The poet Eduardo Chirinos was born in the Peruvian capital of Lima in 1960. He was the oldest of five siblings and he grew up in a house without any books. Reflecting on the paradoxical origins of his writing, Eduardo Chirinos laconically muses, »Poetry is a fate which one either accepts or does not. He studied linguistics and cultural studies at the Catholic University in Lima and completed his doctoral studies in Spanish literature at Rutgers University in New Jersey, the U.S.A. Following several guest professorships in Venezuela and the U.S., he now lives in Missoula, where since 2000 he has taught literature at the University of Montana.
At the age of 17 Chirinos wrote his first poems, which four years later he published in his debut »Cuadernos de Horacio Morell?(1981; t: Notebooks of Horacio Morell) in Lima. Following a South American tradition, Chirinos played with the idea of a notional author, which he eventually concluded with the supposed suicide of Horacio Morell. Over the next 10 years he published seven books of poetry, four in Lima and three in Madrid. But he does not see himself as a prolific writer. According to his view, »every book is the verse of a single poem that can never be completed. Although Chirinos is considered one of the most important poets of the Peruvian Generación del ochenta (80’s generation), he paradoxically stands outside this heterogeneous group of intellectuals, which in realistic moments approximates to the charged jargon of the streets. Chirinos’s early poems, by contrast, tended to focus on everyday matters in a calmer, more ironic fashion, while still incorporating dark and melancholic moods and frequently making use of classical elements of form. After a pause in publication, five new volumes of poetry appeared between 1998 and 2003, including »El Equilibrista de Bayard Street(1998, t: The Tightrope Walker of Bayard Street), which he wrote over a period of seven years, as well as »Abecedario del agua(2000, t: Alphabet of Water) and »Escrito en Missoula(2003, t: Written in Missoula). His later poems are increasingly influenced by US verse and language. His style becomes more concise and self-ironic, yet does so without breaking from its central melancholic mood. For his book of poems »Breve historia de la música(2001, t: A Brief History of Music), Chirinos received Madrid’s Premio Casa de América (2001) in the category »innovative Latin American poetry<
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