Who is Alvaro Mutis?

Alvaro Mutis
Who is Alvaro Mutis? 4

Alvaro Mutis

Álvaro Mutis, a Colombian-born poet, narrator, and essayist who later became a naturalized Mexican, was born on August 25, 1923, in Bogotá, Colombia. He passed away on September 22, 2013, in Mexico City. His parents were Santiago Mutis Dávila, a lawyer, diplomat, and former Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic, and Carolina Jaramillo Angel.

When he was three years old, his family relocated to Brussels. He received his primary education at the Saint Michel school in Brussels, and each year, the family would travel by boat from the Flemish port of Antwerp to spend their summer vacation in Tolima, Colombia. When Álvaro was nine years old, his father suddenly passed away, prompting the family to leave Brussels and permanently settle in Colombia. Mutis continued his studies at the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Bogotá, but he never completed high school.

In 1942, he worked as a host for six months on a cultural program at the Nuevo Mundo radio station. Shortly after, he found employment as an actor and announcer at Radio Nacional, and later as a classical music announcer. From 1947 to 1956, he held various positions at the Colombian Insurance Company, including being the director of Vida magazine and the director of advertising. He also served as the head of public relations for the Lansa aviation company. Mutis worked for the Bavaria beer company and the Esso oil company, a subsidiary of Standard Oil. During the years 1947 to 1959, he published his finest verses in the “Sábado” supplement of El Espectador (under the direction of Eduardo Zalamea) and the magazines Crítica (founded by Jorge Zalamea) and Mito (directed by Jorge Gaitán Durán).

In 1948, he published a poetry notebook called “La balanza” in collaboration with Carlos Patiño Roselli and featuring illustrations by Hernando Tejada. In 1953, Losada published “The Elements of Disaster,” a collection of twelve poems. Mito magazine published a section of “Overseas Hospitals Review” in 1955. Four years later, in 1959, the magazine published another section of the book, which had already been released in Mexico by the Universidad Veracruzana in 1957 as “Memoria de los Hospitales de Ultramar.”

In 1956, Mutis was accused by Esso of misusing company funds. In an effort to avoid arrest, he fled to Mexico, arriving there on October 24. While working for the Barbachanos Public Relations Agency, he was eventually arrested. However, instead of being deported to Colombia, he was allowed to remain detained at the Lecumberri prison, where he stayed for 15 months.

After his release from prison, Mutis returned to work at Barbachanos. In 1962, he began working as a sales manager for the Latin American offices of Twentieth Century Fox in Mexico.

Despite his circumstances, Mutis continued to write. He also translated poems by Aimé Césaire and Valéry Larbaud for the Revista mexicana de literatura. In 1960, he published “Diario de Lecumberri,” his memoir of prison, in an edition that also included the stories “La muerte del estratega,” “Sharaya,” and “Before the rooster crows.” Five years later, he published “The Lost Labors,” a collection of 20 poems.

FRANCE – MAY 23: Festival of St Malo: ‘Etonnants voyageurs’ (104 couleurs, 35NB) in Saint-Malo, France on May 23, 1999 – Alvaro Mutis. (Photo by Raphael GAILLARDE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

In 1973, he gathered all the poetry he had published up to that point in a collection titled “Summa de Maqroll el Gaviero. Poetry: 1948-1970.” That same year, he published “La mansión de Araucaíma,” his first significant work of narrative prose, which also included “Sharaya” and “La muerte del estratega.”

Between 1981 and 1993, Mutis wrote and published seven novels (“The Admiral’s Snow” in 1986, “Ilona Arrives with the Rain” in 1988, “A Beautiful Death” in 1989, “The Last Stop of the Tramp Steamer” in 1988, “Amirbar” in 1990, “Abdul Bashar, Dreamer of Ships” in 1991, and “Triptych of Sea and Land” in 1993) and four collections of poetry (“Caravansary” in 1981, “Los emissarios” in 1984, “Crónica regia y alabanza del reino” in 1985, and “A Homage and Seven Nocturnes” in 1987).

Throughout his literary career, Mutis received numerous literary awards, including the Cassius Clay National Poetry Award in 1966, the National Literature Award (Colombia) in 1974, the National Poetry Award (Colombia) in 1983, the Xavier Villaurrutia Award (Mexico) in 1988, the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature in 1997, the Reina Sofía Prize for Ibero-American Poetry in 1997, and the Cervantes Prize in 2001.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alvaro-Mutis , also Famous Writers Around the World

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