Poetry News

Rest in Peace, Álvaro Mutis Jaramillo

By Harriet Staff


The poet and storyteller passed away in Mexico City on Sunday: he was 90 years old.

From the Guardian:

Prolific Colombian writer and poet Álvaro Mutis Jaramillo has died in Mexico City. He was 90 years old.

The cause of death could not immediately be confirmed, though Mexican media quoted his wife, Carmen Miracle, saying he died in hospital from a cardio-respiratory problem.

Mutis enjoyed wide popularity outside Colombia and was considered by critics as one of the most outstanding poets and storytellers of his generation, after his good friend, Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Márquez.

Despite the difficulties he faced, including spending time in a Mexican prison, Mutis produced an extensive collection of novels and poetry that earned major international honours such as the Xavier Villaurrutia, Prince of Asturias and Cervantes prizes.

Mexico's national commission for culture and the arts paid tribute to Mutis via its Twitter account.

The Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, sent his condolences after Mutis's death was confirmed by the cultural commission on Sunday night.

"The millions of friends and admirers of Álvaro Mutis profoundly lament his death," Santos wrote. "All of Colombia honours him."

Colombian writer Gustavo Álvarez Gardeazábal called him "a remarkable narrator, remarkable poet and remarkable friend".

Mutis was a witty man with a great sense of humour, Mexican poet Hugo Gutiérrez Vega said in a recent interview with the cultural commission commemorating Mutis's 90th birthday.

"He describes a lost world, the old Colombia of rural ownership, like the family Mutis," Gutiérrez said, noting that he spent part of his childhood at the family coffee and sugar cane farm in Coello.

From that experience, he developed a fascination with the sea, the tropics and the smell of coffee that marked his literary works, according to the commission.

Make the jump to read about Jaramillo's career and honors.

Originally Published: September 24th, 2013