Poet, Narrator and Venezuelan essayist, born in Maracay in 1936. Constant animator, from different collective poetic and literary publications, the Venezuelan cultural life during the whole half of the 20th century, to the innovative and progressive - spirit always open to any experimental exercise that could provide a transgressive blow to Latin American letters - added a combative and non-conformist character and a left-wing and radical ideology that led him to mean, in many occasionsby its political commitment in favour of the various revolutionary movements unleashed across the American continent.
In the mid-1950s, poetic concerns living - manifest in him from an early age - introduced it in major forums and Venezuelan literary Cenacle, where it locked friendship with some young writers who, as Edmundo Aray, posited the need to implement a "political left humanism" in which would be the development of their transgressors aesthetic principles and criticism of the social conventions that remained in force for already many centuries. Grouped around the bustling magazine Sardio, members of this group of writers between 1958 and 1961, promoted an ambitious project of cultural promotion, which allied with the intelligentsia of liberal bias, left fertile fruits in the history of Venezuelan letters immediately following the dismantling of the dictatorial regime of general Marcos Pérez Jiménez (January 23, 1958).
By that time, Edmundo Aray young had already given to print his first book of poems, published under the title of the daughter of Raghu (Barquisimeto: Ediciones Nueva Segovia, 1957), work to which, opened a vein aesthetic and thematic reflected also in a later poetic delivery (nobody wants to rest [Caracas: Ediciones Sardio, 1961]), was intended to incorporate a series of ideas and universal motifs from the mythical and religious traditions of others to the Venezuelan national poetry cultural fields. This innovative effort was made patent not only in the content of the mentioned poems of Edmundo Aray, but also in the expressive resources used for its manufacture by the young poet of Maracay.
The complicated relationships among a group of writers as heterogeneous as the crystallized around the magazine Sardio suffered a dizzying process of wear and tear to be emphasizing the political and aesthetic differences between the less radical (supporters of a moderate implementation of the global principles of social democracy) and the more disconcerting and transgressors (who fought for a drastic renewal of Venezuelan politics and culture). Among these last was initially included Edmundo Aray, who, after the decommissioning of the magazine and the total fragmentation of the group, became one of the founders of a new literary collective, "The roof of the whale" (1961-1964), marked by a radically left-wing political ideology and an irreverent and iconoclastic approach to any artistic and intellectual demonstration that retain some aroma of traditional political or cultural values. During the first half of the sixties, "The roof of the whale" clung with vigorous enthusiasm to the slogan that made famous nearly all members of the Group ("life-changing, transforming society"), and that, in the case of the bouncy poet of Maracay, threw lavish fruits harvested in some poems as presidential Twist: everything is in order (Caracas(: Tubular editions 2 from the roof of the whale, 1963) and Red land, black land (Merida: editions of the Rectorado, Universidad de Los Andes, 1968). In both collections of verses, Edmundo Aray cast hand of some expressive resources so immediate and vigorous as the provided by the colloquial language, to build a political discourse that, seasoned by strong doses of irony, transited among thematic trails far - though decorated by the same ideological - of the routes travelled by his earlier, riddled with poetry of mythical references.
Naturally, the above slogan "changing lives, transform society" was implicit a germ of artistic renewal which, in many cases, remembered the radical demands innovative poets of the avant-garde and, in a very marked way, pointed out the influence of the surrealist legacy. But, in the case of Edmundo Aray, weighed more convictions Marxists that the aesthetic devotion by the oneiric dictates of the subconscious, reason why, once dissolved "The roof of the whale", - in the company of fellow political and literary career as Efraín Hurtado - founded the magazine Rocinante (1968-1978), a publication of manifest Socialist orientation that already unambiguously, became in Venezuela as well as the "unofficial body" cultural propaganda of the revolutionary political system imposed in Cuba by Fidel Castro.
At the time developing this intellectual activity in his own magazine, Edmundo Aray was assiduously working in many media, which had been publishing since his youth numerous articles and poems. Among other publications who spread his writings, it should be recalled here the headwaters of University culture, national magazine of culture, El Corno Emplumado, Eco and Casa de las Américas. Moreover, his poetic work continued deploying for new thematic channels, such as the mitico-historico and the intimate introspection. The first one, characterized by a brilliant reconstruction - halfway between the historical review, Intertextual references and parodic emulation of other well known authors - of the cultural evolution of Latin America, is better than any other represented in his collection of poems entitled Cantata of the sacred mountain (Caracas: editions of the governorship of the Federal District, 1983). Its intimate line, which covers the joyful erotic evocations with severe reflections on death, is reflected in other collections of verses of remarkable interest, as titled Suns shifts (Caracas: Directorate of culture, Central University of Venezuela, 1968), Chronicle of our love (Caracas: Fondo Editorial Salvador de la Plaza, 1973) and Tuscan verses (Merida: Ed. of Divine Providence)1987). The rest of his poetic production is composed of other titles such as guests of the time (Caracas: Directorate of culture, Central University of Venezuela, 1958); Body of astronaut, convecino to Heaven (Caracas: Ed. art, 1969); Book of heroes (1971); Lower chain. Allegro giocoso but not too (Valencia [Venezuela]: direction of culture, University of Carabobo, 1972); and Lili, always Lili. Memory of Peter Weiss (Merida: Ed. of Divine Providence, 1988). It is advisable to add, before closing these paragraphs dedicated to the poetic creation of the writer of Maracay, which many of his compositions have been included in various anthological samples of Latin American social poetry of the 20th century.
In his role as Narrator, Edmundo Aray has met their short stories in two compilations, published under the titles of up to lower volumes (Caracas: editions of the roof of the whale, 1963) and tales of Alfredo Alvarado "King of the joropo" (Caracas: Ed. Balumba, 1977). In addition, is the author of the essay entitled Santiago Álvarez, chronicler of the third world (Caracas: Cinemateca Nacional de Venezuela, 1983).
MEDINA, José Ramón: New poetry venezolana, Caracas: Association of writers of Venezuela, 1959, pp. 7-11.
Rodriguez CARUCCI, Alberto: "Aray, Edmundo", in MEDINA, José Ramón (dir.): encyclopedic dictionary of the lyrics of Latin America. DELAL, vol I, Caracas: Monte Ávila Editores Latinoamericana, & Ayacucho library 1995, pp. 297-298.
SUARDIAZ, Luis: "Edmundo Aray on the roof of the whale", visiting Venezuelan letters, Maracaibo: Universidad del Zulia, Directorate of culture, 1992, pp. 23-28.
J. R. Fernández Cano