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Olvido García Valdés, poet and essayist, during a talk at Casa de América Madrid, 2018. Photo. Casa de América
Olvido García Valdés, poet and essayist, during a talk at Casa de América Madrid, 2018. Photo. Casa de América

Olvido García Valdés wins Queen Sofía Ibero-American Poetry Prize

The Spanish poet receives this recognition for being "one of the great voices of contemporary poetry".

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The 71-year-old Spanish writer Olvido García Valdés (Santianes de Pravia, Asturias, 1950) has been awarded the XXXI Queen Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry, the most prestigious in the field of Spanish and Portuguese languages, according to the jury's decision made public last Thursday in Madrid. 

The president of Patrimonio Nacional, Ana de la Cueva, highlighted the poet's own voice for being "the owner of an entirely personal syntax, with which she seeks stripping, nudity and essentialism".  De la Cueva described the award winner as "her own voice, differentiated and recognizable". She also added that she is a "poet of emotions and ontological, intimate and metaphysical reflection".

García Valdés is the author of an extensive poetic work, including titles such as 'Del ojo al hueso', 'Lo solo del animal' or 'Y todos estábamos vivos' (National Poetry Prize 2007) translated into English by Catterine Hammond as "And We Were All Alive" (Cardboard House Press, 2016).  In this bilingual edition, the poetic discourse of the collection highlights the provisional nature language, how language can function exempt from predetermination, evolving with usage, and how absolute meaning cannot be captured and pinned down like a butterfly specimen. 

 In 2021 she was the winner of the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Prize.

olvido garcia in english

 "Poet of emotion (joy, pain, illness, nature) and ontological reflection. Intimate and metaphysical. Her texts acquire from the connotation and suggestion a deep transcendence," said the jury, which emphasizes how her poetry "requests the collaboration of the reader, which branches and deepens in each reading. It is a classic voice and poetry".

A graduate in Romance Philology from the University of Oviedo and in Philosophy from the University of Valladolid, García Valdés is also a professor of Spanish Language and Literature and has also been director of the Cervantes Institute in Toulouse (France). She was appointed director general of books in July 2018, a position she resigned the following year. Her works have been translated into several languages and her name appears in several anthologies.

The prize, awarded by Patrimonio Nacional de España and the University of Salamanca, is endowed with 42,100 euros (USD 45,100) to recognize the body of work of a living author that, due to its literary value, constitutes a relevant contribution to the common cultural heritage of Ibero-America and Spain.

In previous editions the prize went to Chilean Raúl Zurita; Uruguayan Ida Vitale, Nicaraguan Claribel Alegría, Venezuelan Rafael Cadenas or Catalan Joan Margarit, among others.

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