Biography of Manuel Agustín Aguirre (1904-1992)

Poet, essayist and Ecuadorian politician, born in Loja in 1904 and died in Quito in 1992. Cultivator outstanding avant-garde new forms which, coming from Europe, they began to arrive in America in the second third of the twentieth century, ended up relegating her literary vocation for the benefit of their political convictions and his dedication to the revolutionary cause. He/She was one of the founders of the Socialist Party of Ecuador.

Vivid humanistic concerns man, felt at a young age attracted the poetic creation and showed great interest in the concepts disconcerting and transgressors of the European avant-garde. Contemporary of the great poet Jorge Carrera Andrade - without a doubt, the rotunda and original 20th century Ecuadorian lyric voice-, described, in the beginning of his literary career, a career like this, although it is true that something later.

With the ineffable pond poems, Carrera Andrade stormed in the Ecuadorian cultural landscape in 1922, at the age of nineteen, after having already, founded with astounding precocity, twilight and magazines La Idea, which had given her first poems. For his part, Manuel Agustín Aguirre, a year less than the eminent poet Quito, did not publish his first volume of poems until 1931, when it had already surpassed more than its first quarter century of existence. It's an interesting volume entitled poems automatic (Guayaquil, 1931), advertised, since the privileged focus of its cover, that interest of Aguirre in the techniques and procedures of writing developed by the European avant-garde authors.

We cannot, then, talk about Aguirre as the first Ecuadorian avant-garde poet, although it is permissible to refer to it as the author who, with his new verses, came to consolidate this trend open, a few years before, with works such as the wreath of silence (1926) and bulletins from land & sea (1930), the aforementioned Carrera Andrade. In beautiful compositions collected in automatic poems, Loja poet uses interesting very expensive construction procedures to the European avant-garde, as linguistic economy and measure as soon as features of the Japanese haiku, or predilection for bold and surprising, endowed with a powerful verbal force metaphor.

After the publication of this debut, Manuel Agustín Aguirre followed a couple evolution the of many other European poets of his time - among them, almost everyone who formed in the so-called generation of the 27-Spanish lyrics, and became of the aesthetic and formal transgression own avant-garde to other radical nonconformity: the rebellion of Humanized poetryattentive to the revolutionary movements of his time. In this sense, Aguirre strengthened is also as a great representative of the avant-garde in the American subcontinent, since, in the same way that the French surrealists had assumed, almost en masse, Marxist ideology, the poet of Loja eloquently titled his second book of poems with the vindictive heading of call of the proletarians (Guayaquil, 1935). Moreover, surreal images that abound in this work compositions testify a clear desire to Aguirre for bringing, to the Ecuadorian literature, aesthetic and ideological concerns of the European avant-garde.

In the wake of the publication of this second collection of poems, Manuel Agustín Aguirre abandoned--perhaps only in appearance - the literary creation to start a dense and complex essays production based on his Marxist beliefs, Leninists and fundamentally anti-capitalist. Member, since his early youth, of the Communist Party of Ecuador, then went on to found the Socialist Party and to participate in its midst, in convulsive social movements that would leave an indelible mark in the political, economic and social fabric of their nation. Erected at the head of the line most radical of Ecuadorian socialism - the Socialist Revolutionary Party, a fraction extremist that, in political terms, advocated reforms so drastic that they did think openly in a revolution, while the economic level advocated by the definite abolition of mercantilism, capitalist-Aguirre also won considerable intellectual prestige works so deep and combative as lessons of Marxism (Quito(, 1950-1951), bourgeois revolution or proletarian revolution to Latin America and Ecuador (Quito, 1952), scientific socialism (Quito, 1973) and El Che Guevara: political and economic aspects of his thought (1979). But his political action was not reduced to this dense intellectual baggage, since, from the radicalism of his Socialist Party, revolutionary, came to pose as strategy of the proletariat taking power through a dramatic popular uprising.

The rest of your essay production includes titles as relevant as American literature (Quito, 1940), imperialism and militarism in Latin America, history of economic thought and two systems, two worlds, work - this last one - in which the intellectual of Loja denounces with courage and firmness the serious social inequalities in their nation. Particularly relevant was also his interest in academia and student political movements. Aguirre, responsible, from its political and administrative positions of the second University reform implemented in Ecuador - in his own words, had proposed "putting all energies to transform the University into the living soul of history"-, he/she tackled these themes in works such as a new letter of slavery College and University and student movements (1987).

After the so-called revolution of May 28, 1944, Manuel Agustín Aguirre was elected Deputy by the workers in the National Assembly. He/She was also Professor University and member of the main academic boards of their country, as well as founder of the Socialist publication the Earth, which saw the light of many of his theoretical articles. In a way, his life and work embody the paradigmatic profile of Hispanic-American intellectual so deeply committed to the causes of the proletariat, which enter to renounce their aesthetic concerns - read, in this case, literary - to live fully the paradox of abanderar popular movements from the top of the intellectual elite.

However, it is still worth noting a "secret" award of the political Aguirre and essayist to the Aguirre poet and dreamer. In the early 1940s, when the fervent campaigner of Loja was about to be elected representative of the working class in the National Assembly, was born a third collection of poems titled yours, published under the title of bare feet (1943). Apparently, Aguirre had unauthorized editing of these verses, surprisingly included in the difficult genre of children's literature, and marked by a tone of tragic and sick pessimism that despite the hopelessness, always leave a place for tenderness.


CARRION, Benjamin. Index of Ecuadorian contemporary poetry (Santiago de Chile: Ed. Ercilla, 1937), pp. 89-92.

Rodriguez CASTELO, Hernán. "Manuel Agustín Aguirre" in other postmodernists (Guayaquil: Ed. Ariel, s.d.), pp. 191-203.