Other literary forms
The fame of Rubén Darío (dah-REE-oh) rests primarily on his poetry, but he wrote serious prose as well. Azul (azure), his first major publication, contained poems and short stories alike. Both the poetry and the prose portions were widely acclaimed, but Darío’s mature work includes almost no fiction. He published several volumes of essays based on his experience as a foreign correspondent, a traveler, and a diplomat, and two such collections have gained international attention: La caravana pasa (1903; the caravan passes) was among the earliest chronicles of the experience of American artists in Paris, while Tierras solares (1904; the sunny lands) is a collection of affectionate and melancholy essays celebrating the countryside of southern Spain, which Darío considered the common ground of Spanish and Latin American history. Darío also published literary criticism, political commentary, an autobiography, and exegeses of his own works.
The most famous of Darío’s critical works is Historias de mis libros (1914; stories of my books), a compilation of three explanatory pieces he wrote about his greatest works of poetry, Azul, Prosas Profanas, and Other Poems, and Cantos de vida y esperanza, los cisnes, y otros poemas. In Historias de mis libros, he responded to the most frequent criticism of his work, that he had abandoned the traditional themes of Latin America in pursuit of a European art. He branded the criticism “myopic” and answered that the literature of the New World needed no more stylized odes to nature or patriotic battle hymns.