Piedad Bonnett

Piedad Bonnett was born in Amalfi, in the Colombian province of Antioquia, in 1951. She grew up in the capital Bogotá as of the age of eight and studied philosophy and philology at the Universidad de los Andes and later at the Escuela de Investigación Lingüística y Literaria in Madrid. At the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where she later taught, she specialized in art theory and architecture. She has been teaching as literature professor at the Universidad de los Andes since 1981.

Bonnett is best known as a poet in her native country and beyond its borders. In clear language with ironic and sentimental echoes, in her work she mainly explores the subjects of love and the harsh realities of life in Colombia. A typical example, which evokes devotion, doubt and commitment through the key words »truth« and »lies«, presents the title-giving poem of her award-winning first volume of poems, »De círculo y ceniza« (1989; t: Of circle and ashes). »Your mouth is capable of the whole truth / Of the whole truth and of lies«, it reads. Five further individual volumes were to follow – »Ese animal triste« (1996; t: That sad animal) and »Todos los amantes son guerreros« (1998; t: All lovers are warriors) are especially symbolic titles – and four selected volumes. Her poems have also been included in many anthologies.

Bonnett’s first novel, »Depués de todo« (2001; t: After everything), tells of a woman, no longer young, who feels tied down by her marriage, child and home. Dissatisfied, she decides to leave her husband but ends up staying with him when he becomes in need of care and she, meanwhile, is abandoned by her lover. When a young nurse is employed, she develops an overwhelming obsession with this unconventional woman. Bonnett’s second novel, »Para otros es el cielo« (2004; t: Heaven is for others), revolves around a left-wing intellectual who has withdrawn from his political life into academia. In spite of what is described as flight from the practical implementation of his ideals, he is cared for selflessly by his wife and his lover.

Bonnett’s works include plays that have been performed at the Teatro Libre in Bogotá, translations from English, the book of interviews »Imaginación y oficio« (2003; t: Imagination and calling) which contains her conversations with five Colombian poet colleagues, and a dictionary of the most important concepts of her Nobel Prize-winning fellow countryman, »El mundo según García Márquez« (2005; t: The world according to García Márquez). Her poems and essays have appeared in different international newspapers. A third novel is forthcoming later this year. Bonnett lives in Bogotá.

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