Mexico mourns seminal poet Raúl Renán

A poet, editor, writer and above all a teacher, Renán died of renal insufficiency complications in Mexico City earlier today

Photo: Fernando Villa del Ángel /EL UNIVERSAL
English 14/06/2017 13:01 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 15:57
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A native of the southeastern state of Yucatán, Raúl Renán was born in the capital city of Mérida in 1928 and was considered an experimenter and innovator of the Mexican letters of the second half of the 20th century.

A graduate of the Modern Letters from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Raúl Renán organized literary workshops, became an editor and created the poetry collection Fósforos, “Matches” as well as the Ensayo, “Essay”, magazine. He founded La Máquina Eléctrica, “Electric Machine”, Publishing House and was a writer for the literary section of many cultural supplements of Mexican daily newspapers.

Renán was a recipient of many literary awards and the Experimental Poetry Prize Raúl Renán was created after him in 1998 in Mérida. He also served as a deputy director of UNAM’s Poetry Magazine.

Above all, Raúl Renán mentored generations of Mexican poets and writers by instilling his acute vision and pioneering instinct in both his letters and his overall literary practice.

In 2012, on the occasion of an homage he received in the Fine Arts Palace in downtown Mexico City, the visual artist Eko noted that Renán was considered a “visual poet” for his pattern poetry series or caligramas and was certainly a reformer of the poetic text of the second half of the 20th century. At that time, Renán stated that all writers want to underline the beauty of the Spanish language, thus they “continue working with it mercilessly.”

Below the opening lines of Poema del poema "Poem on a poem" found at digital literature magazine Círculo de poesía, "Poetry Circle", at

Poema del poema

El poema
no sabe
ni sospecha
la frente
en que caerá
después de 
es un responso

A poem on a poem

The poem
does not know
nor it suspects
the brow
it will fall upon
after it dies.
is a requiem
in a closed

The author of over 30 books, among them unparalleled poetry works Gramática Fantástica,“Fantastic Grammar”, and Viajero en sí mismo, “Traveller in oneself” remains a seminal poetic and narrative voice of contemporary letters in Mexico.

Mexican poets, writers, and cultural authorities have expressed their dismay for the loss of Raúl Renán, among them Minister of Culture, María Cristina García, who posted a message on her Twitter account, “Rigorous with words, virtuous poetic voice, teacher of various generations of writers. I regret the death of Raúl Renán.”

Writer and translator Mauricio Montiel Figueiras wrote, “[Another irreparable loss for our literature RIP Raúl Renán (1928-2017), beloved teacher in the art of poetry and generosity.”]

For his part writer, Manuel Iris wrote, “Grim morning: Teacher Raúl Renán has passed away.”



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