Eguren, José María (1874–1942)

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Eguren, José María (1874–1942)

José María Eguren (b. 7 July 1874; d. 29 April 1942), Peruvian poet. Eguren began writing poetry at the height of the Spanish American modernismo movement at the turn of the century. Ironically, he was one of the select Peruvian poets to break out of the mold and bring Peruvian poetry into the twentieth century. Both in personality and poetry, he was radically different from such contemporaries as José Santos Chocano. In fact, Eguren was something of a recluse, and in his poetry he created imaginary worlds in which to cocoon himself. Steeped in French symbolism, his poetry at first blush seems to imitate the modernistas because of certain typical motifs, among them, mystery, love and dreams, but his language is a storehouse of creativity that had tremendous influence on later Peruvian poets. His works also led Peruvian poetry into the modern age in their themes of alienation, skepticism, and imitation of earlier forms.

Eguren produced three books of poetry: Simbólicas (1911), La canción de las figuras (1916), and Poesías (1929). Lyrical, telluric, symbolic, and imaginative, his poetry enriches the Spanish language with regionalisms, archaic terms, neologisms, and even foreign and invented words. Inspiration, for instance, is allegorized in the form of a small girl with a blue lamp who leads the poet into the spheres of the imagination and the spiritual. In his later poetry, Eguren draws on the work of the European vanguard in his use of metaphor and dream imagery.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Badenes, José Ignacio. "Lo nocturno como espacio de la creación artística: Lectura paradigmática del 'Nocturno' de La canción de las figuras de José María Eguren." Revista de Estudios Hispánicos (Río Piedras) 26.2 (1999): 97-106.

Higgins, James. "The Rupture Between Poet and Society in the Work of José María Eguren." Kentucky Romance Quarterly (1973): 59-74.

Higgins, James. The Poet in Peru. Liverpool: Liverpool Monographs in Hispanic Studies, 1982.

Rodríguez—Peralta, Phyllis W. Tres poetas cumbres en la poesía peruana: Chocano, Eguren y Vallejo. Madrid: Playor, 1983.

Renato Sandoval Bacigalupo, El centinela de fuego: Agonía y muerte en Eguren. Lima: IPLAC, 1988.

                                           Dick Gerdes