Vicente Huidobro

Vicente Huidobro


Vicente Huidobro He was born in 1893 in Santiago. The García-Huidobro Fernández were a rich aristocratic family; important cultural figures of the time met in the living rooms of his house. This undoubtedly contributed to the enlightened training of the poet. He was educated by European governesses in his early years and later by Jesuit priests at the Colegio San Ignacio; studied literature at the University of Chile.

At the age of twelve he wrote his first poem, "That is me", and at eighteen the book Echoes of the soul, of a modernist style. As an older man, Huidobro advised readers to ignore his early work: it did not seem to him to have value. The year 1914 can be considered the turning point of his writing: there began his authentic poetic journey, when he gave the conference “Non serviam” at the Ateneo de Santiago, in which he expounded the aesthetic principles that would govern his poetry. There he argues that a literary work does not have to serve nature, but that, like her, it must also be the creator of its own, autonomous world. His well-known verse "The poet is a little god" sums up the position in a good way. "Creationism" called this avant-garde poetics, of which he was his energetic promoter.

His life was the result of a restless and unconventional spirit: he lived intermittently in Europe, wrote in every literary magazine there were and devised curious projects, such as the importation of nightingales into Chile from Palma de Mallorca to test whether they were capable of acclimatizing. Nor was politics alien to him: he was proclaimed a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic by the Progressive Youth, he supported the republican cause in the Spanish Civil War with great determination and wrote fiercely against fascist Italian soldiers who visited our country. He once conceived the idea of ​​founding a republic made up of Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

He wrote more than forty books, between poetry and prose. His most remembered works are Arctic poems y Equatorial (both from 1918), Altazor (1931) and Latest poems, published posthumously (1948). He was a friend of the surrealists and his poems were danced in Paris by Guillaume Apollinaire and Tristán Tzara.

During the Second World War he worked as a correspondent in France, and entered Berlin with the allies when it ended. He returned to Chile with some military trophies, including a telephone that, according to him, would have belonged to Hitler. In the war he received wounds that ended up causing his death, in 1948, in Cartagena. He is buried on a hill facing the Pacific. His epitaph reads like this:

Here lies the poet Vicente Huidobro
Open the grave
At the bottom of this grave you can see the sea