THIRD PART OF 20TH CENTURY (1968-1998)
 



 

Cover of Anthology
Last third of 20th century,
Visor, 1999

 
   Since Gerardo Diego published in 1932 his Spanish Poetry. 1915-1931, anthologies are besides literary reviews the best indicators of new poetical fashions.
   Literary history of last third of 20th century could just be read in a collection of anthologies or a collection of mistakes, if we admit that "every anthology is a mistake".
 
 
    1.-  The marks of a real change for spanish poetry came with Nine very new (1970) poetical anthology by José María Castellet. Some critics saw there the last post-war generations; others could read poems by the first generation in Democracy.. They contacted with vanguard as that of the 20s and appearently break with immediate tradition.

Cover of Nine very new (1970)
   Castellet, a catalan editor, included poems by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (Barcelona, 1939), Antonio Martínez Sarrión (Albacete, 1939), José María Álvarez (Murcia, 1942), Félix de Azúa (Barcelona, 1944), Pere Gimferrer (Barcelona, 1945), Vicente Molina-Foix (Alicante, 1946), Guillermo Carnero (Valencia, 1947), Ana María Moix (Barcelona, 1948) and Leopoldo María Panero (Madrid, (1948).
 
   The most part of these poets belonged to Mediterranean coast, from Murcia to Barcelona. In spite ot the critics it received, sellection by Castellet succeeded pointing to the most important poets of the very new.
 
   They shew a novelty in their time poetry because of their rupture with realistic fashion of social literature.

Cover of Inaccessible centre,
collection from 1967 to 1980
   The hermeticism and darkness is expressed in a collage tecnique or a camp sensibility. In these poems we will find allusions to cinema, to comic and to brittish and american pop music.


Poems by Pere Gimferrer
   Pere Gimferrer is the most well-known poet in this group or generation. He got the National Prize of Literature in 1966 because of Sea is burning. When he appeared between very new poets, in 1970, he had already finished the most part of his castilian works if we do not consider the catalan poems translated to castilian by himself.
 
   His brilliant "Ode to Venice in the presence of the Theatres' Sea" from Sea is burning, made him the most important writer of a venetian or byzantine school. Exquisite language was joined to a baroque aesthetic to express traditional topics as passage of time or loss of youth in some surrealistic tecnique.

Poems by Félix de Azúa
   The tag venetian school included culturalist poetry whose models were T.S.Elliot, Ezra Pound or Wallace Stevens.

Essay of a theory of vision
   Guillermo Carnero published in 1967 his Picture of Death and Scipio's Dream (1971), where we can read his poem "English Garden". The poem and the book to wich it belongs deal with metapoetry, poems about poetry itself. Its reflexive condition points out the consideration that the poetical emotion can be found either in cultivated poetry or in literary tradition. His work previous to 1977, appeared under the title Essay of a theory of vision.
 
   Many poets in this group have evolved to personal forms. Leopoldo María Panero has been seen as a damned poet inside the very new because of his Poems from Mondragon Mental Hospital (1987), but the most part of these poets works today on geners different from poetry.
   New names were soon added to this group of poets assembled in Castellet anthology, as that of Antonio Colinas (Leon, 1946) who wrote culturalist and neoromantic poetry in Thunders and flutes in a temple (1972). Then he cultivated a direct intimate lyric and collected his works in The River of Shade (1994 and 1997).
 
   Luis Alberto de Cuenca (Madrid, 1950) shows his initial culturalism as a result of his classical erudition, in Scholia (1978). His maturity and sense of humour can be read from The Silver Box (1986).
 
   Common features with his poetry -classic and Byzantine world- can be seen in te work of Luis Antonio de Villena (Madrid, 1951).

Poems by Antonio Colinas

The Axe and the Rose
Sevilla, Renacimiento, 1993
Between his first books we find The Travel to Byzantium (1978) or Hymnica (1975). Sensuality, baroque and exquisite elements and some rakish exclusion are a constant in his last books as Matters of delirium (1996).
 
