Lauren Mendinueta
(Colombia, 1977)   
Lauren Mendinueta

Lauren Mendinueta was born in Barranquilla, Colombia in 1977. She began writing in 1997 while working as a librarian in Fundación, a small village in Colombia. She has published six books of poetry and one biography of Marie Curie. A collection of her poems, entitled Poesía en sí Misma (2007), was published by the Universidad Externado de Colombia as part of its Un libro por centavos collection. La vocación suspendida (2008) received the sixth Martín García Ramos International Award for Poetry.

In 2005 Lauren Mendinueta lived in Mexico under a Resident Artist scholarship, granted by the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the Fund for the Culture and Arts in Mexico (FONCA). She is frequently invited to festivals and literary gatherings in Europe and the Americas. Her poetry has been translated into Italian, Russian, German, Portuguese and French. Her work has been included in poetry anthologies in Europe as well as America. Between 2006 and 2007, she lived in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. She is currently writing a novel and is based in Lisbon, Portugal.

Lauren Mendinueta’s is a voice uniquely mature and reflective, in contrast to the youthfulness of the author. Without a doubt, what is most striking about her is her relentless pursuit of linguistic rigour and clarity of expression, a careful flight from over-sentimentality and images which are difficult to visualise. These aspects of her work are sufficient to make her stand out in the field of contemporary Latin American poetry and, of course, in Spanish-language women’s verse, where her eloquent sobriety and her control of speech in the interest of a balance between communication and poetic effusion is exceptional.

The economy of metaphor in the poetry of Mendinueta, in effect, surprises. As with other Colombian poets (and I think, above all in the work of the great Alvaro Mutis), her eschewment of the baroque and, in general, the conceptual darkness brought about by a century of modernism and experimentation, shows, in my opinion, a close relationship with cultivated poetry on this side of the Atlantic by recent Spanish generations who have been influenced, from the fifties onwards, by teachers of English modernism (Eliot, Auden, Larkin), and are therefore hostile to the excessive rhetoric of the tearing currents that have thrived in Latin America since the glory years of surrealism.

Lauren Mendinueta is one of the more individualised voices of her generation. Hers is an extraordinarily mature voice, in control of its resources, which has succeeded in building a tradition to suit it without being seduced by it, through what should be the project of any true poet: the creation of a character endowed with a moral self. In the work of this young Latin American writer, there are hints as to who will be the best lyricist of the century, and in whom poetry now renews its ancestral force.

© Jon Juaristi (Translated by Constance Lardas)


Carta desde la aldea, La Dádiva Editores, Barranquilla, Colombia, 1998
Inventario de ciudad, Golem Editores, Barranquilla, Colombia, 1999
Donde se escoge el pasado, La Dádiva Editores. First edition May 2004, second edition January 2005
Autobiografía ampliada, Ediciones casatomada, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2006. Second edition Editorial Salida de Emergencia, Mexico, 2006
Poesía en sí misma, anthology by Antonio Sarabia, Universidad Externado de Colombia, El Malpensante magazine, Bogota, 2007
La vocación suspendida, Point de Lunettes, Sevilla, Spain, 2008. Second edition, Editorial Travesias, Ministry of Culture, Barranquilla, Colombia, 2009

Marie Curie, dos veces Nobel, Panamericana, Bogotá, Colombia, 2004


Lauren Mendinueta’s blog and website (in Spanish)
Poems, interview and critical study by Alessio Brandolini (in Spanish and Italian)
‘Lauren Mendinueta or the vocation suspended and resumed’ (in Spanish)
Poem, ‘Josep Brodski’, by Lauren Mendinueta
Diary from Mallorca: Article about Mendinueta in Bellver (in Spanish)
Review of Una gravedad alegre (an anthology of twenty-first Latin American poetry) in El Mundo (in Spanish)


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