Enrique González Martínez was born in Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco, Mexico, on April 13, 1871. He was the son of a schoolteacher, José María González, and his wife, Feliciana Martínez. González Martínez attended the grade school directed by his father, and in 1881, he entered the preparatory school run by the Roman Catholic Church in the Conciliar Seminary of his native city. Five years later, when he was only fifteen, he entered the School of Medicine of Guadalajara.
González Martínez’s fondness for poetry began at a very early age. As a child, he often amazed his parents and other adults with his achievements as a student as well as with his ability to write verse. Although he devoted himself with enthusiasm to the study of medicine during his student years, his interest in poetry grew. When he graduated as a medical doctor in 1893, he had already published a number of poems in newspapers and magazines, earning for himself a reputation as a provincial poet.
Despite his appointment upon graduation as an adjunct professor of physiology in the School of Medicine in Guadalajara, González Martínez did not have much success practicing medicine in his native city. At this time, González Martínez’s father was offered the post of headmaster in a school that was going to be opened in Culiacán, the capital of the state of Sinaloa. It was an excellent opportunity to improve the family’s economic situation, and since González Martínez had yet to establish himself as a physician, he decided to move to Culiacán with his parents and his younger sister, Josefina. They arrived there at the end of 1895, and for the next six months, González Martínez tried without success to establish his professional practice. After this time, he decided to move to the small town of Sinaloa, where he finally established himself and resided for the next fifteen years. In 1898, González Martínez married Luisa Rojo y Fonseca, a girl who had strongly impressed him when he had first seen her on his initial visit to Sinaloa. Their marriage produced four children—Enrique, María Luisa, Héctor, and Jorge—the youngest child, however, lived only sixteen months.
The fifteen years that González Martínez lived in Sinaloa were a period of intense professional activity as a doctor as well as of incessant literary production. For some time, the poet seemed to be content with publishing his poems in newspapers and magazines of the provinces as well as the capital, where he was beginning to be known. Nevertheless, in 1900, an event took place that prompted González Martínez to publish his first book of poetry. For reasons not yet fully understood, a newspaper in Guadalajara published a false report of his death. Several publications in different cities expressed their sorrow for the early death of such a promising poet and reprinted poems of his that had previously appeared in their pages. One of González Martínez’s friends published a long article lamenting the death of the poet, recalling his life, listing his successes, and praising his virtues as a physician, a man of letters, and a citizen. When all this came to the attention of González Martínez in the small town where he lived, the poet rushed to deny the false information, and in a letter written in a joking tone he thanked his friend from Guadalajara for the informative and sorrowful article. After the uproar occasioned by this event had passed, the poet concluded that his poems must be good enough to be published in book form, and thus his first collection, titled Preludios (preludes), appeared in 1903.
Although González Martínez continued practicing medicine, his other activities seemed to multiply after the publication of his first book. In 1907, he published Lirismos (lyricisms), his second book of poetry, and between 1907 and 1909, he edited, along with his friend Sixto Osuna, the magazine Arte , which was published in Mocorito. Between 1907 and 1911, he...
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