Tablada, José Juan (1871–1945)

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Tablada, José Juan (1871–1945)

José Juan Tablada (b. 3 April 1871; d. 2 August 1945), Mexican writer. Born in Mexico City, José Juan de Aguilar Acuña Tablada y Osuna first published in El Universal in 1892; by the time of his death, more than 10,000 of his poems, essays, chronicles, novels, works of literary criticism, memoirs, and diaries had appeared under more than fifteen pseudonyms. Founder of La Revista Moderna, Tablada was strongly influenced by the French poet Charles Baudelaire. A trip to Japan in 1900 led to his introduction of the Japanese haiku into Spanish, influencing Ezra Pound and the Anglo-American imagist group, as well as poets in his own language. From 1911 to 1912 Tablada lived in Paris. When he returned to Mexico he became a supporter of Victoriano Huerta, for which he was forced into exile in New York in 1914.

Tablada was the first to publish ideographic poems in Spanish; his book Li-Po y otros poemas: Poemas ideográficos appeared in 1920, following closely upon Guillaume Apollinaire's Calligrammes. Mexican president Venustiano Carranza named Tablada a member of the diplomatic service in Colombia and Venezuela, but Tablada soon resigned and returned to New York in 1920. He went back to Mexico in 1935, but spent his last years in New York, where he died. His inventive, often ingenious imagery, anticipating vanguard tendencies, gave new life to widely varied but common poetic themes, including Mexican landscapes, natural elements, and travel impressions. Tablada's reputation was solidly reestablished in the mid-twentieth century by a new generation of Mexican writers and critics, including Octavio Paz.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Eduardo Mitre, "Los ideogramas de José Juan Tablada," in Revista Iberoamericana 40, no. 89 (October-December 1974): 675-679.

Mark Cramer, "José Juan Tablada and the Haiku Tradition," in Romance Notes 16 (1975): 530-535.

Allen W. Phillips, "Cuatro poetas hispanoamericanos entre el modernismo y la vanguardia," in Revista Iberoamericana 55, nos. 146-147 (January-June 1989): 427-449.

Additional Bibliography

Lozano Herrera, Rubén. José Juan Tablada en Nueva York: Búsqueda y hallazgos en la crónica. México, D.F.: Universidad Iberoamericana, 2000.

Lozano Herrera, Rubén. Las veras y las burlas de José Juan Tablada. México, D.F.: Universidad Iberoamericana, 1995.

                                            Keith McDuffie