Colmán, Narciso (1876–1954)

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Colmán, Narciso (1876–1954)

Narciso Colmán (b. 1876; d. 1954), Paraguayan poet and anthologist. Born in poor circumstances in the interior town of Ybytymí, Colmán relocated to Asunción in the late 1880s to study at the Escuela Normal. In search of better opportunities, he went to Buenos Aires, where for several years he worked as a telegraphist for the Argentine National Railways. He finally returned to Paraguay in 1901 to assume the post of chief telegrapher with the postal administration, and spent a good part of the rest of his life in that position and in various juridical posts.

Colmán's true interest, however, lay in developing a public interest in Guaraní, the native Indian language of Paraguay. He collected folklore in the campo (countryside) and popularized it for the generation of the 1920s and 1930s. Writing under the pen name Rosicran, he published his own poetry in Guaraní, including Ocara Poty (Wild Flowers), in two volumes, and, more important, Ñande Ypy Cuera (Our Forefathers), an evocation of Guaraní myths. In many ways, Colmán could take credit for rescuing Guaraní from the ignominy to which it had been relegated by Paraguayan writers who worked exclusively in Spanish and who, disdaining the Indian tongue, produced simple imitations of European styles.

See alsoGuaraní (language) .


William Belmont Parker, Paraguayans of To-Day (1921), pp. 212-214.

Rafael Eladio Valázquez, Breve historia de la cultura en el Paraguay (1980), pp. 259-260.

Additional Bibliography

Micó, Tomás L. Leyendas del Paraguay: Mitología guaraní. Asunción, Paraguay, 1998.

Romero, Roberto A. Narcisco R. Colmán. El poeta de los quaraníes. Asunción, Paraguay: Editorial Ñandereko, Misión de Amistad, 1991.

                                   Thomas L. Whigham