Liscano Velutini, Juan (1915–2001)

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Liscano Velutini, Juan (1915–2001)

Juan Liscano Velutini, born in Caracas on July 7, 1915, was a Venezuelan poet, folkorist, literary critic, essayist, and editor. Following early studies in Europe, Liscano returned to Venezuela, where he was a central figure in national literary and intellectual life and founder and director of several journals, most notably the literary supplement of El Nacional (1943–1950) and Zona Franca (1964–1984), and of the publishing houses Monte Avila (1979–1983) and Mandorla. He participated in resistance activities during the dictatorship of Marcos Pérez Jiménez and spent the years 1953–1958 exiled in Europe. An independent thinker of greater erudition, he wrote extensively, often polemically, on literature and art and on cultural, social, philosophical, and political issues. He is one of the most important literary critics of Venezuela. Although he won the Premio Nacional de Poesía in 1952, his best work is found in the more than a dozen books of poetry published after that date. In his early poetry, which culminates in the neoepic Nuevo Mundo Orinoco (1959), the themes of American nature, history, and experience predominate. His later work explores individual perception, metaphysics, and universal myth. More modern essays reflect his interest in the erotic, psychology, esoterica, and historical cultural patterns. Toward the end of his career he began to reflect on the state of Venezuela in such works as Pensar a Venezuela: Testimonios de cultura y política (1995). He died in Caracas on February 16, 2001.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Tiempo desandado (1964) and Fuegos sagrados (1990) contain good selections of Liscano's rich and varied essayistic production. His Panorama de la literatura venezolana actual (1973) and Lecturas de poetas y poesía (1985) are basic contributions, as are his several books on Rómulo Gallegos. Nombrar contra el tiempo (1968) is a useful anthology of his early poetry. Nuevo Mundo Orinoco (1959; 2nd ed. 1976; 3rd ed. 1992), Rayo que al alcanzarme (1978), Fundaciones (1981), Myesis (1982), Vencimientos (1986), and Domicilios (1986) contain his mature poetry. Arlette Machado, El apocalipsis según Juan Liscano (1987) is a largely autobiographical document in interview form. Oscar Rodríguez Ortiz has edited a volume containing the major criticism on Liscano's work, Juan Liscano ante la crítica (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Pineda, Rafael. "La poesia de Juan Liscano." Revista Nacional de Cultura (Caracas) (1962): 59-67.

                                    Michael J. Doudoroff