Colinas, Antonio 1946-

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COLINAS, Antonio 1946-

PERSONAL: Born January 30, 1946, in La Bañeza, Spain; married María José Marcos; children: Clara, Alejandro. Education: Attended Complutense University, c. late 1960s.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Edicions Catedra, Juan Ignacio Luc da Tena, No. 15, Madrid, Spain 28027.

CAREER: Writer and educator. Lecturer in Spanish at universities of Milan and Bergamo, Italy, 1970–74. Military service: Served briefly in Spanish military.

MEMBER: Association of Writers of Spain, PEN Club, European Association of Teachers of Spanish.

AWARDS, HONORS: Adonais prize, 1968; March Foundation grant, 1969; first prize, Ciudad de Irún, 1970; national critics' prize (Spain), 1976, for Sepulcro en Tarquinia; national prize for literature (Spain), 1982, for Poesía, 1967–1981.


Poémas de la tierra y de la sangre (title means "Poems of the Land and Blood"), Imprenta Provincial (León, Spain), 1969.

Preludios a una noche total (title means "Preludes to a Total Night"), Rialp (Madrid, Spain), 1969.

Truenos y flautas en un templo (title means "Thunderclaps and Flutes in a Temple"), Caja de Ahorros Provincial de Guipúzcoa (San Sebastián, Spain), 1972.

Leopardi, Júcar (Madrid, Spain), 1974.

Sepulcro en Tarquinia (title means "Sepulchre in Tarquina"), Institución Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (León, Spain), 1975.

Viaje a los monasteries de España (title means "Journey to the Monasteries of Spain"), Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1976.

Conocer Vicente Aleixandre y su obra (title means "Knowing Vicente Aleixandre and His Work"), Dopesa (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Astrolabio (title means "Astrolabe"), Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1979.

Orillas del Orbigo (essays; title means "Banks of the Orbigo River"), Del Teleno (León, Spain), 1980.

Aleixandre, Barcanova (Barcelona, Spain), 1982.

Noche más allá de la noche (title means "Night beyond Night"), Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1982.

Poesía, 1967–1981, Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1982.

La viña salvaje (poems; title means "Wild Vineyard"), Antorcha de Paja (Córdoba, Spain), 1984.

Un año en el sur (para una educación estética) (novel; title means "A Year in the South [for an Aesthetic Education]"), Trieste (Madrid, Spain), 1985.

Larga carta a Francesca (novel; title means "Long Letter to Francesca"), (Barcelona, Spain), 1986.

Jardín de Orfeo (title means "Garden of Orpheus"), Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1988.

La llamada de los árboles (essays; title means "The Call of the Trees"), Elfos (Barcelona, Spain), 1988.

Hacia el infinito naufragio (una biografia de Giacomo Leopardi), Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1988.

Libro de las noches abiertas (title means "Book of Open Nights"), Pfeiffer (Milan, Italy), 1989.

El sentido primero de la palabra poética (essays; title means "The Primary Sense of the Poetic Word"), Fondo de Cultura Económica (Madrid, Spain), 1989.

Pere Alemany y la música de los signos (title means "Brother Alemany and the Music of Signs"), Ambit (Barcelona, Spain), 1989.

Tratado de armonía (title means "Treatise on Harmony"), Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Los silencios de fuego (title means "The Silences of Fire"), Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1992.

Días en Petavonium (title means "Days in Petavonium"), Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Rafael Alberti en Ibiza: seis semanas del verano de 1936 (title means "Alberti in Ibiza: Six Weeks of the Summer of 1936"), Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1995.

El viaje hacia el centro: la poesia de Antonio Colinas, edited by José Luis Puerto, Calambur (Madrid, Spain), 1997.

El crujido de la luz, Edilesa (León, Spain), 1999.

Del pensamiento inspirado, Junta de Castilla y León (Valladolid, Spain), 2001.

Tiempo y abismo: Poesia, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 2002.

La hora interior: Antología poética, 1967–2001, Junta de Castilla y León (Salamanca, Spain), 2002.

Huellas, Castilla Ediciones (Valladolid, Spain), 2003.

En la luz respirada, Cátedra (Madrid, Spain), 2004.

Los días en la isla, Huerga y Fierro Editores (Madrid, Spain), 2004.


(Translator of selections and author of prologue) Wirrwarr, edited by Edoardo Sanguinetti, Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1975.

(Translator and author of prologue) Pier Paolo Pasolini, Las cenizas de Gramsci, Corazón (Madrid, Spain), 1975.

(Editor) Poetas italianos contemporáneos, Nacional (Madrid, Spain), 1978.

(Editor and translator) Giacomo Leopardi, Poesía y prosa, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1979.

