- Diego, Gerardo
- b. 1896, Santander; d. 1987, MadridWriterGerardo Diego is an enigma within the context of contemporary Spanish poetry. Although wellrespected and widely read, his work has received scant critical attention. A member of the famed "Generation of 1927", Diego is perhaps best known for his role in shaping and promoting the literary movements known as Creacionismo and Ultraísmo. The passion and vigour with which he pursued these new art forms earned him the title of enfant terrible of the Spanish avant-garde. His Manual de espumas (Manual of Foam) (1924) and Versos humanos (Human Verses) (1925) are widely recognized as two of the most significant contributions to the genre. He would remain the lone standard-bearer of the Creationist movement in Spain after the death of the movement's founder, the Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro, in 1948.Following the Spanish Civil War, Diego settled in Madrid and quickly became immersed in the social and cultural life of that city. A devoted catholic and political conservative, Diego enjoyed a privileged status under the Franco regime. In 1948 he was elected to membership in the Spanish Royal Academy of Language.The publication of Angeles de Compostela (Angels of Compostela) and Alondra de verdad (Lark of Truth) in 1940 and 1941, respectively, established Diego as one of the premier poets of the post-war period. Angeles de Compostela is a carefully sculpted and polished collection that evokes the spiritual symbolism of the baroque structure that inspired it, the Pórtico de la Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The poems of Alondra de verdad exemplify the harmonious fusion of poetry and music, Diego's two greatest passions. Other collections include La suerte y la muerte (Luck and Death) (1963), colourful compositions that evoke the beauty and pageantry of the corrida; Poesía amorosa (Love Poetry) (1971), a collection of the poet's love poems written between 1918 and 1969; and Poesía de creación (Poetry of Creation) (1974), Diego's Creationist works. The later Soria sucedida (Soria Revisited) (1977), Poemas mayores (Major Poems) (1980), Poemas menores (Minor Poems) (1980), round out a poetic collection which is among the richest in Spanish letters. But Diego is recognized also for his journalistic talents. His articles number hundreds, and range from literary theory to essays on art, music, history and religion. For his work, Diego has received nearly every major literary prize, including the National Prize for Literature, the Literature Prize of the Juan March Foundation, The Grand Gross of Alfonso X and the Cervantes Prize for Literature (see also prizes).An inquisitive traveller, astute critic, accomplished pianist, and, above all, a sensitive poet, Gerardo Diego could rightfully be called a man for all seasons. His work, as King Juan Carlos stated when presenting Diego with the Cervantes Prize, adds immortality to us all.Further reading- Gallego Morell, A. (1956) Vida y poesía de Gerardo Diego, Barcelona: Editorial Aedos (examines the poet's work up to 1950, and includes important biographical information and a good but not conclusive bibliography).- Villar, A. del (1981) Gerardo Diego, Madrid: Ministerio de Cultura (the most comprehensive study on the poet to date).ROBERTO CARLOS MANTEIGA
Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.