Goytisolo, José Agustín 1928-

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Goytisolo, José Agustín 1928-


Born April 13, 1928, in Barcelona, Spain; son of José Maria and Julia Goytisolo; married Maria Asuncion Carandell, September 24, 1955; children: Julia. Education: Attended Universidad Central, Madrid, Spain; earned law degree.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Editorial Lumen, Travessera de Gracia 47-5;de-pl, 08021 Barcelona, Spain.


Poet and writer. Former administrative assistant at a water company. Military service: Served in the Spanish Army in Mahon, 1952.


Hispanic Society of America.


Boscan prize, 1957, for Salmos al viento; Ausias March prize in Castilian poetry, 1959, for Claridad; Premio de la Critica de Poesia en Lengua Castellana, 1993, for La noche le es propicia.


El retorno (title means "The Return"), Ediciones Rialp (Madrid, Spain), 1955, reprinted, Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1986.

Salmos al viento (title means "Psalms to the Wind"), Instituto de Esudios Hispánicos (Barcelona, Spain), 1958, 5th edition, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

Claridad (title means "Clarity"), Gandia, 1959, reprinted, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.

Años decisivos: poesía 1954-1960 (poetry; title means "Decisive Years: Poems 1954-1960"), Literaturasa (Barcelona, Spain), 1961.

Prediche al vento, e altre poesie, Guanda (Parma, Spain), 1963.

Qualcosa accade, Argalia (Urbino, Spain), 1967.

Hacia una formalización, Editorial Blume (Barcelona, Spain), 1968.

Algo sucede (poetry; title means "Something Happens"), Editorial Ciencia Nueva (Madrid, Spain), 1968.

(Compiler) Nueva poesía cubana; antología poética, Ediciones Peninsula (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

(Editor) Jorge Luis Borges, Poemas escogidos, Editorial Llibreas de Sinera (Barcelona, Spain), 1972.

(Compiler) Posible imagen de Jose Lezama Lima, Editorial Llibreas de Sinera (Barcelona, Spain), 1972.

Bajo tolerancia (poetry; title means "Below Tolerance"), Editorial Llibreas de Sinera (Barcelona, Spain), 1973, reprinted, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

(Editor) Joan Salvat Papasseit: Cincuenta poemas, Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1975.

Taller de arquitectura (poetry; title means "Architecture Shop"), Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Del tiempo y del olvido (poetry; title means "Of Time and Oblivion"), Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

(Editor) Lezama Lima: Esferaimagen, Tusquets (Barcelona, Spain), 1979.

Palabras para Julia y otras canciones (poetry; title means "Words for Julia and Other Songs"), Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1980, reprinted, Plaza & Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.

Los pasos del cazador (poetry; title means "The Steps of the Hunter"), Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

Cuarenta poemas, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

A veces gran amor (poetry; title means "At Times Great Love"), Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

Sobre las circunstancias (poetry; title means "About the Circumstances"), Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.

(With Juan Ballesta) El príncipe malo, Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.

(With Juan Ballesta) El lobito bueno, Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.

(With Emilio Llendó Iñigo) Final de un adiós (poetry; title means "End of a Goodbye"), Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

(With Juan Ballesta) La bruja hermosa, Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

(With Juan Ballesta) El pirata honrado, Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

El rey mendigo (poetry; title means "The Beggar King"), Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1988.

Parques naturales de Barcelona: un paseo, Diputació de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

La noche le es propicia (poetry; title means "The Night Is Favorable"), Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1992.

Novísima oda a Barcelona (poetry; title means "Very New Ode to Barcelona"), Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1993.

Elegías a Julia Gay,Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1993.

(With Jordi Virallonga) El ángel verde y otros poemas encontrados (poetry), Libertarias/Prodhufi (Madrid, Spain), 1993.

Erase una vez, Colihue (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1993.

Como los trenes de la noche, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Cuadernos de el Escorial, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1995.

Poesía para estudiantes, Libertarias/Prodhufi (Madrid, Spain), 1996.

(Author of prologue) Barcelona: escultura guía (sculpture guide), Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

Veintiún poetas catalanes para el siglo XXI, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

Las horas quemadas, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

Antología personal, Visor (Madrid, Spain), 1997.

(With Pere Pena) Poeta en Barcelona, Los Libros de la Frontera (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.

Poesía, Editorial Arte y Literatura (Havana, Cuba), 1998, Catedra (Madrid, Spain), 1999.

Poemas son mi orguillo: antologíia poética, prologue by Carme Riera, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 2003.


Cesare Pavese: Antología poética, Isla de los Ratones (Santander, Spain), 1962.

Salvador Espriu: La piel de toro, Ruedo Ibérico (Paris, France), 1963, reprinted, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.

(And editor and selector) 25 poemas (poetry), Gonzalo Bedia (Santander, Spain), 1963.

Darío Puccini, Romancero de la resistencia española (1936-1965), Era (Mexico City, Mexico), 1965.

Pier Paolo Pasolini: Mamma Roma, Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1965.

Poemas de Sergio Esenin, Isla de los Ratones (Santander, Spain), 1967.

(And compiler) Poetas catalanes contemporáneos: Carner, Riba, Foix, Salvat-Papasseit, Manent, Pere Quart, Rosselló-Pòrcel, Espriu, Vinyoli, Ferrater, Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1968.

