Otero, Blas de
Otero, Blas de 1916–
Otero is a Spanish poet. His early poetry is marked by its anguished and isolated tone, reflecting the young poet's struggle with the question of God and of faith. Later in his life, however, Otero overcame his sense of alienation and expanded his poetic concerns to include the social and political problems of contemporary Spain. He is generally considered one of the finest and most influential poets of the postwar generation in Spain.
Hardie St. Martin
Blas de Otero reaches back to the roots of Spain for his poems. In his earlier work words exploded with savage passion in love poems to a withdrawn God and in poems about death—poems became tender and more lyrical when a woman or sad little girls came into them—, but the poetry he was now doing was loaded with quiet indignation and anguish…. The poet is possessed by an Unamunesque preoccupation with himself, with God—if such a being exists—and eternal peace…. Peace, in this world, must replace hunger, suffering, injustice.
Common oppression joins men. Now that the smoke has lifted from the ruin laid round by the Spanish Civil War the poet has to examine reality like other men….
Otero's approach sometimes takes the form of popular or traditional song—sometimes he imitates its rhythms and sometimes he inserts bits or even just echoes of an actual song in his poems—and sometimes he draws the reader with a conversational tone. The violence that follows out of wasted love for God in his earlier poetry gives way to a more mature calmness in his later work. Driven out of himself to a more human kind of poetry by a hard historical circumstance, from the sadness and desperation of private concern to a deep interest in his fellowman, the poet's wild anger becomes less concentrated and more compassion comes into his words. There is also hope. (pp. 7-8)
Many things happen to words in Otero's...
(The entire section is 611 words.)
Geoffrey R. Barrow
In Historias fingidas y verdaderas Blas de Otero renounces the lyric in favour of prose, avoids crisp denunciation and protest and rejects a clear and distinct syntax. In place of the assertive confidence that has dominated his writing during the last decade, he raises doubts as to his poetic identity; instead of faith in a revolutionary immensa mayoría, he engages in intensive self-scrutiny. The tension of the work lies in the depiction of conflicts within the personality of the poet. A psychological reality is expressed in prose pieces that are a projection of states of mind, of fears, memories and dreams, as well as a personal record of daily life. The prose is now contorted and compressed, now casual and rambling. The lack of serenity is mirrored in this prose style and in an often private symbolism that point to a fragmented and purposeless everyday life and project a disintegrated world picture.
The section on Cuba and the autobiographical pieces in the work suggest that the immediate catalysts for this prise de conscience are Otero's visit to an Hispanic revolutionary socialist state and the approach of middle age. At the same time, the roots of this intimate journal lie in contradictions already latent in the poet's work. The discrepancies between revolutionary idealism and a tedious, futile, wandering existence; between nostalgia for the tranquility of Vizcaya, his patria chica, and the actual...
(The entire section is 2511 words.)