into English, French, Italian, Rumanian, Mandarin, Korean, Catalan, Hebrew, Portuguese, Japanese, Turkish and are recorded in the Archives of the Hispanic-American Literature of the U.S. Library of Congress.
Born in Rio Tercero (Ctalamochita, its Indian name), between the Pampas and the mountains of the province of Cordoba, Argentina, a village, river and reservoir that had been researched by Charles Darwin 100 years ago, Luis Alberto Ambroggio is the son of Dr. Ernesto Pedro Ambroggio, dentist, founder of one of the first institutes of Orthodontics in Cordoba and Perla Lutereau de Ambroggio, philosophy professor at the National and Catholic Universities of Cordoba, a "recognized and feared teacher, anti-dictatorship, who was expelled from the campus by mounted police, a woman of deep faith and at the same time admirer of Nietzsche, she certainly has had a decisive influence on the personality and calling of her son.” He attended primary school in Cordoba and high school in Rosario. From an early age he felt a great attraction to books such as those written by Salgari and Verne which he would later leave for the study of classical Greek philosophers and his great revelation, Erasmus. Before the age of fifteen he had written poems and won poetry contests. His mother, noticing this ability, gave him an anthology of César Vallejo; this would mark the beginning of his important history in the world of poetry.
During his college years he continued his interest in Plato, Aristotle, Augustine of Hippo and then he was attracted by the writings of Racine, Voltaire, Kant, and Nietzsche. Hence, his first publication was a philosophical textbook of epistemology written in collaboration with his mother. Today his philosophical readings are more inclined to the thoughts of Ricoeur and Wittgenstein. In Argentina, he received his doctoral degree in philosophy and completed other doctoral studies in social science at The Catholic University of America. He also has a MBA from Virginia Tech.
Arrival in the U.S.
He came to the United States in 1967. Under the Leadership Program of the United Nations, he served as an intern in the U.S. Congress and then on the White House Cabinet Committee for the advancement of the Hispanic population during the Nixon administration. He also worked at the Pan American Development Foundation and at the Embassy of Argentina in Washington, DC.
In 1976 Ambroggio founded a successful company, Aerospace International Marketing (AIM), which he sold in 2001 and would continue as the Chief Advisor to the Board until 2008. Due to the successful international outreach of his company by trading in different continents, he took advantage of his travels to various countries to increase his knowledge in their poetic leading figures and events. Throughout his life he attended meetings and participated in recitals to exchange ideas and friendship with the likes of Jorge Luis Borges, Ernesto Cardenal, Claribel Alegría, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, José Saramago, Robert Pinsky, among many others.
Classified as one of the most important poets amongst the Hispanic writers in the United States 1, Ambroggio has given recitals and lectures at over 30 universities including the University of Salamanca, Wake Forest, Hofstra, New York, Virginia, Georgetown, Jerusalem, the National Universities of Córdoba, Tucumán, Mar del Plata, UNAN Nicaragua, UNAM Mexico, Austral de Chile and the National Libraries of Madrid, Buenos Aires, Santiago, El Salvador, Ottawa and the Library of Congress. As a member of the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Florida Gulf Coast University, Ambroggio has taught seminars and lectured on various topics including the art of writing poetry. He has translated poems by William Carlos Williams, DH Lawrence, Dylan Thomas and Robert Pinsky. He has published twenty books of poetry, four of which are bilingual, a book on the art of writing poetry, a collection of short stories, and a book of essays:
• Todos somos Whitman/We are all Whitman. Arte Público Press, Univ. Of Houson, 2016.
• Tribute to the Road/Homenaje al Camino (Bilingual version). México-Barcelona, Vaso Roto Ed.: 2015.
• Estados Unidos Hispano (Hispanic United States). Nueva York, Colección Dorada, Long Island al Día Ed.: 2015.
• Antología Poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio (Poetic Anthology of Luis Alberto Ambroggio) Madrid, Lord Byron Ed.: 2015.
