Biography of Vicente Huidobro (1893-1948)

Poet and Narrator Chilean, born in Santiago on January 10, 1893, and died in Cartagena (Chile) on 2 January 1948. Considered to be one of the most important avant-garde poets of the first half of the 20th century, it happens to be the creator and one of the top broadcasters of a current aesthetic, creationism, collecting the best findings of other movements of the art such as Cubism, Futurism and Dadaism.


Born in the bosom of a family of accused literary tradition - his mother was writer-, soon the young Vicente showed a remarkable inclination for creating poetic, captured when he/she was only twelve years of age on the first compositions released. This creative spirit, closely linked to his iconoclastic spirit led him to reject, in a manifesto that became public when he/she was still a teenager, any form of previous poetry.

Determined to make their way in the world of letters, he/she refused also reduced Chilean literary atmosphere to move to Paris in 1916, where he/she participated in all the avant-garde movements which in those years flourished - and dramatically agostaban - in the French capital; There could start to publish their first collaborations in some magazines as significant as Sic and Nord-Sud, and engage in relations with the main heads of the European avant-garde, like the surrealist Guillaume Apollinaire and Pierre Reverdy, who collaborated in the founding of one of the newly cited publications (Nord-Sud). However, and despite this close cooperation at the beginning of his literary career, Vicente Huidobro soon distanced himself voluntarily postulates surrealists, since their particular conception of artistic creation could not be the maximum that the artist was a mere developer instrument of the dictates of his unconscious.

This break with surrealism encouraged him to consider the validity of all the avant-garde trends that had known first-hand. Thus, also rejected the proposals of futurism, because he/she was convinced that the fervor expressed towards the machine off as man his had become accustomed to the advancements of the technical progress. The successive rejection of all the aesthetic postulates of the avant-garde led Vicente Huidobro to create its own current, known as creationism, which was the artistic creator at the height of a demiurge able to inflate his creation a vital breath so powerful that it could measure, even with the creations of nature itself. Thus, Huidobro and the rest of the creationists who immediately closed ranks around these proposals as original as offenders, the artist should not be limited to reflect the nature, but it should be kept with it a kind of competition that could show the Vitalism of his own work. Logically, this conception of art in general (and, in the case of the own Huidobro, of the literary fact in particular) was associated with the need to create new images - as colourful as lively and surprising - and, even, a new poetic language able to break with all levels of the language and also generate its own syntax; Hence that the juxtaposition (of sentences, words or sounds strangely placed on contact) to become one of the features more accused of creationism, while long strings and enumerations of words and phrases to contribute decisively to the poem that appearance of random object, mera God's creation an engrossed in the aesthetic possibilities of the material with which shapes his work.

With these budgets aesthetic, Vicente Huidobro is presented in Madrid in 1918, where he/she founded a prominent group of creationist poets devoted to the drafting of texts who faithfully followed the tenets of the already respected Chilean teacher. By then already was a prolific poet, who dragged behind an interesting literary production: six poems printed in his native country (echoes of the soul, the grotto of silence, songs in the night, passing and passing, hidden pagodas and Adam), one appeared in Buenos Aires (the mirror of water) and one published in Paris (Horizon Carré). Thus, it is not surprising that in Madrid printers and publishers to compete among themselves for the latest creations of Huidobro, competition that immediately threw its fruits in the form of four new poems (Arctic poems, Equatorial, Tour Eiffel and Hallali) to the hollanders.

Return to Paris, Vicente Huidobro continued their feverish process of poetic creation, now enriched with a curious approach to gender narrativo-cinematografico, novela-guion Cagliostro, 1921. The succession of titles detailed below (vid. "Work" section) gives good account capacity and creative fecundity of this poet during the Decade of the 1920s. It was around 1930 when gave the finishing touches to his two works summits, two poems which, from the moment of their appearance were called to reposition themselves in the universal literature cimeros posts. By then, Huidobro was at the height of his fame, and enjoyed the success achieved by his film novel Mio Cid Campeador (1929), in which the poet himself - who boasted of being descendant of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar - identified his affair with Ximena Amunátegui as a modern reincarnation of the couple formed by El Cid and Doña Jimena. The incident that had given rise to this union cannot be more bizarre: in 1925, coinciding with his return to Chile and its failure in the attempt to take an active part in the politics of his country (had to stand as candidate for the Presidency), the great poet met Ximena, a young student of fifteen years of age, which left his wife (which was more than fifteen years married) and their children. Ximena was not only less than age, but the daughter of a powerful hero Chilean, who was strongly opposed to their marriage with the poet. Huidobro then went to Paris, closed the House in Montmartre where he/she had resided with his family, and moved to New York, where he/she had some success as a writer of screenplays.

