Antonio Colinas is a contemporary Spanish poet who has also written in other literary genres, such as novels, essays, translations and articles. In recognition of his varied contribution to contemporary Spanish literature, Colinas has been awarded a large number of literary prizes and awards throughout his career.
Antonio Colinas was born in La Bañeza, León, in 1946. As a university student, Colinas went to study in Madrid where he read History. Among just some of the people he met at the University of Madrid were Vicente Aleixandre and María Zambrano, both of which taught the young poet. Vicente Aleixandre actually read some of Colinas' poems and gave him advice, while María Zambrano influenced him a lot in the domain of thought.
Between 1970 and 1974, he visited the universities of Milan and Bergamo where he worked as a Spanish language assistant. In that time, he married his wife, María José Marcos, in 1971. Later he lived for two decades in Ibiza working as a translator and writer mostly, before moving to his home in Salamanca in 1998. It was during this long stint in Ibiza that Colinas wrote the majority of his poems and other works. Colinas has also said that this large amount of traveling has had an impact on his works.
His first publications were made in 1969 and were poems: Poemas de la tierra y de la sangre and Preludios a una noche total. His first novel came much later, in 1989, under the title Un año en el sur. Over the years, Antonio Colinas has published a large collection of works including a large collection of poems, novels, essays and translations.
Throughout his career, Antonio Colinas has also been involved constantly with the Spanish press, writing for the daily newspapers El País, ABC and El Mundo, as well as magazines like Revista de Occidente and Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos.
Antonio Colinas has won a number of prizes for his work, including the National Critics Prize in 1975, the National Literature Prize in 1982, the Castilla y León Literature Prize in 1999, and more recently, the National Translation Prize in 2005. In 2007 and 2008, an exhibition was held to celebrate Colinas and his 40 years of work in contemporary Spanish literature at the Galería de Venatia, the Galería de la Bañeza and the public library of Salamanca.
Although Antonio Colinas is not included amongst the poets labeled as the Novísimos by Josep María Castellet, he does belong to this group. His relationship with this movement is somewhat debated though. Some people consider him to be the purist member of this poetic movement; meanwhile others believe that he followed his own, personal poetic path from the start. What is certain though is that Antonio Colinas is certainly a unique Spanish poet, and one that anyone wanting to study Spanish should consider reading. Colinas' work is ample and quite varied, taking into account that he has published works in a number of genres, but he is most famous for his contribution to contemporary Spanish poetry.
In terms of his poetry style, he is one of the few Spanish poets to use the alexandrine line structure, giving his poetry a classical touch. This classicism is also seen in his themes, the mystical air, and the links to the past in his works. Antonio Colinas has also been said to be aligned to Baroque tendencies, as well as keeping the Classicist, Renaissance and Romanticist traditions alive. It is said that Colinas reaches a classical balance, making use of poetic, literary and philosophical traditions, but making them more personal.
Balance is a key feature in the poetry of Antonio Colinas, and it can be seen in a number of areas of his work. There is balance between emotion and thought as well as between aesthetics (a musical and clear style) and ethics (disasters in history, abuse of rationalism and destruction of nature).
Another element of his work is the way that Colinas links life and literature, adding elements of life experience and culture into his works. His writing therefore originates in experience and is then enlightened with continuous symbolic resonances and metaphysics. His poetry is often considered to be quite meditative in this sense.