Agustini, Delmira (1886–1914)

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Agustini, Delmira (1886–1914)

Delmira Agustini (b. 24 October 1886; d. 7 July 1914), Uruguayan poet. Born in Montevideo, Agustini was a member of the Uruguayan group of writers of 1900—together with Julio Herrera y Reissig, María Eugenia Vaz Ferreira, Alberto Zum Felde, and Angel Falco—and an innovative voice in Spanish American poetry. During her short life she published El libro blanco (Frágil) (1907), Cantos de la mañana (1910), and Los cálices vacíos (The Empty Chalices, 1913). The Obras completas, published posthumously in 1924, includes unpublished poems possibly belonging to a projected volume titled Los astros del abismo (The Stars of the Abyss), which included a group of poems titled "El rosario de Eros." Her early poetry, published in literary magazines, was very well received and showed the influence of Modernismo. In her later collections, she developed a more personal style and a voice that departs steadily from the canonical modernist poetics to which she subscribed. The language and imagery of her poetry was acclaimed for its erotic nature, an important foundational feature in Spanish American feminine poetics.

Agustini lived with her parents in Montevideo and spent long periods in Buenos Aires. Although she was well known in the cultural and social life of Montevideo, she was not an active member of the intellectual groups of her epoch. In 1913 she married Enrique Job Reyes, a common man with no intellectual interests, with whom she had had a long and formal relationship. She left him after a short period and returned to her parental household for comfort.

There are several unexplained mysteries regarding Agustini's short life. She was killed by her former husband, who then killed himself. This tragic event brought to Agustini's biography considerable sensationalism, which has colored the critical studies of most literary historians. It is fair to say that her life and her poetry are characterized by contradictory features that deserve much attention. A new translation of Agustini's work was published in 2003 as Selected Poetry of Delmira Agustini: Poetics of Eros.

See alsoReissig, Julio Herrera y .


Emir Rodríguez Monegal, Sexo y poesía en el 900 uruguayo (1929).

Clara Silva, Genio y figura de Delmira Agustini (1968).

Doris T. Stephens, Delmira Agustini and the Quest for Transcendence (1975).

Luzmaría Jiménez Faro, Delmira Agustini: Manantial de la brasa (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Escaja, Tina. Delmira Agustini y el modernismo: nuevas pro-puestas de género. Rosario, Argentina: Beatriz Viterbo, 2000.

Varas, Patricia. Las mascaras de Delmira Agustini. Montevideo: Vintén Editor, 2002.

                               Magdalena GarcÍa Pinto