A poet and painter born in Bogotá, Armando Orozco Tovar received a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Havana, Cuba, where he worked at Radio Havana. Back in Colombia, he has been a university professor of humanities and worked as a journalist. He has also held poetry and short-story workshops and has been a judge for several poetry prizes. He has published five books of poems and held three exhibitions of his paintings, the first one in Havana. He has written many essays and feature articles, and is now writing his memoirs, entitled The Bad Memory of a Mythomaniac.
Armando Orozco says that the only thing he shared with his father was a love of poetry, which he began to write as an adolescent to his platonic loves. He also wrote short stories, which he later destroyed, leaving behind his lyrical, immature phase once he read Neruda, Miguel Hernández, Vallejo and Mayakovsky.
In the first years of the Cuban Revolution, he wrote a lot of protest poems and travelled to Cuba, where he won several prizes for his poems and worked in a glass factory. After five years, he returned to Colombia planning to start an armed revolution in the country. He soon abandoned the idea and decided instead to promote social change with his writings and mostly symbolic subversive actions, for which he has, however, been imprisoned several times. He describes himself as an “atheist and materialist” and says he’s proud of living “on the fringes of consumer society”, asserting that he has “failed in everything, except in marriage, because as Camus says in The Myth of Sisyphus: ‘Every destiny is surmounted by contempt’”.
His poetry exudes a satirical humour opposed, he notes, “through an everyday language, to an oppressive reality that invasively imposes death on all of us”. His poems remind us of the natural compromise of a poet with his time and place, and his poetry is always, he says, “on the side of the life and destiny of suffering individuals and peoples”.
Las cosas en su sitio, Ediciones Árbol de Tinta, Bogotá, 1983
Eso es todo, Editorial Colombia Nueva, Ltda, Bogotá, 1986
En lo alto del instante, Club Alegría de Leer, Bogotá, 1990
Visiones, Alternativa Gráfica, Ltda, Bogotá, 1999
Del sonámbulo imaginado, Ediciones Catapulta, Bogotá, 2004
International Poetry Festival of Medellín website with poems and biography in Spanish