Brines, Francisco 1932-

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Brines, Francisco 1932-


Born January 22, 1932, in Oliva, Valencia, Spain. Education:Studied at the School of Philosophy and Letters, Madrid; studied law at the Universities of Deusto, Valencia, and Salamanca; law degree from Salamanca.


Agent—Pre-textos, Luis Santángel 10, 1-C, 46005, Valencia, Spain.


Writer, poet, critic, and educator. Lecturer in Spanish, Oxford University, early 1960s, and at Cambridge University.


Adonais Prize, 1959, for Las Brasas; Premio de la Crítica, 1966, for Palabras a la oscuridad; Valencian Letters Prize, 1967; National Prize of Literature (poetry), 1987, forEl Otoño de las rosas; Fastenrath Prize, 1998, for La Última costa; National Prize for Spanish Letters, 1999.


Las Brasas (title means "Embers"), Rialp (Madrid, Spain), 1959, revised edition, Formento de Cultura (Valencia, Spain), 1971.

El Santo inocente (title means "The Innocent Saint" or "Saint Innocent"), Poesía para Todos (Madrid, Spain), 1965, republished as Materia Narrativa inexacta, in Poesía, 1960-1971: Ensayo de una despedida, Plaza & Janés (Madrid, Spain), 1974.

Palabras a la oscuridad (title means "Words to Darkness"), Insula (Madrid, Spain), 1966.

Aún no (title means "Not Yet"), Llibres de Sindera (Barcelona, Spain), 1971.

Poesía, 1960-1971: Ensayo de una despedida(title means "Poetry: Essay of a Farewell"), Plaza & Janés (Madrid, Spain), 1974, enlarged as Ensayo de una despedida: 1960-1977, Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1984.

Insistencias en Luzbel (title means "Insistences in Luzbel/Lucifer"), Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1977.

Selección propia (title means "[His] Own Selections"), Cátedra (Madrid, Spain), 1984.

Poemas excluidos (title means "Excluded Poems"), Renacimiento (Seville, Spain), 1985.

Francisco Brines: Antología poética, selected by José Olivio Jiménez, Alianza (Madrid, Spain), 1986.

Poemas a D.K. (title means "Poems to D.K."), Mágico Intimo (Seville, Spain), 1986.

El Otoño de las rosas (title means "The Autumn of the Roses"), Renacimiento (Seville, Spain), 1986.

(Reviser and adaptor) Alcalde de Zalamea (play), produced by Compañia de Teatro Clásico, 1988.

El Rumor del tiempo (title means "The Rumor of Time"), selected by Dionisio Cañas, Mondadori (Madrid, Spain), 1989.

Francisco Brines, 1932 (Antología Poética), selected by Harold Alvarado Tenorio, Fundación para la Investigación y la Cultura (Cali, Colombia)/Editorial Tiempo Presente (Bogota, Colombia), 1990.

Antología Poética, selected by Harold Alvarado Tenorio, Tiempo Presente (Bogotá, Colombia), 1990.

Antología Poética: Espejo Ciego (title means "Poetic Anthology: Blind Mirror"), selected by Alejandro Duque Amusco, Consell Valenciá de Cultura (Valencia, Spain), 1993.

Francisco Brines, Universitat de Lleida (Lérida, Spain), 1997.

Also author of Musa joven, 1982, Poesía, 1960-1981, 1983, Catorce poemas, 1987, Francisco Brines, 1988, La Última costa, 1995, Ensayo de una despedida: Poesía completa 1960-1997, 1997, Breve antología personal, 1997, Selección de poemas,1997, and Antología, 1998. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Cuadernos Hispanicos, Insula, andRevista de Letras.


Francisco Brines was a central figure in the Generation of the 1950s, a group of Spanish poets who turned around the notions of what poetry represents from those espoused by previous generations of Spanish poets. The Generation of the 1950s saw the poem as an exploration of memory and the nature of reality and human existence, an attempt to find meaning in a meaningless world, and a mode of expression rather than of communication. The group includes Claudio Rodríguez, José Angel Valente, Angel González, and Jaime Gil de Biedma. Critics have referred to Brines as one of the most significant and influential poets of the post-World War II generation.