• En el jardín de los vientos. Obra poética 1974-2014 (In the Garden of the Winds. Poetic Corpus 1974-2014). Critical edition published by the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, New York: 2014, elected by Infobae as one of the best books of the year.
• Todos somos Whitman. España-México, Vaso Roto Ed.:2014.
• Cuentos de viaje para siete cuerdas y otras metafísicas (Travel stories for seven strings and other metaphysics). Indianapolis: Palibrio Ed.: 2013.
• Homenaje al camino (Tribute to the Road). Córdoba: Alción Editora, 2012.
• Arqueología del viento / The Wind's Archeology. Barcelona-Mexico: El Vaso roto Ediciones Broken, 2011. (Winner of the 2013 International Latino Best Book Award for its bilingual version).
• Difficult Beauty. Selected Poems 1987-2006. Yvette Neisser-Moreno, ed. New York: Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009.
• La desnudez del asombro (The Nakedness of Wonder). Madrid: Ediciones Lord Byron, 2009.
• El Arte de escribir poemas. Apuntes para no llevar necesariamente el apunte (The art of Writing Poems. Notes to Not Necessarily Take Notes for the Record). New York: Urpi Editors, 2009.
• Los tres esposos de la noche (The Night’s Three Husbands). San Jose, Costa Rica: La Casa de la poesía, 2005.
• Laberintos de Humo (Labyrinths of Smoke). Buenos Aires: Ed Tierra Firme, 2005.
• El testigo se desnuda (The Witness Bares His Soul). Madrid: Asociación Prometeo de Poesía, 2002.
• Por si amanece: cantos de Guerra (If Dawn Comes: War Songs). Washington D.C: Horizonte21 Publishers, 1997.
• Los habitantes del poeta (The Inhabitants of the Poet). Washington DC: Horizonte 21 Publishers, 1997.
• Poemas desterrados (Exiled Poems). Buenos Aires: Ibero-American Academy of Poetry, 1995.
• Oda Ensimismada (Ode in and of Myself). Buenos Aires: Alicia Gallegos, 1994.
• Hombre del Aire (Air Man). Sevilla: Gallo de Vidrio, 1992.
• Poemas de amor y vida (Poems of Loving and Living). Los Angeles: Puerta Press, 1987.
Among the anthologies that he has compiled are:
• Knocking on the Door of the White House: Latina and Latino Poets in Washington, D.C., Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Carlos Parada and José Ballesteros, Zozobra Publishing, 2017.
• Labios de Arena (Lips of sand). Embajada de los Estados Unidos de América Managua, Nicaragua: 2014.
• Antología. Festival Latinoamericano de Poesía. Ciudad de Nueva York 2012. Carlos Aguasaco, Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Karla Coreas, eds. Nueva York: Urpi Editores, 2012.
• De azul a rojo (From Blue to Red). Nicaraguan Poetic Voices of the XXI century. Managua: Embassy of the United States and Nicaraguan Writers Center, 2011.
• Al pie de la Casa Blanca (At the Footsteps of the White House). Hispanic Poets from Washington, DC., Luis Alberto Ambroggio and Carlos Parada Ayala, eds. New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2010.
He has several unpublished books: three books of essays: Filosofía, poesía y memoria (Philosophy, Poetry and Memory) and Whithman, Borges, Darío, Vallejo y otras literaturas (Whitman, Borges, Dario, Vallejo and Other Literatures), Revolución Religion y Cultura; análisis antropológico de las ideologías de la liberación de América Latina en los 60’ (Revolution, Religion and Culture; anthropological analysis of the Liberation ideologies of Latin America of the 60s) and three books of short stories: Cuentos perdidos (Lost Tales). Ficciones en el Museo de la Risa (Fictions in the Museum of Laughter) and La felicidad de las sombras (The happiness of shadows). And one book of poems: Principios póstumos (Posthumous Beginnings).
