Excerpt from “An Afternoon with Tranströmer in Stockholm”
I mention Century of the Death of The Rose: The Selected Poems of Jorge Carrera Andrade, this gift book to Tomas Tranströmer only in that his readings in world literature were more extensive than one might imagine. In the 1960s, when books from different parts of the world traveled slowly, it might seem strange a Swedish writer would know of a writer writing in Spanish from a distant country like Ecuador. Ecuador is a small country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Galápagos Islands and Pacific Ocean to the west. Remarkably, Tomas found access to the poetry of Jorge Carrera Andrade in an anthology, Modern European Poetry, edited by Willis Barnstone (New York: Bantam Books, 1966), which was available at that time in Europe. Carrera Andrade had already lived on and off for decades in France as Chancellor of the Ecuadorian consulate in Marseilles, Consul General in Le Havre, Ambassador to France in Paris, and principal contributor to management at UNESCO, also in Paris. With a French wife and fluent in French, as well as a translator of French poet Pierre Reverdy into Spanish for book publication, Carrera Andrade was seen by some in French and global literary circles as more European than Latin American. Carrera Andrade in Europe was Ecuadorian and remained so throughout his life in every country he traveled to in service to his native country as a diplomat and writer.
Steven Ford Brown
Jorge Carrera Andrade (1903-1978), Ecuadorian poet, historian, author, former Ambassador and Official Representative and member to The United Nations in New York City, is recognized with Jorge Luis Borges, Vicente Huidobro, Gabriela Mistral, Pablo Neruda, Nicanor Parra, Octavio Paz and César Vallejo, as among the first South American posts to rise to international prominence in the Twentieth Century.
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