(Editor and translator) Giacomo Leopardi, Diario del primer amor, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1979.

(Editor and translator) Giacomo Leopardi, Canti (bilingue), Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1979.

(Editor and translator) Giacomo Leopardi, Diálogos, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1979.

(Translator) Carlo Levi, Cristo se paró en eboli, Alfaguara (Madrid, Spain), 1980.

(Translator) Emilio Salgari, Los tigres de mompracen, Alianza (Madrid, Spain), 1981.

(Translator) Emilio Salgari, La montaña de luz, Alianza (Madrid, Spain), 1982.

(Translator and author of selections) Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, Stendhal, Trieste (Madrid, Spain), 1989.

(Translator) María Villangomez Llobet, Elegies i paisatges (1933–1943), Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1990.

(Translator) Caminos y dias: antología poética, (title means "Ways and Days"), Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1990.

Frequent contributor to Insula, Quimera, Revista de Occidente, Nueva Estafeta, Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, Camp de l'Arpa, Salina, Informaciones, and El País. Contributor of selections and notes to Antonio Colinas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma, Coordinación de Difusión Cultural, Dirección de Literatura, 1987; contributor to other books, including María Zambrano: Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana "Miguel de Cervantes" 1988, Anthropos/Ministeria de Cultura, 1989; and to Antología de la poesía Española, 1960–1975, edited by Juan José Lanz and Antonio Martínez Sarrión, Espasa Calpe, 1997.

SIDELIGHTS: From the last years of the nineteenth century through all of the twentieth, critics have classified Spanish poets into "generations." There have been the Generations of 1898, of 1927, of 1936, and of the 1950s, and of the novisimo (very new) generation of the 1960s and 1970s. All have been influenced by the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39, and all have been identified with different attitudes regarding the role of poetry and its varying techniques. Antonio Colinas, born in Spain's León province in 1946, falls into the novisimo category, along with others such as Manuel Vásquez Montalbán, Pere Gimferrer, Guillermo Carnero, Antonio Carvajal, Luis Antonio de Villena, and Jaime Stiles.

This group reacted against the notion of "social poetry," leaning toward a modernist—some scholars have said overly ornamental and culturalistic—verse. Some critics have cited Colinas's work for its meditative tone, contemplation of self and nature, and romantic influences. Those influences have included Giacomo Leopardi, about whom Colinas wrote a biography; Friedrich Hölderlin; Novalis; Asian writings such as the I Ching; and the philosophy of María Zambrano.

Colinas's writing has evolved from realist poetry through a more enigmatic phase, then back to realism, and more recently to novels and short fiction. Having grown up in the age of media and consumerism, he rejected both for a while, turning his back on general society to write about the sacred, mysterious, and transcendental. "Colinas has gradually stripped his work of the ornamental elements typical of his early 'culturalista' phase, while shifting toward a metaphysical or reflective poetry, which, however, is also much more concrete and direct," wrote Stephen J. Summerhill in Literature, the Arts, and Democracy: Spain in the Eighties. Summerhill added, "It is as if the more he has felt driven to plumb the depths of the universe, the more he has recognized a need to remain anchored in the concrete experience of daily life, exactly like the Romantics, who also combined visions of the beyond with the language of experience."

Colinas explores nature and love in his first two collections, Poémas de la tierra y de la sangre and Preludios a una noche total. In the former, the speaker takes refuge in the beauty of the León region, wanting love but constantly aware of his mortality. The second looks more deeply into the idea of a romantic view of love and death, where elements of nature express the changes in feelings shared by two lovers—from spring and happiness to winter and the ending of the relationship. According to an essayist in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Colinas views these two books as the start of the development of his personal voice as a poet, while in his third, Truenos y flautas en un templo, he begins to express the voice of his generation.

Some critics viewed Colinas's next collection, Sepulcro en Tarquinia, as transitional, moving from aestheticism to "a new, visionary cosmology that is characteristic of Colinas's more mature second stage," according to the Dictionary of Literary Biography essayist. The book resolved the uncertainty of direction Colinas was experiencing up to that point and won him Spain's national critics' prize in 1976. Themes of memory, love, and death continue, but this time in the ancient historical setting of the pagan and Christian ruins of Rome. Focusing on the celestial, and the sole constants of death and mystery, the book coincides with Colinas's 1977 move to Ibiza, where he withdrew from society and took up archaeology and ecological activism. His next works, Astrolabio and Noche más allá de la noche, also explore the theme of the nature of human beings and their destiny in the universe and are considered by some to be the culmination of the mature phase of his poetry.

Colinas moved on to writing fiction and essays. His novels Un año en el sur and Larga carta a Francesca are autobiographical, describing how his experiences with love, death, and suffering affected his personal and artistic development. The protagonist, the poet Jano falls in love with Francesca, a woman whose suffering leads ultimately to her mental collapse.