As a critic and essayist he has specialized in the poetry of the United States written in Spanish on issues related to bilingualism, identity and critical studies of renowned poets such as Borges, Vallejo, Gabriela Mistral and Dario that have contributed to his appointment as Honorary Member of Ruben Dario Cultural Heritage Institute. The following are some of his most representative essays:
• “Ruben Dario and Walt Whitman”. New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2017.
• “Thomas Jefferson and the Spanish Language: Praxis, vision, and political philosophy”, en https://www.academia.edu/7435568/THOMAS_JEFFERSON_AND_THE_SPANISH_LANGUAGE_PRAXIS_VISION_AND_POLITICAL_PHILOSOPHY
• “Spanish is my land.” La Tolteca (Otoño 2014): 54-55 https://issuu.com/latolteca/docs/latolteca_fall_2014-70pgs-final3
• “Anti-olvido”, Homenaje a Nicanor Parra, en Decenio, Revista Centroamericana de Cultura, No. 15, Diciembre 2015, 11-13.
• Memoria poética hispana de EE.UU.: historia y contexto teórico. (U.S. Hispanic Poetic Memory: History and Theoretical Context), New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2012.
• “La filosofía de la memoria poética” ("The Philosophy of Poetic Memory.") Alba de America 31.59 (2011): 274-86.
• “Gabriela Mistral, La extranjera: complejidad poética de su desarraigo y pertenencia” ("Gabriela Mistral, the Foreigner: Poetic Complexity of Her Rootlessness and Belonging") in Gabriela Mistral y los Estados Unidos (Gabriela Mistral and the United States), Gerardo Piña-Rosales et al., Eds. New York: North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2011.
• “Representantes de los movimientos literarios: en la poesía escrita en español en los Estados Unidos: Modernismo, Pre/Post/Neo y otros ismos.” ("Representatives of Literary Movements: The Poetry Written in Spanish in the United States: Modernism, Pre/Post/Neo and Other Isms.") Alba de América 30.57-58 (2011): 214-27.
• “Rubén Darío y Antonio Machado: dos poetas, dos continentes, tres poemas y un camino” ("Ruben Dario and Antonio Machado: Two Poets, Two Continents, Three Poems and a Road") in Fondo Documental de Prometeo: http://www.prometeodigital.org/FD_LISTATOTAL.htm
• “Rubén Darío y César Vallejo: unidos en un poema ‘El Retablo’.” ("Ruben Dario and Cesar Vallejo: United in a Poem 'The Manger'.") Revista Carátulahttp://www.caratula.net/archivo/N28-0209/Secciones/critica/luis%20ambroggio%20-%20vallejos%20y%20dario%20unidos.html[permanent dead link]
• “Esperanza en la piedra del silencio: la poesía de César Vallejo y Paul Celan.” ("Hope in Stone of Silence: The Poetry of Paul Celan and Cesar Vallejo.") Essay read at Hofstra University. Fondo Documental de Prometeo, 2008 http://www.infolizer.com/prom5et5eod4i7git1ala1or7g/Cesar-vallejo-y-paul-celan.html
• “Borges y Rubén Darío.” ("Borges and Ruben Dario.") Fondo Documental de Prometeo, 2007 http://www.infolizer.com/prom5et5eod4i7git1ala1or7g/Borges-y-dario.html
• “Convergencias y divergencias: Rubén Darío y Pablo Antonio Cuadra.” ("Convergence and Divergence: Ruben Dario and Pablo Antonio Cuadra.") Fondo Documental de Prometeo: http://www.prometeodigital.org/FD_LISTATOTAL.htm
• “Bilingüismo e identidad.” (Bilingualism and Identity). Key note speech read at Toronto’s City Hall, Canadá: http://revistadebate.ca/portal/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=566
• “La poesía puertorriqueña.” (“Puerto Rican Poetry”), Enciclopedia del Español en los Estados Unidos. New York: Instituto Cervantes y Editorial Santillana, 2008. 672-77.
• “El teatro puertorriqueño.” (“Puerto Rican Theater”), Enciclopedia del Español en los Estados Unidos. New York: Instituto Cervantes y Editorial Santillana, 2008. 738-42.
