January 24th marks 40 years since the death of the Argentine poet Oliverio Girondo.
As a leader of the avant garde in 1920s Buenos Aires, Girondo wrote a manfesto in the fourth issue of the literary magazine Martín Fierro in which he railed against the literary establishment of the day, the “impermeabilidad hipopotámica del ‘honorable publico’“. Girondo joined forces with others to create a new publishing venture for young writers that they called “Sociedad Editorial Proa”.
A brief chronology
Girondo was born August 17, 1891 in a house on calle Lavalle. (The house was on a block later demolished to make way for Av 9 de Julio). From a wealthy family Girondo first traveled to Europe when he was nine. Later, Girondo traveled extensively, making many return trips to Europe.
While living in Paris in 1922 Girondo produced his first book of poetry, Veinte poemas para ser leídos en el tranvía. Girondo republished the book a couple of years later in Buenos Aires. After again traveling and living in Europe, Girondo returned to Buenos Aires in 1932.
Buenos Aires of 1932 was very different from the city that he left a few years earlier. The late 1920s and early 1930s was a period of uneasiness, a military coup in 1930 brought in a new government led first by General Jose Uriburu who was replaced by another general, Agustin Justo, in 1931. (Question: I just noticed today that Girondo’s mother was a Uriburu; I wonder if he was related to the general/president?)
In 1932 Girondo published one of his most famous works, Espantapájaros, which had a rather infamous publicity campaign.
In 1943 Girondo finally married his longtime lover Norah Lange, much to the disgust of Girondo’s chief rival Jorge Luis Borges.
Throughout the 1940s Girondo continued to serve as a mentor to young Argentine writers.
In 1956 Girondo published what some call his landmark work En la masmédula.
1961, Girondo was leaving a cinema on Av Sante Fe when he was struck by a car. The accident left him with diminished capacity for the remainder of his life.
Died January 24, 1967 at age 75.