Emilio Calderón, La memoria de un hombre está en sus besos. Biografía de Vicente Aleixandre [A human’s memory is in his kisses. Biography of Vicente Aleixandre], 2016, 535 p.
2nd Stella Maris Biography and Memories Prize
Giving the 1977 Nobel Prize for Literature to Vicente Aleixandre was in recognition of a poetic universe that was not only comparable to the most celebrated Spanish poets of his time, but also comparable to T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden with whom he maintains powerful parallelisms. In Vicente Aleixandre’s poetics stands out his capacity to procure an oneiric, sensual and pantheistic vision of human existence, his bet for poetry understood as communication, and his profound eagerness to incorporate widely diverse currents in a personal form. Nourished by a huge amount of unpublished documents -mainly obtained from the author’s correspondence, e.g. the one he maintained with the painter Guillermo Prieto-, Emilio Calderón has written the first complete biography of Aleixandre. He lets us in on Alexandre’s childhood in Sevilla and Málaga, his dazzled discovery of poetry, his friends -from Emilio Prados to Carlos Bousoño-, his frail health or his entry into the RAE [Royal Spanish Language Academy]. He reveals to us his reserved love life, his position during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime, and his attempt to go into exile in February 1938 that was finally unsuccessful due to questions of bureaucracy, his relation with different generations of poets -among them Luis Antonio de Villena, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Vicente Molina Foix or Pere Gimferrer-. He also describes Aleixandre’s house in Velintonia -today a place of “worship”- and the troubles that derived from his testament. Finally, thanks to Emilio Calderón’s narrative strength, Vicente Aleixandre, the most complex and complete Spanish poet of our recent literature, receives the attention that he deserved.
Emilio Calderón (Málaga, 1960) offers an English speaking website with more information on his biography and bibliography.