Poet, novelist, short-story writer, and translator José Emilio Pacheco was born in Mexico City. He studied at the Autonomous National University of Mexico and worked for many years as a magazine editor before teaching literature at various institutions in the United States, England, and Canada. He is considered one of the most important Mexican poets of his generation, and his work is known for its formal control and, in the words of fellow poet Efraín Huerta, “an inner, emotional involvement. [His] poetry contains a yearning, an ardour, a search for colour and secrets, a quest for the right word, for the right tone.” Pacheco’s many collections of poetry include Los elementos de la noche (The Elements of the Night, 1963), El reposo del fuego (The Resting Place of Fire, 1966), Desde entonces: poemas, 1975–1978 (Since Then: Poems 1975–1978, 1980), Ciudad de la memoria: poemas 1986–1989 (City of Memory: Poems 1986–1989, 1989), and Siglo pasado (Desenlace): poemas 1999–2000 (Century of the Past, Denouement: Poems 1999–2000).

Pacheco was a well-known translator of Samuel Beckett, Albert Einstein, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko, among others. His honors and awards include the Mexican National Poetry Prize, the Premio José Asunción Silva Award, and the Cervantes Prize. He lived in Mexico City until his death in 2014.

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