Gonzalo Rojas
Gonzalo Rojas Pizarro was a Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

an poet. His work is part of the continuing Latin American avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 literary tradition of the twentieth century.


He was the seventh son of a coal miner, born in the port town of Lebu, Chile
Lebu, Chile
Lebu is a port city and commune in central Chile administered by the Municipality of Lebu. Lebu is also the capital of Arauco Province in Bío-Bío Region...

. Later on, during his youth he was the editor of the magazine Antarctica in Santiago de Chile and University lecturer in Valparaiso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...


Between 1938-1941 he played a part in the surrealist group Mandrágora
For other uses see Mandragora .La Mandrágora was a Chilean Surrealist group "officially founded" on 12 July 1938 by Braulio Arenas , Teófilo Cid and Enrique Gómez Correa . The group had met in Talca and first started exchanging in 1932...

 founded by Braulio Arenas
Braulio Arenas
Braulio Arenas was a Chilean poet and writer, founder of the surrealist Mandrágora group.- Life :Braulio Arenas lived most of his youth in the north of Chile, moving in his teens to Talca to study...

, Teófilo Cid
Teófilo Cid
Teófilo Cid was a Chilean poet....

 and Enrique Gómez Correa
Enrique Gómez Correa
Enrique Gómez Correa was a Chilean poet, lawyer and diplomat....

. 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
University of Rostock
The University of Rostock is the university of the city Rostock, in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.Founded in 1419, it is the oldest and largest university in continental northern Europe and the Baltic Sea area...

 in East Germany provided him with a placement.

He taught at universities in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, and Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...


Thanks to a Guggenheim Fellowship
Guggenheim Fellowship
Guggenheim Fellowships are American grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those "who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." Each year, the foundation makes...

, Gonzalo Rojas went back to Chile in 1979, to Chillán
Chillán is a city in the Biobío Region of Chile located about south of the country's capital, Santiago, near the geographical center of the country. It is the capital of Ñuble Province and, with a population of approximately 170,000 people , the most populated urban center of this province...

, 400 kilometers to the south of the capital, to live permanently, yet was still unable to teach at a university there.

Subsequently, he lived in the United States between 1980 and 1994. From 1980 to 1985, Gonzalo was a visiting professor at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 and the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, then from 1985 to 1994, he held the title of professor at Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University is a private university located in Provo, Utah. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , and is the United States' largest religious university and third-largest private university.Approximately 98% of the university's 34,000 students...


He was awarded the Chilean National Prize for Literature
Chilean National Prize for Literature
Chile's National Prize for Literature was created by Law No. 7,368 during the presidency of Juan Antonio Ríos on 8 November 1942. It consists of a lump-sum monetary prize and a life-time monthly stipend . It was originally awarded every year until the amendments introduced by Law No...

 and the Queen Sofia Prize of Iberian American Poetry (by the King of Spain), both in 1992. He also received the Octavio Paz prize of Mexico, and the José Hernández prize of Argentina. He was awarded the Cervantes Prize for 2003 the 23 of April 2004.

On the morning of April 25, 2011, Rojas died as a consequence of a stroke he suffered earlier in February. The government declared two days of official mourning. He was buried in Chillan, Chile. He was considered one of the greatest modern poets in Chile, together with Nicanor Parra
Nicanor Parra
Nicanor Parra Sandoval is a mathematician and poet born in San Fabián de Alico, Chile, who has been considered to be a popular poet in Chile with enormous influence and popularity in Latin America, and also considered one of the most important poets of the Spanish language literature...


His poetry has been translated into English, German, French, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, Romanian, Swedish, Chinese, Turkish, and Greek.

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)

External links

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