10 Mexican poets everyone should read

Today, we bring you a list of 10 Mexican poets you should include in your personal library

10 Mexican poets everyone should read
Since pre-Hispanic times, poetry has been an essential part of Mexican culture and some of the country's most formidable poets have gained international recognition - Photo: Iván Stephens/EL UNIVERSAL
English 21/03/2019 14:00 Newsroom Mexico City Maricela Flores/EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 14:18
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Poetry is perhaps one of the most underrated literary genres. Though it is usually associated with the Romantic period and some may even go as far as to minimize it by suggesting that writing loose verses is easy, poetry is so much more than that.

Writing poetry is no easy task. There are several factors one has to take into account before grabbing a pen and start versing away, such as inspiration, metaphors, syntax, etc. It is truly an artistic challenge and contributes to creative diversity, since it perceives and interprets reality in a unique way.

In 1999, March 21 was proclaimed as World Poetry Day during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris. The celebration seeks to recognize “the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind” while aiming to encourage and promote the teaching and creation of poetry throughout the world.

Mexico has had truly formidable poets that have gained international recognition. Today, we bring you a list of our top 10 Mexican poets that you should consider including in your personal library:

1- Octavio Paz (1914-1998): This Mexican intellectual won the Nobel prize in literature in 1990. Born in Mexico City, he was one of the three most important Latin American poets of the 20th century, along with Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo. His poetry focuses on eroticism, love, and the fate of man. However, his essay on the Mexican psyche, The Labyrinth of Solitude, is definitely a must.

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

2- Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974): As a child, Castellanos became an orphan, which gave her a growing need to express herself. She saw poetry as a way to discover the origin of things. Her poems dwell on love, death, and women’s rights. In her life, she suffered two miscarriages and her husband’s unfaithfulness. She once said: “We kill what we love. The rest never lived.”

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

3- Jaime Sabines (1926-1999): This poet from the Mexican state of Chiapas had been studying medicine when he realized literature was his true passion. Some of his major influences are Pablo Neruda and Federico García Lorca. He was known as the “Literature sniper,” since he belonged to a group of artists who sought to transform literature into reality. He wrote well-known poems such as “Introspección” (Introspection), “A mi madre” (For my Mother), and “Los Amorosos” (The Lovers).

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

4- Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648-1695): One of the most important and renowned poets in Mexico, if not the world, Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramírez (her real name) was born in the village of San Miguel Nepantla in 1651. She started writing at the age of eight and became a self-taught scholar, student of scientific thought, philosopher, composer, and poet of the Baroque school. Well ahead of her time, she has also been called the “First Feminist of the New World.”

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

5- José Emilio Pacheco (1939-2014): One of the most important Mexican writers of the 20th century, the work of Pacheco goes well beyond Battles in the Desert. His work dwells on the problems and social realities of his time, though life and death are also recurrent themes. Some of his most famous poems are: "Ciudad de la memoria" (City of Memory), "Los Elementos de la noche" (The Elements of Night), and "Miro la tierra" (I Stare into the Earth).

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

6- Pita Amor (1918-2000): A true daredevil, Guadalupe Teresa Amor was a beautiful, talented, and controversial woman. She wrote about metaphysical subjects such as God, death, solitude, and nothingness. Some of her most famous poems are: "Puerta obstinada" (Stubborn Door), "Círculo de Angustia" (Circle of Angst), and "Soy dueña del universo" (I Am the Owner of the Universe).

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

7- Amado Nervo (1870-1919): Born in the state of Nayarit, Nervo lived a few years in Paris, which had a great influence on his writing. He is considered one of the most important modernists and his work dwells mostly on his own intuitions and feelings. Some of his most famous poems are: "Perlas Negras" (Black Pearls), "Místicas" (Mystiques), and "La amada inmóvil" (The Motionless Lover).

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

8- Carmen Boullosa (1954- ): She is one of the most famous writers among Mexican intellectuals. She is a poet, novelist, teacher, and playwright. Most of her work is based on historic themes imbued with human sentiments. Some of her most famous poetry works are "Patria Insomne" (Sleepless Country) and "Ingobernable" (Ungovernable).

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

9- Xavier Villaurrutia (1903-1950): One of the most celebrated homosexual poets of the 20th century, Villaurrutia was quite timid, though a member of the controversial artistic group of Los Contemporáneos (The Contemporaries), along with Salvador Novo, Jaime Torres Bodet, and José Gorostiza. His poetry is characterized by themes of desolation and death and some of his most famous works include: "Reflejos" (Reflections), "Nostalgia de la muerte" (Longing for Death), and "Nocturnos" (Nocturnes).

Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

10- Mónica Nepote (1970- ): Born in Guadalajara, this woman speaks from the body, although not always her own. She is a writer, editor, and cultural manager. One of her most famous works is "Hechos diversos" (News Items), a compilation of texts based on news articles that show some of the painful realities of Mexican society.

Photo: Taken from Mónica Nepote's Facebook profile


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