Urzagasti, Jesús (1941–)

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Urzagasti, Jesús (1941–)

Jesús Urzagasti (b. October 1941), Bolivian poet, writer, and journalist. Urzagasti, one of the most important writers in Bolivia today, was born in Gran Chaco Province, in a small cattle-raising town, and emigrated to La Paz as a young man. Having decided to become a writer, he abandoned plans for a career in geology. He later worked for Presencia, a leading Bolivian newspaper.

Urzagasti's first novel, Tirinea, was published in 1969; next was Cuaderno de Lilino (1972), a book of prose dedicated to a child. Yerubia (1978) is his only book of poetry. En el país del silencio (1987), Urzagasti's major novel, deals autobio-graphically with three decades of historical turmoil viewed through the eyes of a narrator who has maintained a sense of solidarity with society and a perception of man's relationship with nature. De la ventana al parque (1992), a shorter novel, explores the possibilities of cultural survival and of communication in a country marked by cultural diversity and by verticality of power. In 1994, the University of Arkansas published an English translation of his work En el país del silencio under the title In the Land of Silence. In the early years of the twenty-first century, he served on the editorial board of the Bolivian Research Review, published by the Bolivian Studies Association. As the official national writer of Bolivia in 2004, he led festivities for the International Day of the Book in the capital city of Sucre.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America.


On Urzagasti's poetry, see Blanca Wiethüchter, "A propósito de las contraliteraturas," in Hipótesis, no. 17 (1983), and in "Poesía boliviana contemporánea," in Tendencias actuales en la literatura boliviana, edited by Javier Sanjinés C. (1985). On Urzagasti's narrative, see Luis H. Antezana, "Del nomadismo: Tirinea de Jesús Urzagasti," in his Ensayos y lecturas (1986); Miembros Del Taller Hipótesis, "Dos novelistas contemporáneos: Jesús Urzagasti y Jaime Sáenz," in Revista iberoamericana, no. 134 (1986); Mauricio Souza, "En el país del silencio: Lectura," in El zorro Antonio, no. 6 (1989).

Additional Bibliography

Prada, Ana Rebeca. Viaje y narración: Las novelas de Jesús Urzagasti. La Paz, Bolivia: Instituto de Estudios Bolivianos, Facultad de Humanidades, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, 2002.

Rivadeneira Prada, Raúl. Troja literaria. La Paz, Bolivia: Ediciones Signo, 2002.

Salmón, Josefa, ed. Construcción y poética del imaginario boliviano. La Paz, Bolivia: Plural Editores, 2005.

                                            Ana Rebeca Prada