Loynaz, Dulce María (1902–1997)
Loynaz, Dulce María (1902–1997)
The poet and writer Dulce María Loynaz was born in Havana to a family of the Cuban elite. Her father and great uncle were heroes of the War of Independence (1895–1898). Her mother, an arts enthusiast, descended from one of the country's most prominent families. Her privileged upbringing included private tutors, foreign travel, and exposure to a wide range of artistic and cultural experiences. She began writing poetry very early, seeing her first poem published in 1919 in the newspaper La Nación. Her poems were featured in prestigious national journals such as Orígenes, Revista Bimestre Cubana, and Social. In 1927 Loynaz earned a law degree from the University of Havana.
In the 1930s Loynaz's home became the gathering place for important writers and artists including the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier, and the Spanish poets Federico García Lorca (1898–1936) and Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881–1958). Loynaz's first compilation of poetry—Versos, 1920–1938—appeared in 1938. Also dating to this period is her only novel, Jardín, which was not published until 1951. In this original work, Loynaz anticipated the magical realism that characterized Latin American narrative of the "boom period" (1960s to 1970s). The themes of her poems (love, solitude, and nature) express the same deep intimate lyrical sentiment typical of Latin American women's poetry of the first half of the twentieth century. Throughout the 1950s, Loynaz wrote chronicles for the international press, published one travel book, Un verano en Tenerife (One summer in Tenerife), and two new books of poetry, Poemas sin nombre (Unnamed poems) and Últimos días de una casa (Last days of a house). She also composed Ensayos literarios (Literary essays), a book of literary criticism in which she discussed her views on art and literature. Her autobiography, Fe de vida (Life's faith), appeared in 1993.
At the time of her death in 1997, Loynaz was president of the Cuban Academy of Language. She had received Cuba's National Literary Award in 1987 and the prestigious Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the highest honor for literature written in Spanish, in 1992.
Montero, Susana A. "Loynaz, Dulce María." In Diccionario enciclopédico de las letras de América Latina, edited by José Ramón Medina. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho; Monte Avila Editores Latinoamericana, 1995.
West-Durán, Alan. "Loynaz, Dulce María (1903–1998)." In Encyclopedia of Cuba: People, History, Culture, edited by Luis Martínez-Fernández. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
Luis A. GonzÁlez
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