The great Argentinean poet Juan Gelman passed away on January 14th at the age of 83. He received the Cervantes Prize, the most important Spanish literary award, in 2007, and many of his peers and followers argue that he was the first writer to create a truly Argentinean form of poetry. Certainly, his life and work were inextricably connected to the troubled history of his home country. A prominent journalist and left-wing political activist as well as a poet, like many of his fellow countrymen and artists he was forced into exile following the 1976 coup. He never again lived in Argentina, and exile was a prominent theme throughout much of his later writing – dealt with in works such as Bajo la lluvia ajena from Interrupciones (classmark: 9007.c.6796-6797) and, with reference to his Jewish parents’ own exile from Russia, Dibaxu (classmark: 2002.8.1688).
Juan Gelman and Argentina’s Troubled 20th Century