Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: World Poets)
Clara Isabel Alegría Vides was born in Estelí, Nicaragua, to a Salvadoran mother and a Nicaraguan father, but her family soon moved to Santa Ana, El Salvador, because of the political problems her father suffered as a Sandino sympathizer. In 1932, she witnessed the Matanza, in which more than thirty thousand peasants were slaughtered by government troops after a peaceful protest against the military dictatorship.
Alegría published her first poems in 1941. In 1943, she went to the United States to attend a girls’ school near New Orleans, Louisiana. She next attended George Washington University, where she met her husband, Flakoll, an American journalist from South Dakota who was studying for his master of arts degree. They married in December, 1947. In 1948, Alegría graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and letters. Later that same year, her first book of poetry, Anillo de silencio (ring of silence), was published in Mexico. She gave birth to a daughter, Maya, in Washington, D.C., in 1949, and twin daughters, Patricia and Karen, in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1950. In 1951, the family visited El Salvador briefly before moving to Mexico, where their circle included various writers and intellectuals, some living in exile like Alegría.
In 1953, the family moved to Santiago, Chile, where they lived for almost three years, to work on an anthology (and translation) of Latin American writers and poets, New Voices of...
(The entire section is 497 words.)
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Claribel Alegría was born May 12, 1924 in Esteli, Nicaragua. When Alegría was nine months old, the family fled the occupation of Nicaragua for El Salvador. Alegría grew up in Santa Ana, El Salvador, and attended a progressive school, Jose Ingenieros, which was named after the Argentinean philosopher. From the time she was nine months old until she was eighteen, Alegría and her family lived as exiles from their native Nicaragua.
When Alegría was only six years old, she began to create her own poems. Her mother carefully wrote down the poems that Alegría dictated. Then, when she was fourteen, Alegría read Rainer Maria Rilke’s, Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke’s letters, written in 1903, had a profound effect on Alegría’s young life. In virtually every interview ever given, she has recounted how, upon reading Rilke’s letters, she suddenly knew that she wanted to be a poet. By the time she was sixteen, Alegría was writing poetry with all the seriousness of an established poet, even though she was still unpublished. Finally, in 1941, when she was seventeen years old, she published her first poems in Repertorio Americano, a Central American newspaper’s cultural supplement. Then, two years later, Alegría was admitted to a girls’ finishing school in Hammond, Louisiana.
In 1944, Alegría moved to Washington, DC, and enrolled at Georgetown University. She found a job as a translator at the Pan-American Union, studied...
(The entire section is 584 words.)