Critics and historians know little about Brines's life. He was born in 1932 in Oliva, a small Mediterranean town in the Valencia province of Spain. He attended a Jesuit school from the age of seven, where he met a priest, also a poet, who guided and encouraged him. The priest and his school heavily influenced Brines's personal and literary development. He began writing poetry at the age of fifteen and by age twenty had written his first collection of poems. The lack of personal information about Brines results in part from his own belief, according to an essayist in theDictionary of Literary Biography, "that the outer facts of his life are indistinguishable from those of any other individual. The only life worthy of study, for Brines, is the inner life, and it can most properly be sought in a careful examination of his verse."

Brines's impact on poets of his generation was enormous. Douglas K. Benson, writing for Modern Language Notes, explained that Brines "has been called the metaphysical poet of his generation." Benson commented: "In Brines' poems, man looks back on a full, intense youth (often enacted through joyous, vivid sensorial impressions) from the perspective of an old age devoid of colors. But there are no Romantic excesses; his speakers accept their lot and resign themselves to await their end."

Some critics have pointed to how little Brines's writing has changed since his first book, Las Brasas, was published. In Las BrasasBrines unifies the book's three parts through style, tone, form, and meter. Although he was twenty-seven years old at the time, Brines surprised critics with a remarkable understanding of how his much-aged protagonist sees the world. Alejandro Duque Amusco, in the bookAntología poética: Espejo ciego, stated: "The central themes, symbols, and techniques to which [Brines] has returned again and again throughout his career are delineated with clarity and precision in Las Brasas: the bittersweet evocation of the landscape—the poet's personal Garden of Eden, an intemporal paradise where death has no dominion; the celebration of childhood with its passionate intensity and innocence; the spectral image of the family house—a repository of memories, of lost dreams and illusions, but also of unconditional love; the view of life as a solitary and arduous path; and the resigned meditation on time and temporality."

Brines's second book, El Santo inocente, continues these themes, but from different vantage points. The book's poems draw their inspiration from a visit Brines made to the Cathedral of Valencia, where he contemplated an urn holding the remains of a child believed to have been murdered by King Herod. El Santo inocente gives a new perspective to Brines's repeated symbolism, examination of innocence, and inquiry into both religious beliefs and human existence.

Palabras a la oscuridad won Brines the 1967 Premio de la Crítica and is considered by many to be the height of his achievement. That book, and his later Aún no, take on the same themes yet again but add other perspectives from Roman and Greek anecdotes. In doing so, noted Benson: "Brines concretizes instants of time into something more transcendental than personal memory, but he never lets the reader forget that the moments he experiences are fading as he reads them."

Brines continually gives the reader responsibility for decoding his poetry. Maria Cooks pointed out in the Romance Languages Annualthat Brines utilizes a "belligerent ‘you and I against the world’ attitude," through the use of dialogue as well as the choice of I, you, and we as pronouns representing his poems' speakers, or by not having any speaker at all. W. Michael Mudrovic, inStudies in Twentieth-Century Literature, commented on how the poem's "nature changes with each new reader and each new reading. The poem is therefore both static and dynamic, fixed and unstable, product and process, a literary artifact and an evolving text." In Poemas excluidos, a collection of poems that had not been previously published, Brines gives these "excluded" works a "second birth" by their inclusion, finally, in a publication, and by charging the reader with their "salvation" by taking an "active, collaborative role" through the reading process. For example, Judith Nantell noted in Studies in Twentieth-Century Literaturethat readers "will be called upon repeatedly to provide a new life for the anguished, mortal, personalized speaker of the poems by means of the resurrective process of clarifying the potential of the text in the activity of reading."