But in 1928, when Ximena Amunátegui had just reached the age of majority, the poet traveled to Chile, kidnapped it out of high school and moved to Paris, where the happy couple settled in the Montparnasse district. They were a few years of loving and creative fullness for the poet, who, after the mentioned success of his version of el Cid, decided to resume a long and ambitious project which had begun working ten years earlier. It's Altazor or the parachute ride, the masterpiece of universal creationism, which along with shaking of Heaven (also finished by that time), constitutes the greatest legacy Huidobro to poetry of his time and, without a doubt, one of the sources that would refill the poets come with greater generosity.

Vicente Huidobro. Altazor.

At the end of the 20th century, when aesthetic currents have shifted by hundreds of different defeats, the poetic value of Altazor and tremor of heaven remains incalculable. Although it is true that some of the criticism - that which anachronistically reacting against avant-garde postulates - only sees in Huidobro a kind of clever conjurer who plays with words as if they were juggling objects, unsuccessfully give their compositions felt; but the majority of scholars of the poetic phenomenon still dazzles with images, liveliness, the invention and non-conformist and innovative heterodoxy of this great rebel of Hispanic literature, who managed to keep their creationist force even in the epitaph that he/she wrote for his tombstone: "open this tomb: at the bottom the sea looks". Facing the sea, in Cartagena, died Vicente Huidobro in 1948, and facing the Sea (or perhaps upon him, as his epitaph) their remains in the cemetery on the beautiful Chilean town.


Echoes of the soul (Santiago: Imprenta Chile, 1911). The grotto of silence (Santiago: Imprenta Universitaria, 1913). Songs in the night (Santiago: Imprenta Chile, 1913). Passing and passing (Santiago: Imprenta Chile, 1914). The hidden pagodas (Santiago: Imprenta Universitaria, 1914). Adam (Santiago: Imprenta Universitaria, 1914). The water mirror (Buenos Aires: Orión, 1916). Horizon Carré (Paris: Paul Birault, 1971). Arctic poems (Madrid: Imprenta Pueyo, 1918). Equatorial (Madrid: Imprenta Pueyo, 1918). Tour Eiffel (Madrid: without imprint, 1918). Hallali (Madrid: Ediciones Jesús López, 1918). Saisons Choisies (Paris: La Cible, 1921). Finis Britannia (Paris: Fiat Lux, 1923). Autonne régulier (Paris: Libraire de France, 1925). Tout à Coup (Paris: Au Sans Pareil, 1925). Manifestes (Paris: Revue Mondiale, 1925). Contrary winds (Santiago: Editorial Nascimento, 1926). Mio Cid Campeador (Madrid: C.I.A.P., 1929). Tremor of Heaven (Madrid: Editorial Plutarco, 1931). Altazor or parachute trip (Madrid: C.I.A.P., 1931). Tremblement de Ciel (Paris: L'as de Coeur, 1932). Gilles de root (Paris: Totem, 1932). The next (Santiago: Walton, 1934). Pope or the diary of Alicia Mir (Santiago: Walton, 1934). Cagliostro (Santiago: Zig-zag, 1934). On the Moon (Santiago: Ercilla, 1934). Three novels specimens [in collaboration with Hans Arp] (Santiago: Zig-zag, 1935). Satyr or the power of words (Santiago: Zig-zag, 1939). See and feel (Santiago: Ercilla, 1941). Forgotten citizen (Santiago: Ercilla, 1941). Last poems (Santiago: workshops graphics Ahues, 1948). Complete works [Braulio Arenas collection] (Santiago: Zig-zag, 1964). Complete works [extended by Hugo Montes collection] (Santiago: Andrés Bello, 1976).


BARJALIA, held. The controversial Reverdy-Huidobro: Ultraísmo origin (Buenos Aires: Devenir, 1964).

BARY, David. Huidobro or the poetic vocation (Granada: University, 1963).

CAMURATI, Mireya. Poetry and poetry of Vicente Huidobro (Buenos Aires: García Cambeiro, 1980).

CARACCIOLO-TREJO, Enrique. The poetry of Vicente Huidobro (Madrid: Gredos, 1974).

COSTA, René de. For the sake of Huidobro (Santiago: University, 1980).

----------------------- [editor]. Vicente Huidobro and creationism (Madrid: Taurus, 1975).

HOLMES, Henry Alfred. Vicente Huidobro and Creationism (New York: Columbia University, 1934).

PIZARRO, Ana. Vicente Huidobro, an ambivalent poet (Concepcion: Universidad, 1971).

YUDICE, George. Vicente Huidobro and the motivation of the language (Buenos Aires: Galerna, 1978).

J. R. Fernández Cano.