One of Girondo's critics and personal friend noted that he was "la imagen del poeta que vive exclusivamente para la poesía." Oliverio Girondo lived, breathed and spoke poetry. He was a gregarious and extroverted man, full of a vitality which spilled over into his poetry in the form of humor and linguistic games.
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Born in Buenos Aires to a wealthy Argentine family, the young Girondo studied in England and France during his formative years. Girondo's independently wealthy status allowed the poet an ideological and professional freedom which he embraced completely. This privileged contact with Europe and subsequent introduction to surrealism provided Girondo with the opportunity to experiment poetically and to immerse himself in the vanguard movement before returning to his native Argentina. Among Girondo's circle of friends and influences were Salvador Dalí, Federico García Lorca and Macedonio Fernández.
After many years of travel, Girondo settled permanently in Buenos Aires in 1931. In 1946, after the publication of Campo nuestro, Girondo married fellow author Norah Lange and their household soon became the center of many Buenos Aires literary activities. Girondo influenced many young Argentine writers, serving as a mentor for the formation of literary journals and surrealist poetry groups.
The Oliverio Girondo Collection is a comprehensive collection that traces the literary development of Girondo, containing first editions of all of Girondo's poetic works, the periodical Martín Fierro, manuscript materials and critical works about the poet. Girondo's poetic career is often divided into two periods, the first period includes Veinte poemas para ser leídos en el tranvía (1922), Calcomanias (1925), and Espantapájaros (1932). A collection of surrealist poems, our copy of Veinte poemas contains colored illustrations by the poet. The 1925 pocket edition of Veinte poemas measuring approximately 1/4 of the original 1922 edition is also included in the collection.
Calcomanias, published in Madrid during one of Girondo's many trips abroad, boasts a hand-written inscription and signature of the author. Our edition of Espantapájaros is one of 65 special editions printed privately and signed by Girondo.
A decade after the appearance of Espántapajaros, Girondo published Persuasión de los días (1942) which marked a new stage in his poetic career and is considered his most important book of poetry. Influenced by dadaism and Nietzsche, Girondo's later poetry reflects a new perspective obsessed with annihilation and the conviction that we live in a useless and false world. Campo nuestro followed in 1946 and then En la Masmédula in 1954. Both Persuasión de los días and Campo nuestro are inscribed by Girondo.
As an epilogue to his poetic career, Girondo published the illustrated poem Topatumba in 1958, a limited edition with drawings and the signature of artist Enrique Molina.
While Girondo is most well-known as a poet, he was also instrumental in the production of the literary newspaper "Martín Fierro". We have issues n° 1-45 of El periódico Martín Fierro as well as a memoir, El periódico Martín Fierro 1924-1949, about the newspaper prepared and edited by Girondo, then director of the publication. In 1937 Girondo published the short story Interlunio dedicated to his future wife, Norah Lange, and a political essay in 1940, Nuestra actitud ante el desastre.
In addition to Girondo's own publications, the collection contains several critical works about the life and work of the Argentine poet. Another item of interest is a tribute to Girondo in the form of a poem titled "Oliverio" written by his close friend Pablo Neruda. The collection also includes four books taken from Girondo's personal library which were printed specifically for and inscribed to the writer and his wife, Norah Lange. One of these is A la pintura: cantata de la linea y del color (1945), a colorful work of well-known paintings with accompanying poetic verse complied by Rafael Alberti and Attilio Rossi.