Biography of Mercedes o Clara Lair Negrón Muñoz (1895-1973)

Puerto Rican poet, born in 1895 and died in 1973. Although his real name was Mercedes Negron Muñoz, he/she published his works of creation under the literary pseudonym of Clara Lair. For the depth and quality of its lyrical production, which provided one of biggest postmodern renovations to the evolution of Puerto Rican poetry, it is considered one of the great universal poets of 20th century Latin American letters, comparable to other female figures of the stature of Alfonsina Storni, the Juana de Ibarbourou Uruguayan argentina or within their own country, Julia de Burgos.

Born in the bosom of a wealthy family of provinces, highly influential in the political and cultural spheres of the Antillean Island, he/she received a careful education that enabled him to develop very soon his innate literary vocation. Encouraged by these intellectual concerns (which were acquiring major issues related to the rights of women), in his youth he/she moved to San Juan and began to integrate into the main cultural and artistic circles in the country, at the time locking contact with some acclaimed authors such as Luis Lloréns Torres and Nemesio R. channels. So, soon began to be known as a writer through the pages of prestigious literary journals Juan Bobo and Idearium, two publications of modernist trend that aerated the first brave and determined articles of Clara Lair, in which the young writer showed its keen interest in the rights of women and, especially, for women's suffrage.

His poetic vocation was awakened as a result of a long period of stay in the United States of America (1918-1928), where it underwent a strong culture shock which, coupled with a passionate affair, resulted in the collection of poems entitled a love in New York (poems of the early 1920's to the 1928), book that was published posthumously in 1979, six years after the disappearance of the author, among the set of her poetry rescued and ordered by Vicente Géigel Polanco (San Juan: Institute of Puerto Rican literature, 1979).

Back in his native country, Clara Lair continued cultivating the genre of poetic culminating an interesting volume of verses which came to light in the mid-1930s, under the title of Arras de cristal (San Juan: Puerto Rican authors, 1937 library). Immediately considered one of the great poems of the West Indian letters of the 20th century, this book revealed the voice of a poet fully immersed in postmodern lyrical power that, in those years, encouraged the poetic work of the great Latin American writers.

The impression caused by the emergence of glass flower grew even more when, after thirteen years, the Puerto Rican poet gave to press a new poetry book entitled bitter Tropics (1950), work which, together with the previous one, came to confirm the full assimilation, by Clara Lair, of the main keys that nested in the Latin American female poetry of the first half of the 20th century, particularly within his loving theme. Indeed, through both works can be judged a passionate life experience that, starting from the initial illusion overflow before the birth of a love affair, culminates in the sadness and the final skepticism, derived from the lack of correspondence obtained in Exchange for the total delivery loving. But, within this amatoria casuistry that is common to so many poetic works of Latin American authors, in the poetry of Clara Lair comes an original proposal that enriches and individualizes its lyrical accent: the proclamation joyful of the sensual pleasures of love (on occasions, led the paper to the exaltation of the erotic relationship), in the middle of a sincere and uninhibited tone which requires equal treatment of women with the human right to experience and display their sensual fullness. There is also, in the sensual and jubilant verses of Clara Lair a joyful celebration of the passion of love in the cosmic forces, and presided over by a kind of Pantheism that exalts the natural dimension - not transcendent - the pleasure which the senses to the human being.

Subsequently, Clara Lair increased his poetic corpus with the publication of the volume of verses, entitled beyond the West (1950), book that since its gloomy heading, announces a content devoid of present on their previous installments joyous exaltation, to show a writer overcome by love and only expectant disappointment before the rondadora the presence of death.


CUCHI COLL, Isabel. Two poets of America. Clara Lair. Julia de Burgos (San Juan: Department of public instruction, 1965).

Ferre, Rosario. "Between Clara and Julia. (Two Puerto Rican poets) ", RI (Pittsburgh), LII, 137 (1986), pp. 999-1006."

RAMÍREZ DE ARELLANO, Diana. "Tribute to the poetry of Clara Lair", in Journal of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (San Juan), X, 34 (1967), 51-55.

J. R. Fernández Cano