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Mexican Wins Prestigious Poetry Prize in Spain

10 June 2009 No Comment

Jose Emilio PachecoLATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE – Mexico’s Jose Emilio Pacheco was announced Thursday as the winner of the Queen Sofia Poetry Prize, Spain’s most prestigious literary award in that genre.

The prize, which is accompanied by a 42,100-euro ($56,000) cash award, recognizes a living author’s complete body of work and contribution to the shared cultural heritage of the Ibero-American community.

The 69-year-old Pacheco’s poetry oeuvre is universal in scope and has been included since the 1950s in the main Latin American poetry anthologies.

The president of the jury, Spanish Crown Heritage Chairman Yago Pico de Coaña, said in awarding the prize that “no one is being discovered” by conferring this honor on Pacheco but that it merely affirms the writer’s broad and solid literary trajectory.

The poets considered for this prize are nominated by academic, university and cultural institutions in Spain, Portugal, the United States, Brazil and Latin America.

Pacheco, who also has gained acclaim for his work as a prose writer and translator, has won numerous awards during his career, including the Octavio Paz International Poetry and Essay Prize in 2003 and the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Prize in 2004.

The Mexican poet said that being honored with the Queen Sofia Prize was cause for “great surprise and great joy” because “I wasn’t expecting it,” adding that the rector of the University of Salamanca gave him the news as he was getting out of bed.

Pacheco beat out Nicaragua’s Ernesto Cardenal, Uruguay’s Cristina Petri Rossi and Spain’s Francisco Brines, among others, to win the award.

“There are so many poets worthy of this and other prizes and, without taking away from its merit, there’s always an element of luck and generosity on the part of the jury,” he said.

Pacheco said he hoped the two new volumes of poetry he is readying for publication will be completed by the time he officially receives the prize at a ceremony in Madrid in mid-November.

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