Jose Asuncion Silva
Biography of Jose Asuncion Silva
Jose Asuncion Silva along with Jose Marti, Julian del Casal, Salvador Diaz Miron, and Manuel Gutierrez Najera first wrote poetry in the modernist vein or Moderniso (Modernist poetry that often created an exotic tapestry and in some of its aspects it represented, like contemporary movements in other literatures, a rejection of the materialist world of the day).
His poems are supposed to be some of the most beautiful in the Spanish language. They are marked by technical innovations, haunting musical tones, and a brooding spirit of pessimism. Reflecting the spirit of European symbolism, they had great influence on Ruben Dario and other modernistas. The best known are Nocturno III, an elegy for his sister, Crepusculo, and Dia de difuntos (Day of the Dead). Silva also wrote a novel, De Sobremesa, notable for its rejection of realist conventions and its intense, lyrical focus on emotional experience.
Unfortunately the life of this gifted poet was shadowed by the loss of a crucial manuscript, family debt, and the death of a beloved sister, and he committed suicide in 1896, leaving behind a debt of $210,000.
Fernando Vallejo in his book Almas en pena, chapolas negras, tries to unravel the mystery of Silva's financial setbacks and suicide.
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Jose Asuncion Silva Poems
One night one night all full of murmurings, of perfumes and music of wings; one night in which fantastic fireflies burnt in the humid nuptial shadows,
The lamp that stands beside the crib Is not yet lighted to warm the gloom Of the blueish, opaque light falling
The little girl, though very ill, Went out one morning To wander, with faltering footsteps,
These recollections with the scent of ferns Are the idyll of early years (Gregorio Gutierrez González)
For The Reader's Ear
No, that was not passion, It was the vague tenderness Inspired by a sickly child, Lang syne, and moon pale nights.
Si en tus recuerdos ves algún día entre la niebla de lo pasado surgir la triste memoria mía medio borrada ya por los años,
The Woodsmen Of San Juan
Until sunset! From the dawn! See the woodsmen of San Juan, They want bread before it’s gone!
In a fragile vase In your chamber are Preserved butterflies That when touched by
Los Maderos De San Juan
La Respuesta De La Tierra
These recollections with the scent of ferns
Are the idyll of early years
(Gregorio Gutierrez González)
Accompanying the hazy memories
Time so generously glorifies,
Returning to a welcoming heart
And flocking like white butterflies,
Come fantasies of happy childhood days.