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Juan Gelman

Juan Gelman (born 3 May 1930) is an Argentine poet. He has published more than twenty books of poetry since 1956. He won the Cervantes Prize in 2007, the most important in Spanish literature. His works celebrate life but are also tempered with social and political commentary and reflect his own painful experiences with the politics of his country.


Juan Gelman's Life

Juan Gelman was born in Buenos Aires, in the Villa Crespo neighborhood, in 1930. He was the third son of Ukrainian immigrants[1]. His father, Jose Gelman, was a social revolutionary who participated in the 1905 revolution in Russia; he immigrated to Argentina, went back shortly after the Bolshevik revolution, and then returned to Argentina for good, disillusioned.[1]

Juan Gelman learned how to read when he was three years old, and spent a lot of his childhood biking, playing soccer, and reading. He developed an interest in poetry at a very young age, influenced by his brother Boris who was an avid reader. He read Dostoevsky's The Insulted and Humiliated at eight, and subsequently became feverish in the days following. As a young man, he was part of many literary groups and later got an important job as a journalist.

He was an ardent political activist until 1975, and got involved with the Montoneros, though he later distanced himself from them. After the 1976 Argentine coup, he was forced into exile from Argentina for twelve years. In 1976, both his son Marcelo and his pregnant daughter-in-law Maria Claudia (who were 20 years of age at the time) were kidnapped from his home and executed. They became two of the countless desaparecidos, the people who vanished without a trace during the military regime. He was able to find his granddaughter, who was born before Maria Claudia's murder and given to a pro-government family, in the year 2000 in Uruguay. He lived in Europe until 1988, when he returned to Argentina and began working for the Buenos Aires newspaper Pagina/12. In 1997, Juan Gelman received the Argentine National Poetry Prize, in recognition of his excellent work. He now lives in Mexico with his wife, and continues to write for Pagina/12.

Gelman included Uruguayan police officer Hugo Campos Hermida in his complaint before the Spanish justice for the "disappearance" of his niece in Uruguay [2].

Further reading


  • Unthinkable tenderness : selected poems / Juan Gelman; Joan Lindgren., 1997
  • Pesar todo : antología / Juan Gelman., 2001
  • En el hoy y mañana y ayer : antología personal / Juan Gelman., 2000
  • Miradas : de poetas, escritores y artistas / Juan Gelman., 2004
  • Ni el flaco perdón de Diós : hijos de desaparecidos / Juan Gelman., 1997
  • Afganistán, Iraq : el imperio empantanado / Juan Gelman., 2003
  • Juan Gelman : antología personal / Juan Gelman., 1993
  • Prosa de prensa / Juan Gelman., 1997


  • Juan Gelman : esperanza, utopía y resistencia / Pablo Montanaro., 2006
  • Oficio ardiente / Juan Gelman., 2005
  • El llamado de los desaparecidos : sobre la poesía de Juan Gelmán / Edmundo Gómez Mango., 2004
  • Juan Gelman : poesía de sombra de la memoria / Elena Tamargo Cordero., 2000
  • Acercamientos a Juan Gelman / José Bru., 2000
  • Palabra de Gelman : en entrevistas y notas periodísticas / Pablo Montanaro., 1998
  • Juan Gelman : las estrategias de la otredad : heteronimia, intertextualidad, traducción / María del Carmen Sillato., 1996
  • Como temblor del aire : la poesía de Juan Gelman, ensayos críticos / Lilián Uribe., 1995
  • Confiar en el misterio : viaje por la poesía de Juan Gelman / Jorge A Boccanera., 1994
  • Juan Gelman : contra las fabulaciones del mundo / Miguel Dalmaroni., 1993
  • Conversaciones con Juan Gelman : contraderrota, Montoneros y la revolución perdida / Roberto Mero., 1987

See also


  1. ^ a b "I am the only Argentinian in the family. My parents and my two siblings were Ukrainian. They immigrated in 1928." [1] In the same brief autobiographical text, Gelman states that his mother was a student of medicine and the daughter of a rabbi from a small town. "[My parents] never shut us up in a ghetto, culturally or otherwise. [...] I received no religious education." Gelman would later write some poems in Ladino, i.e., Judeo-Spanish; he is also known for being sharply critical of Israel.
  2. ^ A los 73 años murió el inspector mayor (r) Hugo Campos Hermida

External links



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