• “La poesía de Estados Unidos en español.” ‘’Hispanos en los Estados Unidos: Tercer pilar de la Hispanidad’’. ("Spanish Poetry in the United States" Hispanics in the United States: Third Pillar of the Hispanic World). Gerardo Piña-Rosales et al., eds. Nueva York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 2004. 197-213. http://www.ildialogo.org/poesia/islanegra128especialeupoen.pdf
• “The Latin American Man and his Revolution.” Conscientization for Liberation. Louis Colonnese, ed. Washington, DC: Division for Latin America United States Catholic Conference Washington, DC. 1971. pp. 3–22.
Ambroggio writes several poems and in various genres at the same time: poetry, essays, stories that he keeps in notebooks. In some of his poems he reflects different stages of his life: agnostic, socially committed, loving, a period of exile. In If Dawn Comes: War Songs (Por si amanece: cantos de Guerra) he interprets the theme of violence in war while at the same time emphasizing the culture of peace. In Poems of Loving and Living (Poemas de amor y vida) he incorporates what he calls "a multifaceted love" of son, father, husband. Amateur aviator in Air Man (Hombre del Aire), from an airplane, he meditates on the volatility and the contradictions of existence. The theory of Exiled Poems (Poemas desterrados) is that "we are all exiles, we all come from a lost paradise." However, in almost all of his books, his word strays from the central issues and generates unexpected adventures, as seen in The Wind’s Archaeology (La arqueología del viento) or Ode in and of Myself (Oda ensimismada): "If I give myself to the sky / and its score of stars /I do not need weight / I will be part of a growing place/ to the light of my dreams. / I will have weighted my abyss / and the extent of my summit "(50). His quest for knowledge has been so relentless that his poetry moves between the perplexities and certainties of life with great expressive control and outstanding beauty (Introduction to El exilio y la palabra/ Exile and the Word).
According to Gerardo Piña-Rosales, Director of the North-American Academy of the Spanish Language, "in the poetry of Luis Alberto Ambroggio sometimes we hear the mournful voice of César Vallejo, the cryptic voice of Jorge Luis Borges, the tormented voice of Luis Cernuda, the loving voice of Pedro Salinas, the manly voice of José Hierro, the muted voice of Rilke, the ventriloquist voice of Fernando Pessoa". For Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky “the essential quality of Luis Alberto Ambroggio's poetry is immediacy: the vividness of images that feel unmediated, though we know they are, profoundly, the products of art. Here is a philosophical mind that insists always on the unfathomable primacy of encounter”.
According to Oscar Hijuelos, Ambroggio has an inimitable expression: "one savors the shadows of his words.”  To Moraima Semprúm de Donahue, “he is a wordsmith, a defender of the oppressed by the policies of the First World and a poet of the heavens"; the one of the blue space and its derivatives (...) sky, blue, air, flight, space, clouds, universe, stars, the Pleiades, Scorpio and Sagittarius with its many metaphors that represent parallels: starships, Sputnik, birds, space stations, and Dario’s forms of mythological and historical symbols (...) He calls himself “pilot of the winds, pilot of the immense and microscopic, pilot of the punished bones" ("The Witness Bares Its Soul/El testigo se desnuda", 9-16). Adriana Corda states "Luis Alberto Ambroggio chooses an invisible power, without land nor identity, as a symbol of a deep cultural malaise at a collective level and responsible for refracting the dantesque domaines at the individual level; he parodizes, he shows the irony, he accuses, he limits ... " Miguel Fajardo Korea indicates that the epigraphs are crucial because Ambroggio reflects “a kind of archive of the soul of the writer”. Not only the titles of Ambroggio’s books but "the subtitles are a unique universe that seduces, which propels the imagination to be caught in them, as seen in the poems 'The dry lantern' or 'The time of Death’ from The Witness Bares Its Soul (El testigo se desnuda), in ‘Evaporated Rites' from The Inhabitants of the Poet (Los habitantes del poeta) or 'Playing with Smoke in Labyrinths of Smoke (Laberintos de Humo) ... Ambroggio has a relentless intellectual curiosity that is screened in the verse as a consistent desire to understand human existence without ever losing the tragic dignity ... All his books are literary gems as well as metaphysical treatises in miniature” (Introduction to El exilio y la palabra/ Exile and the Word).
