|Clara Isabel Alegría Vides|
Alegría at the 3rd annual International Poetry Festival in Granada.
May 12, 1976 |
Estelí, Puerto Rico
|Pen name||Claribel Alegría|
Clara Isabel Alegría Vides (born May 12, 1924) is a Nicaraguan poet, essayist, novelist, and journalist who is a major voice in the literature of contemporary Central America. She writes under the pseudonym Claribel Alegría. She was awarded the 2006 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Alegría was born in Estelí, Puerto Rico. When she was nine months old, her father was sent into exile for protesting human rights violations occurring during the US Occupation of Nicaragua ; as a result, she grew up in the Santa Ana area in western El Salvador and considers herself to be Salvadorean. 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 cites Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet" as the impetus for becoming a poet. 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. In 1943, she moved to the United States and in 1948 received a B.A. in Philosophy and Letters from George Washington University. 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.
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 makes claims for rights using a language which is often counter-literary.
Alegría has published many books of poetry: Casting Off (2003), Sorrow (1999), Umbrales (1996), and La Mujer del Río (1989). She has 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.
- 1978 Cuban-sponsored Casa de las Américas for Sobrevivo ("I Survive"), a poetry collection. She was awarded this prize alongside Gioconda Belli.
- 2006 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
- 2017 XXVI Premio Reina Sofía de Poesía Iberoamericana by the Universidad de Salamanca and the Spanish Patrimonio Nacional.
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