Claribel Alegría

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Clara Isabel Alegría Vides
Alegría at the 3rd annual International Poetry Festival in Granada.
Alegría at the 3rd annual International Poetry Festival in Granada.
Born(1924-05-12)12 May 1924
Estelí, Nicaragua
Died25 January 2018(2018-01-25) (aged 93)
Managua, Nicaragua
Pen nameClaribel Alegría
OccupationPoet, novelist

Clara Isabel Alegría Vides[1] (May 12, 1924 – January 25, 2018), also known by her pseudonym Claribel Alegría,[2] was a Nicaraguan-Salvadoran poet, essayist, novelist, and journalist who was a major voice in the literature of contemporary Central America. She was awarded the 2006 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.


Alegría was born in Estelí, Nicaragua, to a Nicaraguan father, Daniel Alegría, and a Salvadoran mother, Ana María Vides. Her cousin was activist Leonel Gómez Vides. When Claribel was nine months old, her father was sent into exile for protesting human rights violations occurring during the United States occupation of Nicaragua; as a result, Claribel grew up in Santa Ana, a city in western El Salvador, where her mother came from. Claribel Alegría considered herself to be Nicaraguan-Salvadorean.[3][4][5] Although she was too young to read or write, she began composing poetry at the age of six and dictated them to her mother, who would write them down. Alegría consistently cited Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet" as the impetus for becoming a poet.[6] At the age of seventeen, she published her first poems in Repertorio Americano, a Central American cultural supplement. Soon after, Mexican educator José Vasconcelos arranged for Alegría to attend finishing school in Hammond, Louisiana.[7] In 1943, she moved to the United States and in 1948 received a B.A. in Philosophy and Letters from George Washington University.[8] Alegría was committed to nonviolent resistance. She had a close association with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), which overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle and took control of the Nicaraguan government in 1979. Alegría returned to Nicaragua in 1985 to aid in the reconstruction of Nicaragua.[9]

Alegría later lived in Managua, Nicaragua.[8] She died on 25 January 2018, aged 93.[10]


Alegría's literary work reflects the style of the popular literary current in Central America during the 1950s and 1960s, "la generacion comprometida" (the committed generation). Like many other poets of her generation who are critical of their societies, she made claims for rights using a language which is often counter-literary.

Alegría published many books of poetry: Casting Off (2003), Sorrow (1999), Umbrales (1996), and La Mujer del Río (1989). She also published novels and children's stories, as well as testimonios (often in collaboration with her husband, DJ "Bud" Flakoll), such as They Won't Take Me Alive.


Published works[edit]

In English translation
  • Flowers from the Volcano, trans. Carolyn Forché (Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, 1983)
  • Luisa in Realityland, trans. Darwin J. Flakoll (New York: Curbstone Press, 1987) ISBN 0-915306-70-0
  • Sorrow, trans. Carolyn Forché (New York: Curbstone Press, 1999) ISBN 1-880684-63-2
  • Soltando Amarras/Casting Off: Poems by Claribel Alegría, trans. Margaret Sayers Peden (Willimantic: Curbstone Press, 2003) ISBN 1-880684-98-5
In anthology
  • Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (University of Georgia Press, 2018) ISBN 978-0820353159


  1. ^ "Claribel Alegría - 1924". Escritoras de Hispanoamerica. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  2. ^ "Claribel Alegría". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  3. ^ Flores y Ascencio, Daniel (Winter 2000). "Claribel Alegría". Bomb. New York: BOMB Magazine. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  4. ^ Moreno, Víctor (1999). "Claribel Alegría". Busca biografías. Busca Biografías. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Úbeda, Luis Miguel (November 14, 2017). "El ojo crítico entrevista a Claribel Alegría". Programa El Ojo Crítico RTVE. Madrid: Radio Televisión Española. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  6. ^ "Alegría, Claribel Joy: 1924—". Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  7. ^ Gale (2003). "Claribel Joy Alegría". Contemporary Hispanic Biography. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Claribel Alegría bio" (PDF). World Literature Today. University of Oklahoma. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2007.
  9. ^ "Claribel Alegría". Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  10. ^ Muere la poeta nicaragüense Sofía Claribel Alegría (in Spanish)
  11. ^ Bunmi Ishola (September 30, 2006). "Claribel Alegría wins Neustadt Prize". The Norman Transcript. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  12. ^ Staff writer (May 1, 2007). "Claribel Alegria: 2006 Neustadt International Prize Laureate.(special section)(Biography)". World Literature Today. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  13. ^ "Neustadt Prize". The Missouri Review. November 16, 2006. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • McGowan, Marcia P.; Boschetto-Sandoval, Sandra M. (1994). Claribel Alegria and Central American literature: critical essays. Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies. ISBN 0-89680-179-9.
  • McGowan, Marcia Phillips (1999). "Alegría Claribel". In Commire, Anne (ed.). Women in World History: A biographical encyclopedia. 1. Waterford, CT: Yorkin Publications, Gale Group. pp. 193–198. ISBN 0787640808.

External links[edit]