• Tezanos-Pinto, Rosa, ed. El exilio y la palabra. La trashumancia de un escritor argentino-estadounidense (Exile and the Word. Trashumance of an Argentine-U.S. Writer). Buenos Aires: Editorial Vinciguerra, 2012.
• Zeleny, Mayra, ed. El cuerpo y la letra. Poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio (The Body and the Letter. The Poetry of Luis Alberto Ambroggio). New York: North-American Academy of Spanish Language: 2008.
Conferences and courses
• Corda, Adriana. “Poética del retorno en ‘Azahares de la Memoria’ de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Poetics of Return in ‘Azahares de la Memoria’ by Luis Alberto Ambroggio.") XLVII Congress Hispanists Canadian Association of Hispanists, ACH-CAH. University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, May 2011.
• Palacios, Conny. “Arte poética y palabra en ‘’Los Habitantes del Poeta’’ de Luis Alberto Ambroggio. ” ("The Word and Poetic Art in Luis Alberto Ambroggio’s “The Inhabitants of the Poet”). XLVII Canadian Association Congress Hispanists ACH-CAH, University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, May 2011.
• “Dos poemas migrantes: “La lengua materna” de Eduardo Espina y “Otredad” de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Two Migrant Poems:" Mother Tongue" by Eduardo Espina and “Otherness" by Luis Alberto Ambroggio."). XXXIV International Symposium of the Hispanic Cultural Literal Institute, Tribute to Ernesto Sábato, Buenos Aires, Argentina. October 2010.
• Pozzi, Edna. “Bilingüe, un verdadero desafío.” ("Bilingual, a Real Challenge.") XXXIII International Symposium of the Hispanic Cultural Literary Institute, University of Jujuy, Argentina, August 2008.
• Corda, Adriana. “El discurso del poder, la memoria y el exilio en los textos poéticos de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("The Discourse of Power, Memory and Exile in the Poetic Texts of Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), Universität zu Köln, Faculty of Philosophy, January, 2006.
• Corda, Adriana “Identidad y memoria en la lírica de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Identity and Memory in the Poetry of Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), First International Conference on Literature, Buenos Aires, October, 2006.
• Corda, Adriana. “El Discurso de la Identidad en Los habitantes del poeta de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("The Discourse of Identity in The Inhabitants of the Poet by Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), X National Congress of Linguistics, Catholic University of Salta, July 2005.
• Corda, Adriana. Disociación del signo poético en Laberintos de Humo de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” ("Dissociation of the Poetic Sign in Laberintos de Humo by Luis Alberto Ambroggio."), XXVI International Symposium on Present and Future of American Literature University of Los Lagos, Puerto Montt, Chile. August, 2005.
