Zardoya, Concha (1914—)

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Zardoya, Concha (1914—)

Spanish poet and literary critic. Name variations: María Concepción Zardoya González. Born on November 14, 1914, in Valparaíso, Chile; daughter of Alfonso Zardoya Francés and Concepción González Ortiz; attend University of Madrid, 1934–36.

On November 14, 1914, Concha Zardoya was born in Valparaíso, Chile, the daughter of Spanish parents, Alfonso Zardoya Francés and Concepción González Ortiz . In 1932, her family emigrated to Spain, eventually settling in Madrid. Despite difficult times economically for her family, Concha managed to attend the University of Madrid from 1934 to 1936, but the Civil War then interrupted her studies. Nonetheless her poetical voice had already begun to emerge, and she had the good fortune to meet the Chilean poets Gabriela Mistral and Pablo Neruda in Madrid.

During the siege of Madrid, Zardoya moved to Valencia, where she studied popular culture and library science and read her poetry on the radio. The cold and malnutrition of the period aggravated her asthma and osteoporosis. Youthful idealism drew her to leftist politics, especially Communism, but she later abandoned it, as well as the Catholicism that triumphed along with Francisco Franco's armies during the war. Her first published poems appeared in 1938.

With the end of the war, she returned to Madrid and worked as a seamstress and teacher. Her first book of poetry, Pájaros del Nuevo Mundo, appeared in 1946, followed the next year by Dominio del llanto. Meanwhile Zardoya wrote a screenplay about Goya, published multi-volume compilations of Hispanic legends and stories, and translated works of Walt Whitman and Charles Morgan. The latter created the opportunity for her to teach Spanish in the United States, beginning in 1948 at the University of Illinois. She wrote a doctoral dissertation on the Spanish image in American poetry and taught at Tulane, Yale, Indiana, and Berkeley. As an academic, she wrote surveys of modern Spanish poetry, a biography of poet and friend Miguel Hernández, and a Spanish-language survey of American literature. Upon retirement in 1977, she returned to Spain and concentrated on her own poems. In all she published more than two dozen volumes of poetry, several winning literary prizes.


Rodríguez Pequeño, Mercedes. La poesía de Concha Zardoya (Estudio temático y estilístico). Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid, 1987.

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