The Life & Works of Guillermo Carnero

Guillermo Carnero is considered to be one of the important contemporary Spanish poets, having belonged to the Novísimos movement. Today, he is a professor and historian of 18th and 19th century literature, particularly in Romanticist literature, as well as some work in the field of avant-garde art.

Guillermo Carnero - Life

Guillermo Carnero was born in Valencia in 1947, studied Economic Sciences and took his doctorate in Hispanic philology. At the age of just 20, he published his first poetry book, Dibujo de la muerte in 1967, one of the most representative works of the lyrical renovation of his generation. In 1970, it was included in the poetry anthology by Castellet, Nueve novísimos, helping to cement Carnero's place in this poetry movement.

His following works - El sueño de Escipión (1971), Variaciones y figuras sobre un tema de La Bruyère (1974) and El azar objetivo (1975) - saw Carnero investigate further into the seam between reality and language. The bringing together of his complete poetic works in Ensayo de una teoría de la visión in 1979, saw Carnero enter a dilated silence which led him to spend a lot of time thinking about his own death.

In 1999, he published the widely acclaimed Verano inglés, a collection of erotic poems in which biographical details undergo a pictorial glaze. It is for this work that Guillermo Carnero won the National Poetry Prize in the year 2000, and is therefore a great poem to start with if you want to study Spanish.

Guillermo Carnero has also had a successful career in education. In 1986, he became the head of Spanish Literature at the University of Alicante. Since then he has been a visiting professor at a number of universities, including many in North America such as the University of Virginia, Harvard and Berkeley, as well as giving conferences at some of the main Spanish, European and American universities. Guillermo Carnero has directed various courses in the Menéndez Pelayo University. He has also helped to coordinate volumes 6, 7 and 8 of the Historia de la Literature Española, founded by Ramón Menéndez Pidal.

Carnero is also a member of a number of organizations including the Fundación March and the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales, for whom he presented an exposition at the Museo del Prado and the Conde Duque Cultural Centre to mark the centenary of the birth of Rafael Alberti.

He also works in a variety of magazines and publications, being a member of the editorial teams of the following magazines: Hispanic Review, Castilla, Voz y Letra, La Nueva Literatura Hispánica, Dieciocho and Ínsula. Guillermo Carnero has also managed the magazine 'Anales de Literatura Española' since its foundation, as well as the co-director of the collection entitled 'Clasicos Taurus'. He has also worked as a literary critic for some of the major Spanish newspapers and publications, such as El País, Letras Libres and the cultural section of El Mundo.

Guillermo Carnero - Works

Guillermo Carnero has published around 15 poetry books since 1967, and there have been a number of other collections of his poetry made. His poems have been translated into German, Bulgarian, Czech, French, Dutch, English and Italian; however nothing beats taking the time to learn Spanish and read them in their original format.

The poetry of Guillermo Carnero is characterized by the inscrutable cultural nature of his references and his meta-poetry. His works, which are quite complex, have developed in the form of a spiral, with each title making reference about some of his own problems, and many fundamentally dealing with the topic of death. From here there are a number of other themes to be found in his poetry, including:

  • The crisis of rationalism
  • The poem, not as a form of transmitting reality, but as a way of transmitting fiction (the poem is a hypothesis about reality)
  • The conflicting relationship between the author's personality, language and the world.

Over the years, he has received a number of important literary prizes for his works. Just some of the awards Carnero has won include the National Literature Prize, the Critics Prize, and the Valencia Critics Prize, all in the year 2000, as well as the International Poetry Prize for Fuente de Médicis in 2006. In 2002, he won the Valencia Critics Prize again, but for the entire collection of his works.

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