The PIP (Project for Innovative Poetry) was created by Green Integer and its publisher, Douglas Messerli, in 2000. The Project publishes regular anthologies of major international poets and actively archives biographies of poets and listings of their titles.
September 12, 2014
Born in Oviedo, Spain on May 30, 1931, Antonio
Gamoneda was born the son of a modernist poet whose career ended in early
death, the father publishing only one book of poetry, Otra más alta vida (Another higher
life) in 1919. After his father’s death, Gamoneda moved with his mother to
During the Spanish Civil War, a period when
the schools were closed, Antonio learned to read, legend has it, through reading
and rereading his father’s poems.
In 1941, the young Gamoneda joined the
religious school of the Augustinian Fathers, but dropped out in 1943. At the
age of 14 he began working as a messenger in the Banco de Comercio, completing
his pre-university studies by himself, and remaining as an employee of the
bacnk for 24 years until 1969.
While working at the bank, furthermore,
Gamoneda became part of the intellectual resistance of the Franco dictatorship.
Gamoenda’s first book of poetry, Sublevación inmóvil, published in 1960.
The book was a runner-up for the noted Adonais Prize.
Leaving his bank job, the young poet
became the head of cultural services of the Diputación Provincial de León,
promoting a progressive and experimental culture through the money provided by
dictatorship. During these years he also began writing for several different cultural
The poet did not publish another work of
poetry until the death of Franco, who died in 1975. In 1977, Gamoneda published
a long poem, Descripción de la mentira
(A description of the lie). In 1987 he published another volume, Lápidas (Tombstones), and, the same
year, Edad (Age), which won the
National Prize for Literature in Spain.
With the publication he 1992 of his Libro del friío (Book of the cold),
Gamoneda became one of the post noted of Spanish poets. The book was published
in a larger edition in 2000 as Frío de
limites (Cold of Limits), as a collaboration with Antoni Tàpies.
In 2003 he published Arden las pédidas (Burning Losses) and in 2004, he published an
anthology of collected poems from 1947-2004, Esta luz (This light). The following year he was awarded the
European Prize for Literature, followed in 2006 by the Reina Sofa Award and the
most esteemed prize in Spain, the Cervantes Prize.
Gamoneda is Doctor Honoris Causa of the
University of León
A documentary, drected by Enrique and
Cesar Rendueles Corti and scripted by Amalia Iglesias and Julia Piera, appeared
in March of 2009, Antonio Gamoneda:
Escritura y alquimia.
BOOKS OF POETRY
Sublevación inmóvil (Madrid: Rialp, 1960); Descripción de
la menira (León: Diputación Provincial, 1977; Salamanca: Barrio de
Maravillas, 1986; Madrid: Abada Editores, 2003); León de la mirada (León: Espadaña, 1979; León: Diputación, 1990); Tauromaquia
y destino [with drawings by Juan Barjola] (León: Retablo, 1980); Blues
castellano (1961–1966) (Gijón Noega, 1982; Barcelona: Plaza y Janes, 1999;
Madrid: Bartleby, 2007); Lápidas (Madrid:
Trieste, 1986; Madrid: Abada, 2006); Edad 1947–1986 (Madrid: Chair,
1987); Libro del frío (Madrid:
Siruela 1992; Valencia: Germany 2000; Madrid: Siruela, 2003, 2006); Mortal 1936 (Mérida: Asamblea de
Extremadura, 1994); El vigilante de la nieve (Lanzarote: Fundación César Manrique, 1995); Libro de los venenos:
corrupción y fábula del Libro Sexto de Pedacio Dioscórides y Andrés de Laguna,
acerca de los venenos mortíferos y de las fieras que arrojan de sí ponzoña (Madrid:
Siruela, 1995, 1997, 2006); Arden las pérdidas (Barcelona: Tusquets,
2003, 2004); Cecilia (Lanzarote: Fundación César Manrique, 2004); Reescritura
(Madrid: Abada, 2004); Esta luz (1947-2004) (Barcelona,
Galaxia Gutenberg / Círculo de Lectores, 2004); Extravío en la luz [with engravings by Juan Carlos Mestre]
(Madrid: Casariego, 2009)
Wellman, trans.) (New Orleans: University of New Orleans Press, 2009); Description of the Lie (Greenfield,
Massachusetts: Talisman House Publishers, 2014); selections in Panic Cure: Poetry from Spain for the 21st
Century (Forest Gander, trans.) Los Angeles: Otis Books/Seismicity
Your hair in his hands; burning in the vigilante’s hands
It’s barley grain, the nap of snakes and your hair in the
Open your eyes that I might see the white barley: your
hands of snow.
The trees have all been moaning in my mind in remembrance
of your panties
in the darkness, the light under your skin,
Crossing anniversaries, now and again, intoxicated
Come bare your mercy, ah mortal dove, daughter of the
The blackbird in the glow of your lips has blown out.
I can sense in you your impressive wounds, you bare
The blackbird blows out in white bedrooms where I go
where, now and again,
extravagant bells ring.
Feeling for your unconfessable skin, your skin anointed
the sadness of
snakes; I can make out your invisible worries,
I would have noticed your bloody sash, your weeping
and not the yellow of your wound,
but my dream lives under your eyelids.
Though oblivion is hollow as a mask, a livid apparition,
hear the wailing of mothers from the water
and you pet those
Our bodies comprehend themselves with more and more
sadness, but I
love this desolate purple.
Ah the black flower of bedrooms, ah the pills of dawn.
Enter the white bedroom once more.
Impressive, the jars of sadness in moral hands.
Enter the white bedroom once more.
Love, that you last on my lips:
There’s a forlorn honey in the helixes and shadows of
and in summer’s agony it sinks like