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Claudio Rodríguez

Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 1993

Claudio Rodríguez (Zamora, Spain, 1934 – Madrid, Spain, 1999),  one of the most personal poets of the mid-century generation and with his work "Don de la ebriedad "(1953), he laid down the way his poetry and that of others of his generation would have to go.

In 1951 he moved to Madrid, to study Philosophy and Letters, graduating with a degree in Romance Philology with a dissertation entitled, El elemento mágico en las canciones infantiles de corro castellanas. In fact, his biographers point out that his personality as a youth was characterised by two traits: that of being very fond of children, a lover of observing and recreating their games and songs, and that of being a great walker, always "out and about". Apparently, his walks through Zamora, along the banks of the Duero and through other Castilian towns were famous. In the Spanish capital he formed a closer relationship with Vicente Aleixandre, the famous poet of the Generation of ´27 and Nobel Prize-winner for Literature, at whose home all the young poets of those days called, with their manuscripts under their arms, to show them to the master of poets.

With a great mastery of language, especially in relating scenes, he is also the author of other volumes of poetry of such great beauty as Conjuros, Alianza y condena, El vuelo de la celebración or, more recently, Casi una leyenda.

His great capacity for observation,his natural sense of rhythm and his everyday language, at once concrete and transcendent, combine to form a poetic career from which two basic values may be drawn: solidarity and simplicity. He has worked intensively as a teacher and lecturer. For example, he has been a Reader in Spanish at the Universities of Nottingham and Cambridge (UK) from 1958 to 1964, and lecturer in Spanish Literature at various American universities with campuses in Spain. Likewise, he is an outstanding translator into Spanish of the works of T.S. Eliot.

Claudio Rodríguez has won some of the most important awards in Spanish literature, such a the "Adonais" Poetry Prize (in 1953 and 1983), the National Poetry Prize (1983) and the Critics Prize (1965). Shortly after the announcement of the granting of the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters to Claudio Rodríguez, he was also awarded the 1993 "Reina Sofia" Prize for Latin-American Poetry, granted by Spanish National Heritage and the University of Salamanca. He has been a member of the Royal Spanish Academy of Language since 1987.

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