Eduardo Lizalde was born in Mexico, in the Federal District, in 1929. He studied Philosophy and Literature at the ‘Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’ (UNAM). Together with Gonzales Rojo, Lizalde founded the literary movement called ‘Poeticismo’ in 1948 which sought to break with, as they saw it, the predominant lack of clarity and imprecision of expression and in the structure of contemporary lyric poetry. The foremost poetological principle of this movement was therefore clarity of poetic expression as well as precision in the use of images and in their references to reality.
In 1955 Eduardo Lizalde joined the Communist party. During this “political phase” he published in ‘La Voz de México’, one of the largest political newspapers in Mexico, poems which were influenced by ideological, socialist themes. In 1960 there came a rift which led to his permanent withdrawal from any kind of party political activity.
Since 1969 the author has been professor of Spanish-Speaking Literature at UNAM where, at times, he held various important posts. From 1975 to 1976 he was the General Secretary of the National Council for Culture and in 1987 Director of public television.
He also held the chairmanship of the Mexican P.E.N.-Club from 1988 to 1994. At present he is General Director of the Mexican State Library.
Besides all this, Eduardo Lizalde is now the author of nine books of lyric poetry, a novel as well as numerous stories and shorter novels and so is one of the most well known writers in Mexican contemporary literature. His first collection of poems, ‘La mala hora’ (1956), shows a variety of poetical forms. Thematically, the Marxist influence, under which Lizalde was at that time, is dominant. In his second book, however, ‘Cada cosa es Babel’ (1966), he devotes himself to extensive thoughts on language, to a search which borders on the metaphysical for the essence and nature of words.
Lizalde’s book ‘El tigre en la casa’, which critics consider his best and for which the author received the ‘Premio Nacional de Poesía’ de Aguascalientes in 1974, consists of a critical examination of symbols of Mexican culture which play, in the modern day-to-day life of the nation, an ever-present yet subtle role. His next work, ‘La zorra enferma’, is a rich collection of epigrams which undertakes an experiment to prevent all political and metaphysical systems which attach themselves to language like a kind of double floor. This work won for him the ‘Asguascalientes Prize for Lyric Poetry’ in the same year.
In his novel, ‘Siglo de un día’, Lizalde links a large number of autobiographical elements with a historical documentation of the ‘Battle of Zacatecas’ in 1914 in which Huerta’s regime was once and for all toppled by the Constitutionalists.
Lizalde worked on and was a co-founder of quite a number of newspapers and periodicals, among them the daily newspaper ‘El Universal’. He received the ‘Mexican National Prize for Literature and Language’ in 1988, the ‘Iberio-Mexican Ramón López Velarde Prize’ in 2002 and the Premio Sabines-Gatien Lapointe in 2005. At present he is General Director of the Mexican State Library.
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