Gonzalo Rojas  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Gonzalo Rojas Pizarro (born December 20, 1917) is a Chilean poet. His work is part of the continuing Latin American avant-garde literary tradition of the twentieth century.


He was the seventh son of a coal miner. Later on, during his youth he was the editor of the magazine Antarctica in Santiago de Chile and University lecturer in Valparaiso.

Between 1938-1941 he played a part in the surrealist group Mandrágora founded by Braulio Arenas, Teófilo Cid and Enrique Gómez Correa. Seven years later in 1948 his first book of poems was published in Santiago.

After the 1973 Chilean coup d'état he was forced to go into exile, an “undocumented person”. He was stripped of his diplomatic position and was also banned from teaching at any Chilean university. The University of Rostock in East Germany provided him with a placement.

Gonzalo Rojas went back to Chile in 1979, in light of to a Guggeheim scholarship, but although this he was still unable to teach at a university in Chile. He went to Chillán, 400 kilometers to the south of the capital, to live permanently.

He has taught at universities in Germany, the United States, Spain and Mexico.

He has been awarded the 5th of June 1992 Chilean National Prize for Literature, the Premio Reina Sofia by the King of Spain and the 2003 Cervantes Prize. He and Nicanor Parra are considered the greatest living poets in Chile.

Selected works

  • La miseria del hombre (1948)
  • Contra la muerte (1964)
  • Oscuro (1977)
  • Transtierro (1979)
  • Del relámpago (1981)
  • 50 poemas (1982)
  • El alumbrado (1986)
  • Antología personal (1988)
  • Materia de testamento (1988)
  • Antología de aire (1991)
  • Desocupado lector (1990)
  • Las hermosas (1991), Zumbido (1991)
  • Río turbio (1996)
  • América es la casa y otros poemas (1998)
  • Obra selecta (1999)

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