Guillermo Valencia

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Guillermo Valencia
Guillermo Valencia Castillo

(1873-10-29)October 29, 1873
DiedJuly 8, 1943(1943-07-08) (aged 69)
Popayán, Colombia
OccupationPoet, translator
Spouse(s)Josefina Muñoz de Valencia
ChildrenGuillermo León Valencia
Josefina Valencia Muñoz
Parent(s)Joaquín Valencia Quijano
Adelaida Castillo Silva
Firma del Maestro Valencia.jpg

Guillermo Valencia Castillo (October 29, 1873 in Popayán, Colombia – July 8, 1943 in Popayán) was a Colombian poet, translator, and politician.[1] Valencia was a pioneer of Modernism in Colombia[2] and a member of the Colombian Conservative Party. He was the father of five children, including Guillermo León Valencia (1909–1971), Colombian president during 1962–1966, and Josefina Valencia Muñoz, Governor of Cauca.


Valencia was the son of Joaquín Valencia Quijano and Adelaida Castillo Silva. He became an orphan at eight years old. He studied in Medellín.

Literary career[edit]

His first volume of poetry, Ritos (1899, rev. ed. 1914; “Rites”), containing original poems and free translations from French, Italian, and Portuguese, established his literary reputation at home and abroad as a leader of the experimental Modernist movement with its exotic imagery.

He had the poetry Magazine Paginas de Anarkos, this treasure of poetry was the journal for the most prestigious Poets and artists of the time. It had illustrations by masters like Santiago Martinez Delgado.[citation needed]

He was never a prolific poet; in later years, he abandoned original poetry almost entirely, concentrating on translations. One of these was Catay (1928; “Cathay”), which he translated from Franz Toussaint's La Flute de Jade (“The Jade Flute”), a French translation of an anthology of Chinese poems. He translated La balada de la cárcel de Reading (1932; “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”) from the English poem by the 19th-century writer Oscar Wilde. He also turned more frequently to writing essays, many of which are collected in Panegíricos, discursos y artículos (1933; “Panegyrics, Speeches, and Articles”).[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

He led an active career as a statesman and a diplomat and was twice a candidate for the presidency of Colombia, in 1918 and 1930.[citation needed] In 1918, he lost to Marco Fidel Suárez. In 1930, he lost the presidential election to liberal Enrique Olaya Herrera.

Personal life[edit]

Guillermo Valencia National Museum

Valencia married Josefina Muñoz Muñoz in 1908.[3] Together, they had five children.

He was the grandfather of Pedro Felipe Valencia López, a Colombian politician.

Honors and awards[edit]

The house where he lived and died was turned into a museum. A municipal theater in Popayán, Colombia was also named after him. The national poetry prize in Colombia is named in his honor.



  • Poesías (1898)
  • Ritos (1899)
  • Sus mejores poemas (1926)
  • Catay (1929)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Guillermo Valencia - Colombian author and statesman". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  2. ^ Ruiza, M., Fernández, T. y Tamaro, E. (2004). Biografia de Guillermo Valencia. En Biografías y Vidas. La enciclopedia biográfica en línea. Barcelona (España). Recuperado de el 17 de agosto de 2020.
  3. ^ "Guillermo Valencia - Enciclopedia | Banrepcultural". Retrieved 17 August 2020.