   Jaime Siles (Valencia, 1951), in spite of his classical knowledges could be the less hermetic poet in this generation. From his first works as Genesis of the Light (1969) to Canon (1973) he wrote a pure and philosophical poetry. His last book is Late Hymns (1999).

Poems (1970-1984)
Visor, Madrid, 1988
    2.-  Many poets that could be included in this group were less well-known because of the prestige of very news.

Poema del libro
De un caminante enfermo que...
   José Miguel Ullán (Salamanca, 1944) developped an original way: the visual poetry or concrete poetry, taking vanguard techniques as those of caligram to their limits. We can see the pages of About an ill walker who fell in love where he was lodged (1976) or his anthology Ardicia (1994). Visual poetry survives in reviews as Texturas.
 
   Jorge Justo Padrón, (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1943) writes a humanized poetry, constant, in spite of the very new fashion from Sea of the Night (1973) to Otesnita (1979).
 
   A similar way is that of Juan Luis Panero (Madrid, 1942) who verifies in his lyric an interesting synthesis of the movements in years 60 and 70: culturalism, tradition and intimate poetry. In 1997 he published his Complete Works (1968-1996). His last collection appeared in 1999 Enigmas and Farewells.
 
   Jenaro Talens (Cádiz, 1946) left very new style to investigate a searching through intuition poetry. One of his last books Travel to the End of Winter (1997) reworks the classic theme of love against death.
   Aníbal Núñez (Salamanca 1944-1987) wrote in his lyric a complaint of reality in a surrealistic way. His complete Poetical Works appeared in 1995.

 
    3.-  We can assume that spanish poetry is free from civil war and post-war censure from 1975. Now, new generations will mark new directions for poetry: vanguard or tradition.
 
   The fact is that, after Franco's death in 1975, culturalist poetry was given up in order to cultivate an intimate and subjective one whose centre will be the poetic ego. That is the poetry of experience, whose master was Antonio Machado.

Dream of Origin and Death
Hiperión, Madrid, 1988

About a Country Girl Who Came to Live in a Chagall
   The Galician Miguel D'Ors (1946) is a good representative of this fashion because of his humanized and intimate lyric. An ironical wink can make us question the essence and efficacy of poetry. New Paragraph (1992) collected his complete work that was continued by Towards a Purer Light.
 
   Paralell to this, a way derived from vanguard -and maybe from very new- is the neosurrealistic one, represented by Blanca Andreu (La Coruña, 1959), in solidly constructed poems published in 1981: About a Country Girl Who Came to Live in a Chagall.The Dark Dream (1994) collects her complete works.
 
   A similar poetry is written by Amalia Iglesias (Palencia, 1962).
 
   Anyway, the most frequent is poetry of experience, in spite of the differences between the poets. Stablishing schools always come up for discussion.
   Eloy Sánchez Rosillo (Murcia, 1948), sets up from Ways of Being Alone (1978), a meditation on the consequences of time: solitude, memory, consciousness and death. After publishing Elegies (1984) he received the tag of elegiac, that will be then applied to the lyric by Juan Lamillar (Sevilla, 1957). Eloy collected his works in Things as They Were (1995). Next year he published Life.
 
   Ana Rossetti (Cádiz, 1950) writes a personal and intimate poetry from her beginning with Erato's Affairs (1980). There, the most uninhibited erotism forms a contrast with a pseudomystical stream as a sequel from childhood. Many of her poems are dialogues with an absent interlocutor.

Prayerbook Visor,
Madrid, 1986
   Olvido García Valdés (Asturias, 1950) cultivates poetry of experience. Her last book, Night Hunting (1997) shows an intimate key and projects her ego on her lyric.
 
   Jon Juaristi (Bilbao, 1951) irradiates from his initial Diary of a Recently Tired Poet (1985) a poetical energy in contrast with the book's title. Tradition received from Basque poets as Unamuno, Gabriel Aresti or Blas de Otero is joined to a magnific sense of humour and an ability that let him make an ironic and joking selfportrait.
 