Colinas has also written biographies and collections of essays on both nature and poetry, as well as short stories. "Many of the elements that characterized Colinas's poetry are also present in his short fiction … [including] the use of mythical allusions, references to ancient civilizations and archaeological excavations, actions that take place in unspecified time periods and locations, and a sense of trying to achieve harmony with nature and the universe," noted Javier Escudero in World Literature Today. The whole of Colinas's literary work expresses his idea of the place of human beings in the universe and their duty to operate within its rules. But it is his poetry that most clearly expresses his views and which places him in the center of the debate among Spanish poets about the nature of their art. "The poetry of Colinas," concluded Summerhill, "invites its readers to a kind of respite or withdrawal from the hurly-burly of modern existence, as if encouraging them not to get caught up in the unimportant cares of daily life. Their goal, he seems to be saying, should be to seek a place of quiet and contemplation where they will discover that existence is permeated by deep and endless enigmas, mysteries such as love, death, and nature."



Amell, Samuel, editor, Literature, the Arts, and Democracy: Spain in the Eighties, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Cranbury, NJ), 1990.

Delgado, Javier, editor, Poesía en el campus 1978–88 y 1988–89, Universidad de Zaragoza (Zaragoza, Spain), 1989.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 134: Twentieth-Century Spanish Poets, Second Series, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.

Gutiérrez, Alonso, and Luis Miguel, Antonio Colinas, un Clásico del siglo XXI, Universidad de León (León, Spain), 2000.

Gutiérrez, Alonso, Luis Miguel, and Antonio Colinas, El corazón desmemoriado: claves poéticas de Antonio Colinas, Diputacion Provincial de León (León, Spain), 2000.

Martínez Sarrión, Antonio, El último tercio del siglo: 1968–1998: antología consultada de la poesía española, Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1998.

Miñambres, Aurora, La evolución poética de Antonio Colinas, University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, IA), 1989.

Monmany, Mercedes, editor, Una infancia de escritor, Xórdica (Zaragoza, Spain), 1997.

Polo García, Victorino, editor, Literatura, pensamiento y libertad, Universidad de Murcia (Murcia, Spain), 1990.

Pozanco, Víctor, editor, Nueve poetas del resurgimiento, Editorial Linosa (Barcelona, Spain), 1976.

Pritchett, Kay, editor and translator, Four Postmodern Poets of Spain: A Critical Introduction with Translations of the Poems, University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR), 1991.

Ramos-García, Luis, Dave Oliphant, and Miguel Casado, editors, A Bilingual Anthology of Spanish Poetry: The Generation of 1970, Edwin Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 1997.

Slagter, Peter Jan, Aproximaciones a cuestiones de adqusición y aprendizaje del Español como lengua extranjera o lengua segunda, Rodopi (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1994.

Trabanco, Nieves, editor, Diálogos sobre poesía española: José María Valverde, Antonio Colinas, Rafael Argullol, Antoni Marí y Jaime Siles en el Göttinger Hain, Iberoamericana (Madrid, Spain), 1994.


Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos, October, 1996, José Luis Puerto, "Antonio Colinas: La poesía como itinerario de purificación," p. 59.

Hispania, May, 1991, Kay Pritchett, "Antonio Colinas's Larga carta a Francesca: A Lacanian Approach to Its Formal Construction," p. 262; May, 1993, review of Tratado de armonía, p. 272.

Insula, January, 1981, Esteban Pujals Gesali and Fernando R. de la Flor, "Un aspecto de la poesía de Antonio Colinas: lo mitico," p. 416; December, 1982, Emilio Miro, "La poesía reunida de Antonio Colinas," p. 433; November-December, 1983, Enrique Molina Campos, "Antonio Colinas en su noche esencial," p. 444; March, 1986, Luis Sunen, "Antonio Colinas y la novela de la educación," p. 472; April, 1989, Juan Manuel Rozas, "Mi visión del poema 'Sepulcro en Tarquinia,'" p. 1.

Quimera, July-August, 1982, José Ramon Caubet, "El ser del poeta: entervista con Antonio Colinas," p. 21.

Romance Languages Annual, 1990, Santiago García Castanon, "La herencia garcilasiana y otras observaciones formales sobre 'Sepulcro en Tarquinia' de Antonio Colinas," p. 410.

Salina, March, 1991, "Entrevista de salina con Antonio Colinas," p. 19.

World Literature Today, winter, 1995, Javier Escudero, review of Días en Petavonium, p. 104; spring, 1996, John Crispin, review of Rafael Alberti en Ibiza: seis semanas del verano de 1936, p. 372.