Rossetti, Ana

Rossetti, Ana
b. 1950, Cadiz
   Poet
   Since the publication of Los devaneos de Erato (Erato's Deliriums) in 1980 and Dioscuros in 1982, Ana Rossetti has been recognized as one of the most accomplished and strikingly original poets of the post-Franco period. Her work is well-known both in Spain and among students of Spanish literature abroad, especially in the United States. Rossetti's poetry is distinguished, in the first instance, by its transgressive eroticism and by its luxuriant style. Another facet of her work that has attracted a great deal of notice is her appropriation of images from advertising in poems like "Chico Wrangler" and "Calvin Klein, Underdrawers", from the collection Indicios vehementes (Vehement Signs) (1985). The sexual explicitness of her work was made possible by the lifting of censorship that occurred with the end of the Franco regime. In this respect, it participates in the destape (uncovering), an explosion of repressed sexual expression beginning in Spain in the late 1970s. At the same time, the high esteem in which her poetry is held owes at least as much to its stylistic brilliance and to its profound explorations of the nature of human desire.
   Two of Rossetti's collections merit special mention. Devocionario (Devotionary) (1986) is a transgressive exploration of the erotic undercurrents of Catholicism, with especial reference to hagiographical literature. In a striking sequence of poems, engravings of martyred saints awaken the sexual imagination of a young girl. Punto umbrío (Shady Point) (1995) consists of a complex and tightly integrated series of poems on the theme of desire. In this last book the erotic explicitness of some of Rossetti's previous works gives way to a more introspective look at the loss and devastation inherent in frustrated love. Here, the stylistic sensuality of Rossetti's writing serves, not to shock the reader by transgressing sexual taboos, but rather to render emotional states with striking vividness and power.
   In addition to her books of poetry, Rossetti is the author of several works of prose fiction on erotic themes, including Plumas de España (Feathers of Spain) (1988) and Alevosías (Treacheries) (1991), and an opera libretto, El secreto enamorado (The Secret Admirer) (1993). While her prose works have helped to lend legitimacy to erotica as a genre, her poetry ranks among the best written in Spain in the 1980s and 1990s. The scope and variety of her literary activities make her one of the most fascinating figures in contemporary Spanish letters.
   JONATHAN MAYHEW

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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