   Andrés Sánchez Robayna (Las Palmas, 1952) is seen as a neopurist poet. It is because of abstraction of elements in his verses and brilliant metaphysic meditation on objets and landscape. In 1997 he published his Poems (1970-1995).

Art of sailing Hiperión,
Madrid, 1988

Voices and Echoes
Madrid, Júcar, 1980
   Closing this period, José Luis García Martín presented in 1980 his anthology Voices and Echoes. Among the last very new we find poets as Miguel D'Ors or Andrés Sánchez Robayna and authors of later generations as Julio Llamazares. It could be taken as a good instance for development of culturalism in spanish poetry.
 
    4.-  Some critics pointed out a literary change in 1992. Governements of PSOE let scholars talk about a new Andalusian culture. The fact was that no radical change was seen.
 
   In 1986 the anthology Postnew by Luis Antonio de Villena introduced, between polemic asserts, a promotion composed by names that we have already seen, as Blanca Andreu or new ones as those of Julio Llamazares, Luis García Montero, Felipe Benítez Reyes, Jorge Reichmann...

Postnew (1986)

Autograph manuscript of "Coffe-Houses",
poem from The Easy Life,
Madrid, Trieste, 1985
   Andrés Trapiello (León, 1953) is recognized as the founder of the School of Trieste. He began as a symbolist inheritor of Unamuno and Machado because of his thematic and attitude: decadence and sensibility for introducing landscapes, countries, coffe-houses and objects from past. His maturity can be seen in The Easy Life (1985) and Selected Poems (1998).
 
   Also born in León, Julio Llamazares (1955) has been told to be the creator of a new way of epic poetry. Using long verse, he introduces leones rural world, in The Slowness of Oxes (1979), with a mythical and symbolic attitude full of atavism.

End of the Century,
Visor, 1992
   Julio Martínez Mesanza was born in Madrid in 1955. He shares the epic condition because of his ethic toughness introducing moral characters and situations, in wich heroism is a constant. He uses verse of 11 syllables. In four moments -1983, 1986, 1988 and 1990- he published his poems under the title Europe. We can add to them an anthology: Fragments of Europe (1977-1997), in 1998.

The Foreign Garden,
Madrid, Hiperión 1989
   Many of the post-very-new reappeared selected by Luis Antonio de Villena: End of the Century. Anthology (1992). The editor's point of view is that poets drive his interest towards a classic or, at least, castilian tradition.
 
   Luis García Montero (Granada, 1958) can be the best example of the poetry of experience. His poems deal with daily situations: night bars, attractive cities -specially Granada-, inconstant women..., with a colloquial and poetic language. The most important could be his book Flowers of Cool (1991) and Absolutely Friday (1998).
 
   Felipe Benítez Reyes (Cádiz, 1960) revisits constant themes of poetry: time, memory or literature by itself. His poetic works are collected in Paradises and Worlds (1996), though this is not his last production.

Paradises and Worlds,
Madrid, Hiperión, 1996

Countercover showing the names
of selected poets in Last Third of 20th Century (1968-1998), Visor, 1999
    In the worlds "Valencia, 1961" does Carlos Marzal concentrate his biography. His poetry is a joking walk through reality and life. Sadness is joined to irony and expressed with a decadent rhyme because of its melody out of tune. His last book was Night Countries, (1996).
 
   Also born in Valencia, Vicente Gallego (1963) sings with a street language to neglect, to the women he could not get, to the not remote past. Silver of the Days (1996) is his last book's title.
 
   Anthology End of the Century did also include names as those of Leopoldo Alas (La Rioja, 1962) or Esperanza López Parada (Madrid, 1962).
 
   In many ways anthologies make nowadays the canon of the "selected" poets. Editors know the mistakes and injustices they can produce. Time solves them.

Night Countries,
Barcelona, Tusquets, 1996

   One of the last important anthologies was named at the beginning of this page: Last Third of 20th Century (1968-1998). Consulted Anthology of Spanish Poetry Visor, Madrid, 1999. We can turn this page taking a look to the names of the selected poets.
 

D.Miguel Pérez Rosado.
Ph. D. in Hispanic Philology.