Ondertexts
Oliverio Girondo
Search

Oliverio Girondo

Oliverio Girondo Oliverio Girondo[2†]

Oliverio Girondo (August 17, 1891 – January 24, 1967) was an Argentine poet, known for his involvement with Ultraism, a movement in poetry characterized by avant-garde imagery and symbolism as well as metrical complexity[1†][2†]. He was born in Buenos Aires to a relatively wealthy family, enabling him from a young age to travel to Europe, where he studied in both Paris and England[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Oliverio Girondo was born on August 17, 1891, in Buenos Aires, Argentina[2†][1†]. He was born into a relatively wealthy family, which allowed him to travel extensively from a young age[2†][1†]. His travels took him to Europe, where he had the opportunity to study in both Paris and England[2†][1†]. These experiences likely exposed him to a variety of cultural and intellectual influences that would later shape his work.

Unfortunately, specific details about Girondo’s early education or significant events from his childhood or adolescence that influenced his life and career are not readily available in the sources. However, it is clear that his early travels and exposure to different cultures and intellectual circles played a significant role in shaping his worldview and artistic style[2†][1†].

Career Development and Achievements

Oliverio Girondo’s career was marked by his involvement with Ultraism, a movement in poetry characterized by avant-garde imagery, symbolism, and metrical complexity[1†][2†]. His travels across Europe and other parts of the world during his youth exposed him to a variety of cultural and intellectual influences that would later shape his work[1†][2†].

Girondo was an active participant in the Argentine vanguardia, contributing lyric poetry and numerous pieces to magazines such as Proa and Martín Fierro[1†][2†]. His first poems surpassed the simple admiration of beauty in nature, a common theme at the time, and instead celebrated a cosmopolitan and urbane lifestyle. His work both praised this lifestyle and critiqued some of the customs of its society[1†][2†].

His poetic works include “Veinte poemas para ser leídos en el tranvía” (1922; “Twenty Poems to Be Read in a Trolley Car”), “Calcomanías” (1925; “Decals”), “Espantapájaros” (1932; “Scarecrow”), “Persuasión de los días” (1942; “Persuasion of the Days”), “Campo nuestro” (1946; “Countryside of Ours”), “En la masmédula” (1956; “In the Masmédula”), and “Topatumba” (1958)[1†].

Girondo’s influence extended to many poets of the next generation, among them Enrique Molina, with whom he translated the work of Arthur Rimbaud “Una temporada en el infierno”[1†][2†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Oliverio Girondo’s literary journey began with his first book, “Veinte poemas para ser leídos en el tranvía” (Twenty Poems to Be Read on the Tram), published in 1922[2†][3†]. This collection of poems was characterized by its vibrant color and irony, celebrating cosmopolitan and urbane living while also critiquing societal customs[2†].

In 1925, Girondo published “Calcomanías” (Decals), another significant work in his career[2†][3†]. His subsequent works continued to push the boundaries of poetic expression, with “Espantapájaros” (Scarecrow) published in 1932[2†][3†][4†], and “Interlunium” in 1937[2†][3†].

Girondo’s later works, such as “Persuasión de los días” (Persuasion of the Days, 1942), “Campo nuestro” (Our Field, 1946), and “En la masmédula” (In the Masmédula, 1957), marked a departure from his earlier ultraist ideas[2†][3†]. These works played with elaborate metaphoric language, reflecting a shift in his poetic style[2†][4†].

Here is a list of Girondo’s main works with their first year of publication:

Analysis and Evaluation

Oliverio Girondo’s work is characterized by its innovative and avant-garde nature, making him one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th-century literary scene[1†][5†][6†]. His involvement with Ultraism, a movement known for its avant-garde imagery, symbolism, and metrical complexity, is particularly noteworthy[1†].

Girondo’s early poems often imitate reality, presenting things as they seem rather than as they are[1†][5†]. For instance, in “Rio de Janeiro,” he describes the city as a “cardboard imitation of a porphyry city,” and in “Siesta,” he writes, "How real, the landscape that looks fake!"[1†][5†]. Such playful and absurd depictions of cosmopolitan life are a recurring theme in his work[1†][5†].

His poetry collections, starting from “Twenty Poems to Be Read on the Streetcar” to “Decalcomania,” showcase his central place in the Argentine avant-garde[1†][5†]. His friend and sometime adversary, Jorge Luis Borges, even expressed envy for the metropolitan ease of Girondo’s poetry[1†][5†].

However, Girondo’s poems have often been described as strange, inscrutable, and even inaccessible[1†][6†]. This is perhaps due to his daring use of language and form, which defied traditional poetic norms and expectations[1†][6†].

Despite this, Girondo’s impact on Argentine literature is undeniable. His work challenged conventional ideas about poetry and opened up new possibilities for poetic expression[1†][5†][6†].

Personal Life

Oliverio Girondo was born into a well-to-do family, which allowed him to travel extensively across Europe and other parts of the world during his youth[1†][2†]. These experiences undoubtedly shaped his worldview and influenced his work.

Girondo was contemporary to several notable figures, including Jorge Luis Borges, Raúl González Tuñón, and Macedonio Fernández[1†][2†]. He met Norah Lange, whom he would later marry in 1943, at a lunch banquet in 1926 held in honor of Ricardo Güiraldes[1†][2†][7†]. Lange was a significant figure in Girondo’s life, and their relationship undoubtedly had an impact on his work.

Despite his extensive involvement in the literary world, Girondo also explored other artistic mediums. Around 1950, he began painting in the style of surrealism[1†][2†]. However, he never published or sold any of these works, indicating that this may have been a personal endeavor rather than a professional one[1†][2†].

Girondo passed away on January 24, 1967, in Buenos Aires[1†][2†]. His legacy continues to influence Argentine literature and the broader literary world.

Conclusion and Legacy

Oliverio Girondo’s legacy is marked by his significant contributions to the literary world, particularly in the realm of poetry[1†][2†]. His involvement with Ultraism, a movement characterized by avant-garde imagery, symbolism, and metrical complexity, was instrumental in shaping the course of Argentine literature[1†][2†].

Girondo’s work, which includes notable pieces such as “Veinte poemas para ser leídos en el tranvía” (1922), “Calcomanías” (1925), “Espantapájaros” (1932), “Persuasión de los días” (1942), “Campo nuestro” (1946), “En la masmédula” (1956), and “Topatumba” (1958), continues to be celebrated for its innovation and impact[1†][2†].

His influence extended beyond his own generation, impacting many poets of the next generation[1†]. Girondo’s work is still studied and admired today, and he is recognized as one of the most fascinating and innovative avant-garde figures of the 20th century[1†][6†].

Girondo’s life and work serve as a testament to the power of creativity and the enduring impact of innovative literature. His legacy continues to inspire and influence contemporary literature, cementing his place in the annals of literary history[1†][2†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Britannica - Oliverio Girondo: Argentine writer, painter, and poet [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (English) - Oliverio Girondo [website] - link
  3. Green Integer - Poet Biographies: Oliverio Girondo [website] - link
  4. Goodreads - Book: Poesía [website] - link
  5. Literary Hub - Oliverio Girondo’s Absurd Cosmopolitan World ‹ Literary Hub [website] - link
  6. Poetry Foundation - Looking on Argentine Poet Oliverio Girondo at… [website] - link
  7. Wikiwand - Oliverio Girondo - Wikiwand [website] - link
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 4.0; additional terms may apply.
Ondertexts® is a registered trademark of Ondertexts Foundation, a non-profit organization.