(With José María Valverde and Pere Gimferrer) Gabriel Ferrater: Mujeres y días, Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1979.

(With X.L. García) Agostinho Neto: La lucha continúa, Editorial Laia (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

(And selector and author of introduction) Joan Vinyoli: Cuarenta poemas, Editorial Lumen (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

(And author of prologue and notes) José M. de Sagarra y Casterllanau: Vida privada, Plaza & Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

(And author of prologue) Elegías de Bierville, Edicions del Mall (Barcelona, Spain), 1985.

Joan Vinyoli: Alguien me ha llamdo: edición bilingüe (in Spanish and Catalan), Marca Hispánica (Barcelona, Spain), 1986.

María Manent, Las acacias salvajes (in Spanish and Catalan), Edicions del Mall (Barcelona, Spain), 1986.

Joseph Carner: Nabí, Marca Hispánica (Barcelona, Spain), 1987.

Toda la poesía de Bartomeu Rosseló Pòrcel, Ediciones del Mall (Barcelona, Spain), 1987.

Robert Lowell, Por los muertos de la unión y otros poemas, Catedra (Madrid, Spain), 1990.

Vida privada, Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Danièle Kuüss, Poèmes, Textuel (Paris, France), 2000.


As part of a Spanish literary movement that came of age under the regime of General Francisco Franco in the 1950s, poet José Agustín Goytisolo distinguished himself "not only as a creative writer but also as an anthologist of contemporary Catalonian and Cuban poetry," according to Dictionary of Literary Biography essayist Niza Fabre. As Fabre related, Goytisolo began writing his poetry at an early age, but he resisted publication until the mid-1950s. By this time he had endured a personal tragedy: His mother was killed in a nationalist bombardment in 1938. As a youth Goytisolo was deeply affected by the Spanish Civil War, standing in line for food and exploring burned-out buildings.

The poet began his university studies in Barcelona and eventually earned a law degree in Madrid. Drafted into Spain's army in 1952, he returned to civilian life a few years later as an administrative assistant. By 1955 Goytisolo, now an entrenched member of a literary society, published his first collection, El retorno. The book was described by Fabre as "an elegy dedicated to his late mother. In the poems he voices nostalgia for those days when his mother was still alive, and he urges her return."

El retorno competed for the prestigious Adonais prize, while Goytisolo continued to create poetry that reflected what Fabre called his "lifelong interest in confronting existential preoccupations." The poet, she wrote, deals with "basic spiritual needs, such as love, happiness and fulfillment; he is also interested in studying the place of humankind in the world and its role in society."

Between 1955 and 1968, Goytisolo published three important works: Salmos al viento, Claridad, and Algo sucede. Salmos al viento was described by Fabre as a book that "stresses social themes already dealt with in El retorno, but this time focusing on human loneliness of existential origin. Irony and sarcasm blend as Goytisolo remembers his youth, when he used to walk around the neighborhoods of Madrid and Barcelona."

Salmos al viento also features poems about poetry, a theme that would be continued in Claridad. Kay Pritchett, writing in Anales de la Literatura, found that in this volume "the poet's desire for clarity motivates and directs his art." Pritchett added, "The stress repeatedly falls on clarity of communication, solidarity and a leveling of differences between the poet and the common man. The word ‘claridad’ can also be read as ‘clarification," since Goytisolo scrutinizes his role as a poet as if to clarify his position in his own mind." In Fabre's view, Claridad "challenges the rigid historical view of Spanish sociopolitical problems during the past two centuries and re-creates social reality through verses expressing disappointment and hope."

With Algo sucede Goytisolo presents, documentarystyle, a view of turbulent Spanish politics following the civil war. Pointing to the first poem in the collection, "Oficio del poeta," Pritchett noted that "unlike Goytisolo's earlier aesthetic statements, this poem does not mention the role of poetry as an expression of social concerns. The emphasis falls instead on 'the subtle texture’ of the poem, which depends on the poet's skillful manipulation of language." Such expression, Pritchett stated, reflects the potential of the poem to suggest rather than to pronounce directly. Nevertheless, she added that "the poems of Algo sucede do not represent a radical departure from Goytisolo's earlier poetry, since most would qualify as relatively direct and unambiguous statements."

Later Goytisolo collections, including Bajo tolerancia, Taller de arquitectura, and Del tiempo y del olvido, deal again with themes of social justice, but they also include glimpses of the poet's personal experiences. He dedicated Palabras para Julia y otras canciones to his daughter, telling her in verse: "Your destiny is in everyone / Your future is in your own life / Your dignity is the dignity of everyone." As he grew older, Goytisolo created poetry that reflected on the past. A veces gran amor "is a hymn to the capability to experience love," commented Fabre. "For Goytisolo love is a weapon against aging." And in Final de un adiós, "painful memories make life difficult. According to Goytisolo, life is not hard, but memories and evocations are difficult to endure."



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


Anales de la Literatura, Volume 13, 1988, Kay Pritchett, "‘Becquer en veruela, Julio de 1864’ (1973) by José Agustín Goytisolo: A New Style and Voice," pp. 249-259.

Times Literary Supplement, August 21, 1970, "Retreat from Rhetoric," p. 916.

World Literature Today, August, 1993, John Crispin, review of La noche le es propicia, p. 790.