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Oliverio Girondo: ‘A Rival for Borges’

By Harriet Staff

3-26-13_Girondo

We’re impressed with how frequently The Argentinian Independent features articles on poets and poetry. Their website is perhaps the best way for English readers to learn about contemporary innovative writing in Argentina. We appreciate how their coverage features not only up-and-coming poets and translators like Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, but also historically important writers. Kate Bowen has been writing a biweekly series on Argentinian writers called Beyond Borges. This week, she focuses on 20th century poet Oliverio Girondo, describing him as “a rival for Borges.” The story is a fascinating one:

Both authors played an active part in introducing the first of the vanguardist movements to settle in Argentina, both became high profile writers competing for the literary crown of Buenos Aires, and both fell in love with the same woman.

The feud which ensued over Borges’ unrequited love for Girondo’s wife has somewhat stolen the spotlight away from Girondo’s writing. But, an irreverent and provocative author, a fierce observer of society, and a demonstrable deep understanding of what it means to be human reveal Girondo as a fit rival for Borges in many respects.

Girondo’s work is equally fascinating. Even readers already familiar with his writing will enjoy Bowen’s description of his writing and his involvement in the Argentinian and international avant-garde:

Girondo became heavily involved in the avant-garde magazine ‘Martin Fierro’. Founded by Evar Méndez and named after José Hernández‘s influential gauchesque poem, the magazine brought Girondo into contact not only with Borges, but also with the great philosophical thinker Macedonio Fernandez and the gauchesque novelist Ricardo Güiraldes, with whom he would go on to found Sociedad Editorial Proa.

Head over to their website to check out the rest of the article on Oliverio Girondo, as well as others in the series.

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Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.