Awards and honors
He is a member of the North-American Academy of Spanish Language and of the Royal Spanish Academy, Chairman of the Delegation of the American Academy of the Spanish Language in Washington DC, Director of the Ibero-American Academy of Poetry, State Department Cultural Envoy to Nicaragua and El Salvador, Curator of the Smithsonian Institution for literary events, Member Emeritus of the Venezuelan Writers Circle, Deputy Chairman Founder and Honorary Member of the United Nations of the Letters, President of the Poetry and Policy Committee, Vice President of the World Council of Spanish-American Union of Writers, Consul at the World Poets Movement in Washington DC and a member of institutions such as the Academy of American Poets, Canadian Association of Spanish scholars, PEN, Hispanic Literary Cultural Institute; Board member of the Plaza Institute, Washington DC. He has received special recognition from the Embassy of Argentina in Washington, DC; the Matias Delgado University of El Salvador; the Board of Culture of Andalusia, the IES, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Seville, Spain; from the Guanajuato State, Mexico; from the Argentine Society of Arts, Sciences and Letters in the Legislature of Cordoba, Argentina and numerous diplomas and awards, including the first prize of the Spanish TV (TVE) for its Poetic Contest on poems about solitude in 2004; Recognition of Excellence by the Prometheus Poetry Association, Madrid; the International Prize in poetry "Simon Bolivar, the Liberator" 2010 and the Fulbright-Hays scholarship for the anthology from Blue to Red as well as his literary activities in Nicaragua. His poetry has been selected for the permanent archives of Latin American Literature at the U.S.Library of Congress and is part of virtual anthologies, magazines, cultural supplements and texts in literature, among them: Passages, Bridges to Literature, Breaking Down Barriers, Keystone and Encuentros. Other notable awards include: Trilce Medal, Universidad de Trujillo, Peru (2016). Named Adopted Son of Vallejo’s Native city (2017). Doctor Honoris Causa (2011), Tel Aviv, Israel.
Zeleny, Mayra, ed. El cuerpo y la letra. La poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio. (The Body and the Letter. The poetry of Luis Alberto Ambroggio). New York: North-American Academy of Spanish Language: 2008.
Corda, Adriana. “La escritura poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio como resistencia al discurso del poder. ” ("Luis Alberto Ambroggio’s poetic writing as resistance to the discourse of power”). XIII Argentine National Congress of Literature, Faculty of Arts, National University of Tucuman, August 2005. dracorda1.luisalbertoambroggio.com/index.html
www.examiner.com/ ... /the-difficult-beauty-of-luis-alberto-Ambroggi ...
- ^La estafeta del viento, Revista de Poesía de la Casa de América, http://www.laestafetadelviento.es/actualidad/escaparate/el-cuerpo-y-la-letra-la-poetica-de-luis-alberto-ambroggio.
- ^Enrique Gracia Trinidad. “Notas para la presentación del poeta.” El cuerpo y la Letra. La poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio. Mayra Zeleny. Ed. New York: Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española, 2008. 14.
- ^“Poeta Aviador.” Diario Las Américas. Domingo 29 de diciembre de 200, página 11-B; “El poeta aviador vuela de nuevo.” La Pájara Pinta, septiembre de 2005.
- ^Gerardo Piña-Rosales. “La poesía de Luis Alberto Ambroggio.” El cuerpo y la Letra. La poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio. Mayra Zeleny, ed. New York: Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española, 2008. 8.
- ^Foreword of Tribute to the Road, Vaso Roto Ed., 2015, 9.
- ^Oscar Hijuelos. Foreword. Difficult Beauty. Selected poems 1987-2006. Yvette Neisser-Moreno, ed. New York: Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009. 11.
- ^Adriana Corda, “La escritura poética de Luis Alberto Ambroggio como resistencia al discurso del poder.” XIII Congreso Nacional de Literatura Argentina Facultad de Filosofía y Letras. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Agosto 2005. dracorda1.luisalbertoambroggio.com/index.html
Vicente Aleixandre 1898–1984
Spanish poet, critic, journalist, and editor.
Recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1977, Aleixandre was a poet of the "Generation of 1927" whose prolific output has strongly influenced the work of subsequent Spanish poets. His selection for the Nobel Prize came as a surprise to much of the literary world although Aleixandre's first collection had appeared in Spain almost fifty years earlier and his reputation in his country was well established. Prior to 1977, Aleixandre's works available to English readers, including Vicente Aleixandre and Luis Cernuda: Selected Poems and The Cave of Night: Poems, had received little notice. Critical attention abroad increased following his reception of the award and several additional works of selected poems in translation have been published. Despite this interest and the vital role he has played in the evolution of Spanish-language poetry, the complexity of Aleixandre's work and the inherent difficulties in translating it have resulted in a limited general readership.
