Obaldía, María Olimpiade (1891–1985)

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Obaldía, María Olimpiade (1891–1985)

María Olimpia de Obaldía (b. 9 September 1891; d. 15 August 1985), Panamanian poet. Obaldía was born in Dolega, Panama. She completed her high school studies in a small school in the city of David. In 1913 she was awarded a teaching certificate by the Normal de Institutoras, and shortly after, was appointed to teach in Dolega by the mayor of the city. She returned in 1915 to her alma mater to occupy the position of superintendent, remaining in this post until 1917.

With the appearance of her first book of poems, Orquídeas (Orchids, 1926), and with the publication three years later of Brevario Lírico (Lyrical Breviary), she attained recognition and a distinguished place in Panamanian letters as a representative poet of the postmodernist movement. Her greatest contribution to Panamanian letters is not only the development of the theme of conjugal, maternal, fraternal, and filial love in Panamanian literature, but also the creation of a new space for the feminine voice in Panamanian poetry. The universality of her poetic message is another one of her major contributions to Latin American literature.

Obaldía was a distinguished member of the Panamanian Academy of the Spanish Language and a delegate at international conferences. Her works have appeared in anthologies published in Latin America and abroad.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Gloria Guardia, Obras completas de doña María Olimpia de Obaldía (1975).

Diane E. Marting, ed., Women Writers of Spanish America (1987).

                        Elba D. Birmingham-Pokorny