For Brines, writing and reading poetry are ways to acquire knowledge, and the two acts are intimately bound together in the process of reaching that goal. That knowledge is of the world and human beings' place in it, of God (despite the religious push-pull Brines expresses in his work), and of love. The act of love and the writing of poetry, Margaret H. Persin noted inPerspectives on Contemporary Literature, "are similar: both are ‘bonding’ experiences; both can result in the creation of a ‘separate reality’: in love, by two parents, a human entity, and in writing, by a poetic text. Through both creative acts, the ‘parents’ can achieve immortality and redemption. Brines set in motion for a generation of Spanish poetic ‘parents’ a way for both readers and writers to use poetry as a means of understanding their places in the universe, by living through their lives and by acknowledging the end of their own existence."



Alvarado Tenorio, Harold, and Angel González,La Poesía Española contemporánea: A. González, J.M. Caballero Bonald, C. Barral, J. Gil de Biedma y F. Brines, Editorial la Oveja Negra (Bogotá, Colombia), 1980.

Alvarado Tenorio, Harold, Ensayos, Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia), 1994.

Arkinstall, Christine, El Sujeto en el exilio: Un estudio de la obra poética de Francisco Brines, José Angel Valente y José Manuel Caballero Bonald,Rodopi (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1993.

Borja, J.M., Las Naranjas de oro, Editorial Aguaclara (Alicante, Spain), 1995.

Bousoño, Carlos, Poesía postcontemporánea: cuatro estudios y una introducción, Ediciones Júcar (Madrid, Spain), 1984.

Brancaforte, Benito, Edward R. Mulvihill, and Roberto G. Sanchez, editors, El texto y el lector: la poesía de Francisco Brines, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI), 1981.

Cañas, Dionisio, Poesía y percepción: Francisco Brines, Claudio Rodríguez y José Angel Valente, Hiperión (Madrid, Spain), 1984.

Cuatro poetas españoles contemporáneos (antología), compiled by Pablo Luis Avila, La Goliardica (Milan, Italy), 1968.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 134: Twentieth-Century Spanish Poets, Second Series, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.

González, Angel, and Luis M. García Jambrina, La Promoción poética de los 50, Espasa Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 2000.

Hierro, José, José Olivio Jiménez, and Dionisio Cañas, Siete poetas españoles de hoy, Editorial Oasis (Mexico City, Mexico), 1983.

Jiménez, Fajardo Salvador, and John C. Wilcox, editors, After the War: Essays on Recent Spanish Poetry, Society of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies (Boulder, CO), 1988.

Lauge Hansen, Hans, and Julio Jensen, La Metáfora en la poesía hispanica, 1885-1936: actas del simposio celebrado en la Universidad de Copenhague, 25 y 26 de Septiembre de 1996,Ediciones Alfar (Seville, Spain), 1997.

Laughlin, James, Peter Glassgold, and Frederick R. Martin, editors, New Directions in Prose and Poetry 32, New Directions (New York, NY), 1976.

Llorente Torres, Marina, De la marginalidad hacia la liminalidad: Espacios trangresores en la poesia Espanola, 1975-1990, University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS), 1997.

Llorente Torres, Marina, Palabra y deseo: espacios transgresores en la poesía española,1975-1990, Universidad de Málaga (Málaga, Spain), 2000.

López Castro, Armando, La voz en su enigma: cinco poetas de los años sesenta, Editorial Pliegos (Madrid, Spain), 1999.

Martín, Francisco José, El sueño roto de la vida: ensayo sobre la poesía de Francisco Brines, Aitana (Altea, Spain), 1998.

Nantell, Judith, The Poetry of Francisco Brines: The Deconstructive Effects of Language, Bucknell University Press (Lewisberg, PA), 1994.

Pons-Hervas, Mariea Dolores, Subersion de la presunta identidad poetica en la produccion de Francisco Brines, Wayne State University (Detroit, MI), 1999

Tordasens, Pedro,Poesía y crítica, Jugar con Fuego (Spain), 1975.