Aleixandre was born in Seville and raised in Málaga, a nearby city that figures symbolically in much of his work. When he was eleven he moved with his family to Madrid, where he later received degrees in law and business administration and began a career in economic law. In 1925 Aleixandre contracted tuberculosis, thus beginning the series of illnesses that plagued him for the rest of his life. His health eventually forced him to abandon his career and he began to concentrate on writing poetry. His first book, Ambito (Ambit), published in 1928, was written in the tradition of poésie pure that was characteristic of Spanish poetry in the 1920s. Around the same time, Aleixandre began to associate with Pedro Salinas, Federico García Lorca, Jorge Guillén, and other poets based in Madrid, culminating in the innovative literary movement referred to as the "Generation of 1927." Writers in this group reacted against the provincialism of Spanish literature. They advocated poetry as a means to discover and explore the relationship between external reality and the poet's internal world, and, while they rejected sentimentality, love was a dominant theme in the work of Aleixandre and other members of the group. Unlike most other writers of his generation, Aleixandre remained in Spain during the Civil War and the subsequent reign of Francisco Franco. Although never a political poet, his works were banned in the postwar years due to his antifascist beliefs and his
independence from the official regime. Aleixandre's works were reinstated during the 1940s. As one of the few representatives of the earlier period still living in Spain, Aleixandre served as an inspiration to younger generations of Spanish poets, who viewed him as a great master. He continued to publish new works, including the critically heralded volumes Poemas de la consumación (Poems of Consumation) and Diálogos del conocimiento (Dialogues of Knowledge), the latter published when the poet was 76 years old. He died in 1984.
Most of Aleixandre's poetry can be divided into three periods. The first includes Pasión del la tierra (Passion of the Earth, composed 1928-1929), La destrucción o el amor (Destruction or Love, composed 1933), and Mundoa solas (World Alone, composed 1934-1936). Most of the poems in these collections were written just prior to or during the Spanish Civil War, but they do not reflect current events. Rather they employ surrealistic imagery in presenting a cosmic, mystical vision of the world. Aleixandre's thematic focus during this period centers on the elemental forces of the human mind, a yearning for the solace of nature, and the inextricable connection between love and death and between the forces of creation and destruction. In contrast to Ambit, these volumes are more complexly constructed free verse, in which Aleixandre's sweeping, passionate meditations are given freer rein. Aleixandre's first post-Civil War collection, Sombra del paraíso (Shadow of Paradise), is a transitional volume leading to the second phase of his career. Poems in the middle period, which include those from Historia del corazón (History of a Heart) and En un vasto dominio (In a Vast Dominion), share with earlier ones a nostalgia for the lost union between humanity and nature, but a dramatic shift in focus is evident. Previously, Aleixandre had looked inside the individual, rejecting historical and social reality. During the middle period he reached outward, emphasizing temporal and physical connections between the self and the surrounding world and projecting a universal compassion for humanity. With a firmer grounding in earthly reality, surreal imagery and irrationalist techniques gave way to a more direct approach in which the affirmation of love predominates. Aleixandre's final period, consisting of Poems of Consumation and Dialogues of Knowledge, is characterized by a return to the structural and metaphysical complexity of his early work. In Poems of Consumation, the poet views the past from the perspective of old age and mourns the passing of love. In Dialogues of Knowledge, he attempts to comprehend the depths and limitations of human knowledge, a process marked by emotional intensity and somber brooding.
Aleixandre has described his poetry as a "longing for the light." Many critics, and the poet himself, have noted the influence of Sigmund Freud on Aleixandre's exploration of the hidden passions and driving forces that operate beneath the surface of consciousness. Lewis Hyde, one of Aleixandre's noted translators, observed in his introduction to Twenty Poems that a desire to explore "the strong undertow beneath the accelerating tide of rationalism" connects Freud, surrealism, and the early poetry of Aleixandre. Of Aleixandre's poems, Hyde says: "[They] are not an affirmation. They are not working out a full and nourishing surreality, but away from the reality at hand. That …is part of their tension—they are the reflective mind trying to think its way out of coherence and precision."