Fuertes, Gloria (1918—)

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Fuertes, Gloria (1918—)

Twentieth-century Spanish poet. Born in Madrid, Spain, in 1918; youngest of eight children of working-class parents

The youngest of eight children, Gloria Fuertes was born in Madrid in 1918 to working-class parents. She attended convent school and had a generally happy, if poor, childhood. By age 15, she had begun writing poetry and short stories and also attended an institute where she studied literature and grammar in addition to the traditional subjects for women, such as cooking and embroidery. When the Spanish Civil War began in 1936, Fuertes worked as a bookkeeper in a munitions factory, which made artillery shells. She fell in love with a fellow worker and would have married, but he was killed in the war. The sorrows and malnutrition of those years were fundamental in her decision to become a writer.

When the war ended, she published poems and children's stories and read some of her works on the radio. Friendship with the poet Carlos Edmundo de Ory drew her into the Postisto literary movement, an offshoot of surrealism. She published her first book of poetry, Isla ignorada, in 1950. Continuing to write and publish, she co-founded the poetry journal Arquero in 1952. Her small earnings from her poetry, however, convinced her to study English and library science with the intention of obtaining more secure employment. She gained a position in a public library. Meanwhile, in 1955 Fuertes became friends with Phyllis Turnbull , a professor of Spanish at Smith College, who helped her gain a Fulbright grant in 1961 to teach Spanish at Bucknell University.

After three years, she returned to Spain, teaching Spanish to foreign students in Madrid's International Institute. In 1968, Poeta de guardia appeared, one of her best works. As her own literary works drew greater renown, their sales enabled Fuertes to devote her full energies to writing. She toured Spain, giving readings of her poetry, an effort reflecting her love of Spain and its people more than a desire for profits. Around 1970, she also began appearing on children's programs on Spanish television and was voted both the best writer for children and the children's most popular TV personality. In all, she published more than a dozen volumes of poetry and two dozen children's books.

sources:

Cano, José Luis. Vida y poesía de Gloria Fuertes. Madrid: Colección Torremozas, 1991.

Kendall W. Brown , Professor of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah