Biography of Yolanda Bedregal de Cónitzer (1916-1999)

Poet, Narrator and Bolivian sculptor, born in La Paz in 1916 and died in his hometown in 1999. Outstanding figure of contemporary Latin American letters, embodied with such skill and intensity the paradigm of women committed to the culture and society of his time, which was known - at the behest of the group "Gesta Barbara", representative of the Bolivian mid-20th-century intellectual youth - by the Honourable nickname of Yolanda of Bolivia. Many years later, the Sociedad Argentina de Escritores awarded him the honorary title of Yolanda of America.

Born and educated in a family of writers, artists and intellectuals, he/she grew up in an environment dominated by love to the study, the development of creativity and the pursuit of knowledge. Own writer, already explained in his old age, that for her, five siblings and cousins six orphans who had been adopted by her parents, the literary fact "was life itself, such as play, eat, sleep [...]." In my house are talking of books, idiomatic turns of grammar with love".

Indeed, by his home were often some of the most important Bolivian writers of the moment, as Alcides Arguedas, Gregory Reynolds and, among others many, Armando Chirveches, to which the small Yolanda dispensing treatment of "uncles" (such was the familiarity with which were received at home). In this climate so prone to the cultivation of Humanities, the future writer began to write verses at a very young age, to distract them to their cousins and brothers, as if it were one of his children's games.

Already in full youth, encouraged by his parents, he/she studied art at the Academy of fine arts of La Paz, which within a few years would have to return as a teacher, to teach sculpture and art history. By that time, the young Yolanda combined these artistic studies with the composition of new poems that are grouped in a book titled shipwreck, notebook novel writer left a night under the pillow of his father, that it received as a gift on the day of his birthday. Soon after, Yolanda Bedregal became the first woman in Bolivia that obtained a study grant in the Barnard College of Columbia University (New York), which was incorporated in 1936.

He was in the United States of America when it received copies of his first book of poems, edited by surprise by his father to be happy with this emotional detail their stay abroad. On their return to Bolivia, the young poet began that brilliant teaching career that would lead it to the classrooms of the institution of education mentioned in the previous paragraph, and then should be continued in the University major of San Andrés, where Yolanda Bedregal has taught aesthetics.

Wrapped, from his early youth, a tireless creative work which was reflected in more than fifteen books of poems, stories, novels and anthologies, the author of La Paz combined this dedication to writing with their teaching obligations; and, at the same time, he/she held important positions in agencies and cultural institutions of his country, such as the National Union of poets and writers of Bolivia and the Committee of children's literature (which was founder and President), and the National Council for culture and the Council of culture of the Mayor of La Paz (which served as Vocal).

In addition to the strictly literary books that gave to the printing press, Yolanda Bedregal left prints numerous works in different publications of all kinds. He/She wrote more than fifty articles in history of art dedicated to young readers, as well as other texts on topics as diverse as religion, folklore, mythology, pedagogy... Also, asked art aymara and quechua, and other cultural manifestations of indigenous peoples of their environment.

Multiple awards, honors and distinctions that mark long and fruitful Yolanda Bedregal humanistic path, include the national poetry award, the national award of the Ministry of culture, the National Novel Prize "Erich Guttentag" - which was awarded for his novel under the dark Sun (1971)-, the Grand order of the Bolivian education, civic honour Award "Pedro Domingo Murillo"the award of Honor of the merit and the shield of arms of the city of peace distinguished service medal to the culture of Fundación Manuel Vicente Ballivian.

Member of the Academy Bolivian language since 1973, and member of other academies and institutions of different Latin American countries, in 1993 - year where he/she was nominated for the prize of poetry Queen Sofia, one of the most important granted to Spain - Yolanda Bedregal was honoured with the honorary badge of "Lady of America" by the National Council for the rights of the women of Mexico. Two years later, the elderly Bolivian writer received the award "Franz Tamayo" in the grade of Grand Cross, awarded by the Prefecture of the Department of La Paz. In 1996, the Chilean Government recognized the value of his figure and his work with the prestigious Medal "Gabriela Mistral"; and, after a year, the Congress of Bolivia won the national parliamentary order in grade of flag of gold (1997).


Yolanda Bedregal was one of the most outstanding figures of the second generation of Gesta Barbara, a large group of Bolivian artists, without consolidate school or trend concrete, linked for more than three decades the artistic creation and the social problems of the time. Its expression most important organ was the Rotary Última Hora (in La Paz), in which reported its theoretical texts about the need that art in general (and, in a very marked way, literature in particular) struggle as a priority of the real problems of everyday living.


Within this collective concern for the concrete problems of the man in his environment, poetry Yolanda Bedregal delves with disturbing clarity in your own privacy, in order to find, in this desasosegada individual introspection, some answers that can be extrapolated to the rest of the beings that make up the social fabric in which the author moves.

In General, the whole of his lyrical work can be divided - according to a weighted proposal of critic and writer Guillermo Francovich Salazar- in three distinct stages. In the first, whose best example is his opera prima shipwreck (1936), dominated by the explicit and objective, verses which explore feelings common to human beings (v. gr., loneliness) by means of a clear and precise language, fully adjusted to the sincerity required by that intimate introspection process.

In a second phase of his poetic production, La Paz writer seduced is indeed symbolism that, at the formal level, structure through constant recourse to the chaotic enumeration. All this is well apparent in his poems Poemar (1937) and echoes (1940), this last written in collaboration with her husband, Gert Conítzer, another great poet, of German origin, which translated to this language all the verses of his partner.

Finally, poetry Yolanda Bedregal enters a phase that Guillermo Francovich describes as "religious", perhaps wanting to alluding, with this term so broad resonances, the presence in the verses of a sort of dark destiny Bolivian author that seem to obey all the facts of the world. Now, within the infinite extension of this uncertain, mysterious and unknown destination, loneliness no longer appears as intrinsic to the author feeling - as it did in its first-time lines-, but as a phenomenon inherent to the human condition itself. It is easy to check the evolution of Bedregal in his poetry collection Nadir (1950), one of his masterpieces.

The rest of the poetic of the La Paz writer production includes other titles like Almadía (1942), from the sea and ash (1957), allegations (1957), Anthology (1957) - a selection of their fifteen favorite poems-, the pitcher of the Angel (1979) - volume in which a Yolanda Bedregal already sixty faced the difficult challenge of growing child poetry-, calls (1994) - collection of poems exclusively - religious themes and writing (1994) - work in whichIn addition of poetic compositions, included some short stories.


Author of several tales of excellent invoice - many of them translated, as well as a considerable part of his poems, into different languages, and published in magazines in Europe and the United States of America-, Yolanda Bedregal became part of contemporary Bolivian narrative thanks to its novel low dark Sun (1971), a splendid work of maturity that would not see the light of not having been awarded the prestigious National Novel Prize"Erich Guttentag"(curiously, the writer concluded the final copy that I send to the contest on the same day that concluded the original admission period).

Attached, by a considerable part of the criticism, the current neo-realist (to the extent that addresses themes of historical significance through the presentation of daily events), this excellent is located in one peace shaken by social mobilization. In the middle of the street revolts, a "stray bullet" kills of protagonist whose singular adventure is rebuilt by the doctor Gabriño Verónica Loreto.

Yolanda Bedregal fiction prose includes some short stories so held by the critics and readers as "Pilgrim" - published in the volume La Paz storytellers (La Paz: Ediciones Casa de la Cultura, 1988) and "how Milinco fled from the school" - collected in the anthology of the Bolivian tale (La Paz: the friends of the book publishing, 1991).

Other works

Yolanda Bedregal also cultivated the essay and anthology collection of unrelated works. In these fields, stood out with titles such as folk calendar from the Department of peace-(La Paz: General direction of culture, 1956) - written in collaboration with Antonio González Bravo - poetry of Bolivia, from pre-Columbian times to modernism (Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1964), Antología de la poesía boliviana (La Paz: the friends of the book publishing, 1977) and Ayllu: the Bolivian altiplano (La Paz(: National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore and the friends of the book publishing, 1984)-in collaboration with photographer Peter McFarren-. Among his unpublished texts, examples include the book of Juanito (a new foray into children's and youth literature) and novel the House and its entrails.


AGOSÍN, Marjorie. "For a portrait of Yolanda Bedregal", in Revista Iberoamericana (Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania, USA]), no. 134 (1986), pp. 9-28.

Fernandez NARANJO, Nicolás and GOMEZ FERNANDEZ, Dora. "The dance", Yolanda Bedregal", in literary technique (La Paz: bookstore and publishing youth, 1971), pp. 186-200.

Guzman, Augusto. "Yolanda Bedregal" in biographies of Bolivian literature 1520-1925 (Cochabamba: Ed.) The friends of the book, 1982).

Martin MARTIN, Lucia. The poetic world of Yolanda Bedregal [thesis] (La Paz: higher University of San Andrés, Faculty of Humanities and Education Sciences, 1981).