the Asturian Alejandro Céspedes Díaz-Gutiérrez has received this Thursday the Juan Ramón Jiménez Ibero-American Poetry Prize 2022 for his poems ‘I am Lola Jericó’. In a ceremony held in the cloister of the San Francisco de Moguer Convent, the vice president of the Provincial Council, Juan Antonio García, has made the delivery of the check for 18,000 euros with which the prize is endowed, next to the copy of the collection of poems, the winner, whom he has congratulated.
In his speech, García mentioned the war in the Ukraine and exile, recalling that Juan Ramón and Zenobia rejected on several occasions the invitation to return to Spain made by the Franco dictatorship, trying to win prestige for the poet, “simply, freedom and democracy were part of his hallmarks and even of his creative work”.
As he has underlined, from that philosophy “we always understood from the Huelva Provincial Council that the Ibero-American Poetry Prize should be a prize for freedom and that is how it was created in 1981, in the first years of our newly recovered democracy.” It was born in the heat of the centenary of the poet’s birth and from then until today it has been called uninterruptedly.
The award-winning authors and books constitute, as recognized by specialized critics, one of the best anthologies of contemporary Spanish poetry. “If we had to measure the state of current poetic production in the Spanish language, judging by the Juan Ramón Jiménez Ibero-American Prize, we would undoubtedly have to consider that it is in excellent health, after its 42 years of existence”, indicated the vice president . In its 42 editions, with an average of 900 books presented in recent years, it has reached more than 19,000 works presented and an enormous amount of work from the more than 300 members of the juries and of the previous reading commissions that have passed through it. .
“Not all the provinces of Spain have a Nobel Prize for Literature”, García pointed out, adding that the Huelva Provincial Council is “willing to optimize” this capital, which means having the figure of Juan Ramón. That is why it has announced that next year the endowment of the Juan Ramón Jiménez Ibero-American Poetry Prize will rise to 25,000 euros, in fulfillment of the commitment we made three years ago. And we continue to seek alliances so that this Prize, our Prize, becomes the best endowed of all those convened in the Spanish language”.
The mayor of Moguer, Gustavo Cuéllar, has stated that “with an extraordinary professional career always linked to culture with capital letters, with countless recognitions and awards for the quality and depth of his literary work, Alejandro Céspedes is undoubtedly one of the authors most prolific in our country and a tireless promoter of cultural projects, in which he projects his fine sensibility and his mastery of language to carry his message of harmony, respect and also social denunciation to all corners.”
As she has underlined, Moguer feels “proud and grateful” to be able to receive among us this author “committed to social justice and the defense of women’s rights, because these are issues that in our land we consider essential to guarantee coexistence that allows us to continue advancing in rights and freedoms for all”. In this sense, he added that “the poetic word at the service of the weakest, poetry as a tool for social denunciation materialized in Soy Lola de Jericó is the best example of the sensitivity and closeness that our winner maintains with the defense of the rights of women, and those who need us the most”.
For his part, the winner, Alejandro Céspedes, has sincerely thanked the prize and has read some poems of the winning work. In the act also the Rector of the UNIA, José Ignacio García, and the president of the Jury, José Juan Díaz Trillo. The award ceremony ended with a musical performance by Raúl Rodríguez.
The members of the jury for the 42nd Juan Ramón Jiménez Ibero-American Poetry Prize – the writers José Juan Díaz Trillo, Isabel Pérez Montalván and José Antonio Mazzoti – unanimously decided to award it among the 977 works presented. According to the minutes, the prize recognizes the “accused poetic personality of the book by addressing with a clear verbal forcefulness aspects related to gender inequality, without avoiding the crude reality, its author being able to elevate it to poetry with a moving and contemporary expression”. The Jury considers that “without avoiding the dark areas of that same reality, ‘Soy Lola Jericó’ contains the truth and beauty of a book worthy of this XLII Poetry Prize”.
The Jury has highlighted “the singularity and verbal capacity of the author in a formidable book for these times, very contemporary and groundbreaking”; “His feminist ideology and encouragement of him, because it is necessary for poetry to deal with these issues, which are normally left out”; and his “direct language, stripped of rhetoric, but with a capacity to rhythmically mention injustice and gender inequality”.
Alejandro Céspedes (Gijón, 1958) has a degree from the Faculty of Philosophy and Educational Sciences of the University of Oviedo. He resided in Madrid for more than 30 years. He wrote poetry criticism in La Esfera de los Libros, a cultural supplement of the newspaper El Mundo. He was a founding member and member of the Editorial Board of the magazine Number of Victims of the Forum of Writers Against the War of the Ateneo de Madrid, and responsible for the Poetry Area of the magazine La Cultura de Madrid. He co-directed the poetry program Definition of Sap on the Radio del Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. In the SER network and in the SER network he was responsible for the literature and theater section of the program Café con ice. He was co-founder and coordinator of the “Juan Rejano International Poetry Prize”.
Among the works published and the literary prizes obtained, the following stand out: Hunters of icebergs; The infection of the human, selected among the 5 best books of the year by El Cultural-El Español; The Breath of the Klai, Asturias Critics Award; The caresses of the fire; voiceovers; Topology of a blank page (selected among the 5 best books of the year by the newspapers El País and El Mundo); Flowers in the gutter, Jaén Poetry Prize; The concentric circles, Blas de Otero Award and the Asturias Critics Award; About smoke scaffolding; There is a blind man dancing on the platform; Carrier pigeons only know how to return, Hyperion Award; James Dean, love that you forbid me, Navarre Poetry Prize and «Angel González»; The night and its advice, Villa de Lanjarón International Poetry Prize. Since 2008 he has developed important work in the field of stage poetry with the dramatization and staging of shows and video shows. A member of the SGAE since 1986, he composed song lyrics for important Spanish musicians, among whom Luz Casal stands out.
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Alejandro Céspedes receives the Juan Ramón Jiménez Ibero-American Poetry Prize for ‘Soy Lola Jericó’,