Antonio Gamoneda
(Spain, 1931)   
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Antonio Gamoneda was born in Oviedo in Spain in 1931. He has lived in León since 1934 and has published more than twenty poetry collections (of which one or two are rewritings of earlier versions); most are collected in the book Esta Luz (2004).

Gamoneda is a solitary writer. For many long years he chose to remain cut off from the literary establishment; nevertheless, the poet was able to create a world in which one of the most personal and innovative voices of contemporary Spanish poetry resounds.

Memory, history and self-analysis buttress a very intense and fictitious writing which offers itself to the reader as a mythical space of knowledge and emotion. An awareness of death is a source of poetical pleasure for Gamoneda. This knowledge and pleasure give birth to a poetry that, recognising the value of tradition, charts completely new paths and repeatedly modernises the genre.

Gamoneda’s poetry collections include Descripción de la Mentira (Description of the Lie), Libro del frío (Book of the Cold) and Arden las pérdidas (Losses are Burning). There have been fifteen anthologies of his work – three in German, Hebrew and Italian. His writing has also been translated into French, English, Italian, Arabic, Swedish, Portuguese and Dutch. In addition to the genre-defying Libro de los venenos (Book of Poisonings), Gamoneda has published the prose books Relación y fábula (Relation and Fables; short stories) and Un armario lleno de sombra (A Cabinet Full of Shadows; recollections of his childhood, 1936–1945). His essays have been collected in El cuerpo de los símbolos (The Body of Symbols). Alongside literary works, Gamoneda is also the author of five books of art and architecture criticism.

Gamoneda has given readings and performed his poetry at institutions and universities in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. Besides many other distinctions, Gamoneda received in 2006 the Prix Européen de la Littérature, the Reina Sofia Award and the Cervantes Prize, the highest honor in Spanish literature. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of León and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and is a board member of the Cervantes Institute and the National Library in Spain.

© Bart Vonck (Translated by Michele Hutchison)

António Gamoneda was a guest at the 41st Poetry International Festival. This text was written for that occasion.

Selected bibliography

Poetry

Esta Luz (This Light) Galaxia Gutemberg, Barcelona, 2004
Descripción de la Mentira (Description of the Lie), Abada Editores, Madrid, 2003 (latest edition)
Arden las pérdidas (Losses are Burning), Tusquets, Barcelona, 2003/4
Libro de los venenos (Book of Poisonings), Siruela, Madrid, 2006 (latest edition)
Libro del frío (Book of the Cold), Siruela, Madrid, 2006 (latest edition)

Prose

Relación y fábula (Relation and Fables; short stories), Santander, EditoriaLímite, 1997
Un armario lleno de sombra (A Cabinet Full of Shadows), Galaxia Gutenberg - Círculo de Lectores, Madrid, 2009
El cuerpo de los símbolos (The Body of Symbols) (collected essays), Huerga y Fierro, Madrid, 1997; Calamus, Mexico, 2007

 



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