Enrique Fierro

Enrique Fierro was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1942.  He studied Literature at the University of Montevideo.  After graduating he taught Literary Theory there and published numerous books in the fields of poetry, literary criticism and translation.  His translations include works by William Shakespeare, Jean Genet, Paul Eluard and Ezra Pound.  During the Uruguayan military dictatorship (1973-1984) he lived in exile in Mexico for political reasons.  Later he continued to be drawn to the country, where he had close associations and detailed knowledge of domestic literary life. In 1985, during the first phase of Uruguay’s democracy, he returned to Montevideo and was director of the national library until 1989.  Since then he has been living in Austin, Texas, and teaches Contemporary Hispanoamerican Literature at the University of Texas.  He has received many awards for his work, including the Uruguayan Poetry Prize, the Montevideo Poetry Prize and the Uruguayan Theatre Critics’ Translation Prize.  He was on the editing panel of the Uruguayan magazines ‘Maldoror’ and ‘Poética’ and the Mexican cultural and literary journal ‘Vuelta’. He now works for the following magazines: ‘Río de la Plata'(Paris), ‘Cuadernos Americanos’ and ‘Paréntesis’ (both Mexico City) and ‘El pez y la serpiente'(Managua).

Since his debut in 1964 with ‘De la invención’ (Engl: ‘About the Invention) and his second book, ‘Mutaciones’ (Poems: 1963-1966), for which he received the Montevideo Poetry Prize in 1972, he has introduced a new, experimental angle into Uruguayan poetry. He follows the abstractly intellectual tradition of Mallarmés and plumbs the depths of language, form and expression.  His open-ended poetic style of semantic vagueness, the tension between abstruseness and linguistic precision which incorporates the smallest word particles, is a radical shift from traditional rhetoric and conventional musicality.  The ironic linguistic impulses of emotional intelligence which crop up from time to time always go beyond the subject in hand and vacillate between reading/writing, expressing/being silent, singing/storytelling, presenting/concealing, vision/version, symbol/object and space/sound.  To date Fierro has published over 30 collections of poetry, which he once described as an anti-establishment project.  He was one of the first Latin American poets, for example, to transpose the compositional techniques of E.E. Cummings into Spanish poetic language.  The Uruguayan poet and critic Luis Bravo characterizes Fierro’s creativity as analytical enhancements in poetry.  “The creative vacillations are a form of progressive self-definition”. In his longer poem ‘In vain, enhancing’, this formal motif develops along the following lines: “the plot of the poem/simple and sufficient/but this same image/ because of a shadow/and the raw reality of remembering/is the undying ballad between text and figures”.

© international literature festival berlin