Coloquia Letras, March-April, 1989, Eloisa Alvarez, "Traduzir Espanhol: A Proposito das Versoes Poéticas de Jose Bento: Quevedo, Frei Luis, Gongora e Brines," pp. 85-87.

Critica Hispanica, 1980, Carole A. Bradford, "Francisco Brines and Claudio Rodriguez: Two Recent Approaches to Poetic Creation," pp. 29-40.

Cuadernos de Filologia, June, 1971, Cesar Simon, "Aspectos linguisticos en la satira de Francisco Brines," pp. 63-70.

Cuadernos Hispanicos, 1972, José Jiménez Olivio, "Realidad y misterio en Palabras a la oscuridad de Francisco Brines," pp. 492-516; 1975, Antonio Colinas, "Equilibrio de Francisco Brines," pp. 479-481; April, 1979, Alejandro Amusco, "Algunos aspectos de la obra poética de Francisco Brines," pp. 52-74; March, 1982, Carole A. Bradford, "El lenguaje como reflejo de la angustia del tiempo en la poesía de Francisco Brines," pp. 640-648.

Hispania, March, 1986, Douglas K. Benson, "Convenciones de lenguaje y alusiones literarias en la poesía de Francisco Brines:Insistencias en Luzbel," pp. 1-11. Hora de Poesía, May-August, 1987, Vicente Gallego, "El tema del amor en la poesía de Francisco Brines," pp. 51-52, 55-56, and Fidel Villar Ribot, "La mirada del tiempo: en torno a El Otoño de las rosas de Francisco Brines," pp. 67-77.

Insula, January, 1967, Antonio Nunez, "Encuentro con Francisco Brines," p. 4; July-August, 1987, Luis Antonio de Villena, "El gran año de Francisco Brines," pp. 18-19.

Kentucky Romance Quarterly, 1984, Judith Nantell, "Francisco Brines' Aún no: Poetry As Knowledge," pp. 413-424.

Letras de Deusto, May-August, 1989, Ricardo Senabre, "Un poema de Francisco Brines," pp. 299-309.

Literary Review, spring, 1993, Michael L. Johnson and Francisco Brines, "The Triumph of Idleness," poem by author and information on works.

Modern Language Notes, March, 1984, Douglas K. Benson,"Memory, Tradition, and the Reader in the Poetry of Francisco Brines," pp. 308-326.

Papeles de Son Armadans, Luis Antonio de Villena, "Sobre Insistencias en Luzbel y la poesía de Francisco Brines," pp. 213-222.

Perspectives on Contemporary Literature, 1985, Margaret H. Persin, "Sexual Politics: The Image of Self and Other in Three Poems by Francisco Brines," pp. 87-92.

Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispanicos, autumn, 1987, Judith Nantell, "Modos de ser en Insistencias en Luzbel de Francisco Brines," pp. 33-55; fall, 1990, Douglas K. Benson, "El amor contra la nada: Pedro Salinas, Francisco Brines y la tradición clasica española," pp. 1-18.

Romance Languages Annual,1989, Maria Cooks, "Francisco Brines and the Rebirth of Conceit in Spanish Contemporary Poetry," pp. 413-416.

Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature, summer, 1989, Judith Nantell, "Retracing the Text: Francisco Brines' Poemas excluidos," pp. 195-214; summer, 1990, W. Michael Mudrovic, "Ekphrasis, Intertextuality, and the Reader in Poems by Francisco Brines and Claudio Rodriguez," pp. 279-300; winter, 1992, Judith Nantell, "The Quest(ioning) of Epistemological Ground: The Spanish Generation of 1956," pp. 43-64.

World Literature Today, winter, 1986, Santiago Daydi-Tolson, review ofSelección propia, p. 78; winter, 1988, Catherine G. Bellver, review of Antología Poética, p. 99.


NNDB, 12, 2006), biographical information on author.