Jorge Carrera Andrade, from Hispania 39, March 1956, pp. 80-81.
Jorge Carrera Andrade is considered one of the most important poets of Ibero-American
postmodernism. His voice, together with Neruda’s and Vallejo’s, is one of the most original
and durable of the present time. Peru, Chile, Ecuador - the countries of South America’s west
coat -have given us the best in contemporary poetry. In these three countries indigenous culture
possesses a contemporary as well as an historical importance. One can see similar interests and
tendencies in all three poets. The influence of the French avant-garde movements - surrealism,
cubism, and so forth - is quite marked.
But to this they add a profound sense of the American environment, its green land and its dark men.
Interestingly, these three poets have all been prominent figures in the social and political
struggles of their countries. (Compare the situation in the United States: our best poets - Eliot,
Pound, Cummings - have always remained on the margins of politics, and when do hold political
opinions, they are always conservative.)
Imagery is of central importance to all three poets, and their use of images is daring, varied, and
frequently recondite. All three have expressed a sense of exhaustion in the face of modern life, a
longing for some golden age: “It’s just that I’m tired of being a man” (Neruda).
“I was born in the century of the death of the rose/ when the motor had already driven out all
the angels” (Carrera Andrade)...
Carrera Andrade is essentially a poet of the provinces, but he is in no way provincial. The poet
withdraws to the provinces to think, to rest, to partake of the fountains of the eternal American
elixir... And to the provinces, to the country, the American poet must go to seek the material of
his art, whether it be the Ecuadorian or Mexican provinces or the Argentine pampa.
J. Enrique Qjeda
from Jorge Carrea Andrade: Intrdoduccion al estudio de suvida y de su obra (New York,
Eliseo Torres & Sons, 1971), p. 12
On numerous occasions, Carrera Andrade has defined the culture of the native country as a
crossroads at which the most varied spiritual paths come together. Carrera Andrade himself
exemplifies the truth of his own assertion: an ample variety of literary modalities has found
expression in his poetry. If it is true that he wrote his first poems in the spirit of a waning
modernism, he soon came in contact with the poetry of Gongora and the Spanish classics, while
simultaneously coming under the influence of contemporary French poetry.
His devotion to French culture, especially to its poetry, which he came to know intimately through
his efforts as a translator, did not, however, prevent him from coming to know the poetry of other
lands. Thus as a mature man, he was apparently deeply moved by German romantic poetry, especially
the work of Holderlin, and years later he became deeply affected by the poetry of Rilke.
But it would be a waste of time to go hunting in Carrera Andrade’s poetry for traces of foreign
or artificially imposed elements. Both his poetry from 1926 on and his essays in literary criticism
attest to his spiritual independence. This independence led him to reject not only Gongorism and
surrealism, which were so much in vogue at the time, but also all aesthetic postulates that were
less than compatible with the natural development of his poetry.