Born in Venecia, Antioquia, León Gil studied physics at the Universidad de Antioquia and has written three books of poems. His texts and poems have also been published in several newspapers and reviews, and included in national and international anthologies. He has been invited to the International Poetry Festival of Medellín and has read his poems in different cities of Colombia. Particularly notable is his first book of poems Del huerto de Van Gogh (“From Van Gogh’s Orchard”) in which he writes nocturnes, epitaphs, acrostics and also S.O.S. messages and grafitti.
Gil is a polyphonic poet who experiments with language but in a clear and direct style charged with irony. His sharply perceptive humour tends to take the reader by surprise and he never abuses metaphor. The poems are capsules of grace and intelligence that strike the reader by exposing the theater of the world without descending to the pathos we are used to in a culture of lachrymose and ambiguous morality.
In his first book, Del huerto de Van Gogh (“From Van Gogh’s Orchard”), a beautiful map of the internal geography of the Dutch painter, Gil seizes his voice and expresses the enthralling vital experience of the painter in almost conversational poems. The poems embody a life full of deprivation and obsessions; it is an innovative book that takes us close to an artist who survived on the edge of insanity and sanity in an interesting historical period.
In his second book, Ecce Infans, the poet returns to the context of childhood and in short poems, children talk with their fresh and free language about the stains in the world of adults. It is a book that has the power to reveal the greatness of children’s minds and takes us into a luminous region. In Ecce Infans, Gil maintains his simple and clear style:
Like ripe fruit ready to be picked
Children and birds
Have fled from the branches
A third stream in his poetry is patent in his third book, Coctel de versos para la mesa 3 (“Cocktail of Verses for Table 3”). In it we find the experienced poet presented as a man facing the challenges of the world. These are fluent and uninhibited poems with an incisive and ironic tone, enriched by expressive experimentation and a harmonious language that captivates the reader. In this book he gathers his songs of experience and makes an interesting contribution to our poetry. According to the poet Pedro Arturo Estrada, Gil “…plays, derides, confesses, berates, despairs, condemns, defends himself, fights, proposes, speculates, with a language as hard, efficient and cutting as a knife.”
Del huerto de Van Gogh, Published by the author, Medellín, 1990
Ecce Infans, Published by the author, Medellín, 1996
Coctel de versos para la mesa 3, Published by the author, Medellín, 2002
León Gil’s page on the Poetry Festival of Medellín website
Review of Del huerto de Van Gogh by John Galán Casanova
Poems on the Vincent van Gogh Gallery website
Poems in Spanish and Portuguese on the Antonio Miranda website