23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Juan Gustavo Cobo Borda

Juan Gustavo Cobo Borda was born in the Columbian capital of Bogotá in 1948. After studying literature in Bogotá, he held several different jobs in the Columbian cultural administration. In the 80s he was a cultural attaché in Buenos Aires. He returned to Bogotá in 1990 and worked in the cultural department of the foreign ministry – including as the culture-political advisor to the Columbian president – before going to Madrid as a cultural attaché. Cobo Borda, who, starting in 1998, was the Columbian ambassador in Athens, today again lives in Bogotá. In addition to his political career, Cobo Borda has also done remarkable work as a writer. His numerous critical essays are not only dedicated to other authors – like Borges and García Márquez – but to painting as well (“Mis Pintores,” 2002, t: My Painter). Between 1973 and 1984 he published the poetry magazine “Eco.” He has also published numerous anthologies (such as the “Antología de la poesía hispanoamericana,” 1985) and works. As a member of the Columbian Academy for Language he was involved in the new edition of the “Diccionario de la Lengua Española” (t: Dictionary of the Spanish Language) – a project that he refers to as “another form of writing poetry.” Cobo Borda made his debut as poet in 1974 with the collection “Consejos para sobrevivir” (t: Survival Advice), which was followed by more than a dozen other books of poetry. In his verse he is known for his pronounced use of irony or self-irony and humor, which he employs to describe and unveil situations. He is considered a member of the Nadaísmo group who, under the motto “nothingness or nothing,” hoped to modernize the old rhetoric of Columbian poetry through spontaneity, parody, and radical negation. Three main topics emerge: an examination of the world of young people, criticism of Columbian society, and the relationship between man and woman. His most recent publications include the book of poetry “La musa inclemente” (2001, t: The Merciless Muse), in which he reflects on the romantic passions. His use of language alternates between colloquial and literary usage. The tone is sometimes ironic, sometimes affectionate or despairing. Cobo Borda is extremely well read, which is what forms the basis for his poetry and essayistic work. He also knows how to articulate his wealth of thoughts in a way that is formally concise. His works can be found in numerous anthologies and have in part been translated into other languages.

© international literature festival berlin


Alamanaque de versos
Editorial Oveja Negra
Bogotá, 1988

Poemas orientales y bogotanos
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
México, 1997

Furioso amor
El Áncora
Bogotá, 1997

No sabes con cuanto gusto de disfrutó, impúdica
Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes
México, 1997

La musa inclemente
Tusquets Editores
Barcelona, 2001

Mis Pintores
Villegas Editores
Bogotá, 2002

Lengua erótica
Villegas Edictores

Lector impenitente
Fondo de Cultura de México
Mexico, 2004

Übersetzer: Juana und Tobias Burghardt