Born on July 2 in Havana, Eliseo Diego was a child in a family that traveled extensively during his youth in France and Switzerland, resulting in experiences he felt were important to his poetic development.
He began by writing short stories, and soon helped with others such as Cintio Vitier, Fina García Marruz, Octavio Smith, and Virgilio Piñera to found Origenes, which became one of the most important journals in contemporary Cuban literature.
Diego studied and taught English literature in courses held at the Casa de las Americas. He was in charge of the Infant Narrations and Literature Department of José Marti National Library until 1970.
He also translated extensively works by Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf and others, becoming the editor of Union magazine, published by the National Union of Writers and Artists. In 1988 and 1989 he received the Critics Prize of that organization. In 1993 he was awarded the Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos Award and the Juan Rulfo International Prize for Latin American and Caribbean Literature.
He published his first book of poetry, En lal Calzada de Jesús del Monte in 1949, and continued to publish poetry and fiction throughout his life. He also wrote two collections of poetic prose: Versiones (1970) and Libro de quizás y de quién sabe (1989).
Diego died of a heart attack in 1996 while traveling in Mexico City, and his body was returned to Cuba, where he was buried.
BOOKS OF POETRY
En la Calzada de Jesús Monte (1949); Por los extraños pueblos (1958); El oscuro esplendor (1966); Muestrario del mundo or Libro des las maravillas de Boloña (La Habana: UNEAC, 1969); Los días de tu vida (La Habana: Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba, 1977); A través de mi espejo (1981); Inventario de asombros (Ciudad de La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1982); Veintiséis poemas recientes (México: Equilibrista, 1986); Soñar despierto (1988); Cuatro de Oros (México: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1991); El silencio de las pequeñas cosas (La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1993); En otro rein frágil (Ciudad de La Habana: Ediciones UNIÓN, 1999); Aquí he vivido (La Habana: Instituto Cubano del Libro, 2000); Poemas al margen (El Vedado, Ciudad de La Habana: Ediciones Ateneo, 2000); El Sitio en que tan bien se está: selección de poemas de Eliseo Diego (La Habana: Ediciones Boloña, 2005)
BOOKS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION
Poems, trans. by Kathleen Weaver and Eliseo Diego (New York: Center for Cuban Studies, 1982)